Fundraisers aren’t new to Ashley Quinones. Born with cystic fibrosis, Quinones was 20 when she underwent a double lung transplant in 2001. The medications she took to keep her lungs healthy put a strain on her kidneys, and in 2012, she received a kidney transplant from a friend. She eventually developed an allergic reaction to her medication, and her body attacked her kidney three years later, sending her into renal failure. The last few years have been hell, physically, and the medical costs haven’t been cheap.
But there’s hope.
Quinones was recently cleared for a kidney transplant after having a scheduled transplant in Florida canceled because doctors said her condition was “too complex.” While a donor has yet to be identified and a transplant yet to be scheduled, she says several people have taken necessary tests to become a donor.
Her hope is tempered — she’s been here before — but it’s there. To celebrate, Quinones asked her family and friends to help plan a fundraiser different from the “carnivals” and luncheons she’s seen in the past to help with medical costs. She asked for something more in line with her interests and the interests of her friends. Something a little more “adult.”
Enter the Headbangers Ball. Sponsored by Hugger Mugger Brewing and set for Nov. 16, the Headbangers Ball will feature five local 90s bands reuniting for a night of reverb guitars, depressing lyrics and flannel. Lots of flannel. Quinones can think of no better way to spend an evening.
“I just turned 39, and I wanted something that represented me as an adult,” she says. “My sisters and I thought, ‘How cool would it be if we had something targeted toward Gen X’ers? And what would that look like?”
The “adult” theme is intentional (not that children and families aren’t invited … Hugger Mugger is a family friendly hang). Cystic fibrosis, Quinones says, has for years been labeled a childhood disorder. But because of advances in medicine and transplant technology, people with cystic fibrosis are living longer. A few years ago, more adults were living with the disorder than children for the first time.
Four bands from Sanford who performed locally and around the state as teens and 20-somethings in the late 90s and early 2000s — plus a fifth that’s something of a continuation of another local act from the same era — are scheduled to perform on Nov. 16. Admission to Hugger Mugger Brewing is free, but there will be a suggested $10 donation for the show.
Some of the bands are longtime friends of Quinones; others heard of the cause and agreed it would be a great opportunity to do something good. All are excited to perform for the first time in years.
O-Jive began life as Puzzle when its key members were in middle school, playing grunge and alternative rock from the 90s at house parties and small venues around Sanford. As the group — now consisting of Chad Spivey, Orus Patterson, Joe Mangum, Josh Patterson and Paul Cox — aged, they changed their name to Frunt and eventually O-Jive, and began to write original music with nods to bandS of the time like The Deftones, 311 and even hip hop. By the early 2000s, O-Jive had recorded an album and was playing venues like Greenville’s The Attic, Chapel Hill’s The Cat’s Crade, Wilmington’s Marrz, and Raleigh’s The Brewery.
“We’re thrilled to be able to support our friend Ashley in her fundraising efforts and we encourage everyone to donate as they are able,” guitarist Joe Mangum told The Rant. “O-Jive hasn’t played a show in more than 15 years. We might be a bit rusty, but we’re ecstatic to get back on the stage together and to share an evening with friends and other Sanford bands of our era.”
Unlike the other bands on the Nov. 16 bill, Last Ditch wasn’t formed in the 90s, but does have its roots in a group from the time known as Disstemper. Singer-guitarist Dave Clegg (who also adds keyboards and percussion) formed the group as more of a recording project that’s been able to transition to a handful of live performances locally and in the Fayetteville area since 2013.
Clegg is the group’s songwriter, drawing influence from groups like Faith No More, System Of A Down, Alice In Chains, and more. Expect a range of tempos, Arabic-scale tinged melodies and an overall “outside the box” approach to music. Guitarist Isaac Ellis, bassist Shane Cox and drummer Scott Griffin round out the rest of the lineup.
“Most of us didn’t personally know Ashley prior to hearing of the fundraiser, but have since met with her and heard her story first-hand,” Clegg said. “We hope there will be an outpouring of support and Ashley will be blessed by the funds raised.”
Porch is the oldest of the groups slated to perform at the event, having formed in 1993.
Drummer Chris Hickman says the group was heavily influenced by the grunge explosion of the era and dropped names like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Silverchair, as well as heavier acts like Korn and Rage Against The Machine in describing the band’s influences.
The group played locally throughout the mid-90s, including a downtown New Year’s concert in December of 1996 that Hickman notes served as a “harbinger of things to come” for downtown Sanford’s current state. Guitarists Byron Hager and Brandon Caviness and alternating bassists Kevin Thomas and Kevin Wind complete the lineup. Members said Quinones goes back to the band’s earliest days and so it was a no-brainer to help her cause.
“Ashley was at our first show and some of our practices in the shop,” Hager said. “She was always a fan, so when we got the call to reunite to help her with this fundraiser, there was no doubt we were in.”
“Picture Show was formed in 1998,” says guitarist Dave Watson. “I believe the origins were that I met Andy (Rouse, bass) and Brandon (Allred, drums/Rant advertising director) at a party. As I remember it, there was an acoustic guitar that I played in front of Andy and Brandon. Then I was invited to practice at Brandon’s house where I remember playing Eric Clapton’s ‘Cocaine’ together. I would not swear by any of this, but it’s how I remember it.”
After adding Dave Rouse on second guitar, Picture Show recorded a 10-song album, “The Light in 1999.”
“The music sounds like it was made by kids growing up in the 90s who had parents listening to late 60s and early 70s rock and roll in the car,” Watson continued. “You can specifically hear the heavy funk and British-invasion blues influences from this era.”
Three of the group’s four members continue to perform locally and elsewhere at Brick City KO, a jazz-funk-rock group which covers artists ranging from Charlie Parker to Bob Marley.
Signal When formed in Sanford in 1999 by vocalists Kevin Thomas and Lee Blegen, guitarists James Theisen and Chris Cash, bassist Scott Hancox, and drummer Mike Kan, many of whom had played in several previous acts together.
Arguably the heaviest of the bands assembling for the Nov. 16 concert, Signal When plays a crushing variety of 90s era hardcore that also included touches of more traditional heavy metal and indie rock. Signal When played venues in Sanford and across North Carolina before disbanding in 2001.
While a couple of reunion shows followed, the band has been dormant since 2003, although recent efforts to make a proper recording have the band ready to perform on Nov. 16.
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