Regardless of how we identify as individuals, there are circumstances, situations and mutual passions that bind as humans. Especially for musicians.
Take for instance, a band that has reached a place in its journey which has no current future, but does have a new album and a record release party. How do you manage the proceeds for a parting group?
Mike Disanza, Chris "Scary" Adams and Ben Maher of Dead Yet? are making the best of their situation, much in the same way Jason Statts has.
Statts, a Savannah musician, was one of the victims of a shooting in 2008 that left him a quadriplegic. Over the years, music became a source of therapy. His story made an impact on the music scene in Savannah and to date, several benefit shows have raised more than $100,000 for Statts' medical costs. There is even talk of him regaining use of his arm and learning to play bass again.
Dead Yet? looks to continue the cause for their fellow musician. On Feb. 7, the band will host a record release party at The Jinx for their second LP, "An Uncertain Decay." The album will be available on 7-inch vinyl and the entry fee is $2. All proceeds will go the Jason H, Statts Assistance Account.
"(It's) just something we can do to help him out," Disanza said recently from a booth at The Jinx. "This is the last big thing we're going to do in Savannah. We don't really have any plans past this. We're not really trying to build up a band fund or make money. So for the money to go somewhere, we couldn't think of a better place."
In November of last year, Adams relocated to Virginia and the future of Dead Yet? has become unclear. Adams is set to return to Savannah for the show, but by some bleak accounts, the Savannah-based punk band could be playing its last show. But who knows?
The band started in 2009 as a Minor Threat cover band and has been revamped in several different formats since. The most recent incarnation, the aforementioned trio, is the lineup for "An Uncertain Decay," an album that is so metal it's almost not punk, yet so punk it's almost not metal.
Navigating the genres of punk is similar to dredging through the mass incarnations of Shakespearean emulations in the last 100 years of stage and screen. On the latest album, Dead Yet? carries elements of crust punk and hardcore, but they don't like being too defined.
"It's a little crusty, but it's not," Maher said. "It was definitely not a self-given moniker."
"That's a big thing with genres, it's something that is sort of thrust upon you, rather than something you choose," Disanza added. "These are the people that like your music, so that is what you are. We definitely didn't go seeking to be anything. We just came out playing what we wanted to play."
"Case in point: We always get second-best punk band in Savannah in the yearly poll," Maher said. "One year, we got second-best punk band and second-best metal band at the same time."
Whatever you want to classify it as, this album has kick. It will punch you in the face, drag you around and leave you wanting more. Even to the keenest ears, it would be hard to believe this album was recorded in a storage unit. Yet, the record label it was released under, B80 Records, is actually the storage unit number. That's rock 'n' roll at its finest.
As for Dead Yet?, they are open to whatever the future brings. The optimistic eye toward the uncertain future is something shared by Dead Yet?, as well as Statts.
"We're not booked anywhere," Maher said. "If something comes along, and someone asks to play a show, sure. Scary is always looking for a reason to come down and hang out.
"Whatever happens, happens. It is what it is. We all got a lot of stuff going on. I still want to play with these guys for a long time, but when that happens, it happens," he said.
Statts writes for a blog and is still a part of the Savannah music scene, despite all that has happened to him.
He shared his story with Decibel Magazine to the mutual applause of musicians everywhere.