The event was founded by Scotch Plains-based musician Glenn Alexander, who has performed across the globe with Southside Johnny's Asbury Jukes. In 2011, Glenn's nephew, Jay Alexander, died at age 20 of the rare form of cancer. Out of that tragedy, the Pig Gig was born.
"No one has ever survived it. It attacks the liver and is very rare," Alexander said. "My nephew was an athlete. He said he felt like he had the flu. The doctors told him he had tumors. Thirty-one days later, he was gone."
The event had humble beginnings; the first Pig Gig was really just a house party with a band and a pig spinning on a spit on a January night in 2015. The next year, it was held at the VFW Hall, and ever since, the event has taken place at the Italian American Club. Each year, it has gotten bigger. Last year's event raised $3,500. Alexander hopes to raise much more than that this year.
There will be musical performances all day long, including The Lonesome Pines, an NJ-based roots and alt-country band and Glenn Alexander and Shadowland. The blues/rock band features vocals from Oria, New York Horns and very special guest, Southside Johnny.
An acclaimed jazz, rock, and blues guitarist, composer, and vocalist, Alexander grew up in Maize, Kansas, and attended Wichita State on a guitar scholarship. He later taught there. A professional musician all of his life, he has lived in LA and in New Jersey most of his adult life.
In addition to playing with Southside Johnny and recording his own music, Alexander teaches students at Sarah Lawrence College's jazz program. During his career, he has shared the stage with rock royalty: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Elvis Costello, Levon Helm of the Band, and Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, among others.
Along with the music, Swine Time's Bill Kleemeyer will roast a whole hog, There will be delicious sides, desserts, and beer and wine. Additionally, the PBA will be selling T-shirts with proceeds going to the benefit and most likely will be sponsoring a table, according to Lt. Al Sellinger, a long-time friend and neighbor of Alexander's.
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