Best of 2001: Best Musician With A Heart Bigger Than His Ego

Joe Rathburn
Regular gigs: The Tin Fish, The Galley at the Marina (Chula Vista),
Cozy Mel's

Last October, local singer-songwriter Joe Rathburn found out that Mikey's Coffeehouse in Poway had less than two months to pay off a $7500 loan or be forced to shut down. Coffeehouse owner Mike Chambers, a longtime supporter of the local acoustic music scene, worked a full-time day job and ran Mikey's at night as a labor of love. "I asked him if he'd rather just close than continue working 17-hour days as he had been for the last six years," Rathburn recalled. "When he said no, I knew I had to do something." Rathburn sent out an eloquent plea to his e-mail list to save Mikey's. In two days he received $3500 in pledges. In less than four weeks, the $7500 goal was reached. Rathburn also produced a CD, Life After Debt: The Save Mikey's Project, featuring songs from 20 local artists (available at, the proceeds of which also went to Mikey's. All this was done in less than 30 days.

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