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Last Friday was a memorable anniversary for Dave Drury, one of the four rappers in the KneeHighs. "It was December 2 [2004], around 8:30 in the morning. [A fire] started with an old wall heater.... I woke up coughing. I couldn't go anywhere except out the window. I hung there about a minute, screaming 'fire' until I couldn't hold on any longer." Drury fell three stories onto gravel.

"It took forever for the fire truck to get there. Like, 20 or 30 minutes.... Everything in my best friend JD's room burned up. Smoke destroyed my clothes, my baseball cards..."

Drury, then 25, worked at KUSI as a news editor.

"I had just started. I was in a probationary period. I was in the hospital for three and a half hours. They billed me $6000. I'm still making payments."

The first KneeHighs show was a month later at downtown's Roseary Room.

"It was a fundraiser for us. They let us keep the whole door of $800."

Drury says he's happy the KneeHighs are the featured performers at a December 17 Golden Hall show for 6000 homeless children. The San Diego Coalition for the Homeless began the tradition in 1979; this is the first year that a live hip-hop band is featured instead of "adult-oriented music," says organizer Mark Tarpin.

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