18 bands to play at anti-drug concert Aug. 15 event inspired by heroin death of youth

July 21, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

If Carroll County teens and preteens won't listen to parents and teachers warning them to avoid drugs and alcohol, maybe they'll get the message loud -- and louder -- from members of the 18 rock bands on tap for next month's A.L.P.H.A. concert.

The brainchild of Westminster area residents Matt Crum, John Purvis and Steve Bohli, who formed their band the Steel Factor about four months ago, A.L.P.H.A. stands for Active Locals Preventing Heroin Addiction.

All profits will go to organizations such as Junction Inc., Residents Attacking Drugs, the state's attorney's Heroin Kills campaign and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. All promote awareness, prevention or treatment of drug and alcohol abuse.

Crum and Bohli were friends of Liam O'Hara, a 15-year-old Westminster High student who died in January of a heroin overdose.

"Liam's death really struck me and [putting together a concert] was something we could do to help fight against the spread of drugs in the community," said Bohli.

Representatives from many of the bands joined state and local government officials, civic and community association leaders and law enforcement officials yesterday for a noon news conference at the Carroll Community College amphitheater, where the A.L.P.H.A. Concert will be staged from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 15.

Members of All Things Concerned, a popular young Carroll band, summarized the concert's objectives from the perspective of teen-agers yesterday.

"As soon as we heard about it, we called Matt [Crum] to offer to play for the concert," said Matt Bittman, a June graduate of North Carroll High School in Hampstead.

"We have seen a lot of friends' lives destroyed by drugs, especially heroin, and we have seen a lot of programs designed to curb drug and alcohol abuse," he said. "But kids basically ignore, or make fun of the billboards [in the Heroin Kills campaign]."

Bittman's band mates Jason Peltzer, a senior at North Carroll High, and Brooks Edman, a junior at Franklin High School in Reisterstown, agreed that many of their schoolmates ignore much of what speakers say during school assemblies to denounce the evils of drug and alcohol abuse.

"Music is the universal language. We're hoping everyone will get the message through our music," Edman said.

Crack the Sky and the Patty Reese Band, both big-name Baltimore bands, will be featured, along with the Alley Katz, a rap group from Baltimore.

Bobby Hird and John Tracey of Crack the Sky arranged for Gordon Miller Music of Baltimore to donate a Fender electric guitar, which will be autographed by all the bands and raffled during the concert.

"If it's a good cause, playing benefit concerts is just something we've always done," said Tracey, whose 23-year-old band is preparing to cut its 12th studio album.

Tickets -- $4 in advance and $5 at the gate -- are being sold at Westminster outlets: Coffey Music, 31 E. Main St.; New Song Guitar Center in 140 Village Shopping Center; and the office of the state's attorney, 125 N. Court St. The concert rain date is Aug. 22.

Volunteers for a variety of jobs are needed. Call Kathleen Bassford at 410-751-9512 or Kathy Crum at 410-751-0331.

Pub Date: 7/21/98

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