Dashboard Confessional, Thrice, Thursday, Saves the Day and other major hard rock, punk and emo bands are paying their respects to former Saves the Day bassist Sean McGrath, who died from intestinal cancer last month, by contributing previously unreleased tracks to the album In Honor: A Compilation to Beat Cancer, which comes out September 21.
The double CD will list for $12.98, and proceeds will be split between the Syrentha Savio Endowment and the Sean McGrath Fund, both of which provide financial assistance and support to people battling cancer.
McGrath played with Saves the Day for two years, working with the band from their debut, Can't Slow Down, through the songwriting for Through Being Cool in early 1999. He was replaced by Eben D'Amico, who remains with the band.
In a post on their Web site, Saves the Day wrote, "He was a wonderful friend and he was such a positive influence on our lives and our music. We will miss you, Sean, and we love you. ... I am thinking of you and smiling, happy you are now able to rest. When I see you in my heart, you are smiling and laughing. ... Wherever you are, I love you, Sean, and I miss you."
A few months before McGrath died, he submitted a song to the album by his group the Foreign Exchange called "I Hate This Stupid Bike." It was one of the last things he ever recorded.
The Saves the Day track, "Don't Go Outside," is an outtake from their 2003 album, In Reverie. Thursday, who were close friends with McGrath, offered the old out-of-print track "Mass at Shadows"; Thrice donated an acoustic version of "Stare at the Sun"; Taking Back Sunday provided an acoustic rendition of "You're So Last Summer"; and Dashboard Confessional recorded a new, still-untitled cut. Previously unreleased live recordings were donated by My Chemical Romance, Funeral for a Friend, Bouncing Souls and Jawbreaker.
The compilation was assembled by Vagrant Records employee Tim Hansell, who decided to embark upon the project after his mother died of cancer. "She was a nurse and her fellow nurses helped her through the end, but I knew there were people who didn't have the same help and friendship that she did," he said. "So I wanted to use this as a platform to really make a difference."
In the wake of his mother's death, Hansell found out from Thursday that McGrath was sick, so he used his contacts to help contribute to auctions to help fund the bassist's treatment. From that point on, Hansell and McGrath talked every day until McGrath died.
"He was so cool, and so strong," Hansell recalled. "Sometimes he'd tell me he was nervous about going into surgery, and I'd say, 'Dude, if my mom could do it, so can you.' So he'd be like, 'Yeah, you're right.' Two days before he died, I knew he wasn't doing so well, but he told me, 'Hey, dude, we should totally hang out this weekend.' He kept a really good attitude until the very end."