“The Spirit of Independence”
I first met Chad Urmstom over a decade ago. His band “One Fell Swoop” was in the process of changing it’s name to “Dispatch”. A few years later, in 2004, Dispatch would perform their final concert at the Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston. They estimated about 25, 000 people would show up, maybe 30, 000. When the crowd swelled to over 100,000 the city of Boston was forced to shut down the streets surrounding the venue. Three years later they reunited to play a benefit show at Madison Square Garden. to fund raise for a troubled nation, Zimbabwe, It sold out in 24 hours forcing them to add a second show, which sold out as well, not to mention a third show. Not bad for a band who never had a hit single or signed a deal with a major label; which had been their choice.
Chad is a great person and a great musician. Between juggling multiple music projects he makes time to promote his passion for the many causes he supports and cares for. And these aren’t the “hey we’re in a band we better support a cause causes”, they’re the real deal. From raising funds for third world countries in need of support to working to give a voice to challenged individuals, his passion for cause work is genuine and he is fueled by it. I actually got to know him as a peace activist first and a musician later.
But what has impressed me the most is his determination to remain independent. Dispatch grew in popularity on their own terms. Releasing their music on small independent labels, they hit the road playing college campuses and small venues in cities across the country as well as around the globe. Before social media was the launch pad for getting your act known, word of mouth was their means of creating a following. And through word of mouth they soon became what some considered to be the number one independent act of their time. Under the radar of the big music machine, Dispatch ruled. And when the large labels came, they politely said, no thanks.
Remaining true to the spirit of being independent, Chad later formed State Radio,which today continues to gain momentum and grow strong. Popular with his fans, Chad remains true to his self. At a recent music video shoot for State Radio’s upcoming new album, Chad takes the time to introduce himself to the extras on the set. Not that they don’t know who he is, it is his way of saying “I appreciate you being here today and working with me” Chad knows being independent means working a little harder.
In today’s twitter, facebook, look at what I am doing now world, staking your claim as an individual has become the new status quo. So for those who claim to be independent, you’re going to have to find a way to do it on your own. Long live the rebel! Viva La Revolution! Chad, keep it up!
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