Fans of celebrated bassist Joey Spampinato are rallying around the founding member of NRBQ as he battles cancer. The 67-year-old Spampinato, who’s lived on the Cape for many years, is about to embark on a grueling course of treatment that will include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
“We are hanging on tight and staying positive, cherishing every second together and with the people we love,” Spampinato’s longtime girlfriend, singer Kami Lyle, wrote in a message posted online.
A fund-raiser on the website YouCaring to help Spampinato with medical bills has quickly reached its $50,000 goal. “Obviously, as musicians, we have no earthly idea how to pay for the year that lies ahead,” Lyle wrote. “If you are able to help even a little, that would be wonderful and we would of course appreciate it. Greatly. Most of all, please send him healing energy, good thoughts, and prayers for a VERY successful surgery.”
Spampinato is being treated at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Spampinato is best known as a singer-songwriter and bass player for NRBQ, the eclectic, Pioneer Valley-based combo that was legendary for its raucous live performances. The band has some A-list admirers, including Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, and Paul Westerberg. Their classics include, among others, “Ridin’ in My Car,” “Howard Johnson’s Got His Ho-Jo Working,” “Magnet,” and “Me and the Boys.”
Spampinato has played with many others, too, notably Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who enlisted Spampinato to play on his first solo LP, “Talk Is Cheap,” and also in the band he assembled to back up Chuck Berry for the 1987 documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll.” (Spampinato was among those considered to replace Bill Wyman when the Stones bass player departed.)
In recent years, Spampinato stopped performing with NRBQ and instead made music with Lyle and with his brother Johnny in the Spampinato Brothers.