When Max Morrison was diagnosed with leukaemia on his 15th birthday, he was determined to fight back.
Max and his indie rock band The Down – made up of Fallibroome Academy school mates Sam Gordon, 14, and Dan Walters, 12 – decided to rehearse harder than ever and use their music to do some good for the cancer ward which looks after Max.
They started work on recording songs for an EP to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust which supports youngsters like Max going through cancer treatment in hospital. Max wants the money to go to the ward at Manchester Children’s Hospital where he is having treatment.
While Max has been having intensive chemotherapy, the band have continued to practice, fitting their sessions in and around Max’s ongoing treatment and varying energy levels.
Max, who lives some of the time with his mum on Fallibroome Road and the rest of the time with his dad who also lives in Macclesfield, said: “I’m doing this because I got diagnosed on my 15th birthday and I’ve always been into music and took it as an opportunity to focus on making music but to do some good at the same time.
“It’s been good for me, while going through something as hard as cancer. Instead of keeling over, I wanted to take advantage of the situation.
“I want to support Teenage Cancer Trust because being a teenager on a cancer ward you get really bored and they provide stuff to do to make it more bearable.” They enlisted the help of Macclesfield musician and singer-songwriter Jake Evans who agreed to help them record the tracks.
The friends spent a day at the Big Red studio in Macclesfield and recorded three original tracks written by Max – named Found My Baby, Jackyl and Hyde and Smoke and Drink – and a cover of Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys. Jake acted as sound engineer on the tracks and Macclesfield photographer Carlton Adkins has taken photos of the boys and is using them to draw up artwork for the front cover.
They are waiting for final sign-off on releasing the EP for download and all money raised will go to Teenage Cancer Trust.
It’s been a bonding experience for the fledgling rock stars.
The lads got together as a band a year ago with Max as songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. Sam, who lives in Broken Cross, plays guitar and bass and Dan, from Tytherington, plays drums.
The group reflects the musical interests of the lads, who are passionate about rock, indie and punk music.
Max was diagnosed with leukaemia in February. Sam and Dan needed no encouragement to stand by their friend and frontman.
Max said: “We’ve rehearsed more than ever. It was great to work with Jake and we’re really proud of the EP.
“We were a band before but this has brought us closer together. We were in different years at school and all have different talents but we share a passion for music. Having cancer can be really lonely and it feels great to have the support of my band mates. Making music has really helped me while I’m going through cancer.
“It’s important to follow your dreams. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.”
The EP will be released for download and it’s hoped this could lead possibly to it going on sale on CD or vinyl.
The friends plan to perform a gig to showcase their songs at Fallibroome Academy.
The Down want supporters to like their Facebook page at facebook.com/ 2017thedown where details of the EP can be found.