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Orange County's Lit holds benefit for drummer with cancer

04:20 PM PDT on Thursday, July 24, 2008

By VANESSA FRANKO
The Press-Enterprise

This spring, Orange County rock band Lit was ready to tour Europe and start developing new material.

About a week before the band was scheduled to leave, the band members noticed that drummer Allen Shellenberger started having short-term memory loss.

As he went into the hospital for tests, the band geared up to head overseas, until the doctors wanted to do a biopsy.

The band canceled the tour and the test revealed that Shellenberger had a malignant brain tumor.

"Lit is just tackling Allen getting better," bassist Kevin Baldes said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Fullerton.

Now, as Shellenberger goes through experimental drug treatment and chemotherapy, Lit has organized a benefit for him Saturday at the House of Blues in Anaheim.

In addition to Lit performing at the benefit, Sugar Ray, Handsome Devil, Mo Bigsley and Good Man Down will perform.

Also, Burnin' Groove and Wank will re-form for the performance, with Adrian Young of No Doubt sitting in on drums for Lit. Shellenberger is expected to play part of the set with his band.

Shellenberger, who now lives in Phoenix, has been staying with Baldes while he received his treatments and Baldes said he's been practicing on drums in the garage.

"He has an amazing spirit," Baldes said of his bandmate.

There will also be an online charity auction to benefit Shellenberger with what guitarist Jeremy Popoff said will include many Lit items, including Popoff's famed goatee.

In a telephone interview from his home in Fullerton, Popoff said that a number of people have come forward to help with the auction, including guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, who is offering up a one-hour lesson, and Pierce Brosnan, who is donating one of his paintings.

"It's great when people are touched by this and find stuff to do," Popoff said.

Popoff said the band's fans have been great as well, showing a tremendous outpouring of support for Shellenberger. He said some fans are flying to the show from as far away as London and Germany.

But the focus is on supporting Shellenberger.

"We're just praying and hoping," Popoff said. "He's one of the good guys, that's for sure."