By Matt Hickman
Two years ago, Mark Spafford came out of musical retirement in order to help raise money for cancer research. The idea came from his own mother’s fight with breast cancer and he got a musical assist from an old friend, Joey Fender, who used to play with Spafford going all the way back to the nineties.
The event was not only a fundraising success it got Spafford back in the game to stay. It was that night at Van’s Dive Bar that Spafford launched his new band The Unknowns, a threesome that’s still going strong today doing original and cover tunes.
This Friday, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Van’s Dive Bar will again be the locale for the Third annual Blues Bash for Boobies. There’s no cover but the American Cancer Society will be on hand taking donations and for the second straight year Spafford will share the stage with Daddy’s Issue, featuring towering frontman Darren ‘HarpDaddy’ Smith, as well anyone else who wants to take their shot on the Van’s stage.
“The first reason for this is my mom had breast cancer and my grandma died of breast cancer and pretty much everyone has been touched by cancer and knows someone who’s had breast cancer,” Spafford said. “Mom’s still crazy as ever and still cancer-free and that’s all we can ask for. She’ll be there, as will the whole family in honor of her and representing anyone who’s been touched by cancer.”
Spafford has found his second wind in his second act as an Anchorage bluesman, so much so that The Unknowns are currently working on their first album. Their single, ‘Sleazy Woman’ is available on iTunes.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better,” Spafford said. “Getting the opportunity to play with good musicians makes you better, too. I’m writing my own songs and doing Originals Night (Wednesdays) at Humpy’s. That’s probably the coolest thing in original music going on right now.”