On a lonely stretch of road somewhere in Texas, a dog hovered near death, alone, barely breathing, yet struggling to live. Cars passed her by. No one seemed to notice the gentle animal lying so quietly, unable to move. Just when it appeared to be over, the official Along Came a Spider RV lumbered by on the way to the next show on their month long tour. And they noticed. Instinctively, John Calo (bass), Jamie Miller (lead vocals), Tony Castillo (drums), Joel Sedlak (keyboards), Justin Sobota (guitar/vocals), and Luke Fockler (lead guitar) pulled to the side of the road, rushing to the aid of a helpless and dying animal. In that moment, the six post-hardcore rockers became the voice of the voiceless, knowing that they would do whatever had to be done to save this cruelly discarded pet.
Don’t be late. One of the first things a touring band learns is to never be late to a venue. Tardiness often results in loss of a preferred time slot, less money, and puts future bookings in jeopardy. But none of that mattered, because when they opened the door of the RV, they also opened their hearts to the sweet tempered dog they named Lola. Sobota grabbed a blanket and rushed to her side. There was no discussion as he scooped Lola up and brought her into the warmth of the vehicle. She never moved or made a sound. As the RV pulled away from the curb, all cell phones worked double-time to find a veterinarian that would help Lola survive.
Roadblocks aren’t always on the road. Finding a vet in a place you are not familiar with is a daunting task at best. Along Came a Spider were met with refusal after refusal. Some vets demanded excessive amounts of money up front. Others offered to euthanize her to end her suffering. It was an exercise in frustration, as they made call after call. Finally, one sympathetic doctor agreed to treat Lola, even waiving a fifty dollar fee. The band was elated. Lola was going to get help. She was going to live.
Life imitates art. From their album, Resurgence, a song titled “Voice of the Voiceless” came true for Along Came a Spider on an otherwise ordinary drive to the next tour stop. The lyrics say, “We’ll be the light through the darkness/When all is lost, you will be found/When silence fades, there will be sound”, which perfectly describes what happened to Lola. The band wrote the song long before they stopped to help Lola, but every word in the song came to life as the musicians reached out to another living being without hesitation. The song goes on to say, “We are alive and we have purpose/We’ll stand strong when you feel hopeless/We are the voice of the voiceless” and have become an anthem to fans across the nation. But the music is more than just a song to Along Came a Spider who found that life imitates art in the strangest ways. Calo, Fockler, Sobota, Sedlak, Miller, and Castillo have become the voice for dear Lola, who would be voiceless without them.
Saving Lola. Leaving Lola in the care of a kind-hearted vet, they rushed to the next show. However, before they left her, they made the vet promise to let them call in for updates on her progress. Arriving late did not matter to them and there was a renewed sense of connection with the music as they performed that night. Each day brought better news about their beloved Lola. She thrived under the care of the Texas veterinarian and positive reports lifted the spirits of her rescuers. The last news relayed that Lola was doing so well that she would be ready for adoption soon. But that is not the end of the story. True to his nature, Castillo is looking into adopting Lola himself and bringing her to Cleveland so she will have a loving, safe home for the rest of her life. It is the collective opinion of Along Came a Spider that “their” Lola deserves no less.
Renewed hope. The live show in Cleveland was supposed to be a welcome home party as Along Came a Spider has been on tour for weeks. Instead, it was a celebration of what their music means to fans and artists alike. It was emotional as the crowd sang the words to each song with enough enthusiasm to drown out the band. Brutal breakdowns lead to haunting melodies as the dual unclean vocals provide a disarming contrast to the songs. The three part harmonies add depth and power to lyrics that resound with truth in every word. These are not just words on paper, this is who Along Came a Spider is, and they live it every day. The crowd demanded to hear, “Voice of the Voiceless” and I will not lie, it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of Lola and the heart of Along Came a Spider that saved her.