Rocker Jowed Hadeed had a brush with death he will never forget.
The Eclectic Approach lead singer picked up a serious case of the H1N1 flu virus in 2009 that landed him in the hospital in the middle of the band's Northwest tour.
"We were playing a concert at Washington State University where there was a swine flu outbreak," said Hadeed, who grew up in the Tri-Cities. "A week later, I was still playing only with what I thought was a cold. Then I started coughing up blood. After playing a couple shows, I decided I better get to the hospital."
Hadeed's illness got so severe he slipped into a coma for a time, and it took months to recover. It also put the now Seattle-based band's music on hold.
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But by the end of last year he had recuperated enough that the band went back to making music. The experience also gave Hadeed a new perspective and appreciation for life.
"It may seem unusual to say, but even though the swine flu was the most traumatic experience of my life, I wouldn't take it back for the world," he said. "I got to see how capable people are of love. People from all over the country prayed for me. They wrote a song and recorded it in the hospital. Even my parents who hardly talked to each other anymore renewed their friendship while I was sick. It brought us closer to God, to each other, and I feel it brought the community closer together."
Ryan Jander, the band's guitarist, says since Hadeed's recovery, the band has recorded its third album, Jump Into Life, which was produced by Justin Armstrong, who also has produced albums for Dave Matthews and Peter Frampton.
"Even though we are (back to) playing sold out shows in Seattle at premier venues like Showbox Market and SoDo, we are not content to sit on our laurels and bask in the glory of our success," Jander said.
The band, which also includes guitarist Justin MacDonald and drummer Brian Paxton, embraces a selection of music styles as eclectic as its name.
They embarked on a new West Coast tour last month and will make a stop in the Tri-Cities on April 22-23 at downtown Kennewick's newest nightclub, the Rock Reactor.
Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Cover is $10. The club is for the 21 and older crowd only. Also appearing will be Elm & Olympia.
For Hadeed, the tour holds special musical meaning.
"This year is our year," he said. "We are committed to giving it all that we have to make something happen for ourselves."
Eclectic Approach has made its new album available for free download at www.eclecticapproach.com.
"The music industry isn't what it used to be, but we want everyone to be able to enjoy our music, even if that means they don't pay for it," he said. "It's the only way to keep going as a band," said guitarist Justin MacDonald.
Despite the previous years' hardships, Eclectic Approach is determined to make it in the music business.
"It's been about a year and a half since I was released from the hospital and I feel amazing. I'm ready for our band to go to the next level. We've worked hard and it looks like we're getting somewhere, thanks to our fans and supporters," Hadeed said. "Last year was the best year of my life. I learned that life is a gift and not to be taken for granted. I learned that the little things don't mean anything in the end."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org