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The Hornet

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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

How music saved a teenager’s life

On a Tuesday afternoon in late May 2021, police and paramedics responded to a 911 call about an unresponsive teen with tattered clothing lying in someone’s front yard. The Anaheim Police Department along with paramedics soon arrived at the scene of the incident. After finding no pulse, paramedics rushed to resuscitate while transporting him to the emergency room. 


The boy barely survived. He woke up the next day only to find out he had overdosed on a cocktail of Xanax.


“It felt like I got hit by a truck directly on my chest,” Jordan “Junkie” Sandoval says. For two weeks, the pain stuck around. It was a constant reminder of the damage he caused himself. 

Sandoval plays at Dead Eye Studio in Los Angeles on Feb. 11, 2022. He didn’t expect to play with one string at this show, but his love for grindcore music passed his expectation. Photo by Matthew Camelo

Sandoval is an 18-year-old gore-grind guitarist and drummer from Fullerton. For Sandoval, contentment is one of his many priorities. Growing up in the harsh streets of Santa Ana led Sandoval down a troubled path. As a kid in this type of environment, his ideal perception was altered. Since his overdose, he found playing music to be the most fulfilling aspect of his life. 


Being around an environment of drugs and violence, it became common place to use substances as a way to calm his issues down. It became therapeutic when the hard times became worse. 

“When I started smoking… I finally got more out of my day. I became more excited… I finally felt good about everything,” Sandoval says.  


Sandoval was always described as a ball of energy by his friends. Martin Gutierrez, a close friend of Sandoval since the age of 15, describes Sandoval as a “sick ass foo” and that he was always “happy as fuck.” However, his energy began to fade throughout his life. Since the age of 13, the use of drugs in his life was normalized. This is when he indulged in a lifestyle of substance abuse as a way to escape his environment. From uppers to downers, Sandoval experienced it all. His first ‘hit’ was when he was at the skatepark with his friends; this is where he felt like his true self. 


As his attachment to drugs persisted, his tolerance grew with it. This led him to stray away from tamer drugs like marijuana and nicotine and to turn to harder drugs such as Xanax. After finding his new ‘fix,’ Sandoval became more alienated from his family, which ultimately led him to becoming kicked out of his house and onto the street. After being on the street for some time, Sandoval would continue to get higher as his situation worsened.


“The longer it went on, happiness felt like it was furthest away,” Sandoval recalls. 


His time living on the streets eventually led to him overdosing on a mixture of substances. After he recovered from this life-changing experience, he turned to music. Sandoval recalls the feeling of picking up his first instrument as a new high.


“It was around 2020, where I started listening to extreme metal bands like Carcass and Impetigo, this is when I started to play this type of music myself,” he says. Around this time, Sandoval helped start Cranial Abortion in the summer of 2020. Cranial Abortion was a short-lived crust grind band that was formed with a few other friends in Fullerton. Despite this band having a falling out between each other, this sparked Sandoval’s devotion to music, gore-grind more specifically. Gore-grind is often described as an extreme metal subgenre that’s played faster and heavier than most metal genres. 


After nearly dying, he slowly started getting back on his feet through music and letting go of hard drugs. Life still goes on for Sandoval, from his experiences he found that smoking marijuana while keeping music close to him kept him from going back to those harder drugs. 


“At that point music became a new high for me… I fell in love with it,” Sandoval says of his time playing music. With music becoming a new priority in his life, Sandoval found salvation through playing and making music. Sandoval’s currently a part of a couple bands such as Peptic Ulcer, Casket Mush and Muscle Man to name a few. He doesn’t plan on ever stopping. All he ever wants to be is one of the greatest at his art.