Death Worth Living is a music and arts collective based in Portland, Oregon, active between 2006 and 2011. The project was led by myself and featured several consistent players including Steven Shane Schneider, Jean-Paul Jenkins, Peter Bryant, Anthony T. Schatz, and Joseph Bengry. Beyond this core, dozens more joined the group for at least one event.
The conceptual basis of the group was to never repeat a set. From that point, any attempt to build repeatable material would fail. Only with pure improvisation did this band find stability. If a band name sets the intention, death worth living expresses how we treated the music.
Musical performers who appeared one or more times on stage with DWL include the following: Boyd Anderson, Russel Archer, Mitchell Brown, Matt Cunitz, Melissa Hawley, Joey Hyland, Chenelle Gris, Ali Ippolito, Jason Morales, Zac Nelson, Ezra Reece, Alyssa Reed, Megan Remy, Jason Schmidt, Kelly Slusher, Michael Saalman, Ryan Steuwe, Jerry Soga, Daniel Trudeau, Dana Valatka, and Evelyn Weston.
As for non-musical work, Gary Menghini contributed to CD covers and poster art, David Bryant provided video for our 2010 MMMicrofest show, Jennifer Knipling choreographed with Alyssa for the same show, Shane produced art and used spoken word. I did a little of everything.
As a product of our work, we self-published various limited edition CD-R packages and sold them at shows. Ultimately, I compiled the pieces into a trilogy of Bandcamp releases in 2011.
The project never officially ended, but the core players moved out of state, lost the ability to play, or had other life altering events, and the project naturally reached death after five years.
DWL performed across the West coast alongside established players in the scene, at serious venues and party houses alike, for audiences anywhere between one and one hundred people.
In Portland, we performed at Holocene, Rotture, Valentines, KPSU and KBOO, to name a few venues. Along the West coast, we performed at 21 Grand in Oakland, the Olympia Experimental Music Festival in Washington, in Davis as part of the KDVS Feats of Strength showcase, and collaborated with Los Angeles Free Music Society players.
For a deeper dive into the story of that band, intertwining into the entirety of my life in Portland, as a broadcaster, producer, and journalist, please read the memoire.