By The Grace Of God:Hardcore Benefit

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Hardcore benefit
By The Grace Of God returns to help Adele Collins
By Jeffrey Lee Puckett
The Courier-Journal

Adele Collins has long been among the most persistent and effective supporters of Louisville's hardcore music scene, doing everything from booking shows to publishing the acclaimed "I Stand Alone" 'zine to taking in stranded and stray bands.

Photo by Keith Zackowitz

Her efforts have been respected and appreciated for years, but never more so than now. Collins has been diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri, caused by the body producing too much spinal fluid. The resulting pressure on the brain mimics the symptoms of a brain tumor and requires frequent spinal taps.

It's an excruciating and expensive condition. Collins has been hospitalized for months at a time and has been taken to the emergency room more than 60 times. Out-of-pocket prescription costs are $300 to $400 a month, and her insurance provider has threatened cancellation if her premium is late.

Desperate times call for heroic friendship, and some of Collins' friends are stepping up.

By The Grace Of God, one of the most important hardcore bands produced by Louisville in the 1990s, is reuniting tomorrow for a benefit show also featuring Koala (with Sebadoh's Jason Lowenstein), Coliseum and Ron Whitehead. This is a big deal, as BTGOG's influence extended nationwide; fans from across the country have been booking flights for weeks.

The show is at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road (4 p.m., $10). It's an all-ages event. Tickets are available at Ear X-Tacy and

This will be the original lineup of BTGOG, with Duncan Barlow, Rob Pennington, Jay Palumbo, Brian Roundtree and Thommy Brown. All but Barlow live in Louisville. He's traveling here from Denver.

"The main thing is to make as much money for Adele as possible, so I'm a little nervous that no one will show up," said Pennington, who now performs in Black Cross. He and Palumbo once roomed with Collins and are intimate with her dedication.

"She's an outstanding character," Pennington said.

Pennington shouldn't worry about people not showing up.

BTGOG earned a loyal following among punk-rock true believers by championing political and idealogical integrity within the hardcore scene. Begun as a side-project in the early 1990s by Barlow and Pennington, BTGOG was a forum for the pair's disenchantment with a scene that was quickly turning corporate.

They struck a nerve with fans and the side project became a full-on band. The first recording, "For the Love of Indie Rock," sported a large dollar sign on its cover and band members found themselves taking on the role of spokesmen. It wasn't anything new; Pennington and Barlow had already established themselves as icons of personal responsibilty with Endpoint, one of hardcore's biggest bands.

BTGOG's status remains such that it rates a full entry in the "All Music Guide." The discography will have to be updated after tomorrow's show, which marks the release of a new compilation album called "Three Easy Steps to a Better Democracy." The CD will include all of the band's music not released on Victory Records, the most rare of which is a six-song EP recorded for Louisville's Three Little Girls Records.

The band quit when Barlow retired from hardcore after becoming disillusioned. It played a few farewell shows, the last in 2000. Tomorrow's performance will be the first for the original lineup in nearly 10 years. Practices, Pennington said, have been "awesome."

"Standing in the room with all of these people I love a whole lot was so nice. By the Grace of God had a lot to do with friendship, and being with those guys again in one room was beautiful."

Collins' benefit also has everything to do with friendship. If you'd like to contribute, donations are being accepted via mail at Adele Collins, P.O. Box 321, Buckner, KY 40010. Money can also be sent to her Paypal account,

Jeffrey Lee Puckett's "Sound Effects" column runs Fridays in Weekend EXTRA. On Saturday, his "Music" column runs in SCENE. You can call him at (502) 582-4160, fax him at (502) 582-4665 or e-mail him at