HAMBURG, Pa. – Charlie Barreca (search) is too sick to rock 'n' roll, but too young to die. The longtime sound man for the heavy metal group Twisted Sister (search), Barreca needs a liver transplant, but has nothing left from the money he made traveling around the world, making sure every dirty word that flew from Dee Snider's (search) lips was heard clearly.
So the band has planned a benefit show on July 15 at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia, hoping to raise at least $100,000 for Barreca's medical costs.
"The guy dedicated his life to rock 'n' roll," Snider said. "As his friends, we feel an obligation and a responsibility to a friend in need."
The quintet best known for "We're Not Gonna Take It" considered Barreca a member of the group, crediting him on their album jackets as Charlie "Sixth Sister" Barreca.
"This is one of the hard stories about the music business: There are no benefits," Snider told The Associated Press. "There is no medical, there is no retirement plan. There's no real union for sound men. Once the money runs out and you get older, you've got no retirement fund. You retire with what you put away, and your memories, and that's it."
Barreca, 63, fell ill in January after steadily losing weight last fall. His liver had been damaged beyond repair by hepatitis C; he says he was never a heavy drinker or drug user, but he became so weak he couldn't lift a glass of water during a recent hospital stay that cost him $78,000.
"I was lime green, and down to 135 pounds," said Barreca, who has since regained about 30 pounds. "I was creepy-looking."