Fans of veteran guitarist Bernie Torme have come to his aid in a new crowdfunding campaign after it was revealed he was owed £16,000 by the struggling Pledge Music organization, and had been hospitalized with pneumonia while trying to deal with the debt.

Torme – credited with saving Ozzy Osbourne's solo career by stepping in at short notice after Randy Rhoads died – was left out of pocket after the crowdfunding company admitted it could not pass on the money contributed by fans of many artists who'd used the platform to fund their projects.

Confirming that the payment in respect of his latest album, Shadowland, had not materialized, a statement on Torme’s Facebook page last week noted: “This has been a very stressful situation for Bernie, exacerbated by the lack of communication coming from Pledge and, despite their promises, no sign of coming through with any solution to clear up the mess they have created. Bernie remains in intensive care for virulent double pneumonia.”

A Just Giving page with an original target of £500 had taken over £2000 just hours after its Feb. 16 launch, and later raised its focus figure to £2500. Organizer Andy Worthington wrote: “Bernie Torme has spent years making his fans happy touring the U.K. and globally. Bernie has recently been admitted to intensive care with major health issues, this has possibly been contributed to by the battles he has had trying to recover funds from pledge music. Here’s hoping us loyal fans can help Bernie and his family with short term bills etc. Until we can hopefully see him onto the long road to recovery. You know Bernie; he would never ask… but perhaps this time we owe it to Bernie and his family.”

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan, with whom Torme played in the ‘80s, said via Facebook: “I just heard about Bernie Torme’s struggle with pneumonia, and now it's hard to concentrate on anything else. So I, like many, will focus all my thoughts and love on channeling positive energy in his direction. I have a lot of affection for Bernie as a man, and great respect for his music, so let's all give him a hug when he really needs it.”

Torme’s drummer Mik Gaffney, whose payment for his work on the album remains held by Pledge Music, said: “We've all been knocked for six by [Torme’s] illness, and the Pledgemusic situation certainly hasn't helped at all. I don't care about the fact I haven't been paid for the album, I love playing drums for Bernie. But I know how much money, effort, time, blood, sweat and tears Bernie put into making Shadowland so it is only right that they should honour the money that, lets not forget, the fans paid into this project. The outpouring of love and support for Bernie has been incredible, as this crowdfunding page shows. If you can help support in anyway at all, it is all most welcome. We need the ol' bugger back on his feet as soon as possible. Hang in there boss.”


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