A GoFundMe page has been initiated in hopes of preventing former Eddie Van Halen guitar tech Tom Weber from losing his home due to COVID-19.
Weber was scheduled to tech for both country star Reba McEntire’s 2020 tour and Poison before COVID-19 struck and left him out of work.
“It was going to be one of those years where my family wasn’t going to see me, but it was going to be a $200,000 year. And I thought, ‘This will allow me to pay off my house. It’s going to be amazing,'” Weber told Cincinnati.com. “And of course it went from a banner year to zero income overnight. The music industry, we’re not just out of work. We’re washed off the face of the planet at this point.”
Weber’s financial troubles continued, unfortunately. According to his GoFundMe campaign page he was forced to vacate his guitar repair shop after 25 years.
“The loss of the business has been compounded by the sale of two other buildings where what remained of Tom’s business has been stored,” the GoFundMe page reads. “One of the buildings was sold recently, which makes it necessary for him to move yet again, at a time where there is no income, and no potential for work on the horizon in the foreseeable future due to the total collapse of the live entertainment industry because of COVID-19.”
Weber is also a cancer survivor who underwent chemotherapy in the 1980s. Now, he’s been forced to put a number of medical tests on hold due to his financial troubles.
Sandy Espinoza, of the nonprofit group Rodiecare, organized the fundraiser for Weber.
“She’s 24-7 trying to figure out ways to feed people that are even less fortunate than me at this point,” Weber said.
Weber lives with his wife of 18 years, Tammy Sester, and Sester’s 15-year-old granddaughter. Sester recently took a job as a cafeteria worker at Northern Kentucky University.
He applied for Social Security and unemployment benefits after the Reba McEntire rehearsals ended, but because of the on-again, off-again nature of tour work, he had previously tapped into those limited funds.
Weber told Cincinnati.com not happy that his financial future relies on a fundraising effort, but he said he is very grateful for it.
“The important part to stress about this whole thing is this isn’t just me,” he said, referring to his music-industry peers. “Worldwide, there’s almost 18 million of us that are out of work at this point.”
Weber’s relationship with Eddie Van Halen began when he worked on the 2007 Van Halen tour. He told Cincinniati.com he was also looking forward to working with Eddie again in the future.
“As far as special to work with, arguably the greatest guitar player of our time,” Weber said. “As a guy, I don’t want to say we developed a fast friendship, because that’s not how Ed worked, but we were family, and basically he developed a trust in me for what I did for him and my insight into what things should have been on a daily basis. The last conversation I had with him, we were discussing when we would potentially go out again, and he said, ‘Whatever happens, you’ll be my first phone call because I’m not leaving the house without you.'”
If you would like to make a donation, visit Tom Weber’s GoFundMe page HERE.