On December 20, Long Beach indie-rock band Crystal Antlers arrived at the North Park home of 24-year-old Matt Kelly with their gear ready to play a show that Kelly, former guitarist of local punk trio Chaz, had put together. David Edwards, Kelly’s roommate, greeted the Antlers at the door with the news that they wouldn’t get paid for the show as promised. Instead, the money would go to help Kelly, who two days before had been hit by a tractor-trailer in City Heights while biking to work at Woodstock’s Pizza, a ride he’d taken almost every day for the past two years. The truck ran over Kelly and dragged him 20 feet before coming to a stop.
Edwards told the Antlers that the $500 collected at the door was needed to support Kelly, who was in the intensive care unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital — at the time, Kelly was in critical condition. His pelvis was shattered. He was bleeding internally. Crystal Antlers, along with local bands Irradio, Life Deposits, and Weatherbox, agreed to play the show for free, as a benefit to Kelly.
During a December 22 phone conversation, Edwards discussed Kelly’s condition. He had visited Kelly, his friend since middle school, the night before in the hospital. Kelly was sedated but opened his eyes and looked at Edwards. The medical staff had changed his status from critical to stable condition that day, though they weren’t sure of Kelly’s prognosis. The internal bleeding had stopped, Kelly moved his toes, but doctors fear Kelly suffered nerve damage to the lower half of his body and might not walk again.
“The doctors are optimistic,” says Edwards. “It’s really a miracle that he’s lived through this. He’s a great guy, and everyone who knows him loves him. This whole thing has just been really hard.”
And while Kelly lay in the hospital recovering from multiple surgeries and awaiting more, Edwards and many of their friends are trying to raise money for Kelly. Edwards and his family started a website — friendsofmattkelly.com — where they are able to collect donations. Kelly’s sister Erin also started a blog on her brother’s recovery at matthewscottkelly.blogspot.com. In addition, the Pearl hotel in Point Loma is planning a benefit for Kelly. Visit thepearlsd.com for more.