I am dying. Someone planted a seed in my brain and the tree is sprouting. The roots wrap violently around my cerebellum and choke off any feeling besides nauseau. It's all I can do to stop my skull from splintering off and breaking down the center. Hands pressed to temples eyes rolling back excreting stomach acid into a pail on the floor beside a paisly couch on which I find my body decaying. This is what I get for taking free drugs. This is addiction. This must be the end, but how did it come so soon?
Middle School. "Hey, man! We should jam sometime!"
"Hell yeah, dude! You got any equipment?"
"I got a half cab with a pretty tight amp and a Les Paul. I know a guy who can drum too" This was where it must have started. A single solitary conversation in the hallway after school with Luke. He was a few years older, but we were fans of the same music and both slightly musically inclined. I was one of the few people in the area who were willing to put themselves on stage and sing for an audience.
As it goes, we practiced a few nights a week with a few other people and put out an album that sold five copies and played one concert that was pretty well received. After the concert, though, we made changes to the band line up. Luke was out and we switched our drummer. The only original members were Mike, Tommy, and I. They were good guys. Good at making up songs and practicing, but the connection wasn't there. I was a freshman and I didn't foresee Buried Beneath Concrete going anywhere or even playing another concert, so I joined with a different group. Kyle, Steve, Jake, and Danny.
They were new. They didn't have a name and only had one song written. Steve, the lead guitar, had written and sang it while playing, but he couldn't vocalise and play well. It was also a pretty basic song and the lyrics needed some work, but it was written and that's what we practiced the first time. Personally, I wasn't totally thrilled about it. It sounded too much like Story of the Year only not as well written, which is saying something. "You got anything else you're working on, man?" I asked Steve, relatively let down because of all the hype I had gotten from Jake in homeroom.
"Well, I have one other thing, but it doesn't have lyrics or anything and we only just started putting it together."
"Let's hear it!"
Steve picked a song that I honestly thought kind of slow and melodic. It was really good though, a lot less structured than the other song and when Kyle added a driving beat to it and Danny and Jake picked up the bass and rhythmic guitar sections, respectively, the whole thing came together really well. I wrote the lyrics in 20 minutes and we were on our way.
There's an argument that goes around when I bring this topic up to Kyle to this day. We were throwing around band names and I honestly can't remember now what any of the other ones were, but I believe that I came up with the one that stuck. He will always feel that it was his doing. Oh well, it's not really important now anyway, but we ended up calling ourselves Silence of the Outspoken, or SOTO, for short. Hell, I still have that name tattooed on my stomach. Bad decision unless you know that SOTO is also a word used in Buddhism to describe searching for oneness or something to that effect. I'm not searching for anything, but it makes for a good story when people ask.
At any rate, SOTO had two songs and that's all we had. We were scheduled to play a gig in a local town for some guy's birthday along with a few other bands. 50 dollars for an hour of work is always nice. The only problem was that we needed at least three songs. I remember it being unbearably hot and we were in Kyle's garage fucking around with the instruments and Steve pulled out this awesome riff. It was just a really cool sound. Really rough and agressive but kind of angst-ridden. It sounded like a mental ward to me. I couldn't think of a damn thing to go with it until I was at home that night. I hadn't thought of anything except for writing some lyrics to those chords since we had closed up the garage.
It was 10 at night and I was scribbling on my memo pad like a mad man. I called Steve and he didn't think that the lyrics would fit the chords. "They don't sound like they fit at all, man. Can you change them?"
"Just play the song for me tomorrow and I'll show you, dude."
They fit perfectly. It was about an addict and some other stuff, but the song itself was too short. We needed a bridge or breakdown or something so I said "Danny, why don't you play a bass riff and no one but Kyle will play, then I'll sing and after a few measures everyone else will come back in?"
My Mind was written. It was complete. We only had the opportunity to practice it three times before we played that night, but we had three songs. Even if we blew the whole thing, they had to pay us.
I always get nervous in front of a crowd. I'm very personable and charismatic [some say egotistical] in person one on one, but on stage I am sweating bullets and awkward. Movement is the key. If you keep on moving no one will be able to notice that you're scared out of your mind. That night I didn't just move, I was singing and mosh pitting at the same time. It was an awesome rush of adrenaline straight to my veins and I was sold. It was the best concert at that point that I had played and I had given up any other dream than being a rockstar. The limelight was it.
After a few more shows with SOTO, we had a falling out. Some bullshit about a girl, probably, I can't remember now. Jake and I were like oil and water and we argued quite a bit. I gave them an ultimatum: Him or me. They chose him and I went away. Stopped playing for a while. They got a new vocalist who wouldn't sing, but scream everything and changed the lyrics to My Mind and wrote a couple other songs. I started playing with a band in another town and had a few shows which were good, but the music was different. They were more into Pantera than I was and I just couldn't get with it, but they were all the best musicians I've ever played with. I quit.
SOTO asked for me back and I did. I caved. I forgave Jake to an extent and I came back. That was the summer before my Junior year and I was tired of living in a small town. I was tired of getting watched like a character out of 1984 by the teachers because there were so few students that the ones dressing different who didn't play sports were singled out. It felt like shit. I felt like shit. So I left and went to a school not too far away but with many many more students and sought to attempt total anonymity. Still, people noticed me, but it wasn't a bad thing. They were generally nicer in the bigger school and I had a lot of friends and I was comfortable there. I went to a load of parties and we played a ton more concerts because of the new people I had met. Steve set us up some gigs in even bigger cities and we played for up to 400 people on some occassions. We made a CD and sold about 300 hundred copies [some are even still in circulation around here] and people even had our ringtones on their phones. It was definitely taking off in a big way. I just went a little too far down the rabbit's hole.
For a 17 year old, marijuana is an exciting thing. I would wake up and get high and go pick up a friend of mine and drink and get high again and then go to school drunk and stoned. I missed almost every class. Then I stopped by Slim's house and he had some psychadelic mushrooms. I had never experienced anything so much like a lucid dream. The reality of the first time I did mushrooms was mind altering. The second time I saw tye-dye and neon and was incredibly sick because of paranoia. It was an experience that I don't believe I can describe. Rooms breathed and colors became too vibrant to look at. It was poison. It was snake's venom. It changed my perception if even for a moment.
I don't recall how, but someone introduced me to pills. All sorts of pills. A pill for any ache or any pain or any negative thought. A pill to take them all away. Never to think again. That's about the point in my life when I found this website and started writing. My early poems are heavily saturated in codiene and lithium. They reek of xanax. I still played with SOTO, but made it to fewer practices. I would show up late to shows and be stoned, but I still remembered our songs. We put on an entertaining stage act even if I was doped out of my mind. Then came Victoria.
Jake was the type of guy to have a girlfriend and meet girls at shows and try to hook up with them. Victoria was one of these girls. She found out by sheer accident on his part, that Jake had a girlfriend of over three years and stopped talking to him. She started talking to me. We saw each for a little while and then it was over, but Jake was pretty furious. They forced me out shortly thereafter because I threatened to cause physical harm to him.
That was it for me and SOTO. We played a lot of concerts, opened for bands like Senses Fail, New Found Glory, Escape the Fate, etc. but it all came to a crashing halt. The only one still in a band is Steve and I'm not even sure what the band is.
After SOTO, I just partied. I had a few girlfriends and girls that liked me and there was always money to be made or drugs to be taken, so that was my lifestyle for a while. Eventually, the parties stopped coming as frequently because people graduated, but the drugs never quit. I was slightly addicted to Tramadol when I started stealing things from abandoned sheds and selling them to junk yards in order to get beer and more drugs. Tyler was my only really good friend at this point, but the thing about two people who are good friends and drug addicts, is that they never fully trust each other. I hated him. We used each other to get what we wanted and that was our entire relationship. He needed help working on his mom's house, I needed her drugs or some cash. She started giving me morphine. I began accepting it. Every day, three times a day at least I would take those little maroon pills. I would pass out on their couch at three in the morning and want more by seven thirty in the morning. I was a wreck. I was dying. All the pills had made me feel dried out like a walking corpse. A zombie. After a few weeks, I wanted out. I was quitting and I made the decision to stop giving into my impulses. Coming down is never easy. Coming to is nearly impossible. It leaves you writhing and crying out in guttural moans, vomit draining down your lips like a chemo patient. You're already half starved from doing the drug and not eating, so what's coming up is bits of stomach lining. Or at least that's what it felt like.
The world looked green. I felt whole and less of a skeleton more of an animal. It left me with a mantra, I guess. Everything in moderation. Once you try to hit that low point, you will and then you're fucked. Don't do anything to the point of excess with very few exceptions.