48 Film Festival is an award show that highlights some of the year’s best short films, where the winner receives money for a full length feature film. It is a night of elegance and for honoring the achievements of Hollywood’s brightest. All you need now is punk rock band from a small town in Texas to keep the night interesting. Enter: It Hurts To Be Dead, who were able to play a show before the screening of the films that had won.
So, how did a killer band from Wichita Falls, TX make it to this prestigious event? This epic adventure began only two days beforehand. I talked with lead singer Sean Snyder about this journey. “Bryan Atkins had made a short film that he put a song of ours in at one time. He actually called me on a Tuesday and invited us to come out and play at what we found out later was a red carpet event on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.”
Bryan needed the band there by Thursday evening, so they had 24 hours to get out of work and get themselves, as well as all their equipment, to the location. “Kevin had to fly because of work and Nick and I drove the van out with all our stuff. We jumped in the van and drove pretty much straight through, but stayed at a cheap hotel on the way,” added Sean.
All great adventures need a detour. “When we got to San Dimas, the van caught on fire.” Snyder exclaimed. WHAAAAAAAT!!! A once in a lifetime show in Hollywood, sound check in less than an hour, and they were stranded 45 minutes away from the venue. He went on to say, “We were smelling something funny and it wasn’t going away. OK… That’s not California, that’s this van”. Nick managed to fix the car enough to continue to the show, knowing it could break down at any moment.
They finally reached their destination. “We drive to the venue, which is gorgeous. There’s a chandelier there the size of my living room. It was the Director’s Guild of America, which has a giant theater inside and a very big lobby.” Nothing intimidating there right? Attending the night’s festivities was a slew of the world’s elite. Film makers from France and Germany, some princes, some notable actors and lots of old Hollywood money, all in attendance at this soiree.
They arrived in enough time to get their gear to the stage, wash some of the grease from the fire off of themselves and still have enough time to watch the red carpet entrance with celebrities. “The plan was for us to be on stage and start playing when they opened the door… which was very unorthodox, especially for members of a dirty punk rock band from Texas that are covered in grease and have been driving for 2 straight days and haven’t slept.”
“It was the weirdest show I’ve ever played in my life. Honestly. It was very bizarre. The stage was huge, very far apart from each other. When we came back in to start playing, there were already people in tuxes, waiting, staring at us with anticipation.”
“The first guy I made eye contact with appeared to be about 90 years old, front and center directly in front of me and I thought, ‘this guy might not survive this’.”
They played five songs to kick the night off to a crowd of 600 people. The reactions were everything from “Hey, I’m at a rock show!” to wincing in pain and fingers in ears.
They had a blast, hobnobbed with L.A. peeps, made contacts with filmmakers, stayed at a crappy hotel, went through horrible traffic and drove until they got back to Wichita Falls. All in all, a great trip for our courageous local band. Hopefully this turns out to help them in the long run. “We’d like to have more of our music in movies and films”, Sean explained. I’m hoping they at least get a song out of it. – James Cook