Two years ago I was in a funk in a bad way, I'd been in an extended state of depression for about 3 1/2 years after somebody I cared way too much about hurt me deeply. I'd pretty much given up on everything in the world & for the most part stopped going out, stopped listening to music, was just existing in a frozen state, almost waiting to die. It was like being in a constant fog.
By some chance I'd decided to actually go to a show (which I seldom did, I almost never had the energy to leave the house aside from work), so my friend Chris and i went down to the 9:30 club to see Ministry the night of May 7 2003. I stood up in the balcony watching the crowd & thinking back to how much fun I used to have & wishing that somehow I could go back in time and start over.
We came home & it was late, I turned on MTV (rare as I seldom watch TV), even more amazingly they were showing videos & not bad reality shows (why I gave up watching that channel for the most part). And something strange and beautiful happened.... a video came on for a band I'd sort of heard of but never heard, a band called AFI, the video was "Girls Not Grey". And something strange happened, I was suddenly transfixed by this beautiful creature with long black hair & *had* to have more. I remembered seeing they were coming to the 9:30 club in just a few days and I knew I HAD to go.... HAD to.... no getting around it. Not going was NOT an option. I was filled with this strange compulsion. All due to this one video...
The show was sold out but I bought a pair of tickets on ebay - by some strange coincidence my friend Karyn had JUST sent me $75 she owed me into my paypal account that more than covered the tickets. I found the Despair Faction site & started reading the board, joined the DF & ordered a few shirts (as I'd fallen in love with the Linus Garsys Blackheart design I ended up having tattooed as a huge backpiece 6 months later) and picked up a copy of "Sing the Sorrow" and played it nonstop. The seller of the ebay auction didn't return my emails, I was terrified the tickets wouldn't arrive in time (about 2 days) and found on the DF board that a few more had been released for the Philly show the following Friday so I bought those too & got an extra for Chris & informed him he'd be coming too :)
The DAY of the 9:30 club show the tix arrived FedEx, my roomie Judy called me at work to tell me they were there so I left early, picked her up & we went downtown. There was already a considerable line by the time we got there at about 4 PM but we still managed to get in the front row on the rail in front of Hunter, and even tho I was only familiar with the songs of the new album it was like a religious experience and I was completely blown away and I had never felt such energy in the crowd. "Through Our Bleeding, We Are One", what is this chant I wondered? (as I had yet to hear "Black Sails")
Three days later I took half a day off work & drove up early for the Philadelphia show at the Electric Factory to relive the experience again & this time bought the entire back catalog on CD afterthe show along with a few shirts and started learning the songs. I was too tired to drive all the way home that night so I stopped at Chris' apartment in Baltimore to crash and the next day we went shopping at Soundgarden in Baltimore.... I was wondering who the heck this band Tiger Army was as I kept seeing their T shirts in great quantities at the AFI shows and they were often mentioned in interviews... Soundgarden had 3 CDs & I examined them...hmmm this one has London May from Samhain playing on it...this one has Adam Carson on it...and look, on this one they cover my favorite Misfits song "American Nightmare" so I just said "what the fuck" and bought them all. And needless to say it was love at first listen and snowballed from there.
A week later I went down to Charlotte, NC to see AFI again & ended up getting to meet the band after Fritch spotted me wearing the DF only blackheart shirt & waved me inside to the meet and greet to my stunned surprize (I had joined the DF but not gotten a card yet & hadn't even entered the M&G drawing since it was a last moment decision to go), that day I also met somebody who would become one of my closest friends (and travel buddy!), and a few week later set out on a grand road trip up to Canada to catch AFI again in London (Ontario) and Toronto and again in Rochester on the way home. And meanwhile I started collecting EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING there was & haunted ebay for their rarities & out of print goodies. And so it all began....
Strange how seeing one video late at night can set off a chain reaction to completely change ones life, and much for the better I may add! Honestly, somehow in some strange way it was through AFI that I was filled with the energy to start really LIVING again - the depression mostly lifted (yeah I have my bad days & still can get down but who doesn't?)
I've spent much of the last few years traveling all over the country many times to shows all over (LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Toronto, Austin, San Antonio, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta, NYC, Cleveland and a zillion other places), seen AFI 16 times (would have been more but their tour got cancelled prematurely due to Davey's throat), Tiger Army 44 times (with 6 to go in the next few weeks), met all the members of those bands & many others & made dozens of new friends. In a way I feel like i've been completely reborn and am no longer the person I used to be but this one is so much stronger & so much better. I'm just supremely glad it all happened. They gave me something to love and a reason to live again.
Such is the power of rock n' roll. Ain't it grand? Thank you Davey, Jade, Adam & Hunter! I really owe ya everything!