AUSTIN (KXAN) — Local musician Rob Mahoney plays the piano and sings, but you may notice he does not turn his head like everyone else.
“A little trouble looking left,” Mahoney joked during an interview with KXAN. “Did you know I got decapitated two months ago?”
With that question, he did not joke. Weeks ago Mahoney collided with a guard rail in an accident.
An airbag knocked my head off.
Mahoney said his neck was “intact” however his “cervical spine was broken off of (his) body.”
He thanked the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) for easing his heavy burden.
“HAAM has helped me out a lot with checking on me and making sure my spirits are good… they fixed me up, I have insurance. I’m not terribly worried about becoming destitute.”
But not all local artists are as lucky as him.
“In Austin, it’s getting harder and harder to survive here, to pay the rent, to drive around, even just to park,” Mahoney said. “For a musician, it’s very easy for them to put off tomorrow for today… oh, they got a gig, they get to play. Great! They get to eat today, but the slightest medical mishap could take away your meals for months.”
Not all artists are forthcoming to look for help.
“Take it from me, I’m facing half a million dollars in medical bills… and you know, it can be tough,” Mahoney said. “I probably would have paid the penalty and not had insurance because I’m a ‘take care of myself guy.'”
That’s the mentality of many musicians.
We didn’t get into this business to be accountants and to fill in forms… we’re here to be artists, play music and sing.
But despite his shared outlook Mahoney still feels fortunate.
“Seven weeks after being decapitated I’m back to playing gigs.”
Mahoney played solo Tuesday morning inside Whole Foods on Lamar Boulevard in Austin to kick off the 14th Annual HAAM Day. He’s one of many playing today around town for the citywide benefit.
Other artists and venues include:
- Bob Appel performs at Austin City Hall on W. 2nd street at noon
- Various musicians perform at all Austin Area YMCA locations from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Frost Bank Town Plaza hosts music under covered space on Congress Ave. from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Madison McWilliams and Shawn Colvin both play at Waterloo Records & Video during their HAAM DAY event from 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
- Peoples Rx invites customers to “jam at lunch” at all locations
Other notable evening events and showcases:
- KOKE FM and NFP present the BMI Songwriter Showcase featuring Rob Baird, Parker Chapin, and A SURPRISE GUEST at Guero’s Oak Garden from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Brendon Anthony with the Texas Music Office will present the official HAAM Day proclamation from the State of Texas at 5:00 p.m. at the BMI Showcase at Guero’s Oak Garden
- GSD&M and C3 Present Latinapalooza in memory of Theresa Jenkins featuring Patricia Vonne, The Tiarra Girls, Bidi Bidi Banda, Leti Garza and Lesly Reynaga at Historic Scoot Inn from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka presents the 4th Annual RECA Showcase featuring Hector Ward & the Big Time and The Nightowls at Antone’s from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- FVF Law & SXSW present Tomar & The FCs at The ABGB from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- KUTX Live at the Four Seasons: HAAM Day Concert and Live Broadcast featuring Sir Woman and Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
Mahoney has hope for himself and others.
“Now I can go to the doctor, it gets better out there.”