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The Total Package

Florida’s underground metal community celebrates Seth Howard

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Losing a band member is never an easy thing, and it cuts even deeper when the group in question is young, tight and on the rise: a band of brothers. On Dec. 30, the eve of New Year’s Eve, Jacksonville metal group Yashira lost their drummer, 24-year-old Seth Howard, in a car accident. Now Howard’s bandmates—bassist Luke Barber and guitarists Connor Anderson and Dylan Mikos—are putting on a benefit show to celebrate his life and help the Howard family cover medical and memorial costs.

Friends and family alike attest that Howard was not only an amazing drummer but an all-around a great guy. He was a student, a brother and a friend to anyone that needed him. Artistically, his role in Yashira was central. According to his bandmates, Howard was a writer and visionary.

“He was definitely the focal point of the band,” Barber told Folio Weekly, “and I can’t underestimate his genius. He had the ultimate vision of where our songs should go.”

Howard was also a natural performer—a rock ‘n’ roll animal, to borrow Lou Reed’s expression.

“He was the total package,” Barber continued. “He was handsome, much more handsome than any of us, I think. He would get on stage, take off his shirt, and he had all these cool tattoos, and everybody would be looking at him.”

Outside of music, Howard was passionate about anything and everything that he set his mind to.

“Even if he was reading an article on the internet and he had a feeling about it, he would let you know,” said Barber.

Howard had been pursuing an electrical engineering degree at the University of Florida before deciding to put his academic career on the back burner and give Yashira a proper go. After honing the craft for three years, the band recorded their debut album for New Jersey metalcore label Good Fight Music. Shrine was released in April 2018 to encouraging reviews nationwide.

This week’s Seth Howard Benefit Show was organized by the surviving members of Yashira in collaboration with Jacksonville’s chief underground metal booking agency, Southern Druid. The lineup is insane, including comrades from across the state: Gouge Away, Ether, AXIS, Gillian Carter, GIMME and Rahm. It’s a show that no metalhead would want to miss.

The goal is not just to celebrate Howard’s life and music, but also to help relieve some of the financial stress that his family is facing as a result of his passing. A GoFundMe account has been established on their behalf, and it has already reached almost $13,000 of its $20,000 goal.

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