RICHMOND, Va. -- If you know and love RVA music, you probably also know Richmond is known around the world for our heavy music scene. It was recently named a heavy metal capital, thanks to bands like Lamb of God, GWAR and Municipal Waste.
But we're just as well-known for our punk and hardcore, thanks to legends like Avail, Strike Anywhere and, one of my all-time favorites, Down To Nothing.
Crowds in Japan, Europe, Australia and all over the Americas literally swarm Down To Nothing shows, shouting along, crashing the stage and diving and flipping into the crowds.
Drummer Daniel Spector has been watching the mayhem since he and drummer David Wood started mashing it up during their early years at James River High School (class of 2001) more than 15 years ago.
He's seen dislocated shoulders and broken noses.
Now he treats them as an emergency room doctor at Chippenham Medical Center.
"I think I picked emergency medicine out of all the specialties because you do get that adrenaline rush," he said during recent shift in Chippenham's ER.
Early last year, the hospital was upgraded to a Level II Trauma Center, which means they see it all, including the worst motor vehicle crash victims and gunshot wounds.
"Some days it can be really busy," he said.
He's even treated a few broken bones and bruises from some of the local hardcore events. And if he's playing and someone gets banged up, he's sometimes summoned to the floor.
Hardcore punk is about physical release - sort of the musical equivalent of a primal scream. It can get a little rough. (I had my nose shattered at a hardcore show in Wilmington, NC, the winter before last and had to have surgery.)
"There's kind of a community atmosphere to it, too," Daniel said, "where people are looking out for each other, for the most part. Every once in a while there will be a fight at a show but, in general, I think that's frowned upon."
So how does a guy globetrotting around the world in a rock band work through med school and a residency?
First off, DTN is a straightedge band. That means no alcohol, drugs or smoking. Not only does that save a lot of money, it helps with the focus. These guys are fit.
Plus, singer David Wood started touring with another hardcore band (Terror) and that meant a scaled-down schedule for DTN of weekend shows and occasional tours of foreign lands.
That continues today. They play in Philadelphia next week and in Europe later this year. A new live album will soon be released.
Spector, the son of a physician, also found his bride in med school. Next month, their first child, a girl, is scheduled to be born.
They already have a nursery all set up in their South Richmond home, complete with a library of books for her.
Now that's hardcore!
Check out the video to see this drumming doctor in action. And know that he and this band have been grand ambassadors for RVA, all around the world, for more than a decade now.