“Are we just ladders in a world of snakes. If life is one big fucking game…I don’t want to play.”
It’s a strange universal phenomenon that certain frontmen/women of music groups have such an effect and impact. Perhaps they are completely unaware of this or don’t wish it to happen but the limelight has forced the world to know about it. It’s a powerful aspect when you can empathise, identify and find we can relate to these people. This is going to be about Oliver Skyes, frontman of Bring Me The Horizon and the experience I had witnessing him in Sydney this weekend. Music is such an emotional and transformative force – with healing and cathartic powers. It can take us on the journey of grief and sheer love. It evokes so many feelings within us all. Paired with a lead singer with some spark and personality,enhances the experience – it’s odd. I can’t explain it but something happens where you feel like they are right there in your brain. It’s a certain art – the ability to deeply and profoundly move people. I haven’t had such an experience for many years – that was until of course Sunday night which I will discuss shortly.
This experience of complete identification and immersion with a band/lead singer happened to me with Nine Inch Nails around that fun teenage puberty time. My broken cd on repeat – listening to the lyrics “ wish there was something real, wish there was something true” being unable to formulate my own emotions into words – he had done it for me. Without thought I would sing it over and over like a form of cathartic therapy. Dealing with my first heartbreak, school bullying, dysfunctional family, lies, rumours and the battle to fit in and then a desire to completely rebel against it. My most important possession during my teens was my portable Sony stereo. I had various stereo incarnations over time …
I think of some of those key people in my music shaping life and this is just A SLICE… probably the most influential was Trent Reznor. Then to rattle off some others of bands/musicians I like look at Kurt Cobain, Robert Smith, Daniel Johns, Marilyn Manson, Michael Hutchence, Steven Tyler, Maynard Keenan, Courtney Love, Axl Rose, Michael Jackson – and they all have a story and one mostly of adversity. Drugs, addictions, heartache, mental health, abuse. It seems unfortunate that so much pain is the source of their creativity.
I then look at other influential figures like Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Iyanla Vanzant of the more humanitarian spiritual areas and they all had serious events that cracked them wide open.
Maybe these events have to happen it’s all part of embracing who they are, their journey and their artistic ability. If you know any of these people and musicians you know some of their struggle.
http://www.spin.com/2013/08/nine-inch-nails-trent-reznor-cover-story-spin-2005/ – If not you can read about Trent Reznor’s there…
I will never forget this one statement when I am wracking my brain in those hellish moments of mental health…. Eckhart Tolle says this statement bothered him – when he was suicidal he expressed that “ I” hate etc etc “ my self” – a distinction between I and the self.
On Sunday I went to the BMTH gig. I was introduced when I asked someone for some music to get into – they knew I liked heavier music… so it’s been a fair few years that I have been into them but never had the opportunity to see them live. He, like Trent Reznor, in many ways, really reaches into those deep dark corridors and screams with raw emotional intensity. You can’t fake that stuff. To quote Reznor “ the only way out is through” Perhaps that’s why they have the following they do. Oli had laryngitis… and still performed. Perhaps not altogether unaware of how appreciative his fans were and the genuine impact he has on educating younger minds about mental health. There was an intro piece before a song called doomed – I could find a very fuzzy video of it here…
A personal journal ultimately – recorded for all to hear…. It just had such a deep effect on me. When someone tells you their truth, embraces it for all the world to see – it’s not an easy thing to do. He has had a relationship break down, friends deaths and the words were heavy. Grief is a strange thing – it’s like a poison that stops you in its tracks and just when you feel better it can drag you right back under. It was moving and heart wrenching.
It’s courageous and inspiring to have heard him openly talk about depression. Before they played sleepwalking he said he felt sorry for people who hadn’t experienced depression – I agree. Without the dark you don’t know the light and you can’t appreciate those highs. If you know yourself, truly know yourself – all the dirty dark depraved places then I think that’s the healthiest thing you can do when tackling mental health. If you can truly be ok with all facets of your mental health then you know you can ride it out just like a wave.
All the artists I like go to those places… they take you on a journey into those places…. It makes my heart heavy that they often don’t know the sheer impact they have. That their voice, their music can reach so many on so many topics across the globe. In some ways I am envious they have a platform to reach out when they are going through their own nightmares.
As much as we can empathise we will never know someone’s internal world or private universe – everyone feels their pain at 100%.
I just hope that they can breathe in that they are valued and that their music can bring a little bit of relief to many. I hope they can take comfort that their words convey genuine meaning and value to others. We all need to be a little but more like Oli – embracing our truth and creating a sense of openness on so many important topics effecting all of us.
It’s ok to discuss these thing.