Justin “Beef” Williams was determined to back up the funk in Funkytown as frontman for Bomb Atomic, a progressive rock band based in Fort Worth. Known for his charismatic stage presence and smooth voice, he’d become a hot musical commodity.
Bomb Atomic had two goals in 2014; to incrementally replace the band members’ day jobs with performances, and to finish writing and recording an 18-track concept album. In September of that year, however, Justin was exposed to a carbon-dioxide leak at work that led to a fall. He was left with a severe speech impediment and a neck injury.
Following medical advice, he stepped off stage after his May 1, 2015 show, focusing on his new goal; rehabilitation. He has this to say about the decision, “This is one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever had to make. Singing is the one thing that has defined me as a person since I was 8 years old. I started out playing the clarinet, but I was so bad they kicked me out and stuck me in the choir instead. I was kinda good at it, and I never looked back. It breaks my heart in ways that only the people closest to me and other musicians will understand, but I have to give it up for now or maybe never be able to do it again. It’s been my outlet to the world, and through it I’ve met the best people and the worst and the most fun people on Earth. I’ll miss it more than any words can say.”
Since then, Williams has been participating in a program at Pate Rehabilitation. Committed to treating the whole person, not just the injury, Pate has devised a treatment plan catered to Justin’s unique motivations and talents. Part of his treatment involves performing for others at Pate.
“The jam sessions are an incorporation of all my different therapy disciplines.” Justin says, “Playing music professionally is something I passionately wish to return to and the jam sessions allow me to prepare for this in a supervised environment. This allows my therapists to observe my neck motions under the relevant circumstances, my ability to speak clearly under pressure, and my mental state during the rigors of a public performance. The process of preparation for these also gives me a chance to apply the bio-feedback and visualization techniques I have learned practically, and it is perfect experience for the sort of self-motivated activities I will be doing once back in the work place. Most importantly for me, it is a joy to feel like I contribute in this small way to the rehabilitation and entertainment of my peers at PATE.”
Thank you, Justin, for bringing the funk to Pate.
Works Cited/Credit to:
“Concert review: Bomb Atomic farewell show at Lola’s” By Steve Watkins, Special to DFW.com, May 07, 2015