To illustrate how my mind is working these days, this post has been open on my computer for 3 days and I’m finally filling it in. What was initially going to be a nice break from playing and a retreat into getting the groundwork for some new recording sessions done has turned into a couple of weeks of reflection and work.
At the end of August, my older brother, Daniel, was found dead in his apartment. He had struggled with alcohol addiction for most of his life and he finally lost his battle around the middle of the month. We got to visit him on our last date in Jackson, MS on the Pop and Poof Tour. He looked great, but mentioned some stress he was having at his job and how he was struggling to keep it together. By the next week, phone calls from his job started, e-mails from friends and more. I mostly kept it to myself because I did not want to worry everyone who knew him. There was nothing that could be done, he had never told anyone where he was living and turned his phone off.
Around the end of July, I got a phone call from him. He sounded bad. His voice was rough and he was obviously intoxicated, but I spent nearly 3 hours talking to him. We covered his life and the times we shared together from cradle to, seemingly, grave. When I hung up, he turned his phone off and never turned it back on. It was not until a few weeks ago when his landlord called to say his body was found that I got his address. We went to Mississippi to retrieve a few items and tie up some loose ends. It has been an odd ride.
Addiction is a terrible thing. When you mix it with depression and general self-loathing, it becomes lethal. If you’re struggling with anything like mental health and/or addiction issues, get help. Never stop getting it. Daniel could do amazing things as long as he was receiving help, but any time he got on his own, the downward spiral began. This time, he had the money from overtime at his job he saved up to go all the way to the bottom.
Daniel had amazing moments. He is the primary reason I’m a musician. He would drag me to concerts, he would give me records and really supported me back in the old days. He was also a lot of work for the family with the messes he would leave in the wake of his recidivism. We wrote songs together and I tried as hard as I could to help him through the darkness so many times. If you’ve been to shows, you’ve heard the stories of songs like Falling Back Down or Goodbye Letter. He always weighed heavily on my mind.
The next couple of weeks will be spent working on some new projects. I’m still recording Nathan Taylor’s album, which resumed work this past weekend. There will be some shows and hopefully some new writings will come from all of this. Right now, I’m just trying to tread water.
Be safe out there, friends. And don’t be afraid to ask for some help in this crazy old world.