Friday, October 14, 2005
KISS Guitarist To Visit Sober Teens Festival
From: The Journal News
By: Diana Bellettieri
As organizers gear up for the third annual Sober Teens Festival at Carmel High School, it seems the event has taken on a life of its own.
The goal is still the same. Students will be asked to sign contracts pledging to stay sober until the age of 21, then the contracts will be co-signed by celebrities. This year, KISS guitarist Ace Frehley is already on board, and other stars are in the works.
But what's happened since the free festival's inception is that it's become a "must-play" gig for local high school bands. With at least 700 students expected to attend the festival Sunday, musicians say it offers the perfect opportunity for exposure. This year, five bands from Putnam County will hit the stage, and one is traveling from New Jersey.
Chris Cassone, a recovering alcoholic and the founder of Sober Teens, said he is grateful for the festival's popularity. He was inspired to start it after 16-year-old Andrew McArdle, a Carmel High School junior and football player, died in a 2002 car crash that may have been alcohol-related. McArdle was friends with Cassone's youngest daughter.
With experience in the music industry, he knows rock 'n' roll isn't typically associated with sobriety. Seeing that students are working to change the stereotype is "very cool," Cassone said.
Jeremy Aquilino and Alex Lipton, Mahopac High School seniors, said word about the Sober Teens Festival has spread. Their band, One Month Standing, will be performing. They doubt their performance will do much to change the age-old combination of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but they think it's important to support sobriety.
"Keeping kids responsible and out of trouble is always really good," said Lipton. "Getting kids to go to a show instead of going and drunk driving is better."
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, more than 2,200 children died of alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2002. About 10.7 million children between 12 and 20 were reported to have consumed alcohol during the month before a nationwide survey in 2001. That's about 30 percent.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office supports the festival, and local businesses have already donated more than $7,600.
I love Ace Frehley to death. I'm glad he's gotten sober after like 35 years of partying. But, I hate seeing lifelong drinkers who suddenly get sober appear at events like this. It's stupid. And PLEASE don't make a new album with songs that reflect your new "clarity."