BOSTON ROCK TO THE RESCUE
By Jim Sullivan, Globe Staff | October 13, 2004
In the early 1980s, he was known as the raspy-voiced, stage-diving singer of seminal Boston hardcore punk band SS Decontrol, a.k.a. SSD. Right now, he looks like a hip version of the old, wheelchair-bound dude Malcolm McDowell's Alex battered in "A Clockwork Orange." "That's excellent!" says a laughing Springa. What put him in the chair was a July 29 van accident in Newtonville. Springa -- who's been living, acting, singing, and running nightclubs in Chicago -- was home for the summer (in part to watch the Red Sox) and he was invited to the Democratic National Committee's party featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Louis. After the show, he and Boston rock historian Chuck White repaired to the Model Cafe in Allston. With two others, they departed in a van that got into a head-on collision, hit by a drunk driver on North Street. "We were lucky to be alive," says Springa, who was riding in the empty back of the van and was thrown forward. "I got the van wrapped around me. My head was in the wheel well between the driver's door and the driver's seat. So it was protected. Two inches down more and my whole head would have been cut off." As is, "The left of my body was smashed. Three broken ribs, hip shattered, lung bruised, broken clavicle, three breaks in the femur, a titanium rod in the femur. I've lost an inch off my leg. "I'm in a lot of pain, but I'm not going to let it beat me." What is also hurting is his Beth Israel-Deaconess hospital bill. Springa, who is in rehab, has no insurance and the bill is $60,000 and running. Which is why many of his Boston pals -- many of them reunited Boston bands -- are chipping in for two benefit shows at the Paradise tonight. At the 5 p.m., 18-plus show: Jerry's Kids, Gang Green, Marvels, Salacious Crumb, Blue Bloods, and Tommy & the Terrors. At the 10:30, 21-plus show: Prime Movers, Outlets, Pastiche, Evan Dando, Wheelers & Dealers, Heavy Stud, Unnatural Axe, and Urge Ensemble. Springa will begin the show and will sing, "Feelin' Alright" with the band Shovelhead. The MC and DJ is Curtis Casella, owner of the former Boston punk label Taang!. Tickets are $13 for each concert. Following the early show, Dropkick Murphys guitarist Matt Kelly will DJ next door at the Paradise Lounge. There will be a silent auction also, including paintings from Springa and Juliana Hatfield and memorabilia from the Farrelly Brothers movie "Fever Pitch."