Screamo band A City Serene released their debut EP The Art of Deceiving Perception in summer 2009. In September, just after starting a tour, the group was involved in a highway accident that injured the members, two of them critically.
A truck crossed over the median outside of Bakersfield and collided headfirst into their tour bus, sending the entire band to the hospital and two of the members (drummer Mike Buxbaum and the band’s female vocalist, Carly Baker) into comas.
Despite spending the remainder of 2009 in hospital rooms and rehab facilities, the band did not lose focus. In January 2010, when members weren’t working on new material or getting their chops back, they were busy shooting a music video for their song “With Swords Crossed.”
“Since we won’t be able to do any shows until everyone is healed up a little better, we needed something to keep the band going, build buzz, until we get back onstage, so this was a perfect opportunity,” the band wrote in an email about their latest venture.
But recording the video didn’t go without incident, such as when police nearly arrested them for trespassing at an abandoned lot in San Marcos, or when they nearly got mugged during a shoot in North Park. And then there’s the ongoing recovery.
“It made the video really tough to shoot,” read the email. “Kris [Renfro] can’t stand up for more than a couple seconds without feeling really out of it. Mike [Buxbaum] isn’t back enough to really play drums all that well right now, but it was good enough to kind of fake it. So, after lots of good edits and hard work from our director Kevin Longwell, you would never know we ever got in an accident.”
Also in January 2010, the band discovered they were voted the third top unsigned band in Alternative Press Magazine for the year 2009. Their post-hardcore tune “With Swords Crossed” was the number-one song on purevolume.com for two weeks, and smartpunk.com announced a City Serene was the “Top-Selling Unsigned Artist” on the website.
However, though Buxbaum continued to recover, the band did not. Buxbaum says at first he had high hopes of returning to the band. “A City Serene eventually went back on the road with a replacement drummer because I was recovering so slowly. They went to Florida to record, and that’s where the breakup started. After that, they all went off in different directions. Some of the members started a new band called Secrets.”