If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.
I’m being entirely honest with you when I say the last year of my life has not gone anything like I had planned. It’s hard to pinpoint when my life went off the rails and my descent into pessimism began, but if I had to pick a single event it would no doubt be the passing of my best friend, Justin, last November. He was just 25 at the time of his death, and though he had long battled the disease that ultimately took him from us, I had convinced myself he would somehow pull through. He had survived longer than any doctor predicted he would, and I guess I found a way to believe that would always be the case. I was wrong, and for the better part of year now I have struggled to come to terms with the fact he is no longer a phone call away.
As a result of this loss, I’ve found it increasingly hard to put the some amount of passion and faith into my various projects, friends, and hobbies as I once did. Maybe I fear they too will die and leave me with an inescapable sense of loneliness, or maybe I’m simply not ready to put my trust into something I know will eventually fade away. Whatever the case, the weight of Justin’s passing has weighed me down in more ways than I can begin to explain, and it was only within the last few weeks that I realized it was because of his death that I felt this way. I knew there was an anger within in my soul. There was turmoil tearing at my heartstrings, and it had become such dominant force in my everyday life that it was beginning to impact the way I interacted with the world around me.
I was actually sitting at dinner with my parents for the first time since Christmas when the walls I built to hold my emotions in finally broke. We were waiting on pizza, talking about the people we knew and where life had taken them, when I realized it was the absence of Justin that had derailed my entire existence. Not having his constant presence in my life, albeit often thousands of miles from my geographical location, had lead me to almost completely close myself off from the outside world. I had lost my passion for music writing, education, film, and for basically anything else you would say I had even a fleeting interest in six months prior. My life revolved around sleep and/or whatever would give me an escape from the reality I faced without Justin. I was a hermit, for lack of a better word, and it was beginning to kill me.
There is an old saying among people battling addictions of any kind that the first step to finding a better way of life is admitting you have a problem in the first place. For the better part of the last year I have been addicted to avoiding the fact my best friend in the world has died and there is nothing I can do to bring him back. He’s gone, and even if people want to try and force the belief upon me that those who die live on in our hearts I know his earthly body has been turned to ash and scattered in various locations across the country. There is no place to go where I can sit with him and talk about life. There is no car ride I can take to find his eternal resting place. He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and I need to find a way to live my life once again.
Miss May I is not a band I would typically claim to be a fan of, but over the last couple weeks I have found a strong connection to their music that has aided me in my fight to reclaim my life. Their new album Deathless, which arrives in stores this week, addresses the last two years of the band’s existence and the various struggles they faced in trying to keep their dream of rock and roll glory alive. Like you or me, the guys in this band are people, and on this recording they find a way to channel the stress, ferocity, and unpredictability of everyday existence into hard-hitting rock music that is just as infectious as it is heavy. I have no doubt some will hear the record and feel it’s little more than mosh pit inducing fodder for Warped Tour crowds and those who shop at Hot Topic, but to me it’s the sound of five guys trying their best to make sense out of the randomness of existence, and in they do a damn fine job of conveying that experience to the listener in a way that is incredibly moving.
I’m not better yet. There are still days I have to fight myself to get out of bed because a part of me believes I will spend the rest of my days walking the Earth in search of someone who is half as loving, fun, or kind as my dead best friend. I hope there will come a time when that is no longer the case, but for now I’d be happy if they only occurred once in a great while. Through it all however, music has helped me in ways no conversation with friends or family could match, and Miss May I has played a large role in giving me the confidence to greet each new day with an open mind. Give Deathless a chance. You won’t regret it.
James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.