Benefit concert slated in memory of Downspell’s lead singer
by Bart Mendoza
Aug 21, 2013 | 4113 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A benefit concert is slated at Winston’s Beach Club on Aug. 25 in memory of Downspell’s lead singer, Tyson Montrucchio (far right), who passed away July 12.                                                                                                                                                                                         Courtesy photo
A benefit concert is slated at Winston’s Beach Club on Aug. 25 in memory of Downspell’s lead singer, Tyson Montrucchio (far right), who passed away July 12. Courtesy photo
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Winston’s Beach Club will host a benefit concert Aug. 25 for the family of Tyson Montrucchio, lead singer of acclaimed San Diego-based metal band Downspell. Montrucchio passed away July 12.

Beginning at 4 p.m., the stage will rock with performances from the surviving members of Downspell, alongside Revenge Death Ball, Kut U Up and Temporal Riff. Admission will be collected by way of donations at the door, with all proceeds going to the Montrucchio family to help with funeral expenses.

In addition to being a tragedy for his family and friends, Montrucchio’s passing was a blow to San Diego’s music scene. He had worked with some of the biggest names in metal. He was a man of many talents, playing in several other bands, including Scumchrist, and producing videos for such heavy hitters as Napalm Death and the Venomous Concept, which featured members of Brujeria, Anthrax and Brutal Truth. But Montrucchio’s most recognizable role to fans was with Downspell.

Formed in 1999, Downspell was originally based in Sitka, Alaska, though it only played three shows before heading south, arriving in San Diego around 2000. Over the years the band had several lineup changes. Montrucchio joined in 2004, with only guitarist Jake Phillips and co-singer Wayne Price left from the original line up that left Alaska. But the band has persevered, building a local and subsequently international following the old-fashioned way — putting on a visceral, in-your-face show and gigging whenever possible. Loud and abrasive, Downspell’s music is not for the faint of heart. Built on pure adrenaline and tension, songs like “A Lesson Before Dying” aim at the gut, as well as the mind. Montrucchio’s videos perfectly matched the songs’ manic energy.

While quite popular in the U.S., the sextet proved to be particularly popular in Europe and Latin America, where it has played several festivals, most recently in March at the Obscene Extreme in Mexico. Downspell released its debut album “Afterbirth” in 2005, with an EP “7 Dead, 6 Wounded” in 2010. The following year, the band released “The Violent Majority,” scoring a trophy for Best Hard Rock Album at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards in the process.

The second of two benefits for the Montrucchio family, plans for the event are modest, but heartfelt.

“I just hope friends and family show up,” said Price. “Even if people didn’t know him, I hope they come out, show some support and celebrate his life.”

As much as he misses a band mate, Price said the friendship was just as important.

“I just miss hanging with the guy,” he said. “Tyson was a road brother. We really miss his personality.” Price said Montrucchio had an uncanny knack for meeting rock stars and making them his friends.

“He was a good all-around media guy, just multi-talented on all counts. It’s really a big loss for us.”

Still, Price said the band will move forward.

“We’re taking this in stride, going back and sharpening our sticks,” he said. “We’ll be back soon, harder and heavier than ever. In fact, Downspell is currently in the studio writing our next album. We don’t have a name for it yet, but we’re just plugging away.”

Sadly, Montrucchio passed away before any recording happened. However, songwriting had already begun, Price said.

“We will use the vocals that he wrote,” said Price. “He wrote some of the lyrics as well, and we did collaborate on things. The last song he wrote is called ‘Insomniac,’ and that’s going to be what the album’s based around.”

• Benefit concert for the Montrucchio family: Sunday, Aug. 25 at Winston’s Beach Club, 1921 Bacon St. 4 p.m. 21 and up. www.winstonsob.com

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