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Some Unorganized Thoughts on the Death of Cave In’s Caleb Scofield

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Editors Note: This article has been updated since first published; I have removed an insensitive part of the original piece. I sincerely apologize to anyone I offended, especially Caleb’s family. I’m still raw from Caleb’s death and certainly didn’t mean to upset anyone; I should have thought through what I wrote further before publishing.

I didn’t know Caleb Scofield personally. But death is weird that way: we follow someone’s career and we cherish the art they create, and their loss can hit especially hard even though nothing about our day-to-day lives changes.

As such, I’m having a really difficult time processing Caleb’s death. His music meant so much to me, and it feels as if a part of my musical development has left my soul with his passing.

Here are some completely unorganized thoughts that have been swimming through my head over the past couple of days.

1. It’s no exaggeration to say that if not for Cave In my life would’ve taken a radically different trajectory. Cave In were one of the first modern heavy bands I got into; I started listening to classic metal as soon as I was old enough to dial in MTV and my favorite radio stations, but when my friend Andy put “Luminance” on a cassette tape mix for me everything changed. Caleb was a huge part of that magic.

2. In the early ’00s I went to a show by myself to see Cave In play live at Brownie’s (R.I.P.) in New York City. Old Man Gloom and Scissorfight opened with Caleb pulling double-duty. Mind = blown on that entire night. An old news post on Lambgoat has this gig listed as February 28, 2002.

3. Caleb’s bass playing was a huge, audible part of Cave In’s sound. The same cannot be said for the vast majority of heavy acts that rose to prominence in the ’00s. He made his presence felt, there’s no question about it.

4. Caleb’s gruff screams were one of a kind. Even if Cave In decide to continue on without him — and I’m sure the remaining band members themselves currently have no idea — it’ll be forever different. Those will be TOUGH shoes to fill; he is irreplaceable.

5. Zozobra’s catalog is excellent and highly underappreciated. Their 2008 album Bird of Prey is a personal highlight.

6. His family — his wife and two kids! Oh my god. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now, the least of which NOT KNOWING AT ALL why the fuck this happened on top of everything else.

7. The fundraiser for Caleb’s family has raised nearly $72,000 in just over 24 hours. Incredible! Clearly he was very, very loved, both personally and musically.

8. It’s been reassuring to read the outpouring of tributes from around the metal and hardcore community in the wake of Caleb’s death. It’s clear that he had fans all over the world, but something about seeing so many musicians particularly from the Northeast / New England of a certain generation come out in FULL FORCE with heavy hearts has felt incredibly powerful to me. Caleb and Cave In defined heavy music for a generation of Northeasterners.

9. The last time I saw Caleb play live was with Cave In at Santo’s Party House in New York, May 19, 2011. I remember feeling as if the band kind of phoned it in that night — they didn’t seem amped to be there in the slightest (I’m sure they had their reasons). I wish I’d savored it more.

I’ll leave you all with “Vicious Circles” from Cave In’s final proper album, White Silence, released in 2011. It’s heavy as fuck and features Caleb’s vocals prominently.

Rest in Power.

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