“When you are mad, mad like this, you don't know it. Reality is what you see. When what you see shifts, departing from anyone else's reality, it's still reality to you.” - Marya Hornbacher
Before I had heard the music behind “Living, Coping, Breathing”, I was granted the opportunity to read over the lyrics of each piece that made up the album, completely unfettered by preconceived notions and personal bias. I was touched by what I read, especially in the songs “Way To Go” and “Wake Up My Friend”, and “I Can’t Let You Go”.
The words speak with an honesty that befits a heart mourning the loss of a dear friend to a quiet tragedy - mental illness. The words themselves are enough to well up with sympathetic tears for the pain that is left for those who loved Ben (the subject of this tribute album) but then I hit play and everything changed.
The words speak the grief, sadness, loneliness, confusion, paranoia and all the other emotions that one may feel when faced with mental illness, but it speaks it to people who are not familiar with loving someone sick with this disease. When the guitar begins, I realized that Randy would be giving me the rare opportunity to know what it feels like to see the world through Ben’s eyes. I could sympathize with the words, but Randy and his guitar would seek to teach me empathy, even for a brief moment. The driving rhythms and the heavy distortions wrap the listener in a place that takes you from anxiety and panic, to spinning in confusion and to an eerie calm that foreshadows something dark to come. I found myself understanding why Ben would cry out to be wrapped in a bubble that would keep him safe, and one can’t help but to look at oneself and wonder how unfriendly to an afflicted mind our system really is.
I applaud the effort evident in each note and each word written from the heart of a caring and understanding soul setting out to tell Ben’s story. Living, Coping, Breathing is a rare glimpse into a tragic existence, one where the base human need to communicate and feel understood is so far out of reach.
Kim Atamanchuk Rock Music Aficionado
www.getRRPmusic.com from the inside out of a troubled mind...