Southern California is home to an incredible number of local musicians, and while only a handful end up as household names, we’ve all enjoyed the sounds of hundreds of them in the Southland’s music venues. Of course, we know there are more of them hauling gear bar to bar for a few hundred dollars a week than there are flying on their private jets. Throw COVID in with an already unpredictable income and you can understand why every gig is essential to an artist’s survival. For one beloved local guitarist, the battle just became a thousand times harder, if not impossible.
SUPPORT JAY LAWLESS
July 7, 2022
Jason Lawless – or Jay, as his friends call him – is known to have a guitar in his hand and a smile on his face. When you needed something, he would help. He was generous to others whenever he could. So who one Earth would want to hurt him? His best friend Jacqueline Jacobs explained, “He’s never had an enemy in his life. We have no idea. Not a clue.”
On May 27, Lawless was attacked near his Westminster home with a horrifying amount of violence. At least two attackers wielding baseball bats or something similar “beat him literally within an inch of his life and left him for dead on the pavement.” Lawless was somehow able to get himself back to his home where his mother found him and called 911. Taken to the hospital in critical condition, he was sedated and placed in the ICU. Per Jacobs, “His eye sockets inside and outside are broken, his nose is broken, his cheekbones are broken, his jaw is broken. They knocked out all of his teeth.” Additionally, Lawless has sustained an unknown amount of brain damage and brain bleeding due to the blunt force trauma to the frontal lobe, broken ribs, bruised lumbar and cervical spine, broken fingers and broken knuckles, an unknown amount of damage to his lungs, and his body is covered in cuts and bruises.
Those injuries after a car accident would be tragic, yet in this case, no one even knows why this happened. Lawless’ mother, Peggy, is devastated and looking for answers. “It’s been hell. It’s been horrible. I don’t know what to do without him,” she said. “Just anybody, one thing, just tell us who did this. Who in their right mind would do this?”
In addition to a mother’s terror at her son being so gravely injured, Peggy is also cared for and financially supported by Jay as she is wheelchair bound. Fortunately, Jacobs has stepped in to assist, but as a musician, Lawless does not receive a salary unless he plays. That will not be happening for the foreseeable future, if ever. Musicians also don’t have insurance plans like a “normal” 9-5 job. As such, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help.
The future of Lawless’ care is staggering. When he gets through the surgery and trauma in the ICU, and he will need to be transferred to a high-level skilled nursing facility simply to get him back to “normal” with eating, drinking, rehabilitation, and daily care of himself before he returns home.
There is light ahead though. Lawless has recently opened his eyes and continues to do so daily. He is no longer considered to be in critical condition. While confused, he does recognize his mother and Jacobs. He has already had jaw placement and repair surgery which appears to have gone well.
According to those that know him, he will continue to fight and heal. With his determination, he may be back on stage doing what he loves to do.
In addition to GoFundMe, there will be a benefit event at the Gaslamp in Long Beach on July 7th. Performers include Redneck Rodeo, Daniel Bonte, Brass Johnson, HBMC and K9 with Coral and Cindi, and all the proceeds go to Lawless’ medical expenses.