The following are interviews conducted by SunCity Paradise’s Founder and CEO, Sean Ritchie, at the FEND Movement launch party in New York City at the Cutting Room.
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Sean Ritchie: How did your and Warped Tour’s involvement come to be with FEND?
Kevin Lyman: It was interesting, because iPug, a technology company, was talking to a friend of mine and said, “You have to meet my friend Kevin. He’s always done activism through his projects.” So, they came in and we had a bunch of meetings in my backyard and all these people were coming. My 91-year-old neighbor actually came over and asked, “Senior Lyman, why are all the people in the suits and ties coming to see you? Are they coming to arrest you or sue you?” It was a different world for me, because of who I am.
We said, “Look, Warped Tour kids are engaged. They’ve always been engaged. I think this would be a great opportunity to work with and develop a proper product.” So, it moved very quickly and we got the first incarnation of the app March 1st when we announced the original Warped Tour Lineup. Basically, we are building a baseline of data and technology in behavioral change and education that we hope to white label and take into every genre of music or sports. It could go to golf or NASCAR. People can build their own FEND Movement, just backslash something.
It’s fun. It’s really where I wanted to go post Warped Tour, more into education and philanthropy. That’s the kind of direction I really want to expel me energy into. Producing a tour, I think I’ve done everything in that format that I could possibly do. There’s a lot of people putting on great shows now. So, we’re going to have one great summer and then I can go do this. I also took a job as a professor at [University of Southern California]. I start in August. I guess I’m fulfilling my vision in life where it’s about music philanthropy and education.
SR: Amazing. Why do you feel the opioid epidemic is particularly important to tackle these days?
KL: Oh my gosh, you travel the country, and I’m one of those lucky people that has 39-mini-family reunions every summer. I travel on every tour. I get to talk to people, and almost every story is how someone’s hooked — nephews, the crew people, everyone. You can’t tell me that Michael Jackson, Tom Petty and Prince haven’t been on my mind. I was lucky enough to work with those artists in some way in my life, and seeing that I know that there’s a long tale there.
I also believe that sometimes we can be duped as a public. The more I dug into the books that were written about big pharma and doctors, the more I started putting it together in my life. I just said I’m going to give it a shot. That’s all you can do is give it a shot. But, we hope that this is something that can be around for the next 20 years, because I believe it does change all by education.
SR: A big part of the FEND Movement is technology, the app included, why do you think including technology is the best way to tackle this problem?
Read the full article by Sun City Paradise here