As you may recall I spent an insane amount of my life over the last year and a half curating, fundraising and putting together by force a tribute album to my friend Ross Harman who died in September of 2010. I got about 15 band to record tracks covering Ross’ music, organized a big fundraiser, raised another $4,000 via Kickstarter and put out not just a double LP tribute albums but also Ross’ two previously digitally released solo albums on vinyl as well. It has been completely exhausting but it was honestly the only way I knew how to mourn one of my closest friends.
This whole thing came to ahead last weekend when I threw a record release party in Richmond, VA for the record. I met Ross when we were both attending Virginia Commonwealth University and I saw his band The Gaskets play a dive bar on campus. I started managing them and booking them all over the place but most often at a club called the Nanci Raygun at 929 W. Grace St. I threw the last party ever there which the Gaskets headlined in 2006. Since then the Raygun became a bagel place and then two years ago it reopened as a venue once again… this time as Strange Matter. I knew this was the only place to do the show.
The show at Strange Matter was completely free and featured five musical acts (and Shannon Cleary DJing between sets) starting with the Miles O’Brien Band who are made up of a bunch of Ross’ friends from the Richmond, VA music scene. They played a couple of Gaskets tunes and a couple of other songs that Ross loved. After that our friend Gary Atkinson performed a few songs in between sets. We met Gary at an open mic night the Gaskets used to test out new songs at and Ross loved Gary’s music. After that the real show began with Jim O’Brien and his band Schnitzel doing a full set of Gaskets covers. It was amazing to see how many people still knew all the Gaskets songs including a lot of old ones I hadn’t heard performed in many, many years. It was an amazing set. After that Ross’ Gaskets partner Teddy Blanks performed his solo material for the first time in Richmond. It went over amazingly and was great to see Teddy up on the 292 W. Grace stage again. Finally the Voltron like supergroup featuring members of Novios, Rabbits and VCR headlined. Between those three bands they accounted for 5 songs on the tribute album and they played those and a ton more songs that Ross wrote. It was an amazing set and they closed the night perfectly.
We sold a bunch of records but more importantly everyone had a great time. It meant so much to talk to Ross’ friends who were so touched by this project. I worked my ass off on this thing for the last year and a half and in a way I am pretty glad it’s over. I think I can finally move on with my life now and I am so glad I will have something to remember my friend forever. RIP Ross. We fucking love you.
Ps. One of these days I will set up an online store where you can buy these records and if you ordered one through Kickstarter already I will be sending them out at the end of March when I get back to NYC. If you can’t wait you can always listen to Ross’ music for free at RossHarman.com. Also if you are in Richmond or NYC I can let you know how to get a copy of the record if you email me.