Brandon Carlisle, drummer of Teenage Bottlerocket, died yesterday. He slipped into a coma on November 3rd and didn’t wake up. I regrettably only got the chance to see him play live once – but I used to email him now and again over the past five years. I remember him telling me one time how he used to live in Kuala Lumpur, and how excited he was to be playing with Descendents at a festival in Belgium we were both going to. Fast forward a few years, and I had Teenage Bottlerocket guest on IKIMASHO! in Tokyo.
Miguel from the band wrote:
“It is with the heaviest hearts that we have to report our beloved drummer Brandon didn’t make it. The doctors did everything they could to save him, but the MRI showed he is no longer with us. His family and loved ones are with him as they prepare to take him off life support and let him gently move on. Seeing so many people from all over the world come together in support has been amazing and we know Brandon could feel how much he was really loved. Brandon lived his life with his whole heart. He loved music, and he loved people. He always made it a point to let everyone know how much they meant to him, and to take time to make new friends. Anyone who was lucky enough to spend even a minute with the guy knows what a blessing he was to this earth. So with that love in our hearts, we carry him with us as we say goodbye. To the best drummer, the kindest soul and our brother and best friend, you will be in our hearts always. Rest in Peace Brandon, we all love you so much.”
It really is quite incredible the amount of support the band has received over the past few days. My Facebook feed is full of stories about Brandon, and everyone from the punk rock community has come together to pay their respects, from Fat Mike of NOFX to Billie Joe Armstrong. Jughead from Screeching Weasel perhaps said it best, talking about just how much everyone has come together:
“Pop Punk has fallen from the mainstream. And most of the world will NOT grieve our loss but we will magnify it in our depth of devotion to each other. Pop Punk has fallen from the mainstream. And perhaps that is a blow to us who would like to make a good living playing the music we love. But what I have witnessed the past few years is the “scene” becoming more passionate, more adamant in the pursuit of music that makes you shout and jump for the fuck of it, more sympathetic with the plights of your friends, who are in bands, who travel the globe, to bring the world closer in a way the internet can never achieve. This is why when we lose one of us, we are devastated, we are sad beyond belief. It is wonderful to see, but also a punch to the gut, that we are united in a blanket of sadness. We are like a body that when we lose a part we cannot fathom that it is gone. We will be laughing, swearing, fighting, involving ourselves in childish behavior forever with the ones that we have met through punk rock, and when they are gone, they will still be with us in the stupid, beautiful things we continue to do, because we LOVE IT, because all we have is each other. Goodbye Brandon.”
To illustrate this unity you only need to look at the account set up to help cover medical expenses and funeral costs. Over $36,000 has already been raised in the space of three days. If if you wish to contribute you can do so here.
Brandon was a great drummer, and Teenage Bottlerocket became my favourite pop punk band. As Milo from Descendents sang, “Thank you for playing the way you play.”