Published on Saturday, 17 July 2010 15:34
Matthew Leone is the bass player for the Chicago-based rock band Madina Lake. On the early morning of Tuesday, June 29th, shortly after Midnight, Matthew Leone left his brother's apartment in Chicago to go meet a friend who was at a bar less than two blocks away. As he was walking to that bar, he heard a woman crying for help and witnessed a man choking and hurting this woman. As it turns out this woman was the wife of the man assaulting her. The husband was apparently upset at his wife for coming home late that night and decided to beat her for it. Matthew Leone quickly ran to help the woman, even though the man attacking her was larger than him. He was able to physically get them separated and yelled at the man to relax. Seeing the woman was hurt, he turned away to reach into his pocket to call 911 for further help for her. With his back turned, the man then brutally attacked Leone, punching, kicking and slamming him his head repeatedly. Leone was left near dead, lying unconscious in the street. The man then grabbed his wife and fled the scene.
The man, who police have identified as 33 year old Justin Pivec, has been arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm for attacking Leone, as well as domestic battery for beating his wife. He currently sits in a Cook County jail cell with his bail set at $125,000.
The fact the man was quickly found and arrested for his attacks does not make for a happy ending. Matthew Leone is lucky to be alive. He was hospitalized for many days at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, unable to speak or stay conscious for very long. He suffered from a broken jaw, a broken nose and a fractured skull. The swelling in his brain was so bad, that doctors had to remove one-third of his skull to reduce the pressure and ice the internal bleeding within his brain.
After a long hospital stay, this past week, Matthew Leone was allowed to return home to further recover there, but will have to return to the hospital for more surgeries soon. He was supposed to begin having parts of his skull reattached this weekend, but the swelling to his brain is still not healed enough. It is expected that he will eventually make a full recovery, but he has a long, difficult road ahead of him.
Matthew's twin brother Nathan, who is the lead singer for Madina Lake, wrote on his blog
earlier this month about his brother: "...He acted as a hero (as he always would in any of these situations) and is paying a horrific price. Please send all your love and good energy and vibrations to him. I've been and will be next to him throughout the entire recovery process. We don't know enough yet details about how that will develop... but it has shocked, stunned, disgusted our best friends, family and band (which are both). The world can be evil beyond belief and as much as we want this evil eliminated, right now our hearts heads and energies need to go to my best friend, soul mate, hero, and angel, Matthew."
Nathan and Matthew Leone, along with Mateo Camargo and Dan "Jeezi" Torelli, formed Madina Lake in 2005. The Leone brothers had been playing in bands since 1998. When they wanted to start Madina Lake, the brothers went on a special all-twins episode of NBC's "Fear Factor" and won $50,000. They used that money to record their demo EP, which eventually led them to be signed by Roadrunner Records, who released their debut album in March 2007. Their second album came out in 2009. Earlier this year, they parted ways with Roadrunner Records and are hoping to release an independent EP early next year.
While the band has achieved great critical acclaim, they have not found much commercial success yet. By no means are these wealthy, jet-setting rock stars. The Madina Lake members are just blue collar, Chicago working stiffs, trying to make ends meet while playing in a rock band. One of the downsides to being a professional musician is the lack of health insurance.
This means that Matthew Leone has no health insurance and the medical bills he has already incurred due to this vicious attack, not to mention the ones ahead of him for his long recovery are staggering.
Ryan Manno, host of JBTV & former DJ on WKQX-FM, is a close friend of the band members. He along with a few other friends of the band, have formed Through the Pain
, a non-profit benefit organization created to help support Matthew Leone with his yet untold medical, legal and rehabilitation costs. Through The Pain
has partnered with the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
, a non-profit charity that helps assist career musicians who are struggling financially due to medical issues.
In addition to keeping fans updated on Leone's condition on their website
and working with Sweet Relief to help with financial details, the Through The Pain
team has organized an incredible two day concert event to help raise needed funds for Matthew Leone's aid. The concerts will take place on August 21st & 22nd. Some of the biggest names in the Chicago modern rock scene have volunteered to play a set to help out this heroic fellow Chicago musician.
Here are the line-ups and locations for the shows:
Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 8:00pm
Double Door (1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622)
Special acoustic set by Madina Lake's Nathan Leone & Mateo Camargo
Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 8:00pm
Hard Rock Hotel Ballroom (230 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601)
Scott Lucas of Local H
Tickets for each show are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door) and go on sale Monday, June 19th at noon via the Through The Pain website
The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, in addition to hosting the second concert, is doing even more to help the cause. They have created an exclusive room offer. For every room booked at the hotel, $15 will be donated to the Matthew Leone fund -- not just on the night of the concert, but during the entire month of August.
There are other ways to help out the cause as well. At both shows, silent auctions will be held. Beginning Monday will a big ticket, international auction on the Through The Pain website
. The items that are flowing in to be auctioned off are amazing! Artists and companies from Chicago and around the world have been incredibly generous in donating items to help Matthew's recovery. There are donations from such artists as Metallica, Gene Simmons/Kiss, Nickelback, Marilyn Manson, Pete Wentz/Fall Out Boy, Disturbed, Ratt, Korn, Chevelle, and Rascal Flatts. Companies & organizations like the Chicago Blackhawks, the WWE, Warner Bros., Atlantic Records, EA Games, the Warped Tour, and Live Nation have donated to the cause. So many others as well, plus new items continue to pour in on an almost daily basis!
On every page of the Through The Pain website
, there is a box that allows anybody to donate some money to the cause.
On the home page of Chicagoland Radio & Media, as well as on this blog page, space has been donated to this cause and a donation box has placed there also. It can be found toward the upper right hand side. The donation box for Matthew Leone will remain on this website for the rest of this year. Any amount, no matter how small, can quickly & easily be donated this way. As of this afternoon, that collection fund currently sits at a little under $18,000 already.
Also wanting to help out is the Rock Razor Scissors hair salon, located at 10725 S. Ridgeland Ave in Chicago Ridge. On Sunday, July 25th, Rock Razor Scissors is donating all profits to Matthew Leone's fund. The salon's owner, Aga Dondzik said, "As stylists, we know what it's like to live without insurance. Knowing what a hero Matthew was, I feel it's our duty to help support him." Appointments and walk-ins are welcome between the hours of 11:00am-8:00pm. Call 708-907-5133 to schedule an appointment. Because space is limited for this event, the salon will be only providing haircuts on this day. For more about Rock Razor Scissors, visit their website HERE
Please make sure to tune into WKQX-FM Sunday night. Nathan Leone and Ryan Manno will be on "Local 101" with host Chris Payne to talk about Matthew Leone's condition, the upcoming charity concerts and how we all can help the cause. "Local 101" airs Sundays at 9:00pm-10:00pm on 101.1 FM.
Going forward, more updates can be found on the Through The Pain
Twitter account (found HERE
), as well as on the TTP website.
A tip of the hat must be made to the herculean efforts by the whole Through The Pain
crew: Ryan Manno, Jason Merz, David Karon, Justin Mohlman, Gil Perez, and Arthur Mroczek. What they have assembled in a matter of days to help a friend in need has been fantastic. (The name "Through The Pain" comes from a song of the same name by Madina Lake.)
Of course, more than anything else, this site offers its full support to Matthew Leone and wishes him a full & fast recovery with as little physical pain as possible. Hopefully, with this charity effort, there will be as little financial pain as possible, too.
On June 29th, Matthew Leone was a hero, coming to the aid of a total stranger. Now it's time for us to come to the aid of this hero.