Ten and Counting
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Ten and Counting

La Grange Park, Illinois, United States | INDIE

La Grange Park, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Funk


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Bridget Doyle and Jenn Zimmerman
TribLocal reporters

Although their first single “Iain’s Song” was a sort of requiem, local suburban high school band Ten and Counting hopes the dedication will have a lasting influence on other troubled teens looking for help.

“Bullying is happening and people aren’t seeing it,” said Glenbard West Junior PJ McCloskey, guitar player in the five-member band. “If Iain hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have noticed it was happening either.”

In June of 2009, Lyons Township High School freshman Iain Steele committed suicide just before school was to let out for the summer. His death came as a shock to the community and brought a sad awareness to the deep effects of teen bullying.

That awareness, along with the memory of the friend who they met through guitarist Matt Brooks, was something members of Ten and Counting didn’t want to fade.

So, they turned to their music.

“The main reason I wrote the song was to find a way to accept his death,” said Brooks, a junior at Lyons Township. “Later I approached the band and asked if we could record it. It wasn’t necessarily a Ten and Counting song from the beginning, but we wanted to help others facing depression get through their own situation.”

Following a successful performance at Steele’s memorial concert and overwhelming positive feedback, the band released “Iain’s Song” on iTunes in mid-December.

McCloskey said although it is a tribute of sorts to Steele, it is also meant to bring a message to other victims of teen bullying that they are not alone and help is available. He also hopes it will open more teenagers’ eyes to the lasting and fatal effects it has on their classmates.

“It sucks because I had to realize it in the worst of ways,” he said.

Brooks said the band plans to donate all proceeds to Erika’s Lighthouse, a Winnetka-based group focused on raising awareness about teen mental health and depression.

They will perform “Iain’s Song” during the organization’s benefit concert Friday. Ten and Counting also will perform on April 15 at Night of the Noise, a show in honor of the Day of Silence, an event meant to bring awareness to the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community.

“We know that organization has had countless troubles with suicide, and were hoping that they will be able to see the song and realize that people are trying to make a difference,” McCloskey said.

“Iain’s Song” is available on iTunes for $1.99. Information about upcoming shows can be found at Facebook.com/tenandcounting.

In addition to McCloskey and Brooks, Ten and Counting is made up of Glenbard West juniors James Gould, Stephen Ilhardt, and David Hahne.

For more information about Erica’s Lighthouse, go to erikaslighthouse.org. Watch the Ten and Counting perform here: - Chicago Tribune - Local

LAGRANGE PARK, Ill. (STMW) – Writing a song about the untimely death of a close friend was helpful to one west suburban high school student, Pioneer Press is reporting.

And now Lyons Township High School junior Matt Brooks and four fellow band members of Ten and Counting are hoping the release of “Iain’s Song” on iTunes will help a lot more people.

Proceeds from the song’s release will benefit Erika’s Lighthouse, a nonprofit group based in Winnetka aimed at raising awareness about teen mental health.

Brooks said it took several months to process the tragedy and begin to heal after Western Springs freshman Iain Steele lost his battle with depression and took his life in June 2009.

“It was so hard for me knowing him just a year,” Brooks said. “I couldn’t imagine people who had known him since he was young.”

Steele was bullied at school and online for several years, his friends and family noted.

“I’m not a poem writer, but I write a lot of music,” Brooks said. “Obviously, expressing myself that way is really important. If anything comes up, I try to write about it.”

Normally, Brooks said he prefers to write the instrumental parts of his band’s mix of funk and garage rock, but he was moved to write lyrics in coping with Steele’s death.

“It took a couple of months before I realized, obviously, I hadn’t experienced anything like this and no one else had either. We all had to make our own way of dealing with it, and this was best for me.”

“Iain’s Song” debuted at a memorial concert Brooks arranged in November 2009. The concert raised $2,000 for nonprofit groups to battle teen depression and prevent suicide and bullying.

“We had to rock it and keep most of the set happy, then put the serous part at the end,” Brooks recalled. “A majority of the crowd started crying.”

Brooks, who plays guitar and keyboard, said the song is meant to heal and help others, rather than dwell on the tragedy.

“We hope people can remember and get further past this loss,” he said. “If they experience a similar situation, whether it’s involving themselves or a friend, maybe another suicide can be prevented from happening.”

Other members of Ten and Counting are Glenbard West students David Hahne on lead vocals, P.J. McCloskey, who plays guitar and sings, James Gould on drums and vocals, and Stephen Ilhardt on bass.

Brooks, of LaGrange Park, said he met the Glen Ellyn students while playing on a traveling baseball team, and they decided to form a band.

Willie Steele, Iain’s father, said he’s proud of his son’s friends’ efforts to help other struggling teens.

“It’s terrific,” Steele said. “It seems to us something good should come of it and that is the heightened awareness of mental health issues and how to treat each other in schools and everywhere.”

Steele said he and his wife, Liz, remain in close contact with their son’s friends, as well as officials from LT and Western Springs Elementary District 101 on efforts to counter bullying and support teens with mental health issues.

The couple took a proactive stance by sending all LT families a letter encouraging dialog on mental health issues and respectful relationships in and out of school.

“Iain’s Song” is available on iTunes, Zune and Amazon Mp3, following its release Jan. 29.

Brooks said feedback on the band’s Facebook page and by texts has been very positive, but he won’t know the extent of sales and money raised for several months.

The song’s lyrics read in part:

The message to be said here not an easy one to take
Great Life Gone, not taken by fate
You gotta be the one to stand up and say never again
Never again, will we all lose a best friend.

– Pioneer Press, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.) - CBS Chicago

After a close friend of the band Ten and Counting committed suicide because of depression and bullying, the musicians recorded “Iain’s Song” in memory of Iain Steele, a Lyons Township High School sophomore. The song is now available at iTunes for $1.99 and at other sites, with all net profits going to Erika’s Lighthouse.
Whom it helps
Erika’s Lighthouse in Illinois helps educate communities about mental health issues through programs for affected teens, as well as schools, parents and health professionals. “Through efforts like (Ten and Counting’s) — kids helping kids — together we can bring an end to stigma and get depression out of the dark,” says Peggy Kubert, executive director.

How to help
The organization seeks volunteers to assist with fundraising projects, including its annual Walkathon, and welcomes donations of goods and services, as well as monetary gifts to support its expanding programs.

Ten and Counting
The band members are James Gould, David Hahne, Stephen Ildhart and PJ McCloskey, juniors at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, and Matt Brooks, junior at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, who wrote the song with PJ. “We had to learn about depression in the worst of ways, from Iain’s death,” PJ says. “If the adolescents suffering (from depression) can see that a well-known group is pulling together and getting the word out in many areas in Illinois, maybe they will find that hope they are looking for, that people are trying to help.”

• “Iain’s Song” can be downloaded at Apple’s iTunes store, Zune and Amazon MP3

Q&A with band member

PJ talks about the band’s start, its music and the kinds of causes it embraces.

Is there a special meaning or reference in the name of the band, and when did you form the group?
The band name references something counting down to explode. The person who was about (to) set off the dynamite would say, ‘Ten seconds and counting.’ It was thought of by our drummer, James Gould. The band was formed in 2007 by (me) and James, however, the band picked up steam when Matt Brooks and Stephen Ilhardt joined the group in 2009. (David is on lead vocals; PJ on guitar and backup vocals; James on drums and backup vocals; Matt on guitar, backup vocals and keyboard; and Stephen on bass.)

Do you normally focus on concerts that help good causes?
We are almost always playing charity events when we get hired. Although we do play around at local clubs and venues, we have played three Relay for Life events, Concert for a Cure, a Doctors Without Borders fundraiser, a Woofin’ and Hoofin’ animal shelter fundraiser, and helped raise over $3,000 at the Iain Steele Memorial Concert going towards a music scholarship … in Iain’s name.

Does your group have a Web site?
The band is primarily found on facebook, youtube and purevolume.
Check us out there. New vids (are) uploaded to youtube often, and new shows recorded on facebook. (‘Iain’s Song’ is available at iTunes, Zune and Amazon Mp3.)

What kind of music do you play?
Our group plays a variety of music. The covers we play range from Vampire Weekend to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Wolfmother. However, we really enjoy writing and recording our own original music. Matt Brooks and (I) strive for creativity, complexity and catchiness in Ten and Counting’s originals. Most of the band’s work is very funk-rock based, including slap bass lines, saxophone solos and harmonizing vocals. However, our originals also feature shades of hip hop, garage rock and indie rock. We have now written and recorded 11 original songs, and plan on releasing a full album in the near future. Our EP also can be found on our Web site, featuring three of our early originals.

Talk about ‘Iain’s Song’ and your fundraising efforts.
We plan on having a goal of raising $10,000 towards suicide prevention charity in Erika’s Lighthouse, and believe we are well on our way to meeting that goal. The song’s release was inspired by Iain Steele’s tragic death, and by debuting it at the Iain Steele Memorial Concert, (it) helped raise over $3,000 dollars. The song was very well received at the concert, with tears and smiles, and we knew we wanted to take the process a step further to help the cause.
This song is not meant to glorify what Iain did, or even Iain as a person, but to spread the word about a cause that seems to be getting forgotten. We know that every community, and every school, has someone dealing with depression. Not only will the money help provide the charity support (for) these kids with medical attention and counseling, but it will also spread the word to those not suffering. We had to learn about depression in the worst of ways, from Iain’s death. We want people not suffering to learn about it now, so they can help prevent that worst way from happening to them. If the adolescents suffering can see that a well-known group is pulling together and getting the word out in many areas in Illinois, maybe they will find that hope they are looking for, that people are trying to help.

Excerpt from lyrics

“The message to be said here not an easy one to take
Great life gone, not taken by fate
You gotta be the one to stand up and say never again
Never again, will we all lose a best friend” - The Suburban Life

When Lyons Township freshman Iain Steele couldn’t take the bullying and depression anymore, he committed suicide. Steele’s death in 2009 shocked the school and its surrounding communities, leaving many people at a loss of what to do.

But not everyone. Lyons Township junior Matt Brooks turned his pain into something uniquely constructive: a song.
The aptly titled “Iain’s Song” was Brooks’ first attempt to share his feelings about Steele’s death. However, it was much more than that.

“I wrote this song for people who were closer to Iain than I was,” Brooks said. “If I was having such a tough time, I couldn’t imagine their situation.”

Brooks and his band, Ten and Counting, have now turned their talent into charity. All of the proceeds from the song go to Erika’s Lighthouse, an organization that helps educate communities about mental health issues, depression and suicide prevention.

“We want the message to spread to those in similar situations,” Brooks said. “I think Erika’s Lighthouse has allowed that.”

The band—which is composed of Brooks and Glenbard West juniors PJ McCloskey, David Hahne, Stephen Ilhardt and James Gould—is best known for their alternative funk-rock covers, including “Dani California” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse’s “Uprising.”

“Iain’s Song,” however, deviates from their norm. With guest artist Trevoy “Tredejo” Johnson, the slow, acoustic number has powerful lyrics: “The message to be said, not an easy one to take/great life gone, not taken by fate/you gotta be the one to stand up and say never again/never again, when we all lose a best friend.”

The band is hoping to reach its $10,000 goal. So far, they have raised more than $3,000. The song is available on iTunes, Zune and Amazon for $1.99. - The Mash

In June, 2009, Lyons Township High School Freshman Iain Steele, a victim of depression and bullying, committed suicide. His death left an entire community wondering “What could I have done?” Members of the band Ten and Counting, close friends of Iain, vowed to make that question obsolete.

Turning “What could I have done?” into “What can I do?”

Music is powerful stuff. On January 29th, the group released “Iain’s Song” on iTunes and Amazon. While not the first original composition from the Glenbard West High School-based group known for its covers of Red Hot Chili Peppers and others, “Iain’s Song” is certainly the most powerful. Written to pay tribute to their friend, the group also hopes the song will create more awareness of the problem of teen depression and suicide as well as the devastating effects of bullying.

Blasting Stigma One Download at a Time

To help get the word out, the band turned to Erika’s Lighthouse.

Founded by Winnetka residents Ginny and Tom Neuckranz and friends, Erika’s Lighthouse, a not-for-profit organization, strives to break the stigma and educate communities about adolescent mental health issues through various programs directed toward schools, teachers, parents, teenagers, and most recently, physicians and other health professionals.

The mission of Erika’s Lighthouse, “to shed light on adolescent depression,” resonated so strongly with the Band that they pledged 100% of the proceeds from the iTunes download of “Iain’s Song” to help the group spread the word. The goal is to raise a total of $10,000 for the cause.

According to PJ McCloskey, guitarist, “Our band knows that it’s not just Iain Steele. Every school and every community has someone who is dealing with depression. The song is intended not only to shed a new light of hope for those suffering, but also to encourage students and families to learn about it and step up and help those people in need.”

Teens Helping Teens

The group hopes that “through our music and by creating awareness through access to the music via i-Tunes and the World Wide Web, we can do our part to spread the message of hope, and provide for a great charity that will help teens who struggled like Iain.”

The members of Ten and Counting include Matt Brooks of Lyons Township High School, and PJ McCloskey, James Gould, Steven Ilhardt, and David Hahne of Glenbard West High School.

The band invites everyone to download “Iain’s Song,” now available on both on Amazon and iTunes. For more information on Ten and Counting, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/tenandcounting. For more information on Erika’s Lighthouse, please visit www.Erikaslighthouse.org - Chicago Tribune - Local


Iain's Song - Single *On ITunes*
Ten and Counting - The EP (Three Songs)
Moon Hoppin' LP (Eight Songs)
*Unfinished LP* (Three Songs, More to come)

All new originals available on
www.facebook.com/tenandcounting for free!
We have CDs and MP3s of all of the fourteen originals available for anyone interested.



The band began in 2008 and has been going strong ever since, with a few member changes along the way. Our group is now tightly bonded with over eighty shows performed around the Chicago area. We have performed at many city festivals, charity events, battle of the band events, gay pride parades, and much more with the goal of sharing our music with others. Over this time, we have professionally recorded fourteen original songs and have the ability to choose from over forty covers. These covers range from Beatles and Monkeys to Funkadelic and Umphrey's McGee. Our influences include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sly and the Family Stone, Led Zeppelin, and more. We have also been recognized by our community for charity work involving teen suicide and bullying. Following the suicide of a band member's close friend in 2009, the band took initiative to write an original single, organize charity events, speak at schools, and eventually sell the single on itunes, giving the proceeds to the charity "Erika's Lighthouse" based in Winnetka IL. Sales were in triple digits after one month. To make it short, we are a group of instrumental and theory bad asses from the Chicago suburbs who just want to express our music and really get a crowd into it.