Music is something I have a very personal relationship with. So personal I very rarely share my music interests with others. So personal that I have stopped listening to entire genres of music because I could not control my emotions or desired actions while listening.
Music is so personal to me I literally feel it inside of me. My favorite thing to do during my substance abuse days was to sit by myself in nature, on LSD, and listen to music. To let it absolutely consume me. My every atom. That is, to this day, my favorite experience in life. I don’t know if that will ever change.
I’m starting to finally be able to feel music again. I can listen to Metal again which is fantastic. I’m actually going to a Slayer & Lamb of God concert this summer with my cousin, Ryan. Well, Megan’s cousin, but he’s mine now too. I don’t think of him as anyone but my cousin, and family. That’s why I am comfortable with going to this concert with him. This concert in this genre of music that means so much to me.
After I went crazy music was dead to me.
Completely, utterly, unquestionably, dead. I could not feel it inside of me. It gave me no pleasure. People would try to share their music with me and I would pretend to care. I couldn’t listen to anything. Not the Rolling Stones, Faith No More, Metallica, Tech, Rage, Queen, Tribe, Common, Zep, and on and on and on.
It’s one of the worst experiences I have dealt with — and it lasted years. It really wasn’t until the last few months where music made me really want to move around again. I’ll never be much of a dancer, but I’m saying that I wouldn’t even tap my foot to a beat at this time.
There were spurts, surely. But it wasn’t as deep or as consistent as it is right now. I’m open to and discovering new music. Something I haven’t done again until recently. For the longest time I was either listening to sports radio or film scores — as I never lost my love and emotion for film, so their scores were a form of music I was still capable of connecting with. Kind of a funky roundabout, but it really helped me cope with the issue for a long time.
It’s Metal and my love for Paul Perkins that has brought music back to me.
My cousins Kevin & Paul are the biggest metal heads I know. They were just finally getting myself and my brother into it right before I went insane. Alan went on to become just as big of a metal head as the both of them. I, on the other hand, could not listen to it any longer. I was too angry and it put me in even more of an angry place. Even when the songs weren’t inherently angry! Something like Amon Amarth’s Live Without Regrets is just super optimistic and inspiring.
Unfortunately Paul is no longer with us, but I like to think that part of the reason I am able to really connect with music again is because of that loss.
The journey of me being able to connect with music again can be traced back to a trip myself, Alan, & Kevin took to a record store in San Francisco while visiting Alan together — not very long after Paul’s passing.
This was the first exclusively vinyl store I have ever been into. My brother is hugely into collecting vinyl records like I am with physical movies, so he was super excited to show us his digs. There was a great smell in there. Like the kind you get when opening a brand new paperback book. It just wafts of creativity awaiting consumption.
Rows of boxes with hand-written cardboard signs denoting genres, sales, & price ranges. Records just littered in organized chaos, awaiting fingers to eagerly rifle through them. It’s here that I just went off on my own and started looking around. Alan wanted Kevin and I to each pick out something so we could listen to it together. Alan, Paul, Kevin, & I spent many hours solely listening to music together. Music was our language. I just wasn’t feeling it, though. I didn’t know what I was interested in picking up — because I wasn’t interested at all. I just wanted to get out of there.
Then I watched them look through the Metal section, and walk away from it without anything in hand.
I thought to myself “Well, if there’s nothing interesting for them, maybe I can find something.”
That’s all it took. I walked over to the left most box in the section that was facing the wall and started flipping through each record. I’m the kind of person that loves to judge a piece of artwork by the cover chosen for it. If you don’t put effort into your presentation then don’t expect me to put effort into what is behind it. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has been far more relevant to me in life when it comes to people than when it comes to actual books.
And then I saw it, Tempest, by Lycus. There was something about the album artwork that just spoke to me. It felt like something that if showed to Paul he would not allow me to put down. He would grab my shoulder vigorously and bring his head close to my ear with a “Duuuuuuude! That’s wicked!” So I called Kevin & my brother over and they did something really similar. It was everything I wanted it to be.
Lycus is a specific kind of Metal, Doom Metal. It’s very melodic, deliberate, and patient. There’s a lot of chanting, and it just had a way of worming into my bones when we listened to it. It’s a kind of music that really allowed me to embrace my torture and grow with it rather than fight it.
Since the three of us first listened to that album my connection with music has been like a tarp full of water with a small tear in it. It starts as a small drip, but as it continues to rain, and slowly drops — that rip ever grows.
I realized today after having reconnected myself with music like Bullets & Octane, Coheed & Cambria, and even the original World of Warcraft scores — the tarp is almost entirely gone now.
I can bask in the rains of music again.
It’s a really liberating thing to be honest. I missed it quite a bit. I’m pretty sure human beings as a species in general share this same connection with music that I have. So you can understand when I tell you that having music dead to me is maybe the worst thing out of this journey that I have experienced.
This is the thing I am talking about when I say that everything happens for a reason.
The greatest gift I can give Paul in his passing is what I am doing now. I am using his loss, and my heartbreak from it to make me a more complete person again. It’s what he would want. He would be so excited to hear that I am going to the concert this summer. I only wish I didn’t have to carry him with me and that I could actually have him there next to me.
Thank you for inspiring me, Paul. Thank you for bringing music back to me. I miss you.
Thank you for reading.