Scream Drummer Kent Stax Dies at 61


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Scream Drummer Kent Stax Dies at 61

Stax, who had been living metastatic cancer, was a founding member of the Virginia hardcore band

Kent Stax

Kent Stax of Scream, photo by Sal Owen

Kent Stax, drummer and founding member of Virginia hardcore group Scream, has died. Stax’s bandmates revealed the news in a Facebook post earlier today (September 20), writing that the musician had been living with metastatic cancer. “We are heartbroken to share that our drummer Bennett Kent Stacks passed away this morning,” Scream wrote. “Kent is the original heartbeat of Scream,” they continued. “Though we have had to continue on without him before, we have always known Kent is irreplaceable.” Find the band’s full statement below.

Stax formed Scream in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia in 1979 alongside schoolmates Skeeter Enoch Thompson (on bass), and brothers Pete and Franz Stahl (on vocals and guitar, respectively). The quartet drew influence from the burgeoning punk scene in nearby Washington, D.C., and they particularly admired the pioneering D.C. group Bad Brains.

Scream cut their debut album Still Screaming in 1982 at the legendary Inner Ear Studio. The record was co-produced by the band, then-Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, Eddie Janney (later in Rites of Spring), and Inner Ear co-founder Don Zientara. Still Screaming marked the first-ever full-length released on MacKaye’s Dischord label.

Stax remained in Scream through their next two albums, 1985’s This Side Up and 1986’s Banging the Drum (neither of which were issued on Dischord), but he departed in the mid-to-late ’80s to start a family. His replacement was Dave Grohl, who played with Scream until joining Nirvana in 1990.

During a 1996 Christmas reunion show, Stax briefly joined his former band on stage; the concert was recorded and released as their Live at the Black Cat CD. Stax and Scream returned to Inner Ear Studio—and to Dischord—to cut their latest full-length DC Special. The record was tracked in 2021 before the studio’s original location was shuttered. DC Special arrives November 10, and features contributions from Grohl, Amy Pickering, Mark Cisneros, Joe Lally, and more.

We are heartbroken to share that our drummer Bennett Kent Stacks passed away this morning after a bout with metastatic cancer. Kent is the original heartbeat of Scream. Though we have had to continue on without him before, we have always known Kent is irreplaceable. He was one of a kind. In addition to being a truly unique drummer, Kent was also an accomplished fisherman, skilled carpenter, and avid train enthusiast.

Kent also played in prominent punk and harDCore bands including The Suspects, Spitfires United, Alleged Bricks and more throughout his life. He also branched out to other genres, playing with The Daryl Davis Band and The Old Dominion Trio.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years Andrea, daughter Jennifer, brothers Kurt, William and Henry and a host of band mates, friends and fans. If you ever saw us play or if you knew Kent, your thoughts and memories are welcome here.

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