'Straightedge' punk rocker brings spoken word to Headroom

BRATTLEBORO — Greg Bennick has dedicated his career to activism. A frontman for the staple straightedge punk band Trial, Bennick continues his art through speech and sharing thought-provoking ideas, this time minus the wall of distorted guitars behind him.

"Donald Trump is the worst human on the planet and we should be actively figuring out ways to send him into deep space in a spaceship built for one, filled to bursting with his ego and money," said Bennick. His spoken word set, "Changing the World Without a Clue," will take place at Headroom Stages in Brattleboro on Friday.

Though the event will not focus on launching Donald Trump into orbit, Bennick hopes that it will give audience members an idea on how to make a difference even if they feel powerless, and most of all, enjoy themselves.

The Seattle-native is a humanitarian, musician, film-producer, keynote speaker, animal rights activist, and an avid anti-Trumper. His choice of artistic mediums has changed over the years but his effort to make a difference to the issues he cares about is transparent in all the art he creates.

Bennick founded One Hundred for Haiti in 2010, a relief organization that delivers food and medical supplies to a rural sections of Haiti, as well as helps develop water tanks to prevent diseases from spreading and offers a sexual assault prevention educational program. His blog, wordsasweapons, publishes his thoughts on issues such as animal rights and violence from hate groups that has swept the nation through rallies and mass-shootings.

"I am motivated mostly by a combined fear of death and fear of insignificance," said Bennick, "On one hand I am terrified that my life will end before I feel satisfied that I've lived fully enough and at the same time I am terrified that my life won't have made enough of an impact to matter in the world. "

Bennick lives a "straight-edge" lifestyle, a term coined from an '80s punk subculture for those who describe themselves as straightedge, refraining from drugs and alcohol as well as practicing a vegan diet. Bennick describes straightedge as "a lifestyle which embraces clarity over drug and alcohol use."

Bennick said some of those who are straightedge in the punk and hardcore music camp see it as being the pinnacle of well-being, but Bennick thinks it's more of a starting point.

"Keeping a clear mind is a foundational building block for a life potentially well lived. It's not the end in and of itself."

The Headroom Stages are located at 17 Elliot Street, Brattleboro. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Spencer Crispe will be introducing the speaker with his talk called "Getting Outdoors is Medicine."

Tickets are $10

"We can create the world we want based on our creativity and ideas," said Bennick. "We don't have to wait for powers that be to do anything for us. We can do it ourselves."

Marc Apesos is a journalism student at Keene, N.H., State College. He can be contacted at Marc.Apesos@ksc.keene.edu.


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