By Kimberly Johnson
Hardcore scene gets hardcore about helping out fellow musician grappling with dangerous diagnosis
Invested time in your community can pay off in times of need, Steven Webb, 21, local music enthusiast and fixture in the IE hardcore music scene is a testament to that. A regular at local shows, frequenting venues off the beaten path like Rancho Cucamonga’s, The Nitty Gritty, as well as being apart of the exclusive crowd to once stage dive in the now closed down Showcase Theatre in Corona, made him more than just a familiar face amongst the tightly knit scene.
But his involvement with the hardcore music arena doesn’t stop off stage. “Steven and I have been friends for a few years. We always went to the same style shows in the area and became even closer when he toured with my band,” notes Justin Singh, vocalist of Riverside based hardcore band The Great Commission.
The Century Media signed band with two releases under their belt, recruited Webb as a drummer for a state wide tour, hitting many of the places he’d once frequented himself. Days confided to a tour van and nights playing to audiences linked the twos friendship even closer together—making it even more imperative to help out when Webb became extremely ill Last December.
“Exactly halfway to our donation mark in ONE DAY!” writes Gavrielle Graham, on Steven’s donation-Facebook page. Graham, Webb’s girlfriend of nearly six years, has been tirelessly making moves to help alleviate some of the financial strain Webb faces after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis six months ago. The last few months have been no picnic for the once presumably very healthy Riverside youth. Webb has endured a collapsed lung, an emergency surgery to remove 90 percent of his colon, and most recently, a surgery to create a mock colon. He will be undergoing a third surgery in five to eight weeks, expected to be the last. Upon hearing the seriousness of his condition, friends and family of Webb began stepping up to show support.
“I originally just created a donation page, stevenwebb.net, for friends and family that wanted to donate, but didn’t know how,” notes Graham. She soon began coordinating a benefit show to take place June 14 at Daily Brew Coffee House in Riverside featuring acoustic artist Chris Ryan, as well as The Great Commission. All proceeds designated to funding Webb’s medical expenses.
“Personally, I was really hurt to see the struggle that Steven has had to fight through. In life you don’t think that these things can happen to you, or to those close to you,” adds Singh. “If I or my band can help with that process in any way, then there is no hesitation with that decision.”
Singh speaks on the status of the Inland Empire’s ability to band together from experience. Having lived in the IE most of his life, frequenting the same shows Steven has, the prominence of community importance is obvious for him.
“I can honestly say that there is something different about the people in the IE. We look out for each other, stand by each other, and are always willing to lend a helping hand. There is a sense of community here and among the people that you can rarely find anywhere else. We get the satisfaction of helping out a friend in need, and hopefully with this benefit show, we can help raise the rest of the money that his family needs,” adds Singh.
As word spread of Steven’s condition, the power of social media began uprooting his story from just Inland Empire soil, to neighboring OC as well.
The couple, being avid and true to life die hard fans of The Ducks hockey team, took notice when former team member George Parros started up an apparel brand, Violent Gentlemen (VG,) with a few friends, one of whom being Mike Hammer. “I ended up crossing paths by way of them being VG supporters. When people get behind something that becomes your main focus and passion in life, you develop a special place in your heart for them,” comments Hammer.
He soon began keeping up with Gavrielle and Steven’s journey via social media. “We first got involved because she (Gavrielle) posted that Steven was bummed out in the hospital. We sent a couple shirts and a ‘feel better,” explains Hammer. “Once we realized that things were a lot more serious than we thought, we wanted to get more involved.” In honor of Steven and to express support for his cause, Hammer and his team created a tee shirt for sale on their website, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Webb’s medical expenses. “It hits home pretty hard when you see a young guy struggling to just get to a Ducks game. Really makes you think about the things we take for granted daily. It was more so about using this platform that people like Steven have helped us build to give back to people like him.”
Two more benefit shows scheduled for Sept.13 and 14, 2013.
Benefit Concert at Daily Brew Coffee House, 2955 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, (951) 352-7477; www.stevenwebb.net. June 14, 7PM. $10 suggested donation.