Friday, April 21, 2017

An Open Letter to Andrew McMahon

You saved my life. And I'm not just saying that in a figurative sense. I mean it literally. 14 years ago when I was in the darkest place, where the light seems to never reach,
Something Corporate (via my friend Cailin McLoughlin) crawled thru my Walkman and said "you are not alone". I remember it so clearly: as I was drawing a bath, and slitting my wrists, I popped "Leaving Through the Window" into my CD player. The first song that played was "I want to save you" and it was so good, so raw, and the message was so strong, that I had to hear more of your music. So I put the razor down, and I wrapped up my wrists and I sat with my headphones on, and listened to your album. Then I listened to it for weeks and months and years to follow. Konstantine to this day, is my favorite song, my go to when I feel isolated and alone. I listened to "punk rock princess" and I felt like maybe someday I'd meet my garage band king. Your words gave me hope. You shared your soul with me, and it was the first time that I was changed by music.

Since then I've been changed by music hundreds if not thousands of time. The right song always seems to find me when I need it. Music has shaped who I am in endless words, but if it hadn't been for you, I never would have heard the music of Conor Oberst, Chris Carrabba, Adam Lazarra, Jesse Lacey, Alexi Leiho, Francis Mark, Toby Morse, Aaron Gillespie or any of the others who have painted my soul the brilliant colors that make up who I am.

Peyton Sawyer (who yes I realize is a fictional character) once said "You know, I've got this theory: There are two kinds of people in the world. There are lyric people and music people. You know, the lyrics people to tend to be analytical. You know, all about the meaning of the song. They're the ones you see with the CD insert out like five minutes after buying it, poring over the lyrics, interpreting the hell out of everything. Then there's the music people who could care less for the lyrics as long as it's just got, like, a good beat and you could dance to it. I don't know, sometimes it might be easier to be a music girl and not a lyric girl. But since I'm not, let me just say this: Sometimes things find you when you need them to find you. I believe that. And for me it's usually song lyrics."

Well I'm the rare music and song lyrics person. Your lyrics have always touched me, but when the melody of Konstantine came together and I heard the way all the instruments synchronized and I thought, somebody WROTE this. Not Beethoven, or Mozart but someone who walks the earth with ME. So every time I feel alone, like no one could understand my pain, my isolation, I listen to konstantine, and I focus on the piano and I think to myself, someone is stroking those keys with my sorrow, my passion, my hope, my dreams, and I keep breathing.

You have saved me again and again. As a part of SoCo, as Jacks Mannequin and more recently as Andrew McMahon (& into the wilderness). I have followed you thru your dark days and your struggle and I have appreciated every raw emotion you've shared through your music. It has kept me going.

But the reason I'm writing this is because you (and massive shout out to Night Riots and Atlas Genius for also ROCKING) saved me again. More subtly this time because I haven't self harmed in years, and I wasn't drawing a bath with a razor. But I was dying, I just didn't know. I'm not sure if the people around me did either. We don't always realize how much we're struggling, that our light is going out, until it's almost too late. We forget the brilliance that is inside us and we allow ourselves to be silenced by our circumstances.

Life is funny sometimes. As a wife and mother I constantly sacrifice for my family. But months ago when I saw you were coming to town I thought "I have to see Andrew" so I bought tickets, and it was selfish. Because this is my husbands birthday weekend and this probably isn't how he would have chosen to spend it but, I just had to see you.

I came and I saw you as well as Night Riots and Atlas Genius and I FELT "it", something long dead inside of me that only someone screaming their heart out on stage can awaken. The visceral part of me that can empathetically feel what you feel. That knows the struggle and the pain in every word, in every chord.

So thank you, though you may never read this. And thank you to artists like you who put all that you have into every word. Somewhere, somebody is listening and they keep breathing because of you.

After I drafted the majority of this, I dragged myself upstairs (in a very long line) & about had a heart attack when I saw that I had WON, on a five dollar raffle something that will forever be unbelievably priceless to me.