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Music has always been the biggest part of my life. I was able to find myself though music at a young and very impressionable age. And it’s all because I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household that not only loved to listen to music, but had the means to play music everyday. It saddens me to think that some families just don’t have that luxury.
For those who don’t know, I lost my little brother very unexpectedly one night due to an unforeseen heart problem. I never got to say goodbye to him and it really tore me up inside. I was broken up about it for so long and I when I needed something to turn to, I turned to music. Because music had always been there for me. So I, along with the help of my bandmates, wrote a song to help me deal with the loss of him. That song is called “White Light”
One night while performing “White Light” I broke down on stage. I just let the music move me. There was a photographer that night named Tayler Aubin who captured the moment. And although I was hesitant to post the picture online, I wanted to show how therapeutic music can be for someone.
When I saw the overwhelming reaction to this picture I knew that I wasn’t alone in this feeling. To read all the comments about people who have gone through something similar, or have lost somebody close to them and knew what it was like to just break down. Surprisingly to me, most of them found comfort in our song “White Light” in the way that it had comforted me.
It was at that time that I knew I wanted to make this moment something more. I decided that I wanted to help spread the gift of music to kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity my brother and I had growing up. So thanks to the help of Little Kids Rock and photographer Tayler Aubin, we’re going to be holding a sweepstakes where will be giving away five signed prints of the “White Light” picture where ALL the proceeds go to help put music into kids hands, heads, and hearts who may never have had the means before.
The last leg of the #GetWhatYouGive world tour is finally complete. We’ve spent the first half of 2013 traveling over 25 countries with some amazing bands and even more incredible fans. This post is dedicated to anyone who made it to a show, sang along, stage dove, got sweaty, brought a friend, got a shirt, wrote a letter, got a tattoo, hung with us, talked to us, bled with us or cried with us. Any or of all it. Thank you all so much for further proving to me that in life, you really are going to get what you give.
I’m 29 years old. I don’t have my own room. I have no money in the bank. I don’t have a wife, or even a girlfriend. I don’t have an education. I have no back up plan. My life stays stagnant while all my friends and family progress with theirs.
There are times when all that starts to catch up to me and I get overwhelmed. Much like anyone does in life, I sometimes wonder if I would’ve been better off going a different route.
But then I see a picture like this. Just one glance and I can’t remember the things I don’t have or the things that I’ve missed out on. All I can see is how happy all this makes me and how much I really do have in front of me.
This moment in time is the reason I know I made the right choice.
My brother would be turning 25 today. Times like these are hard knowing he’s not just a phone call away anymore. I had never lost anybody in my life before him, and it was at that moment I realized that our time is precious. You need to hold the ones you love very close and remind them everyday how important they are. Because you might not get the chance to say goodbye… Wherever you are Ryan, I know you’re still shining bright. Don’t ever dim.
It’s amazing what life can do to a person in just one year. This year one of my wildest dreams came true. And in the same year, I reached my absolute lowest point. It’s sometimes hard to forget about one side when you’re so wrapped up in the other. This Summer I felt invincible. This Fall I felt like giving up. Mainstage Warped Tour and the death of my Father. Two things I didn’t expect from 2012. But no matter what this new year brings me, ups or downs, I won’t forget those feelings. When life looks bright I will continue to stay grounded and when this life darkens I will remember how lucky I really am. High or low, I’ll still shine on…
It’s no surprise to anyone that life is hard. This was something that I was told very early on. My father told me that no matter how settled I get in my ways, this world is going to find a way to keep me balanced. And it took me a very long time to understand what he meant by that.
These past few years have personally been so hard for me. I reached new lows I never knew existed. But ironically, these past few years have been some of the best years of my life. And why is it like that? Why is it a constant battle? Why is it a push and pull? Why is it a give and take? That’s life I guess.
"That’s life." A phrase that gets used all the time but it’s never really understood. That’s life is something you’re told when you need consolation. When things didn’t go your way. It’s what people tell you when you are defeated. It’s what you hear when you lost hope. For some, people reach this point and they give up. They stop fighting for what they want because they don’t see the point. They’ve lost sight and feel crushed by the defeat. Surround themselves with it. But if you forget the drive, if you lose the fight, then what do you have? What are you really living for? If everything goes your way and you get everything you want, then where’s the balance? When do you get to appreciate? When do you get to love? How do you get to cherish? Why are you alive?
Some people will never understand it. It pains me to know that some can’t see a reason to smile. Some only concentrate on the negatives. They long for a life of perfection that isn’t coming. If I’ve learned anything from these past few years its that our time on this earth is precious. So I will continue to keep my head up and I will continue to push on. I won’t give up the fight.
I wear this unwavering smile because I have to. I smile because I know that I am living my life to its fullest potential. I smile because I am very lucky. I smile at the give, I smile at the take. I smile because despite what I’ve been through, I know I am not the only one. And above all I smile because I am still here..
When I write songs for The Ghost Inside, I choose to write about things that anyone can relate to. I could never write personal songs about things going on in my life because I never saw the point. I thought to myself “Why would anybody care about what’s going on with me, when everyone has their own problems to deal with.” Then something changed all that.
A few years ago, my younger (and only) brother passed away very unexpectedly. It really tore me up. He died without me having a chance to say goodbye to him. I was a mess. I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t open the windows, I couldn’t face the world. It was the first time in my life that the reality of death set in. I saw death in everything. I saw him everywhere. Until one day I saw the light again.
Writing about my brothers death on our newest album was my therapy. It was what helped me cope with the loss. It made the world normal to me again. I went against my beliefs and I thought “I know this is a ‘selfish’ song for me to write, but I don’t care. I need this. I don’t care if any other person on this earth doesn’t understand, we have 30 other songs. This one is for me and Ryan.”
The reason why I am writing this post is because I had that mentality for song long. That ‘White Light’ was for me and Ryan only. So when I see how important that song is to some people, how it some peoples favorite song on our album, or even how it’s some peoples favorite song ever, I can’t help but get teary eyed. There are so many incredible TGI covers, and there are tons of amazing White Light covers. But I saw these two videos and noticed the time and effort some people took to make a completely different version of my brother and I’s song, that I had to share them with you. Thanks for continually helping me find the light.
Hardcore to me is, and always has been, about the message. It’s about the sense of community you feel knowing you’re not the only one who thinks the way you do. About the pride you have in yourself that you don’t conform with the “normal world.” Hardcore is about being yourself and being proud of it.
I grew up, and got into hardcore music through bands like Throwdown, Shai Hulud, Bane, One King Down, American Nightmare, etc. All of these bands sound completely different, but they all still have something in common. Every single one of those band have songs of substance, songs that make you think, songs that mean something. And they all have some merch with the word “hardcore” on them.
I do my absolute best to give back to the hardcore community by trying to write songs that will inspire and help people the way that hardcore bands of my era helped me. I wouldn’t have the strength to turn down any drugs or alcohol that came my way if it wasn’t for Throwdown’s “You Don’t Have To Be Blood To Be Family.” I would be an angry people hating misanthropist if I never heard Shai Hulud’s “Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion.” And most importantly, I wouldn’t have learned about dedication and sacrifice if it wasn’t for Bane’s “Give Blood.” All of these lessons I learned from hardcore. I owe who I am today to hardcore.
Hardcore to me has never been about a sound. It has always been about a message. The reason I call The Ghost Inside a hardcore band is because I believe in our songs. I believe in what we do. I believe that we are doing this band for all the right reasons. That’s why it’s so important to me to let people know what our songs are about. In the chance that they hear the message, and it sparks something inside them.
All of this is why I’ve always considered The Ghost Inside a hardcore band. If other people and other bands in the hardcore community feel that we are doing the hardcore community an injustice, or misrepresenting the scene, we will never print another piece of merch with the word hardcore on it.
I want people reading this to know that I mean no disrespect to anyone. ESPECIALLY Scott whom I’ve toured with a bunch, and have had many talks with about hardcore music. I respect his band, his career and what he said about my band. While on tour with Terror I acted a fool and disrespected Scott and some of his friends. I’ve done my very best to make amends with them. He has a reason to dislike me and my band. That is something I can only blame myself for, and something that I have to live with. Hardcore is also about honesty, and he was just being honest with the crowd.