Many of us were shaken last February when news broke of the murder of an armored-car guard, allegedly at the hands of his partner at Garda Cash Logistics. But for Darin DiNapoli, it hit especially close to home: The Identity X guitarist was college roommates with Michael Haines, the guard who lost his life in the robbery.
"I got a call that night from my friend Jen," he recalls. "We'd just been talking about Mike a couple weeks earlier. And she said, ‘Did you hear the news? The guard who was killed in the armored car; that was Mike!'
"It was just that shocking feeling. You begin to question what's real."
Haines, while not a musician, was an integral part of Identity X, DiNapoli says: As roommates, video producation majors and fraternity brothers at Robert Morris University, the two bonded, and DiNapoli and singer Dave Toole looked up to Haines. Haines even helped name the band when it was getting ready to start playing out in 2003.
"I had this list of pages and pages of possible names," says DiNapoli. "Mike said, ‘Hey man, do you mind if I take a look, maybe I'll give you an opinion on a name.' And the list was like — ‘Cavewagon,' some other stuff. And he said, ‘Come on, man, you seriously want to name your band Cavewagon?'"
Haines had just rented the movie Identity, and suggested that name; it was taken, but "Identity X" stuck.
In more recent years, Haines remained a friend of the band, coming out to shows when he could.
Now, in the wake of the tragedy that struck Haines and his friends and family, Identity X is looking to give back: This Sat., Sept. 1, Identity X headlines a show at Altar Bar that will benefit a scholarship fund set up by Haines' family and Phi Delta Theta brothers in Haines' memory.
"We thought, let's honor Mike by doing what we do best," says DiNapoli. "We can sacrifice making money from a show; we all have day jobs. There are more important things: We're doing this to give back."