On Saturday, January 28, 2023, friends, family, and artists traveled to the Gateway City, aka St. Louis, Missouri, from all around the country to celebrate the life of Blake Fowler through what brings us all together the most: music. The memorial show sold out the morning of the event, and even throughout the evening, so many came to offer their support and share their love for Blake that the venue offered to let in more people than tickets sold.
This was all for Blake. Drew Maxey, the vocalist of Blake’s former band Time and Pressure, put it better than anyone: “What made Blake special was his ability to connect with people, both onstage and off. When he’d play, his energy was contagious, and it spread to us and the crowds alike. Outside of shows, he made friends with so many people in every town we visited. He was so willing to talk, to listen, and to give everyone the attention he felt they needed. In a genre like hardcore that can often promote cliques and cynicism, his sheer ability to care for others was not only appreciated but downright necessary.” Even still, Blake holds this same ability to bring people together with love, and on this night that couldn’t have been felt more so.
Local St. Louis friends in melodic hardcore band Squint kicked off the event followed by life-homies in Direct Measure, formerly known as Brute Force. Next on the roster of Midwest Hardcore were Springfield, Illinois band Prevention followed by Philadelphia outfit Chemical Fix.
Chemical Fix and Time and Pressure met in the summer of 2019 when the two bands decided to go on tour together. Nearly immediately, the members of Chemical Fix found a forever friend in Blake. Bren King, the vocalist of Chemical Fix, was just one of the band members who found a life friendship and felt a lasting sense of inspiration from Blake. “It was clear how important music was to him. He had this excitement in his voice whenever he discussed his favorite albums or new music he just discovered. That energy transcended in performing as well. Blake’s stage presence was spot on. Between the constant jumps, kicks, and spins, it’s hard to think he had any time to actually play his instrument. His passion didn’t end there. He endlessly supported all his friends’ artistic expression no matter the genre. From hardcore to hip hop, from goth to folk, he rode for his friends.”
Lastly, headlining the event in Blake’s honor was his former band, Time and Pressure. Known locally as “The Baddest Band in the Gateway City,” Time and Pressure were formed in 2018 in which Blake performed as their bassist. From James Carroll, guitarist of Time and Pressure: “Blake was the spark that ignited our band. Without him, I don’t see Time and Pressure unfolding the way it did. He brought a youthful and excited energy to a band of 30-plus-year-olds who hadn’t been excited about hardcore for some time.” In a time where inclusion and togetherness is more important than ever, it’s this message Blake left for us through the energy he brought into his relationships and the hardcore scene that lives on.
Travis Scheaffer, drummer of Time and Pressure, also shares the impact Blake left: “Blake’s uncanny ability to roll with the punches, light up a stage, and his obsession with music sparked something positive in me I hadn’t felt in years. I was a jaded old head. I found myself loving this culture again, embracing the new generation of kids coming up, and even altering my perspective on life and my sometimes crass way of communicating (if you’re a ’90s kid, you get it). I was actually thinking outside of my 30-something-year-old view for once.
Blake was able to reignite my love for hardcore and punk. He gave me a reason to have an open mind and an alternative perspective on life. I was missing all of that at the time. He softened up my rigid exterior. This was something he probably wasn’t even doing intentionally; it’s just how he was. I miss my friend, little bro, and bandmate. I wish I had the chance to let him know the positive role he played in my life for those short three years we knew each other. I’ll never forget him, ever.”
Regardless of how long you knew him, Blake left a place in our hearts that will forever remain in friendship, in the lives of his family, and in each of us as artists. His role in every life he touched was consistent. From Carroll: “He was like our little brother, and we did our best to help guide him, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Twenty-twenty-two was a rough year for him, and as much as it wasn’t kind to him, he tried to keep his usual sunny disposition. I hope he found whatever peace he was looking for, but I just wish it wasn’t so soon.”
This isn’t what I meant when I said
“I hope we never grow old.”
I remember every song we wrote
I remember every story we told
I will grow up without you
‘Cause the lost boys never get to grow old
If you, a loved one, or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please reach out for help. The national suicide awareness and crisis lifeline is 988. Help is available. You’re never alone.
Time And Pressure