I’m trying so hard not to call out certain people here. But my anger is getting the best of me. When I watch an interview with a musician that I once admired and I’m personally disgusted by him, it saddens me. His new band’s songs are of salvation, isolation, desperation, sorrow, outcasts, misery, panic, consequences, stigma, remorse, understanding, insight, and yes hope.
During the entire interview he yawned. Yup. He literally yawned. While discussing what they wanted to do with their new music, how they each had causes, one discussed bullying, the other Human Trafficking, and our friend here the Heroin epidemic (yawn). Very professional.
I realized a few years ago that he was taking the pain and anguish from the life stories of his fans, internalizing it and using it to write. Yes, he had addiction problems, major ones. He also I believe had depression. But some people are just not able to feel or access their own pain. They do not want to examine too closely what the root problem may have been. They can skim over it in writing a book but they don’t say “It ripped my f*cking heart out. I fell to the floor, unable to breath and howled until I had no voice.”. “It destroyed me to the point where I wanted to die, I didn’t care.”. It’s where a dry drunk or dry addict is born. They are more dangerous to be around than anyone else. They’re still the same asshole they always were, they’re just sober.
Fans have a habit of telling their life stories. I’ve been guilty of it. I mistakenly thought a person understood exactly what I was saying and where I was coming from. I admit to being manic and in the middle of a med change. I also caution anyone with celebrity status to probably NOT communicate with someone who is openly admitting to a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and other mental health issues. You might think that you are doing something nice, and if you leave it at one exchange than you probably are. If you continue the conversations but really have no plans of adding them to your Christmas card list, I suggest you don’t engage to begin with. Don’t get me wrong. Some are very understanding and some have been there themselves. But some still have delusions of grandeur, just like me.
There are so many artists that write from a place that they know. Blue October and Justin Furstenfeld is a superior example of writing from a place he knows and then we get the joy of hearing his music change and grow as he does. I don’t know how he has been able to do it. I admire him greatly. He could’ve written from his dark place continuously and made money off of the millions of people that identify with Depression, Addiction, or Suicidal Thoughts. He didn’t. He makes me have hope. I know everyone’s illness is different but when I watch him sing Fear and I watch the video I feel some peace. It’s only for a short time but I’ll take it.
I’m sure there are many artist’s that find inspiration from someone’s life story, current events, the media, their own life, but sometimes I think it’s different. When you go out of your way to cultivate these stories you cross a line. I doubt Stephen King is going to his local Mental Hospitals and asking patients to tell him their most horrific dreams and hallucinations. Is it apples and oranges?
When you go to another Country and photograph it’s beauty and reality I get it. But how far is too far? When you photograph the same underage, underweight girl being forced into prostitution that you photographed 6 months ago, at what point do you intervene? At what point does it stop being a “Statement photograph” or a “Statement Song” and just becomes you doing nothing.