Having insurance saved The Calling’s Alex Band during Parkinson’s diagnosis and abduction-robbery, Latest Music News - The New Paper

Having insurance saved The Calling’s Alex Band during Parkinson’s diagnosis and abduction-robbery

Millennials might remember rocking out to The Calling’s global hit song Wherever You Will Go (2001).

Two albums, several disbandings and multiple line-up changes later, the American rock band are back.

Their new single, Fallin’ Apart, is commissioned by Income Insurance, one of the leading composite insurers in Singapore, and its official music video is shot like a three-minute advertisement. It marks The Calling’s first such collaboration in Asia.

Their last single, Anything, was released in 2004.

The rock track is inspired by the trio’s real-life challenges, and touches on having the resilience and courage to pick oneself up during tough times.

Over a Zoom call from Los Angeles on Tuesday, vocalist Alex Band, bassist Dominic Michael Liberati and guitarist-keyboardist Daniel Damico spoke about how being adequately insured made a difference.

Band, who is 42 and the sole original member of the group, said he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – a chronic and degenerative brain disorder that results in motor impairment – in 2011, just after he released his solo album We’ve All Been There (2010), which featured the 2010 World Cup theme song, Tonight.

“At that moment, my whole life changed. I was only 30, the same age as Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox when he was diagnosed. Were it not for insurance, I don’t think I would be here.”

In the first few years, Band had to use a wheelchair and his medication cost thousands of dollars.

But, as the years went by, his condition improved. By 2017, doctors told him he no longer had Parkinson’s and that he may have had only the symptoms of the disease.

Another time when insurance saved the day was in 2013, when Band was abducted, beaten and robbed after a gig in Michigan, the United States.

He was walking out of his hotel at about 4am when he was bundled into a van, had a gun pointed at him and was told to hand over his “Hollywood money”.

One attacker smashed his face in with a metal baton. When he said he was going to be a dad, one of the abductors told him it was his “lucky day” and they “don’t kill fathers”, before releasing him.

The incident left Band – who is married and has a seven-year-old son – with a broken jaw and teeth, which he had to get fixed.

“Overcoming this was crazy, and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without insurance.”

Being signed to a record label during those close calls meant that people on his team made sure he had the right insurance.

Nonetheless, he has his own life, health and car insurance, as well as protection in the event of fire and earthquakes.

“You can’t predict when you get jumped and beaten up, or you get a disease out of nowhere,” he said, adding in jest that he feels “broke, but safe”.

Vocalist Alex Band of The Calling says insurance saved him in two major episodes in his life. PHOTO: THE CALLING

Mr Dhiren Amin, Income Insurance’s chief customer officer, said the collaboration was part of the company’s efforts to raise awareness about protection gaps among Singaporeans and the importance of ensuring one is adequately protected against life’s curve balls.

He said: “We know a lot of Singaporeans are underprotected. They don’t have the level of protection they need when it comes to life, health and critical illness insurance.

“This is not the easiest message to put through, so we needed to do it in a way that was entertaining.”

Bassist Liberati said he loved the sense of chaos in Fallin’ Apart’s music video, featuring a man whose life falls apart when he is diagnosed with cancer, and how everything is eventually put back together. 

The 37-year-old musician was once in a car crash involving another vehicle, which left his Honda Civic badly damaged and him with scratches. “If I did not have insurance, I would completely be out of a car.”

In response to cynics who might associate commissioned work with selling out, Liberati said: “As a musician, you want to communicate as much as possible and be included in the soundtrack of people’s lives.

“And if it happens to be a commercial – whatever it is, it is an opportunity for people to listen to you.”