INTERVIEW: MUSICIANS FOR OVERDOSE PREVENTION
Asheville nonprofit Musicians for Overdose Prevention and Holy Crap Records today announced the release of a new, punk compilation album, “Ramones-Esque.” The album features underground musicians and bands from punk scenes who have come together to shine a light on how the overdose epidemic has impacted their community and bring attention to the overpriced cost of Narcan.
We caught up with the brilliant John Kennedy, the founder of the organisation looking to make a difference with this mammoth tribute of an album. Read our exclusive interview with him below:
Hello John, welcome to FLEX! Tell us about your ethos as an organisation please?
It's just a thing that needs to happen. Musicians for Overdose Prevention gets naloxone to musicians and music venues. There are more overdose deaths per year than ever - and we know that the music community is certainly affected. Carry naloxone. Carry narcan. This will save a life. Please tell us all about the notion of this 'Ramones-esque' campaign
Musicians for Overdose Prevention and Holy Crap Records has produced a number of compilations. We knew in 2022 that we wanted to launch a campaign about the availability and cost of Narcan. $75-$80 a kit is too expensive - plus Big Pharma created the overdose crisis and they should not be profiting from it. Ramones-esque is just a short-hand for catchy, three minute, down-stroke, punk songs. Anyone can write one. Anyone can be involved. So this compilation and campaign was about inviting in as many bands and musicians as possible to participate. And then we're starting a postcard campaign - writing letters and postcards to Emergent BioSolutions - demanding that they lower the price of naloxone. And anyone - anyone - can get involved in that too. Why did you feel like now was the right time to launch this campaign?
Thanks for asking this. I hope everyone sees this as such an important year. We have some massive forces colliding - and I really hope this doesn't lead to a disaster. We have the highest yearly overdose rates the country has every experienced, just about every drug is laced with fentanyl - making it a total gamble very time you use - and we have music venues, tours, festivals opening up after being closed by the pandemic for two years. Please - everyone in music - carry naloxone. This will save lives. This year we can all come together and save lives. Why did you choose The Ramones as the band the to tribute to spread the awareness for this?
Our background is underground music. Holy Crap Records podcast and label champions DIY underground music. The music found in small sweaty punk clubs. Noise. Energy. People talk about how the Velvet Underground or the Sex Pistols launched thousands of bands. The Ramones were that band for me. Their DIY ethos. A gang of friends showing up to CBGBs with a handful of twisted, funny, revved-up, distorted, 1950s rock-n-roll knock-offs, originals. The Ramones inspired so many bands in the underground music scene - and that DIY ethos also resonates with Musicians for Overdose Prevention - you want to do something, you want to make something, you want to fix something - do it. It's amazing to see all of the bands and artists involved in this cause, did the response surprise you?
From the outside the underground music scene looks like a bunch of crazy punks thrashing around - but it really is a caring and compassionate community. All the musicians and bands, without exception, have been affected by the overdose crisis. We all have friends, bandmates, family members who directly been affected. This campaign came directly out of the emotion of feeling powerless - but guess what? We can all carry naloxone, we can all look out for each other - we can all share music - we can all advocate for the great availability and affordability of naloxone. Did it surprise us to see this number of bands wanted to be involved? No - this is the underground music scene - amazingly passionate, compassionate artists. And lastly, what else can we do to help and donate?!
The Ramones-esque album is on bandcamp.com and the other streaming services. There's a donate button on the www.musiciansforoverdoseprevention.org website. You can find out more about the lowering cost of Narcan campaign and writing postcards to Emergent Biosolutions on the website. And if you are a music venue or a musician and need naloxone - please contact us too.
“Ramones-Esque” can be bought at https://holycraprecords.bandcamp.com, or on Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, or other online music services.
Check out the full 'Ramonesesque' album here: