So the goth/metal period… How did it start? I remember being quite young – probably 10 or 11 – and when I looked back it felt like I was asleep, just living, waking through the motions, but not fully woken up yet. You don’t notice at the time. We happened to have a court case as a family and through that I did what I was supposed to do, I didn’t question too much before. It was only when I realised things at home were more problematic than my friends were experiencing that I started to feel like I was free falling, for a while.
I don’t remember the point I was introduced to rock music as a teen. I grew up before that with my mum’s eurythmics, dire straits, and my dad’s prog rock – pink floyd, led zep, deep purple.. I do remember coming across RATM – and boy was I ready to rage against the fucking machine. Wake up, bombtrack, killing in the name, bulls on parade – I loved it because I was angry and RATM allowed that, no, celebrated it. FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME! I was sad, angry, violated, insecure, ANGRY. It helped me to be angry, not hopeless or helpless, and at that time I needed that. I needed to be ANGRY. The validation of music expressing what I was feeling meant more than I could possibly express at that time. At home things were a mess, and it was out of control and there was chaos and violence but I could turn on this chaos and violence and anger for myself, but in that moment – listening – I was in control of it; the chaos and the anger and the violence. Even if it was just me, banging my head up and down and shouting those lyrics and feeling it in my heart and head so loudly I couldn’t hear anything else or notice the tears slipping from my eyes – I was in control. And it was MY emotion. MY anger, and fear, and mess. And that was the only thing that mattered. Fuck everything else.
That progressed to so much more – I became fascinated and then obsessed with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Really, obsessed – in what felt like a beautiful, connected way; too much to go into here but I felt the beauty and tragic loss of Cobain and connected with it I think – I think it was a way of feeling sadness that I wasn’t ready to feel for stuff that was closer to me. I read and watched all I could about him, his life and death, and listened and watched over and over, anything he ever sang or played. Having that obsession didn’t make me feel hopeless though, I felt connected and it felt meaningful – maybe added meaning where I didn’t have it?! That transferred to me listening to and liking Hole also, I liked the offbeat quirk of the band..
I also embraced the weird and wonderful. Marilyn Manson was dark and incredible and I embraced his music. Brody Dalle was my ultimate crush and in her video for drain the blood I just wanted to be her – she was queen!! Around that time I got into writing myself – pieces of writings and poems – hugely inspired by the music I was hearing. I would occasionally cop some shit for it, at school from those who didn’t get it, but that only steeled my determination. I loved Stone Sour – particularly ‘Bother’ – it was hauntingly sad to me and I played it over and over – I felt like I could feel the chords inside me and the words meant so much.
Then I got the opportunity to go to download festival when I was 15. That was incredible – the idea of being by myself with my friends, trusted to do our own thing (clearly parents didn’t have a clue).. From the moment I queued up amongst the other festival goers it was ace – people head to toe with tats, hair falls, bizarre and interesting body mods and piercings. Back then I had Courtney Love inspired long messy bleached hair, but I was looking at people’s lox with such envy. Overall it was a way of connecting to all the other misfits like me. Nothing had felt the same before or since. It was a belonging that I’d never felt before and that everyone deserves to feel at least once. I will never forget the influence in my life that I felt through that experience – incredible.