When guitarist Kit Kamien learned four years ago that he had multiple sclerosis, he decided not to let the disease thwart his musical career. And it seems it hasn't. Kamien, who describes himself as a rock 'n' roll musician "halfway between Jim Croce and Lou Reed on steroids in a wheelchair," will perform with his band, the Background Players, at 9:30 Tuesday night at The Gentry, 406 Eighth St. SE.

"The illness has made it more difficult to play," says the 33-year-old musician, noting that he can no longer indulge in "hot-shot acrobatics on the guitar" as he once did. He now performs sitting in a specialized wheelchair that looks more like a small golf cart. He also has gotten more involved with producing and has a record coming out in the fall.

Tuesday's performance will feature Kamien's original compositions. Most are about traditional themes such as love and romance, although some deal with his illness. "Bitch on Wheels," which at first seems to be about a woman, is a humorous ode to his wheelchair.

"Having a sense of humor has enabled me to survive. You have to be able to cope with the changes in your life and still have fun. MS and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee in the morning. I think you have to not take yourself too seriously in terms of perceiving the tragedy or drama of your own life."