Kent Stax, drummer and founding member of Virginia hardcore group Scream, has died. Stax’s bandmates revealed the news in social media posts earlier today (September 20), writing that the musician had been living with metastatic cancer. “We are heartbroken to share that our drummer Bennett Kent Stacks passed away this morning,” Scream wrote. “Kent is the original heartbeat of Scream,” they continued. “Though we have had to continue on without him before, we have always known Kent is irreplaceable.” Find the band’s full statement below.
Stax formed Scream in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, in 1979 alongside schoolmates Skeeter Enoch Thompson (who played bass), and brothers Pete and Franz Stahl (who contributed vocals and guitar, respectively). The quartet drew influence from the burgeoning punk scene in nearby Washington, D.C., and the members particularly admired the pioneering D.C. group Bad Brains.
Scream cut their debut album, Still Screaming, in 1982 at the legendary Inner Ear Studio. The record was co-produced by the band, then–Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, Eddie Janney (later in Rites of Spring), and Inner Ear co-founder Don Zientara. Still Screaming marked the first-ever full-length released on MacKaye’s Dischord Records.
Stax remained in Scream through their next two albums, 1985’s This Side Up and 1986’s Banging the Drum, but he departed in the mid-to-late 1980s to start a family. His replacement was Dave Grohl, who played with Scream until joining Nirvana in 1990.
During a 1996 Christmas reunion show, Stax briefly joined his former band on stage; the concert was recorded and released as Scream’s Live at the Black Cat CD. Stax and Scream returned to Inner Ear Studio—and to Dischord—to cut their latest full-length, DC Special. The record was tracked in 2021 before the studio’s original location was shuttered. DC Special arrives November 10 and features contributions from Grohl, Amy Pickering, Mark Cisneros, Joe Lally, and more.