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Posted on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Benefits planned to aid Scott Morgan, seriously ill Ann Arbor music icon

By Kevin Ransom


Scott Morgan

It was right around 1965 that The Rationals, the seminal Ann Arbor band, began to make gritty, garage-rock / garage-soul records that would influence many local acts who would come along later—like the Bob Seger System, the MC5 and even the Stooges—and then rise to national prominence.

And in the decades since, The Rationals' singer / frontman, Scott Morgan, has remained a stalwart on the local music scene, doing a stint in Sonic’s Rendezvous Band (with Fred “Sonic” Smith of the MC5), as well as leading his own bands, like Powertrane, Scots Pirates, Dodge Main and The Solution.

But Morgan hasn’t been able to perform since he was diagnosed in December with liver disease and ascities (an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.)

In the months since the diagnosis, Morgan has been receiving treatment and taking medication, and says he is committed to “getting well without having to have surgery” - that is, a liver transplant.

To help out in that regard, members of the local music community have organized some benefit shows to raise funds to help Morgan pay his medical bills and living expenses.

One of those benefit concerts is April 14 at Mario’s of Troy. It was organized by Doug Podell of WCSX (94.7-FM) and will feature a reunited Frijid Pink, Gary Quackenbush and the SRC All Stars, Gorevette (Amy Gore & Nikki Corvette) and The Howling Diablos and the Celebrity Jam, which will include several surprise guests.

Podell and WCSX’s Steve Kostan will host, and the event will also feature a silent auction of various rock and sports memorabilia, including items donated by Ted Nugent, Dick Wagner, Ray Goodman, SRC, Alice Cooper, Frijid Pink and others.

Another future benefit is in the works, this one in Ann Arbor, and will probably happen in June, says Morgan, although the details are not yet firmed up.

In addition, some of the proceeds from the April 9 Michigan Theater screening of “Louder Than Love,” the documentary about the Grande Ballroom, will be donated to Morgan, who is one of the many local musicians of the ‘60s-‘70s who were interviewed for the film. “I was very grateful for that, very appreciative,” he says.

Morgan was diagnosed after going to his doctor in November when he experienced symptoms like skin problems, loss of appetite and abdominal swelling. “My doctor said I needed to be in the hospital, so I went to St. Joe’s, where they diagnosed me with the liver disease.”


Benefit for Scott Morgan

  • Who: Frijid Pink, Gary Quackenbush and the SRC All Stars, Gorevette (Amy Gore & Nikki Corvette) and The Howling Diablos and the Celebrity Jam, which will include several surprise guests.
  • What: Benefit concert to help meet medical expenses of the Ann Arbor rock great.
  • Where: Mario’s of Troy, 1477 John R., Troy.
  • When: Saturday, April 14. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.
  • How much: Suggested donation is $10. Tickets available at the door.
Specifically, says Morgan, “they said I have cirrhosis—and that they might want to give me a liver transplant. But I said, ‘Whoa, before we do that, let’s wait and see how the other treatments work out,’” he says. “And so far, it’s going pretty well. I’m stable, I can get up and go out to the store, or take a walk, or visit with friends, and drive to the hospital for my treatments.

“But I can’t sing,” says Morgan, whose speaking voice is also scratchy and sounds weaker than normal. “A couple of doctors have looked down my throat, and just said ‘your throat is red,’ but they don’t know what’s causing that yet, so I need to see someone else about that.”

After he was diagnosed, Morgan immediately quit drinking. He says that his prior alcohol consumption was a key factor in causing the damage to his liver. “The cumulative effect of steady drinking over the years just caught up with me. Obviously, I knew about the possible harmful effects of alcohol, but I had no idea it that, in my case, it would result in this kind of damage.”

Like many musicians, Morgan did not have health insurance, but St. Joseph Mercy Hospital has an assistance program for uninsured patients. “They basically have their own insurance they provide you with, called McAuley Support Insurance, and my co-pay is only 5 percent—but a lot of these treatments are very expensive, and I’ve had a lot of them, so my medical expenses have added up to a pretty significant amount.”

And, since he can’t sing, he can’t do music gigs, which has cut off a main income source, so the fundraisers have also helped him with living expenses.

Various fan groups discovered Morgan’s medical situation via the Internet, and one group in Winnipeg held a benefit to raise money for Morgan. “That was a wonderful thing for them to do, and I can’t thank them enough,” he says.

As part of his treatment, Morgan has been to the hospital “three or four times” to have the fluid in his abdomen drained in order to reduce the swelling.

He’s also on several medications, like diuretics to help absorb the fluid, and one that “regulates the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. A healthy system can do that on its own, but a compromised system like mine can’t.”

He’s also following dietary restrictions: “I have to limit my sodium intake and I can’t drink more than a certain amount of water.”

Morgan will be in attendance at Saturday’s fundraiser, but says he doesn’t plan to perform at the show.

“But I’m really grateful to Doug Podell, and all the bands who are donating their time to this event. What they’re doing is a really nice thing, and I really appreciate that.”

As for the future, Morgan again stresses that he would prefer to avoid having to have a liver transplant, so, for now, “I’m just getting all the treatments I need, and following the doctors’ instructions, and am just hoping for the best.”

Those who want to make donations to Morgan can do so online. Morgan’s CDs and other merchandise can be purchased at his website.

Kevin Ransom is a freelance writer who covers music for He can be reached at


Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

ihav ebeen energetically danciing to scot morgan since 1965 at mt. holly ! he was, and is, instant musicall magnetism in all his manifestations. sad news this is.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

The link to donate in this article is incorrect. Here is the correct one: Scroll down on the page and you will find the Donate button. Thanks so much to everyone for helping Scott. -Peace, Kitty


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.

Oh the reunion tour that could have been. Steve you should never have been so scared to succeed! Figgster if you're out there reading I hope you're well (834). Scott - I hope you get well soon my friend. It's been years, but you were always a fighter! RIP Terry. :(


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

Never heard of them.So I Youtubed them.Not bad


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Maybe the negative votes for wait.think have to do with his/her tone, not the truth/falseness of his/her claims. Although I have to say the "broccoli has more protein than steak" comment really needs some backup!

say it plain

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Okay, I couldn't resist doing the research on the broccoli/steak thing... Rib-eye (probably there's leaner out there, thus less caloric) serving, 575 kcal, 63 g of protein... Cup of Broccoli, 54 kcal, 4 g of protein... So, steak wins by a little bit on a per calorie basis, but broccoli is pretty close. Problem is you have to eat a whole lot of broccoli to get the RDA of protein, but then broccoli is a rather poor vegan source of protein compared to beans or tofu. I think that people who feel adamantly about alternative therapies and the importance of things like nutrition are mostly just trying to help--or at least I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt! Mr. Morgan had mentioned in the interview his desire to avoid a transplant, and info about how nutrition might help him in that goal was offered, no? The "public health service announcement" that was *not* made here, obviously, was more about the dangers of regular alcohol use that falls short of actual alcoholism, and that itself is a growing concern for public-health officials. We don't think too much about that, but our livers have to work hard to process alcohol, and just reading a little about it (on the sites like and others that provided info on the calories/protein issue too!) shows that cirrhosis often happens with *no symptoms* until it is pretty advanced, so we all need to be aware that we might not get warning signs telling us our livers aren't happy with our level of alcohol intake until it becomes a serious thing. I hope Mr. Morgan keeps improving and that the benefit is a successful one!

shadow wilson

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

the issue here is not unproven evidence of whatever is being claimed ....the issue is scott and his current condition... tell you what, next time someone you care for is very ill and some clown suggests something like the above which you know is not in any way helpful tell us how offended you were.....

shadow wilson

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

I suggested that wit think simply shut up , for that my comment was removed. why not remove the insensitive , bizarre comments of wait many of us scott is friend...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

People suffering with liver problems should stop eating all animal protein and switch to a plant-based diet. There is lots of information available on the internet. You will not get that advice from from most MDs, not because its bad information, but because they just barely touch on nutrition in medical school. Food is medicine, and "bad" protein available food its just as toxic as bad medicine. There is abundant protein in many vegetable choices, for example, per calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than in steak... A change of diet may help postpone a liver transplant. I am not a certified expert in this subject, and I am only suggesting that Scott, and others suffering from chronic illnesses, research the connection of a non-animal to their illness.

Ron Granger

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

It's sad how good advice is often downvoted - how dare you suggest that meat may not be a healthy option under every possible circumstance! MDs know very little about nutrition, and they do not have the time available to discuss the topic at length with patients. It isn't something that insurance companies will pay them for. Optimizing a diet for someone seriously ill can take a lot of time and many consultations. I have an elderly friend who has a lot of digestive issues. Finding things that she can eat is a serious challenge, and there are further challenges with her body's ability to absorb nutrients. But much like the negative votes your post generated, getting people to see an expert in nutrition can be a challenge. Most people will readily take pills that have the potential for horrendous permanent side effects - bleeding ulcers, etc - but the suggestion that the garbage they eat may be a factor in their recovery is unthinkable.