News Flash: Everclear, Wu-Tang Donate To Sweet Relief Auction

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund organization, which raises money to help ailing musicians cover medical costs, has some unique ornament ideas for your Christmas tree this year.

The group is hosting a one-of-a-kind on-line auction of rare rock-memorabilia, including items donated and signed by artists such as Alanis Morissette, Everclear and the Wu-Tang Clan, many of which are ready to be hung on display.

"We just thought this would be a fun way to remind people of what we're about," said Melanie Winter, associate director of the fund. "We'd like to do it every year if we could, it's really fun."

You can check out the items, which have been on auction since Monday, by heading to www.iconographs.com and bid on ornaments signed by the Beastie Boys, Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Beck, Sonic Youth, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Michael Stipe and Wu-Tang's Old Dirty Bastard. The bidding will be held through 10 p.m. (PST) Thursday. "We were originally going to do a thank you party for all of our donors, but then we thought it would be fun to get recording artists to make anything, whether they sign a laminate, an emergency card from an airplane, some drum sticks, whatever," Winter said. "We'll call it an ornament and I'm sure people would love to have something unique like that."

All the proceeds from the auction will benefit the fund, which was established in 1994 by singer/songwriter Victoria Williams. A folk-rocker, Williams was the first recipient of Sweet Relief funds, when, following her 1992 diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, friends such as Pearl Jam and the Lemonheads' Evan Dando pitched in for the first Sweet Relief record, which featured covers of Williams' songs.

The fund, which helps musicians with or without medical insurance pay for both traditional and non-traditional medical treatment, has distributed more than $350,000 in grants to musicians to date, Winter said, adding that she was unsure at this point how much money would be raised by the auction.

The event will officially close Thursday night, after which Williams will host a private party in Los Angeles, where she is scheduled to perform with some special guests.

Among the other items donated are signed backstage-laminates from pop-sensations Hanson, a blown-glass moon ornament from R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, a signed limited-edition CD from grunge-Godfather Neil Young, a silver ball signed by country artist Dwight Yoakam, a signed poster by rock artist Frank Kozik, a signed limited-edition Christmas single from alterna-rockers Live, a signed CD from Etta James, a green fish ornament signed by ska-rockers No Doubt, a rare, signed misprint of ex-Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra's Deviation is the Road to Freedom, a T-shirt signed by Phish and a signed harmonica from Blues Traveler's John Popper.

Other artists donating items include: Ani DiFranco, BB King, Cracker, Daniel Lanois, Duran Duran, Emmylou Harris, Foo Fighters, Fugees, Green Day, Iggy Pop, Indigo Girls, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Melissa Etheridge, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Moby, Peter Gabriel, Ringo Starr, Sebadoh, Soul Asylum, Vic Chesnutt, Sparklehorse, Wayne Kramer and Spinal Tap. -- Gil Kaufman [Tues., Dec. 9, 1997, 4:30 p.m. PST]