Take Action Tour battles for suicide prevention

Suicide tends to be a gingerly-handled subject. However, this weekend the topic was blared through speakers and amplifiers at the 9:30 club as the Take Action Tour took the stage to increase suicide prevention awareness.

"Everyone is supposed to take care of each other ... if you're in a bad place there's always someone to talk to. And if everyone can work together it's a problem that's easily solved for the most part," said Ryan Primack, guitarist for Poison the Well, the headlining band on the fourth annual Take Action Tour. Take Action combines the efforts of twelve bands with a common goal of battling suicide.

Sponsored by Sub City Records, a division of Hopeless Records, the Take Action Tour raises funds for the National Hopeline Network - 1 (800) SUICIDE. This year's tour features the hardcore sounds of Dillinger Escape Plan, Poison the Well, Further Seems Forever, Eighteen Visions, Avenged Sevenfold, This Day Forward, Shai Hulud and others. The tour began Sept. 11 in Minneapolis, and ends Oct. 12 in Seattle.

Because a dark light tends to be cast on the music industry any time it collides with the subject of suicide, the concept of music being wielded as an instrument of suicide prevention at first seems foreign. Jason Gleason of Further Seems Forever had similar qualms prior to the start of the tour.

"Before we were looking at this tour I never really thought about [connecting suicide to music] before," said Gleason, "But it makes perfect sense because there's such a large population of suicide candidates that we or the other bands on this tour would be able to reach. It works in a bunch of ways - people who like the bands that are depressed or suicidal are coming out to the tour to see the band. [They] get the propaganda [and] are exposed to the topic and [are] being [made] aware of everything."

Along with the tour, Sub City Records also released a double-disc compilation, "Take Action! Volume Three," featuring rising bands like Thursday and Thrice. Proceeds from the CD and the tour will benefit suicide prevention.

Founded in 1999, Sub City Records is a unique label that focuses solely on raising money for charities. Over the past several years, Sub City has released 22 records, earning $300,000 for a variety of causes, with an emphasis on aid for needy youth. This year's charity, the National Hopeline Network, is managed by the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. H. Reese Butler II founded the center in 1998 in memory of his wife, who committed suicide during severe post-partum depression. The Kristin Brooks Hope Center offers free nationwide counseling to those contemplating suicide through the National Hopeline Network. Answering nearly 30,000 calls a month, the National Hopeline Network provides callers with help from accredited counselors.

Avenged Sevenfold, who is touring in support of its latest release "Waking the Fallen," deals with the issue of suicide on its latest record from both sides of the incident, and has also dealt with it personally. "One of our earlier bassists, he's no longer in the band, he actually tried to commit suicide. And so definitely it has affected us before," said Zachy Vengeance, one of the band's guitarists.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that 5,000 young Americans commit suicide each year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

With suicide claiming the lives of musicians and listeners alike, the Take Action Tour aims to save lives with music.

For more information and a complete list of bands and tour dates, visit www.takeactiontour.com.

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle