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Remembrance Time [7/13/2007 02:02:00 AM]:
It's probably at least partly because I just finished watching American Hardcore, a decent documentary that covers a scene I missed out on utterly and completely -- the two local bands I knew of in beautiful Killeen, Texas, were both crappy metal bands (we had nothing but metal, rap, and country, in various combinations); I didn't get into hardcore until much later, and then only kinda marginally -- but it feels like as good a time as any to remember a couple of H-town scene icons who've left us recently.

Hunter Ward's the most recent, so I'll kinda work backwards. Hunter was the youngest member (I think, anyway) of longtime Houston punk heroes Poor Dumb Bastards, who're one of the last holdouts of the punk scene that was around when I first came here for college. He was a fan of the band who was able to live out that fanboy dream of actually joining the band you love to watch up there on the stage, but all that was cut short on June 30th, when he died of a suspected drug overdose. Which is a damn shame; because of the changeability of H-town, musicians in this city don't generally seem to fall into that whole "live fast, die young" mentality, but instead just sort of meander off into middle age and obscurity.

Which brings me to the second casualty in recent days. I totally missed the news when it happened, somehow, but back in March Damon O'Banion, the singer for Dixie Waste, Drunken Thunder, and probably a dozen other bands I can't remember, also passed away of a suspected overdose. (There's a really sweet tribute here). Damon was a little different from Hunter; he had moved on, moving up to Austin and working in the Whole Foods marketing department, he was married, he had a kid (er, "ward," according to the obit), and yet both artists suffered the same fate.

I didn't know either guy, but I knew the bands -- like I said, the PDB were around when I first moved down here, and so was Dixie Waste; both bands were part of my introduction to the Houston music scene, which was as exciting and crazy to my rural/gangland-living self as if I'd stumbled across a long-lost tribe of aborigines living in the apartment next door. I didn't love all of it, naturally, but damned if it wasn't different. It felt like I'd come home. And losing two pieces of that, at least to me, is heart-wrenching. Y'all are missed, believe me, even by those of us who only knew you through the music.

I don't have any idea what memorial-type things have been planned for Hunter, but KPFT's Rad Rich is donating the proceeds of this year's Backyard Bash to Damon's widow, Leslie, to go into a college fund for his daughter, Raven. The festivities are scheduled for Saturday, August 18th at The Meridian, starting at 3:30PM, and there're a ton of cool local and non- folks playing: The Drunks, Whorehound, Aftershock, The Flamin' Hellcats, Morgue City, Donkey Punch, Brian's Johnson, Amplified Heat, Luxurious Panthers, Poor Dumb Bastards, DollyRockers, & Bark Hard, plus probably a few others.

So come on out and raise a glass/guitar for both Damon and Hunter; it's a good cause. What a damn shame.

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