This week we find ourselves inspired by Brandon Mendenhall of the Mendenhall Experiment.
While the Mendenhall Experiment formed in 2008, the true story of the band began with the birth of its founder, Brandon. Brandon was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects movement, coordination and balance. CP is incurable, and has created multiple challenges in Brandon’s life.
Brandon’s lifelong dream was to start a band, and that’s exactly what he did. Despite complete paralysis in his left hand, Brandon underwent rehabilitation and even taught himself to play guitar. He then made it his mission to find talented musicians, which is exactly what he did. Joining forces with Nathan Stockon (bass), Mario Valadez (lead vocals) and brothers Bruce Lira (drums) and Mike Lira (lead guitar), Brandon brought the Mendenhall Experiment to life.
Now Brandon and his band have toured with the likes of Suicide Silence, John 5, POD, Prong, Smile Empty Soul and Fear Factory. Based in Southern California, the Mendenhall Experiment have also collaborated with some incredible musicians, including Korn’s James “Munky” Shaffer, who played guitar on their track “Prosthetic”, and Nine Inch Nails/A Perfect Circle alum Danny Lohner, who contributed instrumentals on the intro to the album as well as the outro to ending track, “Find A Way Out.”
Check out the award winning video for “Seize the Day”.
The Mendenhall Experiment’s self-titled EP is just the first taste of a band with a promising future and inspiring message about disability awareness and pursuing dreams in the face of obstacles. And Brandon is truly an inspiration.
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
I’ve always felt a calling to be the voice for those with disabilities. It was a natural progression for me to use our band as a platform for that voice.
I got involved with United Cerebral Palsy Of Los Angeles (UCPLA) after receiving their 2015 Trailblazer award. They also asked me to join their Board Of Governors.
What is your WHY? (The reason why you do the work you do)
I feel compelled to be a voice and an example for those with disabilities because I feel the disabled community needs to be told They CAN do and achieve things in life (personal or professional) rather than constantly being put down, sheltered and/or being told they CAN’T do something.
What are the biggest challenges/setbacks you’ve had to face?
I’m 33 years old and I don’t drive due to my Cerebral Palsy. My biggest challenge in life has always been how to get from point A to point B to point C and then back to point A again. I am working on getting my drivers license so hopefully in the future my situation will get a little easier.
What are some of the successes (big or small) you’ve had?
*Getting signed and releasing our debut album on Lucent/Universal Records
* Getting endorsed by our friends at Monster Energy Company
* Surviving on my own, chasing my dreams in Los Angeles for more then a decade
What’s piece of advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do, or trying to follow their own dreams?
Never Give Up, Persistence and Perseverance is Key. Don’t let other’s opinions of your condition or disability affect the decisions you make for your own life. You only fail at something when you stop trying to achieve it.
How do you do manage to do it all?
I’m driven in a way that I always have to be working towards achieving something new or improving something in my life otherwise I drive myself insane by spinning my own wheels.
If you had one wish to help make the world a better place, what would it be?
I wish the world would see those with disabilities as equal human beings at first reaction instead of casting judgment or doubt
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?
People should donate to UCPLA United Cerebral Palsy Of Los Angeles, because they are fighting the good fight providing subsidized housing for those with disabilities in the Los Angeles area.
Support Brandon and his band through their website and social media below!
Official Website: www.themendenhallexperiment.com
Monster Energy Page: www.monsterenergy.com/us/en/bands/the-mendenhall-experiment