One year ago yesterday my friend Ross Harman took his own life. I have lost a lot of friends in my life but never one as close as Ross. He was like a brother to me after I managed his band, The Gaskets, for five years. It was insanely difficult for me and the way I decided to mourn him was to put that grief into a project and manage him one last time. Over the last year I reached out to a bunch of his musician friends and we put together an 18 track tribute album with 15 different artists covering Ross’ music.
Originally the idea was to just release a CDR of the music for friends and then give it away digitally but after hearing how amazing the record was we decided to try to release it on vinyl as a double LP. It seemed pretty ambitious considering to do it right we would need to raise more than $4000 so we decided to do a fundraiser show on the anniversary of Ross’ death and then try to raise the rest of the money through a Kickstarter project. I figured if I put in a few hundred bucks and a few other of his close friends did the same we could get about half way to our goal before we launched the Kickstarter… But evidently I was a bit off on my estimation.
Edo’s Squid in Richmond, VA was amazing enough to not only donate the space but give us 100% of the cash bar they had set up. The bartenders donated all their tips to the project and a bunch of people cooked and brought free food for everyone. The show was completely free and the booze was cheap but we left donation buckets out everywhere. We also sold CDRs of the album and I hit up a few people for some larger donations.
We had a great turnout and a great turnout of musicians who took turns playing their covers to Ross. We had Ross’ best friend and Gaskets partner Teddy Blanks DJ to start off the evening and then Schnitzel, who opens the album, opened the show with a mini set dedicated to Ross. After that we played a music video James Wallace recorded during Burning Man since he couldn’t be at the show and we played the video Ross directed for the Gaskets song Left Hand. Next, Rabbits and Novios reformed to play their covers to Ross and Chris Smith and Shannon Cleary each did two of Ross’ songs acoustically. After that The Atkinsons did a four song set ending with their cover of “Left Hand” with Teddy Blanks fronting the band for that one song. Finally the night ended with one of Ross’ favorite local band the Ex-Patriots doing a six song set including the Gaskets cover they did for the record and a cover of Ross’ song Posture which I sang on the album and performed with the Ex-Pats.
The whole thing was so much fun and ran very smoothly considering that everyone involved was coming from all over the place to put this thing together. I need to give extra special thanks to Ryan Jones who did most of the event organizing and Brad at Edo’s who went out of pocket for this whole thing. It really is a testament to Ross’ life that so many people would do so much to make this happen. I also wanna thank Todd Raviotta who filmed the event and provided the videos that I linked to in this update. (Click all the links in this post!)
Oh… and did I mention that we raised over $4000 in one day? Fucking unbelievable. We are still going to try to raise a little more on Kickstarter but his record is really going to happen!
But if you want to see pictures from Ross Harman’s Memorial Fundraiser at Edo’s Squid click here! I was too busy to take great photos but I took wide shots of everything so that you can see all the bands that played and get a sense of the crowd that was there. I mostly took pictures so friends and family who couldn’t be there could see what we did. Enjoy!
Ps. For updated info on all of this please join Remembering Ross Harman on Facebook!