Providing yet another way to do some good while you’re catching a Warped Tour stop, Music Saves Lives addresses the dire need for blood and marrow donors. Not only do you get to save a life, but you get to go backstage in the process. Russel Hornbeek took some time to tell me a little bit about the organization’s goals and accomplishments.
RnRnMN: What inspired the founding of Music Saves Lives?
RH: It’s didn’t seem right that in the summer the blood supply dropped so low. I wanted to find the students that normally donated during the school year and get them to donate in the summer.
RnRnMN: In the three years since Music Saves Lives was formed, how many life-saving donations have you accounted for?
RH: With this year almost finished we will hit almost 90,000 blood donations and that does not count the blood drives at all the colleges and high schools in spring between February and May. We have also reached over 12,000 marrow registrations.
RnRnMN: Why do you see rock fans as such a fertile ground for your work?
RH: It’s all good ground. You can find anyone to care some, be it at country, rock or rap. I just love Warped bands and what better place then the Warped Tour. (laughs)
RnRnMN: Why do you think it’s a demographic that hasn’t been tapped until now?
RH: It’s the way we go after the donor. I could not see a Red Cross employee running around Warped Tour, could you?
RnRnMN: How has being on the Warped Tour helped?
RH: That’s who we reach. It helps that Kevin Lyman lets donors backstage too.
RnRnMN: Have you had a chance to catch any of the music? Who have you enjoyed the most?
RH: Shwayze is great and Gym Class has been off the hook. Love the live show. I have even found a few parking lot bands that I liked.
RnRnMN: How can music fans get involved?
RH: The best way is to donate or run blood drives in your city. We would be glad to help you even start a club at your school.
RnRnMN: Tell me a little bit about the Gibson Guitar Project.
RH: We’ll we get young great artists, give them a Gibson with nothing on it and have them create. It’s really great to see what they come up with. This year’s Gibsons are amazing. We have had signings by Katy Perry, Jack’s Mannequin, Bouncing Souls and Reel Big Fish. We then auction them with Unite the United to support our efforts at saving lives.
RnRnMN: How do you see Music Saves Lives growing over the next few years?
RH: If we keep getting the same support, I see us saving thousands more in Canada, and other countries soon. This is a global program and everyone bleeds red.
See all of my coverage from the Warped Tour in Columbia, MD on July 16, 2008 here.