Philanthropic punk isn’t an everyday thing, but the Corvallis band Abolitionist, about to release its debut 7 INCH vinyl record, is all about altruism.
The album focuses on the 1994 Rwandan genocide and 5 percent of sales will go to support Partners-In-Health (PIH) in the east African nation.
One of the songs, “At The Level Of The Ear,” refers to the instructions that Hutus gave each other on how to best kill a Tutsi. “People might wonder what’s so relevant about something that happened 17 years ago in Africa, but it can happen again, anywhere,” said the band’s guitarist and songwriter Dustin Herron.
The release party will be an all-ages show in Corvallis on Friday, March 18th at 7 p.m. The location is still “super secret,” said Herron, but interested parties can e-mail the band for details at email@example.com. The bands Black Market Organ Drive (emo-core from Corvallis) and Fools Rush (sing-a-long punk from Portland) will open the show.
“This is our first benefit. It feels good to have all the time you put into music get partially directed into something that’s not entirely about you,” said Herron, who is also an emergency room registered nurse.
“Partners-In-Health is an impressive organization. I have a good friend who’s done some work for them and I was inspired by ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains’, the book about PIH’s founder, Paul Farmer. I love that they’re not a charity -they’re actually empowering the communities they serve to help themselves”
Abolitionist also relied on people’s generosity to press the record. Using the fund-raising website Kickstarter, they met the goal of $900 to make 500 copies (400 on black vinyl and 100 on marbled red vinyl).
The band started in 2009 as a folk/punk trio singing mostly about Civil War heroes and villains, but they’ve since done away with the acoustic guitar and harmonica and became louder, “melodic punk.”
“It developed from a simplistic folk style to what’s more in the vein of the music I cut my teeth on when I was a teenager,” said Herron, mentioning bands like Jawbreaker, Fugazi, Hot Water Music and Alkaline Trio.
Abolitionist is recording a full-length album titled “It Used To Rain”, expected to come out in June.
“It will be a first-hand account of a future where it hasn’t rained in ’23 months and things get a little bit crazy,’ to quote the opening track,” said Herron. “After that we may explore less depressing subject matter.”
More information will be on the band’s website located at abolitionist1859.com as the date draws closer. For more information about Partners In Health, visit pih.org.