Bombs Away
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Bombs Away


Band Pop Punk


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"Heavy themes framed by catchy music"

Punky Bombs Away will play more dates - once they graduate
By RYAN CORMIER / The News Journal

When you think punk, Middletown probably doesn't come to mind.

Well, let's be honest, it never comes to mind.

But practicing in a basement in yet another nondescript development in Middletown is Bombs Away - a punk band that would quickly catch the ear of any Green Day fan.

The home is owned by the parents of the band's 17-year-old drummer Mark Hudson, a senior at William Penn High School. Luckily, Mark's dad, Ken, is a drummer too, and the band can pretty much make all the noise it wants.

And if you've been out listening to live music in Delaware over the past year, that noise might be familiar to you.

The four-piece group of musicians with an affinity for tattoos, piercings and studded belts has been gaining a bit of a following in the area over the past year or so, playing in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and, soon, New York.

Guitarist and singer Dave Hepner, 23, is the eldest member of the band. His vocal delivery is reminiscent of someone who's been on top of the music world recently - Grammy award-winning Billy Joe Armstrong, the leader of Green Day.

Since they're big fans of Green Day themselves, the band doesn't mind the comparisons much, except when they come from snotty teens trying to bring them down with it. That seems to be often, judging by their reaction to the subject.

"I'm sick of hearing it in a condescending way," says Mac Brown, the band's 18-year-old guitarist and singer.

Brown's cousin, Shawn Fagan, a bassist, rounds out the band. Bombs Away's first album, "Ageing, Death, Recovery," is heavy on break-up songs thanks to the lyrics of Brown and Hepner, who found themselves on the losing end of love while working on the disc.

On "Sign Here," Brown wrote this of his oft-complaining then-girlfriend: "Sleep alone in the dark/Where I've left you to rot/And pass your time."

When Brown played the song to her, six months into their yearlong relationship, he said she was a bit stunned, to say the least.

"Instead of yelling at her, I wrote that," says Brown, a Glasgow High School senior.

Another relationship song, "When We Were 17," is well-known to everyone who works and attends class at Glasgow High School: They play it over the school's public address system every day before the morning announcements. (Brown admits that his girlfriend, the school's "broadcaster," is the one behind the daily punkcast throughout the school.)

While many songs deal with relationships, one song stands out as different from the rest - a song described by the band as a drinking awareness song.

A punk band made up mostly of teens writing about drinking in a nonglamorous way? Yup.

After seeing a family member struggle with alcohol problems and other friends' families having alcohol-induced troubles, Brown penned a song called "The Red Glass Trials."

Brown sings, "Grab me by the neck/And take me for a ride/I'll take you on a path/That you can't see/Crash the car/And hit the bottom/Of what our family used to be."

But even with some heavy themes in their lyrics, the band sticks to catchy music to go with them. With that in mind, Bombs Away is currently recording their second album, which they plan to release independently by summer.

Everyone will be done with high school by that time, and the band plans on playing even more shows, where they'll perform their original music and bypass cover songs for the most part.

With Green Day's big Grammy win for best rock album last week still fresh in their minds, Brown outlines what it would take for them to turn to cover songs:

"For us to do a cover show, we'd have to already have a Grammy on the fireplace."
- News Journal

"Tribute to Middletown Guitarist"

It's been just over two weeks since Mac Brown, guitarist of the Middletown-based punk band Bombs Away, died at the age of 19. And just like at his funeral, friends and family will gather Thursday to honor Brown at a marathon concert put on by local bands, all of which have a personal connection with Brown.

"They are all close friends in bands and bands that we've played with," said Shawn Fagan, Brown's cousin and member of Bombs Away. The nearly 8-hour show at Kahunaville will double as a fund-raiser for his family, which is struggling to pay the $11,000 bill for his Oct. 8 funeral.

Brown's mother, Susan, found her only son dead in his bedroom on Oct. 4 when she heard his alarm clock going off. The family is awaiting an autopsy report for the cause of death. Susan Brown said suicide has been ruled out and no note was found. "He was in good spirits the night before I found him," she said. "He was telling me what he was going to have for breakfast the next morning.


"He was such a wonderful person. He made everyone laugh. I feel like all the fun is gone now. The everyday things, he made them fun."

With the Browns saddled with the funeral costs, the band and Brown's friends have organized the concert, with the $7 cover going to the family. Malcolm Brown Jr., Mac's father and Susan's former husband, said he's been surprised and touched by the outpouring from Mac's friends, many of whom have been taking care of Mac's grave site every day. "This was something we were just going to find a way to pay for on our own," said Malcolm Brown Jr., who has been out of work since the mid-90s, when he hurt his back working as a heavy-equipment mechanic.

Passion for music

Music was such a part of Mac Brown's life that he was buried with his favorite guitar, which he had named "Julie." The guitar still had stickers of his favorite bands on it. "This is what Mac wanted to do," Fagan said. "Music was his life."

At 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Bombs Away members Dave Hepner and Mark Hudson are scheduled to do an acoustic performance of "Leland," the last song written by Brown. "To me, it's a fitting song," says Malcolm Brown Jr. "It's him saying goodbye."

The lyrics were read aloud at his funeral by the pastor as an overflowing crowd of his family, friends and fans wept: "Roll out of bed and I feel you again/No sense in running and it'll be fun till the end/I watch as I fall into my grave/I laugh and move on because its been so long since I cared. Someone should wake me and tell me it's all/Tell me it's all been for real/Someone should wake me and tell me it's all been for real. And I will never, I will never die/I am invincible/But I still need you inside."

Contact Ryan Cormier at 324-2863 or Read his blog at

- By Ryan Cormier, The News Journal 10/19/2005

"A grieving band plays on, For punk/pop band Bombs Away, guitarist's death leaves a lasting mark"

MIDDLETOWN -- Mac did die.

Even though his friends thought he was invincible.

Even though the song that bandmate Dave Hepner wrote about Mac and his pills ends with "I will never die."

Even though Mac knew the song was about him.

When Hepner wrote "Leland," pouring his concern for his friend into words and music, he didn't fear for the life of 19-year-old bandmate Malcolm Leland Brown III, known as Mac.

Hepner feared Mac's pills. The pills for depression and the pills to get to sleep -- pills that Mac overdosed on in his Bear bedroom Oct. 4.

And suddenly, the song's line "I watch as I fall into my grave" became a shot to the gut for the Middletown-based punk/pop band Bombs Away and its fans.

Hepner and Mac were half of Bombs Away, whose dedicated following was stunned when Mac, a carefree social butterfly with a penchant for tattoos, died.

Quickly, everyone's attention turned to "Leland," which the band had recorded before Mac's death. Mac plays guitar on it.

The pastor even read the lyrics at Mac's funeral at McCrery Memorial Chapel. When he got to "I watch as I fall into my grave/I laugh and move on because its been so long since I cared," cries and chilling wails rose from the overflow crowd of young people on that gray and rainy October morning.

"I wrote it to sound like someone was singing to a girl, but it's him talking to his addiction. It just came out of me," Hepner says. "And it's not sort of like what happened -- it's exactly what happened.

"It's weird."

The tight-knit band, which includes bassist Shawn Fagan and drummer Mark Hudson, was surrounded by an equally tight circle of fans and friends.

"They have to be one of the closest, largest groups of friends I have ever met," says Wendy Hamilton, a tattoo artist at Tidewater Tattoo Studio in Glasgow who worked on Mac and the other band members, sometimes giving them matching tattoos. "Their group of friends is larger than most people's groups of acquaintances. It's incredible."

Now, nine months after Mac died, the band is recording again, putting the finishing touches on its second album, tentatively titled, "Until Next Time." Mac will be on some of those songs, which were recorded before he died.

"It's kind of freaky sometimes," Hepner says. "You'll be listening along and a vocal comes in and it's him."

But the band, which now includes guitarist Jesse Patton-Dougherty, will keep Mac's voice.

"He was so passionate, and music's all he wanted to do with his life," Hudson says. "We figured we should at least try to live his dream out for him. ...

"Some of the harmonies might sound a little off, but that's OK. We don't feel that would be right to re-record them. We have to keep it no matter what."

He seemed invincible

After Hepner presented "Leland" to the band, he made a point to gauge Mac's reaction.

"I was like, 'You know what this is about, right,' and he said, 'Yeah, I have a good idea, but I like the song,' " says Hepner, 24, the oldest member of the group. "It was all about the song for him."

The band knew Mac had a problem. While on their tours, Hepner and others realized that Mac rarely slept. "He wanted to stop," he says, "but he couldn't sleep without it."

The band tried talking to him. "Then he began hiding it," Hepner says.

Even with that backdrop, Mac's death shocked everyone.

With his infectious smile punctuated by a pierced bottom lip, Mac seemed invincible. He had emerged unhurt from several car accidents, adding to that feeling.

"I thought nothing's ever going to happen to Mac. That's Mac. The world needs Mac," Hepner says. "You never realize what's going on until after it's over. I would have never in a million years guessed that would happen."

But it did.

Hepner says Mac was at his house the night he died. Mac said he hadn't eaten in days, but turned down the Hamburger Helper that Hepner's girlfriend made.

Mac's mother, Susan Brown, says her son overdosed on a mixture of antidepressants and sleeping aids after taking them to try to get some sleep.

"He had been awake for three days and he was desperate for sleep," she says. "His head was just spinning so fast trying to do things for the band and write lyrics. He was so involved that he couldn't sleep at night."

The band came to her house the night of Mac's death.

"What do you say to her?" Hepner asks.

Brown says she still misses work, even a week straight at one point, because of her grief.

"I never wanted to have another child because when he was born, I was so in love with him," she remembers. "I was just so happy. I never felt the need to have another child."

"Mac's still with us"

Brown has attended one Bombs Away show since Mac's death. It was in January and it was the first show for new member Patton-Dougherty, of Smyrna.

The band invited him to join about a month after Mac died. Patton-Dougherty, 19, had known Hudson, the band's drummer, since the sixth grade, and had - RYAN CORMIER, The News Journal

"Bombs Away, "No Joke" Stewart join up tonight"

In April, Bombs Away won the Wilmington Drama League's Battle of the Bands.

It was just six months after the death of 19-year-old band member Mac Brown and it was an emotional win for the young band.

Part of the prize was to headline a night of their own at the drama league (10 W. Lea Blvd, Wilmington) and that night is tonight.

The boys of Bombs Away will be joined by Wilmington bands Stealing December and Centerview, along with Camden-Wyoming-based Your Eyes My Dreams.

And if that wasn't enough, the MC for the night will be none other than boxer Michael "No Joke" Stewart from ESPN's "The Contender."

Tickets for the all-ages concert are $10. It kicks off at 7 p.m.
Reach Ryan Cormier at 324-2863 or rcormier@delaware Read his 55hours Weekend Warrior blog at - RYAN CORMIER, The News Journal


"Ageing, Death, Recovery" (April 2004)
"Divided We Stand" (Upcoming Winter 2006)

"When We Were 17" played on 94.1 WYSP's Loud and Local

"When We Were 17" played on 93.7 WSTW's Hometown Heroes

"When We Were 17" played on University of Delaware WVUD

"Bitches On The Move" played on WMUC College Radio


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bombs Away can be traced all the way back to the beginnings of the now defunct band Burnout. It was this band that marked the foundation for what you see as Bombs Away. Mac Brown (Guitar, Vocals) and cousin Shawn Fagan (Bass, Vocals) fronted this former trio. Then in 2001, another guitarist was added. Dave Hepner (Guitar, Vocals) joined the band. Not too long after, their drummer parted ways with them. And so, their search for a new member brought them to Mark Hudson (Drums, Vocals). With two new members in the band, they decided to change their name to Bombs Away. The chemistry between the members shone through their music when they played. Together, they wrote catchy lyrics and music that brought fans and new listeners to their feet. Off stage, they were like four brothers playing in a band together.
Tuesday 4th October 2005. When the band received tragic news about their guitarist Mac Brown, they were shocked and stunned. Their brother and fellow bandmate had passed away suddenly at the young age of 19. This left the remaining members wondering, "What now?"
So in November 2005, after only a short time since the loss of Mac, they decided to move on. Auditioning only close friends, it was a tough decision to choose another guitarist. In the end, Jesse Patton-Dougherty was chosen as Bombs Away's new guitarist. "It's like Mac's still in the band," says Dave during a band meeting. "We just have a third guitarist."
Since then, the band has been practising and writing new material. Mac's passing has influenced the band, as can be heard on their new songs. They have decided to keep only a couple of their old songs, so when they come out don't be surprised if you realise it's them. They're coming out with a bang. The chemistry is there more than ever and the passion is so much more intense. As for when the new album comes out, it's best we keep you guessing. It'll be when you least expect it and when your fiending for Bombs Away is stronger than ever. Bombs Away is back. It's not over. You watch.