In a somber turn of events, the world of punk and hardcore music mourns the loss of a true pioneer. Kent Stax, the revered drummer and founding member of the iconic Virginia hardcore group Scream, has passed away at the age of 61. The devastating news was shared by his bandmates through a heartfelt Facebook post on September 20. Stax had been valiantly battling metastatic cancer, a battle that he fought with unwavering strength and determination.
The announcement from Scream on Facebook echoed the profound impact Stax had on the band’s sound and identity. They wrote, “We are heartbroken to share that our drummer Bennett Kent Stax passed away this morning. Kent is the original heartbeat of Scream. Though we have had to continue on without him before, we have always known Kent is irreplaceable.” His contribution to Scream’s legacy is immeasurable, a testament to his exceptional talent and musical vision.
The story of Scream began in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, in 1979 when Stax, along with schoolmates Skeeter Enoch Thompson (on bass), and brothers Pete and Franz Stahl (on vocals and guitar, respectively), decided to embark on a musical journey that would leave an indelible mark on the hardcore scene. Influenced by the burgeoning punk movement in nearby Washington, D.C., they drew inspiration from trailblazing bands like Bad Brains.
Their debut album, “Still Screaming,” which they recorded in 1982 at the legendary Inner Ear Studio, marked a significant milestone. Co-produced by the band, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, Eddie Janney (later of Rites of Spring), and Don Zientara, it became the first-ever full-length release on MacKaye’s Dischord label, cementing Scream’s place in the annals of punk history.
Stax’s rhythmic prowess continued to propel Scream through two more albums, “This Side Up” in 1985 and “Banging the Drum” in 1986. However, in the mid-to-late ’80s, he made the difficult decision to step away from the band to focus on starting a family. His departure opened the door for another legendary drummer, Dave Grohl, who later went on to join Nirvana in 1990.
A heartwarming moment occurred in 1996 when Stax briefly reunited with his former bandmates for a Christmas show, a performance that was captured for posterity on the “Live at the Black Cat” CD. The magic didn’t end there; in 2021, Stax and Scream returned to Inner Ear Studio, as well as to Dischord, to record their latest full-length album, “DC Special.” This upcoming release, slated for November 10, promises to be a fitting tribute to Stax’s enduring legacy, featuring contributions from music luminaries such as Dave Grohl, Amy Pickering, Mark Cisneros, Joe Lally, and more.
While Stax was undeniably a remarkable drummer, his talents extended far beyond the realm of music. He was an accomplished fisherman, a skilled carpenter, and an avid train enthusiast. His eclectic interests and passions made him a unique and cherished individual.
In addition to his work with Scream, Stax made his mark in other prominent punk and hardcore bands, including The Suspects, Spitfires United, Alleged Bricks, and more. He also explored different musical genres, lending his talents to The Daryl Davis Band and The Old Dominion Trio.
Kent Stax leaves behind a loving family, including his wife of 40 years, Andrea, and his daughter Jennifer. He is also survived by his brothers Kurt, William, and Henry, as well as a multitude of bandmates, friends, and devoted fans. If you had the privilege of witnessing Stax’s electrifying drumming in person or had the honor of knowing him personally, your cherished thoughts and memories find a warm welcome here.
As we bid farewell to a true legend, let us remember Kent Stax not only for his groundbreaking contributions to music but also for his unwavering passion for life and his enduring impact on the hearts of those who had the privilege of crossing paths with him. The beat may have stopped, but the rhythm of his spirit will forever resonate in the world of music and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kent Stax, Drummer
Q: Who was Kent Stax, and what was his role in the band Scream?
A: Kent Stax was a renowned drummer and one of the founding members of the iconic Virginia hardcore group Scream. He played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s sound and identity as its original drummer.
Q: What is the significance of the album “Still Screaming” in Scream’s history?
A: “Still Screaming” is a pivotal album in Scream’s history. It marked their debut and was recorded in 1982 at the legendary Inner Ear Studio. Co-produced by the band, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, Eddie Janney, and Don Zientara, this album became the first-ever full-length release on Ian MacKaye’s Dischord label, solidifying Scream’s place in the punk rock scene.
Q: Who replaced Kent Stax when he left Scream, and what did he go on to do?
A: When Kent Stax left Scream in the mid-to-late ’80s to focus on starting a family, he was replaced by none other than Dave Grohl. Dave Grohl later became famous as the drummer for Nirvana and as the frontman of the Foo Fighters.
Q: Can you tell us about Scream’s 2021 album “DC Special” and its significance?
A: “DC Special” is an album recorded by Scream in 2021. It holds special significance as it marked the band’s return to Inner Ear Studio and Dischord, where their journey began. The album features contributions from notable musicians like Dave Grohl, Amy Pickering, Mark Cisneros, Joe Lally, and more. It’s set to be released on November 10, serving as a tribute to Kent Stax’s enduring legacy.
Q: Besides music, did Kent Stax have any other notable interests or talents?
A: Indeed, Kent Stax was a multifaceted individual. In addition to his musical talents, he was an accomplished fisherman, a skilled carpenter, and an enthusiastic train enthusiast. His diverse interests and passions made him a unique and cherished figure.
Q: Who are Kent Stax survived by, and what is his family background?
A: Kent Stax is survived by his wife of 40 years, Andrea, and his daughter Jennifer. He also leaves behind his brothers Kurt, William, and Henry, as well as a wide circle of bandmates, friends, and devoted fans who mourn his passing.