Many musicians do benefit concerts; for Hanging Scarlet, it’s a reason to exist. When the Concord band formed last April, it pledged to find causes to support.
“At least two charity shows a year,” says drummer Joe Cadrette. In July, they performed in Manchester’s Veterans Park for Teen Challenge, a Christian anti-drug group.
Their next effort is “Rock the Regiment,” a three-band show in Franklin benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Cadrette’s interest began when his wife saw a television ad for the group, which helps wounded service members transition to civilian life. “She told me we were signed up for forty bucks a month,” he says with a chuckle. “There are a lot of veterans in my family. Everybody knows someone who’s helped defend our freedom.”
For guitarist Rocky Rowe; the urgency hits close to home. His son is a Marine due to ship out to Afghanistan. Cadrette’s father is a World War II veteran; the military’s current reliance on enlistees is one of the reasons for Hanging Scarlet’s focus.
“You think about it, this generation has stepped up — with so many opportunities, they chose to protect their country,” Cadrette says. “What greater sacrifice can you think of than that? Whatever I can do with my music is a small part, and I can’t take huge credit. In my opinion, the least I can do is try and help these people.”
Hanging Scarlet is an all-original band playing songs influenced by classic rock and progressive bands like Rush. The group formed after the breakup of Azure Cross, Cadrette and bass player Tim Vendt’s former group. The two recruited Rowe to jam at Vendt’s house, and one night, singer Rob Morse dropped by for a surprise visit, unaware of plans for a new band. Morse’s experience dates back to the early 1970s, playing in Northern Pennsylvania band Brigg.
The pieces quickly fell into place.
“When we’re together making music we’re exactly where we want to be,” Cadrette says. “All four of us really feel that this is our calling — it’s music. That’s why we’re doing all originals — we really feel like we want to express ourselves. We have something to say, wherever we go. We have no illusions of record contracts, though that would be nice. Every band wants to do that.”
Hanging Scarlet takes its name from the Biblical story of Rahab, a prostitute who aided two Hebrew spies in their escape from Jericho. In gratitude, they told her to hang a scarlet thread out her window when the army returned to destroy the city, so her home and family would be spared. For Cadrette, the story is a powerful allegory: “We can throw a scarlet thread out of life’s window and no matter what life throws at us, we can be strong and be the last one standing,” he says.
He hopes to raise $2,000 from the Franklin Opera House show. “But realizing the sacrifice these people make is more important,” he says, noting that funds will be spent helping veterans with both physical and psychological wounds. “It’s for adjustment, counseling, training — anything it takes to get them back into normal life.”
Also performing at the show is active rock band A Simple Complex.
“ASC has long taken an interest in supporting causes over the years, from local events [to] global charities,” wrote the band’s Mark Ingoldsby in a recent e-mail. “But supporting those who defend our freedom is what we are most proud of … it’s an honor and a privilege to contribute our efforts in order to help anyone in need that has so bravely protected our rights and our freedoms.”