It's been nearly two months since DJ Rated R was injured in a Philippines car crash. Now, the Sacramento-based musician born Ronald Florente is undergoing physical therapy in Visalia and, friends say, is on his way to a full recovery.
"He's doing really good at the moment," says Justin "Self" Brown, Florente's band mate in the Sacramento hip-hop group Live Manikins.
Florente, who was performing in the Philippines with his other group Live Audible Soul, was seriously hurt in a Dec. 11 crash near Baguio City.
The accident occurred when the brakes gave out while the van in which Florente was riding crashed after its brakes gave out. Florente, 26, was in the van's back row of seats and went through a window upon impact, sustaining major head and spinal injuries as well as a broken collarbone and clavicle.
Another member of the group, Runt Rock (real name: Gabriel Pizarro - he also performs in Live Manikins), was also injured but only suffered scrapes and bruises.
Florente, who underwent several major surgeries in the Philippines, was finally allowed to return home in mid-January..
Live Manikins will briefly regroup for a "Rock 4 Ron" show to benefit Florente but, Brown says, he hopes the whole crew will be back on stage by March.
"We don't want to really play again until Ron's back," Brown says.
"He's the backbone of our sound and it doesn't feel right without him."
Style: Rock meets hip-hop
Behind the song: "We were hanging out one day, playing with music and Ron was scratching this guitar riff and when he started riffing Gabe started putting down drum beats and freestyling," Brown says.
The track, Brown says, epitomizes Brown's energy.
"Most of the sounds on this track are just Ron scratching," he says. "The vibe is "like Run DMC and Aerosmith on 'Walk this Way' - it's not crazy or dangerous angry it's just us rocking out."
See them: Thursday at the Image VIP Lounge (705 J St). Addict Merchants and Righteous Movement are also on the bill. Admission is $10.
On the Web: www.myspace.com/livemanikins
Listen to "Malfunktion" here: