The End: Devlin Rice of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat on Endings and Death

"Our society has no healthy way to talk about death mainly because there is a 'life at all cost' sort of mentality."

Jun 01, 2018 Web Exclusive
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To end out the week, we ask Devlin Rice, bassist of Ed Schrader's Music Beat, some questions about endings and death. Rice is one half of the post-punk duo with vocalist Ed Schrader. The Baltimore band released their third album, Riddles, back in March via Carpark. It was produced by fellow Baltimore resident Dan Deacon. Previously the album's title track, "Riddles," was one of our Songs of the Week, and then "Seagull" was also one of our Songs of the Week. "For me, the album parallels feelings of confronting the past, resolving it, facing the music, and blasting out of it," said Schrader in a press release announcing the album. "It's the album our hearts wanted us to make." Read on as Rice talks about his favorite ending to a movie and his least favorite TV series finale, when he'd like to die, as well as his personal versions of heaven and hell, and how his brother's passing most affected him.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

I think I'd at least want to touch 70. If I'm lucky I will be in my home (wherever that's gonna be) with loving friends and conscious to experience the final moments. 

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed? 

I would prefer silence. Maybe encouraging words from friends or maybe I'll start putting together a compilation of the most face melting guitar solos and go out to bunch of finger tapping dive bombs. I understand that's two different end of the spectrum. 

What's your favorite ending to a movie?

What About Bob has a great ending. Bob (Bill Murray) ends up being the darling of the family while Dr. Marvin's (Richard Dreyfuss) life is dismantled to the point where he is driven to madness. It's like a Bugs Bunny cartoon where it's kinda dark but you laugh about it and it doesn't seems so bad. I feel like if they made that movie today it wouldn't have that cynical type of ending. Everyone's life would be a field of rainbows with Dr. Marvin being wildly successful and Bob just happy in his dysfunction. 

What's your favorite series finale last ever episode of a TV show? (Or what's your least favorite?)

The ending of Lost was a real let down. It seems like they put a lot of effort into the websites and videos outside of the episodes when the show was airing. Which was super fun and engaging, so you'd figure they could have come up with something more interesting and appropriate than the whole "they all died and gone to heaven" trope. I mean they were time traveling at one point for Christ's sake. 

What's your favorite way a band broke up? 

My old band Nuclear Power Pants broke up in a noteworthy blaze. We were a 10-piece band, sort of Devo meets soul 'n' roll. There was a lot of DIY production and we toured in a gun metal grey, short scale school bus, powered on vegetable oil. We were driving from Providence to Brooklyn and we blew a head gasket in Danbury CT, which sent huge plumes of smoke up (it looked like the bus was on fire) and we lost all power. The bus managed to roll to the entrance gate of this retirement community with a Whole Foods next door. We all pour out of the bus looking like dirty hippies (which we were, ponchos and all), getting more than a few looks from the folks walking their Golden Retrievers. All the while the bus was breaking down people in the bus were having a meltdown argument and when we realized the bus died we knew the band was done. We had like four weeks left of shows we had to cancel. Miss that band. 

Whose passing has most affected you?

No doubt my brother's. He died almost three years ago from Cystic Fibrosis. The disease shaped the relationships within the family for our whole lives. He and I had many talks about quality of life vs. treatment (lung transplant or palliative care), along with conversations about living and dying in general. Thankfully he was treated in Vermont, which is one of five states along with D.C that has any kind of death with dignity legislation, which meant he could chose when to die. We were all with him when he passed and it was easily the most psychedelic experience of my life. The feelings immediately oscillated between deep grief and loss to feeling almost ecstatic about my own life. It brought into focus what I value, what I want from my own life and allowed me to fully understand that having the right to die is a civil rights issue for every human. Our society has no healthy way to talk about death mainly because there is a "life at all cost" sort of mentality, so naturally most people are scared to talk about the idea because it causes anxiety and there is enough to worry about. Having quality discussions about death and dying would help address these anxieties while also helping people fully live their life. 

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

If I could cook a Thanksgiving dinner and make it real big. I want to make a big enough dinner for the staff of executioners so we can all sit down at the table and enjoy a meal before they kill me. Brussels sprout, mashed turnips, all the other goodies. Sweet potato pie, the best coffee, and a litany of expletives to close it out. 

What's your concept of the afterlife?

I hope there isn't one but if there is something on the other side I don't think that we would have any concept that we are an individual in that afterlife. 

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

The Holodeck on the Starship Enterprise. Fun all the time, in space. 

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

At every instant, all at once, forever, having the feeling that I have to go out to eat with a group of six or more people, skipping the meal and going straight to figuring out the check. One of the 10 people claims they didn't eat anything, one couple only wants to pay for half of this one entree, this other guy ordered five bottles of wine and didn't share but thinks it should all be split, another person is tittering on about how lovely this all was. This goes on and repeats itself every second, forever. The situation is always different and when it looks like the check is sorted it starts all over again. One person wants Thai, these other people want Waffle House...ugh makes me bothered just to think of it. 

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

A being on another planet. Plant, animal, other type of being it doesn't really matter. 

www.edschradersmusicbeat.bandcamp.com

 

 

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Bradley Williams
June 2nd 2018
3:15pm

Correction there is no medical supervision or witness required at the time of the flaunted “self administration “ in the US.
The laws/bills that the international euthanasia monopoly crafts are not OK. Amending the CA euthanasia law is sorely needed (and OR, WA, CO and HI). Even as they proclaimed that the poison must be self-administered to divert normal scrutiny they did not provide for an ordinary witness. The difference is that without a witness it allows predators to force euthanasia but with a witness they would up hold individual choice.
Amendments would include not allowing an heir to be part of the process, requiring a witness to self-administration, restore the illegality of falsifying the death certificate, require the posting of the poison applied in the medical record, register organ/tissue trafficking, reveal commissions and memorials paid to the corporate facilitators to guard against the profiteering that is of public record in the industry.