Brandon Robbins, frontman for rock group The Moth & The Flame, gave his heart to music long ago, but last year he gave another part of himself to keep the music from stopping.
From managing musicians and venues, to promoting concerts, Corey Fox has been involved in the music industry for the past 25 years. In 2006, he opened Velour Live Music Gallery, an all-ages club named in Provo, Utah, a college town about an hour south of Salt Lake City. Though the town is only home to around 100,000 people, the venue quickly became an epicenter for the local music scene including now well-known bands Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees.
“It’s been pretty crazy, the scene kind of exploded,” Fox told Billboard magazine in a 2017 interview. “We’ve had six bands sign to major labels, several others having pretty big national success without labels, kind of doing it on their own terms.”
Bump in the Road
However, while his business was thriving, his health was on the decline. At 15 years old, Fox was diagnosed with kidney disease and told that sooner or later his kidneys would fail. He was given medication to help his condition throughout high school, and waited for the inevitable. However, when his health remained stable, his optimism increased. As he journeyed into adulthood this positivity gave him the confidence to live life to the fullest and take a few risks. It was this mentality that propelled him to open Velour.
Then, in 2013, the adversity he thought he had overcome reared its ugly head. During a routine doctor’s visit, Fox was informed that his kidneys had begun to fail and he needed to be place on the organ transplant waiting list.
The average wait time for a kidney transplant is four years. After being on the transplant waiting list for a couple years the decline of Fox’s kidneys accelerated. Eventually, his doctor suggested he start trying to find a living donor.
Friend and Mentor
When Robbins moved to Provo in 2008 he was a young and aspiring musician. It didn’t take him long to find Velour and begin performing at the club’s open mic night. He recalls Fox complimenting him after a performance one night and how encouraging that small act of kindness was for the young singer.
“That meant a lot because in the community everyone knows who Corey is; he’s kind of a legend in Provo,” Robbins told Billboard for the same 2017 story. “Velour is really a lot more than a venue. Corey has been such a mentor with all the bands that he works with but there’s just this feeling of family and home when you’re playing there.”
Robbins was on the road to fame and touring with his band The Moth & The Flame when he learned of Fox’s dire health situation in 2016. Many of the bands and musicians who got their start at Velour stepped up to help, including Robbins. They took breaks from their tour schedules and organized a show to raise awareness about organ donation and funds to help Fox with medical expenses.
After an initial donor match was ruled out for Fox, Robbins immediately went to get tested. He was a perfect match.
Resonance of Life
Today, both men are back to working hard. Fox stays busy filling the walls of Velour with music and looking out for the next open-mic participant who just might make it big, and Robbins is finding success recording and getting back on the road with the band. He uses his stage time as an opportunity to share his story as a way to educate people about organ donation and the deep-rooted connection between two people that sprouted with music and grew into a second chance at life.
Their most recent tour brought The Moth & The Flame through Seattle. We were fortunate enough to catch the show and support Robbins and his life-saving message. You can view a video clip from the concert below.