The music from Carroll County's nationally released anti-heroin video will soon become the foundation of a music video that organizers hope will become just as widely distributed.
Eldersburg musician Bobby Hird, a guitarist, singer and songwriter who spent 17 years with the popular rock band Crack the Sky, wrote two songs for "Heroin Kills."
The stark video about heroin addiction was created almost two years ago by Residents Attacking Drugs, a nonprofit group of concerned citizens that formed after 15-year-old Liam O'Hara of Westminster snorted a fatal dose of heroin. The film has been shown in 44 states and four countries.
Hird, who attended Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County with RAD founder Linda Auerback, composed and performed "Liam's Blues" and "Heroin Kills" with his new band for the 35-minute film. The Bobby Hird Band makes its debut performance tomorrow night in a sold-out show at E.A. Poe's Restaurant and Pub in Eldersburg.
When a friend's 13-year-old son mentioned that RAD's new public service announcement about heroin abuse reminded him of an MTV video, Auerback thought, "Why not?"
"I thought, `This is not a bad thing,'" she said. "'In fact, this is a good thing because if that's what the kids will relate to, that's what the kids will relate to.'
"Right from the beginning, when Bobby wrote `Heroin Kills,' to me that music was the message," she added. "We have that and I think we should run with it."
Auerback said the prospect of filming a music video with Hird's rock 'n' roll diatribe against heroin was especially appealing because it differs from nearly every other anti-drug message that kids are hit with today.
"I don't know any kid that doesn't like music, and it's a new approach for something like this," she said. "It's not the school approach. And when you go to seminars and workshops with this, it's kind of like you're sneaking it in there, and that's the best approach because kids don't want to be told what to do."
The more than $1,600 donated to RAD in memory of Brianna Tighe, a Westminster teen who died in November after using heroin and inhaling nitrous oxide, will be used to defray the costs of filming the music video. Brianna's younger sister, Barbara "Kriistal" Tighe, has agreed to help with the script for the video. Auerback envisions a final scene in which a photograph of Brianna is superimposed on an angel statue in the cemetery at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Westminster.
For Hird, the songs he wrote for "Heroin Kills" are wrought with emotion.
"I have a soft spot in my heart for people who get addictions because anybody in any walk of life is capable of becoming an addict. Liam was a musician also, so there's a lot of emotion in that track for me," he said of "Liam's Blues," a haunting work filled with whining guitar solos.
Hird, who makes his living in residential and commercial construction, said his work on the "Heroin Kills" score provided inspiration to write "a whole album full" of new songs. The 47-year-old father of two donates $2 from each sale of his new CD, "Heartbeat Away," to RAD.
Rich Waganer of Waganer Digital Video in Owings Mills has agreed to serve as director, cameraman and film editor for the new "Heroin Kills" music video -- and for a fraction of what a typical music video costs. Lee Ziemski, a retired broadcast engineer who worked on the original "Heroin Kills" film, also will contribute to the music video project.
When Waganer arrives at E.A. Poe's tomorrow night to film live footage of the band's concert, it will be Hird's first music video since his days with Crack the Sky, when MTV was in its infancy.
Auerback can barely contain her excitement, reeling off plans to submit the completed project to MTV, VH-1 and anyone else who will take it.
"It's an anti-drug message, but it's also this incredible music with an approach and visuals that kids are attracted to right now," she said. "Whatever way people pick it up -- whether it's as a music video or a public service announcement -- either way it's got that message we're trying to get out."