On Oct.15, the House of Blues Anaheim will be one of 200 venues around the country teaming up with the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund's annual event. Every year the non-profit raises money for musicians who are struggling to make ends meet. According to Sweet Relief, over 65 percent of professional musicians cannot afford heath insurance; the fund provides financial assistance with medical bills, insurance premiums, prescriptions, housing costs, food costs, and alternative therapies/treatments that are not covered by insurance.
For this year's event, the House of Blues is showcasing five bands: Kiev, Jeremiah Red, Paulie Pesh, I Hate You Just Kidding and May McDonough & Co. Over the weekend we caught up with Kiev, Orange County Music Award Winners for best Indie Band, to chat with them about the Sweet Relief Foundation and their up coming show.
Brandon Corn: Lots of reasons! First, this is going to be our first local headlining show, so we're really excited about that.
Bobby Brinkerhoff: We're also releasing an EP the same night. It's taken us some time to release new music, so we're excited to give our fans something new to listen to. Lastly, we have been able to hang out with the other bands on the bill and it's created a major sense of camaraderie. The other night everyone on the bill got together to hang out and play music, which was awesome and a lot of fun.
What can someone who has never seen you guys live before expect to see at the show on Saturday?
Corn: New music! But I guess someone who has never seen us before won't know that it's new music. (Laughs.)
Brinkerhoff: Definitely lots of layers and cool sounds.
How did the band get involved with the Sweet Relief Foundation?
Brinkerhoff: The president of Sweet Relief, Bill Bennett, reached out and asked us if we would play on the 15th, which was something we were very excited to say yes to. He looks for bands that are working hard and have passion for what they do and puts together great shows and great bills. We are really excited to be a part of Sweet Relief.
What makes the Sweet Relief show different than other benefit shows you guys have played?
Brinkerhoff: We always try and get involved with benefit shows when the opportunities arise. We seem to gravitate towards charities and events that we have personal connections with. This one, obviously, hits very close to home since we are dedicated musicians. We very much understand the importance of supporting the makers of an art that we appreciate so much, especially in such an unpredictable world. The state of music as a commodity is so uncertain yet it seems to be just as important and prevalent as ever. It takes a life commitment and a slew of sacrifices to contribute good music to the world. Once you become aware of that it's hard to write off the well being of musicians in need.
How does it feel knowing that while you guys are performing, there are going to be 200 other people around the country playing at that exact moment for the same cause?
Brinkerhoff: This is probably one of the coolest aspects of the night. Music at its best is a positive communal experience. Just taking all the musicians, organizers, fans, friends, and family coming together in our little corner of the world, and then multiplying that by 200 simultaneously really gives the feeling of a gigantic musical tribe. Tribes stick together and take care of each other. It's really a great symbol of appreciation and reminder that music is worth a lot more than what is reflected on a sales chart.
Does this foundation have any personal significance to you guys?
Corn: Absolutely. Most musicians are uninsured, and if it weren't for a foundation like Sweet Relief many musicians wouldn't be able to do what they love to do due to illness, injury or death. It's really great to know that there is a community of people out there that recognizes that it's a bad situation and are doing something to help.
Brinkerhoff: Musicians define the term "starving artists" because only 1 percent of bands/musicians actually make it. For the rest there is a lot of hardship and sacrifice that is faced because musicians who are not in that one percentile group do not make very much money.
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Is there any specific message you want to send out about Sweet Relief that you want people reading this to know?
Corn: Research Sweet Relief and come to the show. If you appreciate music, this is your time to reach out!
Brinkerhoff: It's so easy to just stay at home and do nothing. Just by getting out and going to the House of Blues on Saturday, you're helping out a great cause and giving back.