Music is like a time machine. It gives us the potential to re-connect to our past at a moment’s notice. There’s a Nightwish lyric that’s given me chills every time I’ve heard it for the last twelve years, and I can remember every single time – where I was, what I was doing, who I was with, even what the weather was like.
“I was born amidst the purple waterfalls. I was weak, yet not unblessed. Dead to the world, alone for the journey. One night I dreamt a white rose withering, a newborn drowning, a lifetime loneliness. I dreamt all my future, relived my past, and witnessed the beauty of the beast.”
I’ve wondered for a long time what it must have meant to me, subconsciously, to have such an impact on me. And I think I figured it out.
See, I was born three months premature. There was a bleed in my brain as a result, which impaired my motor skills for years. I couldn’t walk right for over a decade, and my hand-eye coordination was so broken, I was physically incapable of playing sports. I just couldn’t track fast motion, no matter how hard I tried. I was physically weaker than I should have been as well, my muscles needed more effort to develop than normal. And finally, my neurochemistry was shattered. My brain was so fucked up by that bleed, I wound up with lifelong severe depression and anxiety.
I was the newborn drowning, and it set me up for a lifetime loneliness. All I knew for years was bullying, because I was small, I was sickly, I was uncoordinated…everything a bully craves in a victim. I had to change schools a lot too, and the few friends I found here and there either turned into bullies as well, or moved away.
When I was 9, I transferred to a new school where I met my best friend Chris. Yes, the same Chris who is now my co-guitarist in Mute Prophet.
He really did save my life in a lot of ways, the first real friend I’d ever had. And being more into Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh than I probably should have been as a kid – both of which are VERY big on the whole “friendship” thing – it really meant the world to me. And at this point, after everything we’ve been through together, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather play guitar alongside. I’ve written before about everything we struggled through since founding this band in 2009, but something I haven’t really talked about is how that’s changed us in the present.
He was right there with me in pulling Adrienne out of the fire of her abusive relationship, right there with me to pick her up after she escaped beaten and bloody and traumatized. After everything we’ve all been through, from Adrienne nearly being killed, to my struggles with a life-threatening illness, to his homelessness, we all got through it together. And it’s left us all with an unshakable core belief that any struggle can be overcome, and none of us have any patience for nihilism.
But that “lifetime loneliness” still threatens us, since the vast majority of people don’t share that optimistic outlook. We’ve made a lot of enemies for refusing to capitulate to peoples’ cynicism, and people who feel the same way we do are painfully rare.
Louisa was one such rare connection, and after meeting her, it really didn’t take long for us to know she was meant to play with us.
I think a big part of it is that so many people in our generation seem to think that the more “victimhood points” you can accumulate by talking about how shitty your life is, the more valid you are as a person. That’s just so toxic. And yes, we’re all pretty open about the things we’ve gone through, but the point is not to garner sympathy. Rather, the point is to become living proof that whatever you’re going through, you can achieve your dreams in the same way we’ve achieved our own!
And the best part? It really seems like since we’ve started making music professionally and assembling this incredible worldwide fanbase online, those positive and hopeful people we’ve been seeking are all finding their way to us! The cure to a lifetime of loneliness, at last. So thank you for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to say hello, please leave us a comment below!