Music community stages benefit for ‘Tahoe’s Bassman’

Niall McGuinness and the New World Jazz Project play at the packed McP’s Taphouse during the Charlie Schofield benefit.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Friends and family prepare for Charlie Schofield’s benefit on Wednesday at McP’s Taphouse.

Dealing with a horrific brain condition, Charlie Schofield usually feels best at nighttime.

“It must be the musician in him,” his wife Deb said.

“Tahoe’s Bassman,” Schofield has played music at the lake for 50 years and his peers gathered on Wednesday night for a benefit at McP’s Taphouse Grill. The event was packed. Proceeds from the event, which includes a raffle, will go to medical bills, heath care and home safety construction.

Schofield has CSF hypotension, which affects his ability to stand, walk and speak. Pain from severe headaches increases with movement, forcing him lay flat and try to remain motionless for up to 48 hours to slow the spinal fluid leaks.

Charlie Schofield, circa 1970

Schofield, 68, was born the same year Fender started mass producing electric bass guitars. When he first picked up the instrument at the age of 13, he quickly learned all of its notes without the aid of instruction. He was a natural.

He moved to South Lake Tahoe at the age of 15 and worked at Del Webb’s Sahara Tahoe (now the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino), where his uncle was the general manager. He became Stateline’s most familiar bass player.

Early in his professional music career, Schofield toured with Jim Burgett’s rock and roll band, and in shows at Burgett’s Fun House, which closed in 1971, at the Fremont Mall.

“Another early band was the Now Brothers, which performed for Harrah’s patrons and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.

He played bass with Steve Walker in the house band for 28 years on the paddleboat Tahoe Queen and later on the MS Dixie. Other bands included Cosmic Freeway, which later morphed into Uncle Funkle, New World Jazz Project, Truth About Cats, Jesse Kalin’s Cool Black Kettle, Big Red, Cash Only Band and The Lake Effect.

The Lake Effect: Mick Valentino, Jim McCall and Charlie Schofield.

Schofield began to experience the symptoms of the brain condition in summer 2017.

“Nobody expected anything this serious,” Deb Schofield said. “By October that year, things got really serious.”

He’s taken many tough falls. A big man at 300 pounds, it is difficult to raise him. He’s been treated with blood-patch injections to his spine and has had “countless” trips to a San Francisco hospital. An injection last May allowed him to perform through September, caffeine keeping him awake through the shows.

His condition has deteriorated in recent months and he’s had four more falls. He had another blood-patch treatment on Sept. 21, and his gall bladder was removed in November. He received additional spinal injections in December and January.

The $4,100 raised in a Go Fund Me account is “a drop in the bucket” to the medical bills, Deb Schofield said. “We need to find a Nevada contractor who can put in an ADA-code shower stall. We need a medical ramp and to widen the doorways.”

Despite it all, Schofield is expected to attend Wednesday’s event.

“We will get him there at 6:30,” Deb Schofield said. “I am going to pump him up with caffeine.”

— Tim Parsons

Charlie Schofield Benefit
When:
Wednesday, Feb. 26; doors open at 6 p.m., music starts at 7 p.m.
Where:  McP’s Taphouse Grill, 4125 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe
Tickets: $16 online or $20 at the door https://charliescholfieldbenefit.ticketleap.com/
Bands: Trey Stone Band, Lake Effect, Uncle Funkle, Niall McGuinness, Jesse Kalin, Big Red with Carolyn Dolan, Steve Walker, Muddbonz with Dennis McMaster, Mark Wilson with Grace and friends, Mark Sheets, and more special guests. Howie Nave is the master of ceremonies.
Raffle: More than 50 great items. To donate: charlieschofieldbenefit@gmail.com
The Now Brothers
Charlie Schofield and Mark Wilson.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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One Response

  1. I’m sorry but I can’t make it to the Benefit tomorrow night, but I am wondering if Charlie and I are related.
    I’m a Schofield with family from Utah and Idaho. I’m really sorry that I didn’t meet Charlie in the past. I spent the summer of 1968, I believe, going to Harrahs every night to see Jim Burgett. Lived at South Lake from 1976 to 1985, working at the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the School District. My father had 10 brothers and sisters – we just might be related!

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