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Hellfish fight to honour frontman’s late wife

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The Fighting Hellfish frontman Grant Smith helps honour his late wife with the annual For the Love of Lucille fundraiser, slated for Sept. 28 at the Pyramid Cabaret this year.

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The Fighting Hellfish frontman Grant Smith helps honour his late wife with the annual For the Love of Lucille fundraiser, slated for Sept. 28 at the Pyramid Cabaret this year. Photo Store

The Fighting Hellfish are getting set to show love for Lucille once again.

The band, which boasts North Kildonan residents as four of its six members, is getting set for the 13th annual For the Love of Lucille benefit on Sept. 27 at the Pyramid Cabaret (176 Fort St.). The event is held in honour of Lucille Smith, the wife of frontman Grant Smith, who died of cancer in April 2001 after a seven-year battle.

"She was a hard woman to forget," Stonewall resident Smith said.

"She was one of the most graceful, classy women you’d want to meet," added keyboard player and vocalist Lori Wolstencroft, who lives in North Kildonan.

Wolstencroft added the band starts every benefit with Jann Arden’s Good Mother, reflecting what she meant to son Stuart.

"We start the benefit with that song because it really did reflect Lucille," she said. "That’s something that we’ve carried on every year."

Stuart, 22, helps out with the benefit in a behind-the-scenes role with programming. He’s glad to have a place in the fundraiser, but acknowledged it’s not always easy to be there.

"It’s kind of tough, too, because it brings it all back every time — especially Good Mother, because that’s a big emotional song in the context of my mom," he said.
Smith said the benefit has had its ebbs and flows, adding the 10th anniversary edition was a sold-out event.

"Sometimes, it’s a huge turnout. Sometimes, not so much," said Smith, who noted the Thanksgiving-weekend edition held one year was a misstep. "It was going to be a one-off thing, but it was a great turnout, there were a lot of bands that year. We just decided to keep doing it."

"There are repeating people who come, and they tell other people," added drummer Ted Wolstencroft, a North Kildonan resident who has played with the band for each event along with wife Lori.

Over its history, the fundraiser has garnered $120,000 for CancerCare Manitoba. In particular, Smith likes to support quality-of-life programs like the Kids Can Cope program, which provides assistance for the children of those afflicted with cancer.

Tickets for this year’s event are $15 and can be obtained by calling Smith at 204-990-5755.
Ted and Grant have played music together since the early 1980s, and they decided to form the band for a benefit during Lucille’s final days. They now play bars across the city, shifting from a focus on 1970s hits to more contemporary material. The band mixes recent hits like Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People and Raise Your Glass by Pink with old favourites like Love Shack by the B-52s and Superfreak by Rick James.

"Everything is danceable, everything is recognizable, everything is fun," Smith said.

The band is rounded out by keyboard/vocalist Karin Krueger, bassist Rob Smith, and guitarist Rick Carpick.

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