Putting the Roll Back in Rock and Roll, Part II : Cityzen
In case you are wondering, the Part II in the title refers to this, a story I wrote in January lamenting my sense that there are not many famous musicians with disabilities. I was recently reminded of it when I came across a story on disaboom.com about Tobias Forrest and his band, Cityzen. Forrest is a quadriplegic, but was not when he first started his band. He was paralyzed during a diving accident. It was very refreshing to read that he continued to rock after the accident, especially after reading that immediately after the accident, he was on a ventilator to breathe.
Having four band mates who are committed to the same vision as he is helps a lot too. They carry him up on stage at almost every gig since most of the venues don’t have a ramp up to the stage and the ADA apparently does not apply to access to the stage.
Said Forrest about his accident, “I did a little drowning, I did a little dying, but I said Heaven can wait. I didn’t lose my sense of humor.” Sounds like a song lyric. Sounds like a great way to live. But as far as I can tell, he doesn’t sing about his accident, or his disability. It is the usual sex, alcohol, partying, etc. You know the drill. But I honestly think that he can inspire kids in wheelchairs to think, and to believe that they can rock if they want to.
Cityzen’s music itself is interesting. This link will take you to a sampling of their music, which is not bad with the exception of a goofy song called “White Rapper”. Their guitarists infuse the music with funk and blues. I can’t place who Forrest’s voice sounds like, but it’s not bad.