The music is eclectic and the artists are excited to make a difference.
The Green Ribbon Club Annual Benefit Concert won’t be like any concert you’ve experienced before. On July 28th at 8PM at Recess Studios in Santa Ana, CA, three acts will take the stage to rally a community together in the fight against suicide and stigma. Tickets are only $10 online and $12 at the door. All proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to building GRC club programs at high schools and colleges across the nation. We are already slated to have clubs at UCLA and Harvard University. The more funds we generate, the more clubs we’re able to start, and the more people we’ll be able to educate and help in our communities! Tickets can be purchased here.
In addition, booths from Mental Health Association of Orange County, Western Youth Services, and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services will be present if anyone is interested in learning more about mental health resources in the area. There will be also be food trucks and a raffle for prizes!
Each of the musical acts, South County Money Boys, Kevin Nichols, and The Gypsy Willows, strays from being boxed into a singular genre. Instead, the musicians blend together different styles and influences. Something that ties all the musicians together is that they view music as a super expressive and powerful force--and they’re ready to play some songs to help Green Ribbon Club fight the stigma of mental illness.
With South County Money Boys performing, the Orange County stage will experience what member Connor Schmitt describes as “Soundcloud rap meets a bad attempt at slam poetry meets high school levels of testosterone combined with the tears of a middle child. Kind of like the Migos except we're all Quavo.”
Just as suggested from Schmitt’s description, South County Money Boys was born out of the heightened strain and perils of being an adolescent: when Milo Simpson was grounded by his mother, Shelly, for some alleged mischief in high school. Enter their first single “Shelly Got Me Barred,” which eventually became a part of the debut project “Bangers and Mash.”
Along came Brennan Ford, who unlike Schmitt and Simpson, “took his music and creativity a lot more seriously.” Ford, however, was somehow more intrigued by the two’s carefree, fun-spirited, approach to music. Ford’s induction and collaboration to the Money Boys led to the sophomore album, “Rugby 2060” which Schmitt describes as a total different sound and quality due to Ford’s magical ways. The story of SCMB is inspirational to youth around the world, in that when life hands you troubles, grab your buddies, and make some art.
(Photography by M. Haight)
On the other side of the music spectrum, Kevin Nichols is a “self-proclaimed ‘prunge’ artist: meshing grunge with a pop sensibility, and a little bit of psych.” Since he was fourteen, he’s been on tour. For Nichols, performing live is a cathartic outlet: “I’m able to communicate with a bunch of people in a room without them even knowing I’m getting a bunch of things off my chest.”
Nichols’ newest album, “I Don’t Wanna Die but I Wanna Die,” is perhaps his most raw and honest outlet of emotion and pain. Nichols notes that “I’m a happy person because my music is so dark and emotional; I get to purge myself of the feelings (depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation) into a physical thing.” Releasing your pain through the process of creation can be extremely beneficial to your mental health. Nichols and his music is yet another example of the power of art for one’s mental health.
(Photography by Sarah Lopiccolo)
From the words of frontman Wes, The Gypsy Willows (formerly known as “The Gypsies”) is an upbeat rock n’ roll “group of quirky guys who love to go wild.” Their love for rock n’ roll is deeply rooted in their love for seeing the audience loosen up and feel free. Billy notes that their music blends modern notes and styles with their band’s “retro energy and soul”, largely inspired largely by the dynamic music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. There’s a sense of comfort, familiarity, and friendship in the band, as they were all brought together by common circles and connections.
A concert that will help the fight against suicide rates and the stigma of mental illness is something that inspires all of the artists performing.
Nichols states, “When I can bring myself, my music, and my fans as an asset to a bigger cause to help someone out, that’s always a little more exciting to me.”
The Gypsy Willows are excited to join the positive, caring company of the Green Ribbon Club. They also hope they can create a safe space that places a spotlight on mental illness.
For the South County Money Boys, Schmitt says that he’s stoked to see the crowd have some fun, while they do their first show that gives back to their community.
On a bigger note, the musicians have some insightful words on the purpose of this concert and GRC’s mission to fight the stigma.
Schmitt explains how while it may not be easy, reaching out and talking to someone will ultimately benefit one’s mental health and bring people closer together.
Bill, of the Gypsy Willows, hopes that mental illness can be represented and examined in a more accurate light, rather than how it is often falsely portrayed or stigmatized in society and pop culture.
Nichols points out the magnitude of stigmatizing mental health, “in the sense that there’s so many people suffering out there who think it’s wrong to have their feelings. Mental illness…shouldn’t be so silent anymore.”
South County Money Boys: https://soundcloud.com/south-county-money-boys
Kevin Nichols: https://www.kevinnicholsmusic.com/
The Gypsy Willows: https://www.instagram.com/thegypsywillows/