My mom always asked me some pretty off the wall shit! I brushed it off; most of the time. Typically ignoring it, well, because I was a rebellious little shit! Who wasn't? And if you're reading this, I'm sure you know...
But, when it came to music, my dad and I were besties! Hehe!
I'm sure the drums, clattered with double bass and a constant barrage of cymbals breaking were enough to drive any woman up the walls! On top of it, she'd make excuses to use that time for shopping, while I played a meager 9 hours a day (when not in school).
And if Dad's wallet wasn't hurting from here escaping my mayhem to go shop, then the cymbals were only $200-$500 a piece. Although, it didn't help that we had a 8-piece kit with 15 cymbals.
But sure, when you grow up on Rush and Dream Theater it's literally impossible to model your kit any other way!
Living the life a sincere rebellious little shit, I did find my love for letting lose through metal to be rather soothing! And come to find out that passion only grew into coping and finding inspirational healing when I entered recovery!
God! I wouldn't be alive without music... that's for damn sure!
While I remember mom robotically repeating:
I've always wondered why music was 'that way' for me, too. I always thought she had some sort of point with all of the ranting and raving. And wondered who the real crazy one was!
But as a teenager with angst, whom already played several instruments, in several bands, part of me was drowning out the constant nagging and the other part of me what simply, utterly, spiritually, and divinely, "Connected."
I always felt a balance with music. A lot of the time the music I gravitated towards picked me, too! Especially in recovery. Slightly remembering the time I stripped down to a baby blue man thong and jumped off my drum set during a show I was headlining for a Grindcore band called "Regina George." Meh... 'cries happy, yet embarrassed tears!'
So now I bet that you see how my mind bounces back and forth with time periods, inconsistency, and rambled contortions of a recovering person; or in my book, someone living a humanly struggle. It must start to click with you, why what sounded like two tortoises making love to you, sounded like pure serenity to me!
And still does...
With such a busy mind I found the clusters of odd time signatures, blast beats, thrashing, and incessant head banging to ease my tension! Not to mention a vibrantly absurd singer/screamer who would jump into the mosh pit of his own music with you, then grab you by the back of the head and put the mic to your mouth, screaming the lyrics that you find so profound, together.
You must see that as I talk about togetherness, vibrancy, and a sense of family with music, the reality of healing through a musical and spiritual 'letting go' process is identifiable to the masses; and you! It must ring some sort of bell in your head that artistic platforms of any kind can heal and save lives when used in such concrete ways! But don't be strayed from the path that not everyone out there is expressing those healing ideals... (a topic for another time!)
It's only a tad bit fair to say that statement is vastly understated, too. But, within chaos I found hope. I could explicitly feel that through their release, connectivity, and what I'd look at as branding with unique lifestyle expression, the music that caught my soul was something that is branded in my heart for life! And has shown me that we are all looking for a way to speak out and grow together. But GOD BLESS those who use their platforms for good, betterment, and completely honest, and sometimes brutal, storytelling of struggle to redemption!
(Naming a few of my biggest icons and first three in red whom are brand ambassadors, partners, and/or endorse us publicly: Mike Perez of No Bragging Rights, Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire, Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red, Mike Portnoy formerly Dream Theater, Travis Barker notably Blink 182, Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Caleb Shomo of Beartooth and formerly Attack! Attack!, UnderOath, Taking Back Sunday, and many more!)
This existential experience I had with musical healing was like looking between the cracks and finding out what these artists were pouring their hearts out over, while believing that the message had more than it seemed to it! Kind of like you know that there is a lot more underneath the surface.
Imagine an iceberg. There is a small peak at the tip of the water, but 95% of this colossal structure was underneath the raging waters reading to either sink you or ultimately help you find a path around the torment and chaos, leading your towards a surreal survival, over and over again! Of which, in a musical sense, was where I put the parts I needed to figure my life out, into play. And chronically progressed with their healing, just like we were, and are, one in the same!
For the most part I was a guy who always said, "I'm in it for the musicianship and the instruments." While slowly and surely I have memorized tens of thousands of song lyrics to date without even noticing that I have. You'll even see that I work a lot of these life changing metaphors, and sometimes word for word lyrical influence, right into my writing, speaking, and recovery lifestyle and influencing!
It's not just that the music is engrained in my lifestyle forever, but these very special people are what have saved my life by finding the courage to use their talents and area of expertise to speak openly and honestly about universal struggle, as well as redemption. And for that I say to them and those reading this that...
MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE!
And continues to do so.
And for those who didn't know they were there for me, you are. And for those who are in my life today, thank you! And for those reading, there is tremendous hope available and ready for you. All you have to be is willing enough to open your ears, mind, and heart to embracing opportunities in the ways that work for you the best by knowing these experiences are real, lived, learned, and we are one through it; ready to recover together!
A final shoutout to Mike Perez of No Bragging Rights for his amazing friendship. Mike's music was pivotal in keeping my head held high during early recovery. And now during my recent years of recovery we have turned best buddies, and it was completely and utterly natural because I took a chance to give myself a chance. But, couldn't have done it without the encouragement I learned from his platform in No Bragging Rights used to speak out for hope against stigma and hurt!
A shoutout to Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red and Heart Support for their continued partnership with myself and Substance For You, being on their Twitch.Tv/HeartSupport Television show sharing experiences and lifestyle and much more we've done to try and help those in need through our public partnership!
FINAL! HUGE NEWS ALERT!
I just met up with Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire and have some very exciting videos, photos, and new endorsement of his approval and support towards Substance For You, Brian (me, founder), and speaking out against depression, anxiety, and suicide together! I'll be posting the video, pics, and our further collaborations soon on future blogs, YouTube, and much more as we progress our newfound friendship and desire to help others together without platforms combined! I am blessed to be in approval with Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire as his songs, especially Vices, kept me from relapsing many of times. And while my wife and I lived 8000 miles away, his song "Miles Apart" was pivotal into our now 2.5 years of amazing marriage! Thank you Matty! And everyone else, please stay tuned so I can get some time to upload it all for you! I want it to be perfect because you all deserve greatness! (I'll leave a teaser photo here until the real magic is uploaded in future material!)
With a forever love,
-Brian, Substance For You founder