A local Brandon band from the 80s is featured in a new documentary that details its members reuniting after 35 years and finally realizing their dream.

There’s an old saying, “You’re as young as your dreams.” In 1981, several local Brandon high schoolers had a dream of forming a heavy metal band. Back in the 80s, Tampa Bay was a hot spot for the metal music genre. After practicing in hot garages, backyards and metal sheds, their band, Siren, released its debut single in 1984, “Metro-Mercenary,” which was well-received throughout the metal underground.

By early 1986, the band had landed its first record deal with a German record label. The resulting album, No Place Like Home, was released and the band toured and promoted the album throughout 1987. Unfortunately, a string of bad luck, shady business deals and inner politics led to the band’s decision to part ways. This break would ultimately span decades. And then fate intervened.

Unbeknownst to any of the former band members, Siren still had a large and loyal following in Germany. In late 2015, Siren fans from different countries reached out to former drummer Ed Aborn on social media. Aborn was living a normal life in Valrico as a software engineer, husband and father to two daughters; his band days were long behind him. However, the inquires led Aborn to write the band memoirs that resulted in an e-book titled Siren – The Early Years.

In 2018, a loyal fan from Germany reached out to Aborn with the opportunity to reunite the band and perform at the prestigious Keep It True festival in Germany. The only obstacle was that the band hadn’t existed or played together in more than 30 years. Recognizing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the band committed to be a part of the festival and got to work.

“This has all been beyond imagination,” said Aborn. “When I was 18, it was my dream to be onstage and see thousands of people singing along with the songs I had written. That dream was set aside and forgotten as the obligations of life and family spanned the next 30 years. But sometimes a dream really does sneak up on you.”

The challenge of five guys, now all in their 50s, reuniting after more than three decades to perform before a festival audience in Europe is the premise for the full feature-length documentary, I’m Too Old for This Sh*t!: A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale.

The documentary follows the band members—Ed Aborn (drums), Doug Lee (vocals), Gregg Culbertson (bass), Todd Grubbs (guitar) and Hal Dunn (guitar)—as they rekindle friendships and put aside animosity following the band’s breakup 35 years earlier to embrace their last chance at making their rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true.

“I’m so grateful that the whole experience was captured in this film,” said Aborn. “Now, I can live it over and over again and hopefully others may even dare to dust off their own long-forgotten dreams.”

Siren released a new album in April 2020, Back from the Dead, on CD, vinyl and streaming.

“We are very proud to have all grown up in the Brandon area,” said Aborn. “We enjoy the fact that the movie can shine a little light on our community.”

For more information, visit www.SirenBand.us or on Instagram @SirenBandUS, or visit SirenBandUS.bandcamp.com for merchandise. The documentary is available to rent/buy on Amazon Prime, iTunes, VUDU, Sling and several other streaming platforms. For booking, the band may be reached directly via email at SirenBandUS@gmail.com.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.