i once had a tattoo on my left leg that said ‘no fear’, surrounded by balloons.
About 19 years ago i was riding my bicycle (of course), and i had my neck cut by some kite string with balloons attached to it. If you’ve heard any of the stories that came out within the past year about people being injured (or worse) by random kite strings, then you know that kite string is no joke. i am grateful to have survived. As a result, i developed a fear of balloons.
i wanted to lose this fear, and the tattoo was a reminder of encouraging me to do so. As a result of my legs being messed up from being hit by a truck (which i am extremely grateful to have survived as well) i lost this tattoo. Coincidentally (or not) i began developing a whole other heap of fears. While it may be true that fear is simply representative of False Evidence Appearing Real; but suddenly becoming an amputee will probably do that to you on some level.
So now i have to start over and find my voice again.
As i’ve mentioned various times, Metallica has been a major soundtrack in this journey of starting over. The context of their music is quite different now, as a nearing 50 disabled adult whose life experience has now shifted, versus a young kid who was much more mobile with two legs. While my brain struggles to process various things (due to the accident i suppose), my brain is still functioning with dozens and dozens of thoughts and ideas all at once, and it’s frustrating that i can’t get them all out. i usually have something nearby where i can record my ideas (whether it’s paper or a recording device)- and a lot of times those ideas happen when i don’t have access to something, like i’m in the bathroom/shower, or if i’m in bed and don’t feel like getting up to get said things to record on.
This 72 Seasons album has been incredibly helpful in terms of helping me access some of this creativity. It’s also been helpful in acknowledging that i still have a few fears i was unaware were still around.
This may be a pretty common fear- and it may sound strange to some folks that it’s one i have, given the amount of things i do on here- but one of the fears i do have is a fear of truly accessing my own creativity. i am not a great musician or singer, and i don’t particularly like the sound of my own voice; however, i love creating, so i do it. Creating is a means of survival. i create, but i’m always seeing something in it that makes me recoil, like i played a note weird, or that i’m not good enough.
And suddenly, the universe brings a wonderful song to us called ‘Room Of Mirrors’, the penultimate track on 72 Seasons. To me, ‘Room Of Mirrors’ works similar to ‘Purify’ (the penultimate track on the wonderful St. Anger), in that they both describe the process of truly opening yourself to be vulnerable to others, and breaking down every cell, every atom. To truly open yourself to others is one of the most difficult things to do. Even the most encouraging words sometimes sound like a criticism, either due to painful experiences that have shaped your life, or the voices inside your head telling you ‘no’.
In a mirrored room
Talking to myself
And the voices pushing back
I’ll let them inside my heart
But they’ll tear it all apart
In a mirrored room
Just a simple man
Naked, broken, beat, and scarred
What do I really know?
That fear of letting go
Letting go is scary. Your thoughts are going 250 miles a minute, and you write and record all of these ideas when you can (to the point where it’s even difficult to remember where you put them). You are blanketed by all of these ideas, but to actually put them out into the world is taking that blanket off, leaving you cold. But you need to get up and jog through the forest of your brain to keep warm.
…And so it began, where we were sitting in the theater listening to the tracks of the album, in the global premiere. There were already songs i was familiar with (due to them being released as singles previously). With the new songs, i closed my eyes for much of it, and just took in the music. Not only is every single song a lyrical deep exploration (charting some of James Hetfield’s best), but so many of the songs are dripping in rich harmony… especially a song like ‘Room Of Mirrors’. As i sat in the theater, my brain immediately went there, with both James’ vocal melodies, as well as the guitars.
Over the course of this week i was messing around on the guitar, practicing one half of the guitarmony on the bridge of ‘Room Of Mirrors’, and a cover began to develop. As i mentioned earlier, i’m not the greatest musician, so a lot of times when i cover a song i do it either from memory, or inspired from portions of the source. i can only play to my own limitations, so i’m not going to play a song similar in style to Metallica, as i’m not great at palm muting, barre chords, pinch harmonics… or even guitar in general.
The foundation of this cover was actually the vocals. After i did those, i did drums, then bass, then guitars. The original song reminded me a bit of Bad Religion (one of my favorite punk bands of all time), which may be what truly endeared me to the song (beside its wonderful lyrics). When i began developing the cover, i kind of heard a ska punk rhythm in my head, mixed with the B52s. i cannot tell you why. i also am horrible at soloing, so i didn’t even attempt to for this song. The song stays pretty much in the solid ‘pop punk’ (?) realm, i guess, with some vocal harmonies- again, which i’m not great at. But…
…i am doing my best to face my fears. i am holding that mirror up to what scares me. That said, i am a survivor of things more scary than my terrible vocals.