With the inaugural AP Music Awards taking place July 21, 2014, at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum at North Coast Harbor, we thought we would use the weeks leading up to the historic event to give you a category-by-category breakdown of the nominees so you can be an informed voter. Read on to learn about the Artist Philanthropic Award nominees, and cast your vote at altpress.com/apmas!
Some people start a band because they have something to say. Others do it because, well, it’s a surefire way to meet members of the opposite sex. And there are other artists who know the importance of taking what success they’ve attained and paying it forward toward a greater good. Here are six bands who have represented for the charities that are dear to them.
MODERN BASEBALL & 1BLUESTRING
Since one in six men are sexually abused at some point in their childhood, the sad truth is most of us know at least one victim of such a tragedy. Modern Baseball are no exception, so when they learned of the existence of 1BlueString—an organization raising awareness by having guitarists use one special blue guitar string to symbolize the 1-in-6 males abused—the band were eager to do their part. “Having a couple friends who had to struggle with being sexually abused as children and to think that more of my friends could have dealt with the same situation but haven’t spoken about it was heartbreaking. It’s honestly a truly unimaginable circumstance for me to comprehend,” says vocalist/guitarist Brendan Lukens. “Now, at almost every show we get the question, ‘Why is your string blue?’ and it feels really good to know that we are helping spread the word. We are all so proud to be a part of 1BlueString and personally, joining the cause is my proudest moment in Modern Baseball.”
1BS promptly sent the band its signature blue guitar strings, as well as stickers and information cards to take on their first full U.S. tour last summer. The touring (and promoting) hasn’t slowed for Modern Baseball since: The band recently shot a PSA and interview to further expand their involvement. “After learning about 1BlueString, Modern Baseball were instantly eager to help spread awareness about the cause,” says 1BS founder (and Weatherbox guitarist) George Pritzker. “Since then, the band have continued to be amazing advocates for the campaign. The guys are really passionate about giving back to
the community, and have been extremely generous in lending their voices to promote conversation about this difficult issue that affects so many people.”
RISE AGAINST & SHIRTS FOR A CURE
In 2004, a mutual love of punk and hardcore ignited Rise Against’s collaboration with Shirts For A Cure, the organization founded by photographer Mark Beemer to raise awareness of breast cancer prevention. To date, the band’s visibility and involvement have provided a huge boost for the charity, which was launched in 2002 around a series of Kid Dynamite reunion shows. “We met Mark Beemer on the road years ago,” says frontman Tim McIlrath. “We were moved by his personal connection to the project, and we bonded with him over our shared love of the hardcore scene. Charities can be hard and often thankless endeavors. Over the years, we’ve seen even the most well-meaning of people often burn out, making Mark’s enduring commitment all the more impressive.”
All proceeds from shirts sold through SFAC go to their sister organization the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment (syrentha.org), which provides financial assistance to underprivileged women for breast cancer medicine and therapy. Rise Against’s involvement even helped raise funds for the Community Health Center in their Chicago hometown. The Endowment has made significant donations to the clinic and helps fund quality of life drugs (anti-nausea, steroids, pain relief) to patients battling cancer.
“The band have their hearts in old-school hardcore punk and understand that part of being in this community is giving back as often as you can,” says Beemer. “And they have done that endlessly.”
ALL TIME LOW & SKATE4CANCER
All Time Low became co-ambassadors in the fight against cancer thanks to the efforts of Skate4Cancer founder Rob Dyer, an avid skater whose grassroots determination won the band over. The cause—a crusade to save lives through knowledge and early detection—has deep personal significance for Dyer, who’s lost multiple loved ones to the disease. “What initially drew us to Rob Dyer and Skate4Cancer was his determination and direct involvement with his cause,” says frontman Alex Gaskarth. “Here’s a guy that took something so simple that he loved—skating—and applied it directly to something he believed in. He quite literally took to the streets and ended up skating across Canada, raising awareness and spreading hope. His drive to spread the word really made us want to contribute to the cause.”
Part of S4C’s work overlaps with the music world: The organization has toured with Deftones, City And Colour, Alexisonfire, Silverstein and the Devil Wears Prada among others, in addition to having a booth at Warped Tour for multiple years. The latter is what brought All Time Low into the fold.
“We met the boys in All Time Low during Warped Tour 2005,” says Dyer. “They were so focused on giving back at such a young age, doing whatever they could to help make this world a better place. It’s been a privilege to have these dedicated, fun and wholehearted men on board helping us grow our small Canadian organization into a global mission. Working with All Time Low has allowed us to reach such a vast audience, educating them on cancer prevention and helping to support families and individuals who are dealing with cancer through [the cancer support network] wellspring.ca. Alex, Jack, Zack and Rian are like brothers to me.”
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE & PETA2
Peta2 enlisted Memphis May Fire vocalist Matty Mullins last year specifically for its fight to save homeless pets. After connecting with Mullins in 2013, they filmed a PSA for the group’s “Adopt, Don’t Buy” campaign, which has since garnered plenty of eyeballs. “We always knew Matty Mullins to be a kind and gentle soul, and when we approached him to work with peta2, it was confirmed by his willingness to participate,” says Ray Harkins, peta2 senior strategic partnerships manager. “We met up with Matty at Warped Tour in 2013 and brought one of our adorable companion animal friends to hang out and shoot a PSA promoting his passion. We launched the ad online a few months later and got a lot of online attention and brought to light an issue that many people don’t consider. With Matty’s help, we were able to share this message with all of his fans and give him a platform to show that he isn’t simply just ‘a dude in a band,’ but that he’s using his voice to speak up about something he cares deeply about.”
The organization—a youth-culture offshoot of its parent organization PETA—campaigns for animal rights on every part of the spectrum, from food production to fashion to the pet industry. Since its creation in 2002, the group became immediately synonymous with an annual presence on Warped Tour, and Mullins is one of the latest in a long line of Warped performers to get involved. “I’ll take any opportunity to help spread awareness of the importance of animal adoption,” says Mullins. “Every pet deserves a good family to enjoy their few short years with. I really hope my campaign with peta2 was able to shed light on the situation to the MMF fanbase and beyond.”
THE USED & LIVING THE DREAM FOUNDATION
Living The Dream Foundation founder Scottie Somers personifies his organization’s moniker. Born in 1966 with cystic fibrosis—a disease that kills countless children worldwide—Somers knows how precious life can be. So when not playing bass in his band Lefty or dealing with his own illness, Somers has been busy running :LTDF since 2007, which makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening afflictions while enriching their lives. Partnerships have been huge along the way, particularly with the Used, who actively support and promote the cause. “It’s been a couple of years since we met Scottie, and we have been family since,” says singer Bert McCracken. “To be able to give back to the world and help is the reason why we are still in a band. To see the smiles on people’s faces and to watch music change lives is all the reward anyone could ever need.”
In recent years, the Used have furthered :LTDF’s mission by promoting awareness, as well as fundraising efforts. The band have even auctioned off prized gear, like Dan Whitesides’ 2013 Take Action Tour drumkit, to help fill the charity’s coffers. “The Used have done so much for Living The Dream Foundation over the years,” says Somers. “It’s so nice to see them be acknowledged for the selfless goodwill they’ve done for our children. We’re truly honored to stand alongside the Used and call them family.”
PIERCE THE VEIL & KEEP A BREAST
When Pierce The Veil first joined forces with breast cancer charity Keep A Breast Foundation, frontman Vic Fuentes had no inkling the cause would soon take on deep personal significance. Then a close friend received some terrifying news. “When we were doing our last record, my ex-girlfriend learned she had breast cancer,” reflects Fuentes. “I think the relationship [with KAB] grew even stronger at that point. It had personal meaning for me. After that, I told her story, and I think our fans started really responding and appreciating it. We had a lot of letters from kids talking about their friends or families, moms and aunts, who have gone through the same thing. It’s been a beautiful relationship.” In addition to their fight to help eradicate breast cancer for future generations, Keep A Breast provides support programs for young people impacted by cancer and educates them on prevention, early detection and cancer-causing toxins in our everyday environment. The charity befriended PTV on Warped Tour several years ago (KAB has been a Warped staple since 2000) and the relationship has blossomed, with the band becoming official KAB touring “ambassadors.”
“They graciously did autograph signings and meet-and-greets in the KAB Girlz Garage tent and appeared in our awareness videos,” says KAB founder Shaney Jo Darden. “They even brought us along on their own co-headlining tour [2011’s “No Guts No Glory Tour” with Miss May I] where they took our message of prevention and early detection to the stage and directly to their fans. Their support and willingness to share their personal experiences with their fans on how breast cancer has impacted their lives has been so critical to the way that PTV authentically get our message out to young people, which in turn helps save lives.”
Feel educated yet? Good—now go cast your vote at altpress.com/apmas!