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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Punk Rockers Take Action for Teens
by Grant Hutchinson

Sex sells. And apparently, sex education rocks.

Rock bands Bayside, Silverstein, Polar Bear Club, The Swellers and Texas in July are scheduled to play at Phineas Phogg’s on Monday, May 2 as part of the 2011 Take Action Tour. Proceeds will benefit Sex, Etc., a Rutgers University-based organization dedicated to improving sexual health for teens.

Sex, Etc. is the peer-to-peer, teen outreach arm of Answer, a larger organization that provides sexual education tools to teachers and parents.

“We provide accurate, age-appropriate, non-judgmental information about sexuality to young people,” says Elizabeth Schroeder, Executive Director of Answer.

Answer founded Sex, Etc. over 20 years ago to promote teen-to-teen sexual education.

“There’s research that says peer education is one of the most effective ways to reach people,” says Schroeder.
The organization originally published stories and educational pieces in a simple newsletter.

“Over time, it became a much more slick magazine, which is what it looks like now,” says Schroeder. “And of course, with the Internet age, we founded sexetc.org.”

Sexetc.org receives over 18,000 unique visitors every day. The site features blogs, FAQs, a sexual dictionary, discussion forums, quizzes and games. User participation is encouraged.

“It’s really about people interacting with each other,” says Schroeder. “But no matter what, when teens come on the site, it’s a safe place. They’ll get answers to their questions by sex education experts, not just by some Joe Schmoe.”
This is the first year Sex, Etc. has partnered with the Take Action Tour.

“I’m kind of calling them our fairy godparents,” says Schroeder. “These artists are such role models to young people. It’s about music, but it’s (also) about giving back.”

Bayside lead singer and guitarist Anthony Raneri feels that Sex, Etc.’s cause is one that strikes a chord with his fanbase.

“I think it’s something that we can have a drastic impact on,” he says. “We get on stage in front of thousands of young people who need this information. I think it’s great.”

Bayside is currently on tour to promote their fifth studio album, “Killing Time,” which Raneri calls “the perfect Bayside record.”

Initially known for its dark, woeful lyrics and punishing punk-rock power chords, a tragic 2005 event forced Bayside to reevaluate their sound.

While leaving a show in Boulder, Colo., the band’s vehicle hit a patch of ice, skidded off the road and flipped over. Bassist Nick Ghanbarian was ejected through one of the car’s windows, sustaining serious injuries. Drummer John Holohan was killed.

“I think it made us all stronger as people,” says Raneri of the accident. “When we got through it together, it showed us that anybody can get through anything. We realized how strong people can be.”

Bayside’s records still deliver plenty of angst, but their post-Holohan releases seem to contain a newfound optimism.

“The music and lyrics went from being dark and depressing to dark, but there’s a light,” says Raneri. “There’s a light because you can get through anything.”

Bayside is involved with a number of charities, of which Sex, Etc. is just the latest.

info@inweekly.net

TAKE ACTION TOUR
WHAT: Bayside, Silverstein, Polar Bear Club, The Swellers and Texas in July
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 2
WHERE: Phineas Phogg’s, Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.
COST: $18 in advance, $21 at the door (21+); $19 in advance, $22 at the door (minors)
DETAILS: takeactiontour.com