L.A. Punk Museum Showcases Benefit Items for Ailing China White Guitarist Frank Ruffino
China White may not have been the biggest band during their heyday, but the influential SoCal punk outfit influenced many of the punk and hard rock bands that have gone on to garner success in the years since. It’s that love and respect for China White that has rallied musicians to help out guitarist Frank Ruffino, who is in the process of raising money to fund his upcoming liver transplant. Sunday (April 14) in Los Angeles, the Punk Rock Museum offered a gallery showing of the items that will be up for bids starting April 20.
Perhaps the top item on the block is a signed bass from Adolescents’ Steve Soto (seen above), who garnered signatures from members of Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Circle Jerks, the Stooges, the Ramones, TSOL, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Pennywise, Rancid, L7, Porno for Pyros, Sublime, NOFX, No Doubt, Fishbone, the Vandals and more.
Soto told us, “When they first approached me with the idea to raise money for Frank, I thought it would be cool to get a bass and have bass players to sign it. Honestly, I went to my close friends to sign it who play first. Jay [Bentley] from Bad Religion and Brian Baker [of Bad Religion and Minor Threat] and I figured if I’d get six to ten guys to sign it, then we’d be good. And it just kind of got legs and started moving. People just started sending texts and saying, ‘Hey, have you thought about this guy?’ or ‘I can get this guy.’ And then all of a sudden it was just moving. Getting Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag and Mike Watt and Flea … they’re awesome guys and it kind of took off on its own.”
Soto also revealed he intends to track down X’s John Doe and hopes to add a few more signatures before the bass is auctioned off.
There are also signed prints of Motorhead‘s Lemmy and Slayer‘s Kerry King from photographer Dean Karr, autographed instruments from Social Distortion, Pennywise, Rancid, Bad Religion, TSOL’s Ron Emory, Slayer’s Kerry King and the Adolescents, Pearl Jam signed posters, DVDs and CDs, and other assorted punk memorabilia going on the block.
China White bassist James Rodriguez, who recently reunited with the band for a benefit show, says it’s been an overwhelming experience to see the love shown for his onetime bandmate. “We started this band in high school and somebody recently said how we weren’t big and we always considered ourselves very miniscule, but to see this outpouring for Frank is so wonderful and it gives me almost a different view of the band we played with,” said the bassist.
Circle Jerks bassist Zander Schloss, who performed at the event with Sean Wheeler, stated, “I think that it’s beautiful. We have such a lack of community in music today and a lack of community in general. And that is one of the things I do remember is the sense of community back in the early punk days and it’s nice to see that that still exists and people showing up for one another. Punk rockers are friendly people. Don’t be scared of us.”
Punk Museum founder and curator Tequila Mockingbird was impressed by the number of items submitted by those in the community, and put it succinctly in stating, “I have a favorite item and it’s the heart of the people involved in it.”
China White drummer and Frank’s brother Joey Ruffino also offered an update his brother’s condition. “He’s got another week of observation and then he gets put on a list and hopefully within a month or so, could be a couple of more months, but hopefully he gets a transplant,” says Ruffino. “When that happens, that’s a freakin’ miracle. We’re talking the impossible happening here. Most people know if you want a transplant you leave the state, but how many people just pick up and go. They can’t. And his wife, man she’s got my vote. When the doctor says, ‘Here’s what you’ve gotta do,’ she was like, ‘OK, that’s what we’ll do.’ And then for all these people to step up and do this [auction], I can’t even comprehend it really.”
The Unite the United Foundation Auction to aid in the financial costs of Frank Ruffino’s liver transplant begins April 20 at 8PM PT and will run for ten days. To see some of the items on the block and those attending the event, check our gallery below. For more details on the Unite the United auction, click here, and for the direct eBay link, click here. If you’d just like to donate to Frank Ruffino’s cause, click here.
Frank Ruffino Jacket
Signed Guitars from Adolescents, Rancid, TSOL’s Ron Emory and Bad Religion
Adolescents t-shirt and backstage pass
Slayer and Motorhead Dean Karr Photographs
Assorted Items From Jack Grisham, Descendents, Pearl Jam + More
Signed Pearl Jam Poster
Punk Rock Bowling Bill, Social Distortion Artwork + Exene Cervenka Portrait
Social Distortion Concert Bill Artwork
Social Distortion, Pennywise Signed Guitars
Sean Wheeler + Zander Schloss Perform
China White’s James Rodriguez
China White’s Joey Ruffino
Circle Jerks’ Zander Schloss
Punk Museum Founder + Curator Tequila Mockingbird