Charlotte punk veteran Antiseen announced earlier this week that it would soldier on after losing founding guitarist Joe Young to a heart attack in May. Longtime fan and friend Russ Ward, who has toured with the band as a crew member, will assume the role of guitarist. Ward (pictured on left) previously fronted his own bands as Mad Brother Ward, but has been away from the stage for quite a while.
Ward will make his Antiseen debut at the Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, Tenn. Labor Day weekend.
When singer Jeff Clayton told me Joe voiced his wish for Antiseen to continue on if anything ever happened to him, Ward was the only person I could imagine taking over on guitar. Last fall when I did a week long 30th Antiversary run of blogs talking to some of their fans, friends and people who experienced the history of Antiseen, I ended it with a piece from Ward. He's written liner notes, toured with the band, and sold their t-shirts at the merch booth. I don't think that I've ever seen him happier than helping out backstage at the 25th anniversary show at Tremont. He pretty much says that seeing Antiseen at 17 changed his life. But in recent years he stepped away from his own bands, which he addressed in the last few lines of our conversation back in September.
"I always saw myself helping Antiseen more so than doing my own thing. They were my band. I always loved what they do. I think what they do is important," he said.
Ward posted on Facebook that he it is his intention to honor Joe's memory and I have no doubt he will. You can read his post here. I've also seen him play until he bleeds, so he'll fit right in.
And while we're on the subject, can we get a Joe Young throbblehead from Aggronautix and make it a pair?