Interview with the Founder of Music Saves Lives

Last month, Daily Unsigned had an opportunity to sit down with the Founder of Music Saves Lives, Russel Hornbeek to get an inside perspective on what it’s like to run such an amazing charitable organization.

Tell us about MSL, when did it start and why was it started?

Everyone has a passion or dream and we all have that one time in our life that brings a cross road. We all have that choice to make, take a crazy chance and do what we are so passionate about or listen to the people around us saying that it’s crazy and you’ll fall on your face. In 2006 my dream was to fix a problem that no one even knew we had and I only found out about it by having a close family member with a cancer that he couldn’t win. Everyone uses a live saving fluid called blood. Some of us have types that are rare others can blend in, but one common thing, without it we all disappear. 25% of the supply that is used in hospitals come young people under 25. 90% of that is collected in colleges and high schools. Music Saves Lives was born out of the need to find a way to get the 25 and under back out to donate in the summer when school is out. What would you do to meet your favorite band, or get backstage at a concert? Would you donate blood? I wanted to help change a problem that only the people that needed blood when the supply is low knew how important it was. The way to do this was simple. Get the music world involved.

Noticed that you folks are always out on Music Festivals…can you share which ones that you have aligned yourselves with and the premise behind that.

For 18 years this little punk show brings music to the 15 to 27 year old with mixed up music s that travel 18,000 miles across the US and preach punk to over 600,000 kids. This is the one that fits our message best. The Vans Warped Tour
was the perfect fit to the MSL mayhem that I was creating. We have branched out some but our core is the Vans Warped Tour
and working with all the bands that start here really makes a huge impact.

What are some amazing milestones about MSL?

It’s scary to think that a crazy idea like Music Saves Lives has had any milestones. My goal was to fix a problem that really was something that everyone should already be doing. People should care about the needs of others surrounding them. Music Saves Lives brings that simple message. and I guess that we are affective at doing that. The reality is, we use a bands fame to twist the arms of their fans and tell them that they should care about those needing blood. So, you want to meet a band? #GiveBlood

Where do you see MSL’s future in the years to come?

I have to say, I’m just lucky to wake up every morning and to find people still wanting to be a part of this. I’ve come to a few cross roads and one keeps coming up and when the time is right I will take MSL on another ride. I really think we need to tackle more marrow registrations to save those that have blood disorders and blood cancers. We have already registered close to 25,000 and saved 15 people with leukemia.

How does an interested band or individual get involved?

We are always looking to bands for support. Right now I have over 10 bands that are passing out info, that have placed our logo on there CD and a bunch play acoustic at blood drives all over the US. A band first needs to know first hand the importance of what we do then they can spread the word.

Have you ever been personally touched or affected by the people you seek to help?

Everyday, it’s remembering that 5 year old girl that needs transfusions every 2 weeks because of some messed up diseases that causes her body to wipe out the blood cells or the 15 year drummer that I had to watch fight a cancer that beat the shit out of him every day for the last 2 years. I have to say, yes to that.

To get involved go to or email [email protected]