Former Charlotte political lightning rod Jerry Klein is sick and needs help



Jerry Klein
  • Jerry Klein

Jerry Klein is sick, and some of his friends and supporters are staging a benefit concert for him tomorrow night. You should go.

If you're relatively new to this city, you probably wonder: Who is Jerry Klein? For years, he was a constant presence in Charlotte. I could write a book about the things he was involved in. For a long time, he was one of the few music promoters who brought inventive, “under the radar,” often non-mainstream musical performers to town.

Early on in Creative Loafing’s history, Jerry was a news writer and columnist — his reporting played a big part in the citywide discussions/fights over where a new performing arts center should be located. Later, he became a regular weekly CL columnist, and regularly stirred the local political pot.

Jerry could think for himself, and that made him at best an annoyance, and at worst a threat to the suited dullards running the show back then. WBT gave him a nightly talk show that became a lightning rod for controversy and a magnet for angry conservative callers. Jerry's reporting — on the air and in CL — about Charlotte's infamous Kim Thomas murder case was the talk of the town for weeks, during which CL’s papers were flying off the racks.

In October of last year, Jerry had surgery for esophageal cancer and was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. His wife Lois passed away within weeks of those diagnoses.

Friends of Jerry have organized a benefit, to be held Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Great Aunt Stella Center — where Jerry worked and presented some of his finest shows. The musical lineup is growing as we speak, but already includes some of the city’s best talent: Beth Chorneau, David Childers, The Cloers, Hope Nicholls, John Tosco, Rusty Knox, Donna Duncan and several others. Plus, Keb Mo and David Wilcox prepared special videos for the evening.

Good music from great performers, essentially for free, and for a guy who helped make Charlotte a much better place while he was here. That’s hard to pass up. Please bring a donation, in any amount you wish.

Tax-deductable donations of any amount to DRUMSTRONG are being encouraged at the door. You can also help via PayPal to [email protected] and note "The Jerry Klein Fund."

For more info, here's the concert announcement.

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