Difficult it is to cope with a friend struggling with the depredation of Cancer.  Every day is painful for the sufferer and those who bare witness to its affects.  Famed music producer Butch Vig, whose good friend Wally “Llama” Ingram (amazing drummer who has performed with Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Los Lobos, and Tracey Chapman) was recently diagnosed with throat and neck cancer, has been witnessing the struggle first-hand, and has organized a grand event to aid his comrade.

If you’re going to sit there and tell me you don’t know who Butch Vig is, I’m just going to go nuts.  Apparently, for you, the last 15 years never happened.  Butch Vig is one of the important producers of our time, having worked with such monumental acts as Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Nirvana (for which he produced a little album called Nevermind), and U2.  Without Butch Vig, that whole “Seattle Sound” thing wouldn’t have happened. 

Vig is also the drummer of the immensely successful act that he helped to create: Garbage.  If you were to go through the liner notes of your album collection, you would definitely see his name more than once, and for us indie-rock peons, Butch Vig is the sole reason the mainstream world had the pleasure of hearing such bands as Ash, Sonic Youth, Tad, L7, and even acoustic rocker Freedy Johnston.  But not only is Butch Vig a drummer, a singer, and a producer; he is also, more importantly, a philanthropist.  To help out with the escalating medical fees incurred by his good friend of 20 years, Vig quickly put together an all-star benefit of Wally’s close friends and band mates.

Throat cancer, sometimes called pharyngeal cancer, is diagnosed in over 60,000 patients annually, and accounts for over five percent of the cancers diagnosed in America.  It affects three parts of the body: the nasopharynx (the area behind the nose in the throat), the hypopharynx (the bottom portion of the throat), and the oropharynx (the middle part of the throat).  The most common treatment for this is Chemotherapy, which Wally has undergone for the past few months.  He has had countless sessions and treatments, and rising medical costs have left Ingram in a tough situation.

Already, the entertainment community has hosted a string of events to benefit “the Llama”: including a benefit dinner hosted by Kevin O’Neill, with a performance by none other than Jackson Browne.  Radio promotions, wristbands, and an outpouring of support from the press have helped bring this cause into the limelight and will hopefully raise enough funds to assist Ingram with his treatment. 

“Beat It Wally: A Benefit Concert for Musician Wally ‘Llama’ Ingram” will take place Wednesday, January 31st at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.  Beginning at 7pm, this event will feature some of the biggest names in music, spanning countless genres and periods, all to help a friend in need.  Artists slated to perform include: the Animals, Kevin O’Neil and the Radiant Voices, Victoria Williams, Keb’ Mo’, Bonnie Raitt, Garbage (for the first time in two years), the Martinis (featuring members of the Pixies), and the Know-It-All-Boyfriends (a super group featuring Freedy Johnston, Butch Vig, Jay Moran, Duke Erikson, James Cowan, and Bill Bielefeld). 

Vig also stated that as a special treat for their fans, many of the artists will be doing some special performances and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations during their sets.  This should truly be a noble event for an amazing musician and caring soul.

Tickets for the event are $65 for general admission, $85 for reserved seats.  Silver Circle and Gold Circle seats are also available.  To purchase tickets through the Alex Theatre website, go to and enter your code: LLAMA, to purchase tickets. 

For more information please visit or call (310) 374-4837.


Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.