This weekend, SPIN Impact was backstage at BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach, Ca., to discuss issues concerning mental health, addiction, education, criminal justice reform, and free speech with many of the participating artists.
On Friday, SPIN editorial director Daniel Kohn spoke with Mikel Jollett of the Airborne Toxic Event about how mental health has informed his artistic path, while Tegan and Sara opened up about why they feel mental health is a societal issue. Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy shared a heart-wrenching moment that took place after he finished his festival-opening set, when he met a family backstage who had lost their son amid mental health and addiction issues. The conversation struck a powerful chord with the singer, who could barely hold back his tears. He also chronicled his own battle with similar challenges.
After an energetic set that saw the live debut of several new songs, LP spoke about the importance of connecting with a crowd and how it enhances an artist’s mental health. The performer also saluted the tight tour family and support system that helps create a positive environment on the road, where it can often be more difficult to maintain one’s equilibrium.
Rome from Sublime With Rome said that the destigmatization of mental health will help younger artists speak up about getting help, a message that especially resonates during Mental Health Awareness Month. Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses shared how important it is for the touring family to check in on one another, while Iration members Micah Pueschel and Micah Brown revealed how golf and spending time outdoors allows them to maintain their mental health on tour.
In a poignant moment, Aly and AJ discussed the importance of gun owners locking up their firearms when not in use, something for which the artists are advocating through a new campaign on the subject in tandem with Northwell.
The legendary Wailers visited after their Sunday morning set, with Aston Barrett, Jr. discussing the legacy of the band and how their songs continue to uplift nearly 50 years after they were first written. Zander Schloss stopped by the SPIN Stage and delivered the most powerful moment of the weekend. The Circle Jerks bassist shared his recovery story, along with some words of wisdom for others struggling with addiction.
During the weekend’s final interview, The Head and the Heart’s Jonathan Russell shared how he battles anxiety while on tour. He described how his routine, which changed after the pandemic, now involves exercising before shows, enabling him to get into a positive headspace.
SPIN Impact was joined by BeachLife’s non-profit partners backstage, which include Wyland Foundation, South Bay Parkland Conservatory, Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation, Kings Care Foundation, RBEF, Redondo Beach Police Foundation, and Rob Machado Foundation.