How one band, writing, and Twitter changed my life.
It took ten years to let new people in after my mom died. Ten years of “what’s the point” and “everyone leaves eventually anyway”. Ten years of guarded interactions, holding myself back, and refusing to accept love. Ten years of wallowing in a place where all I could do was survive and hope the river of life eventually led me somewhere peaceful.
In my pain I latched to things that brought me happiness from a safe distance. Movies, music, books. Things that both taught me that I wasn’t alone and distracted me from my own pain.
This journey led me to a band which would eventually be known as Counterfeit, but at the time was The Darling Buds.
The only thing about that band? They were from the UK with no professionally recorded music and absolutely no hope of a US tour. Par for the course really, loving something I’d never be able to fully obtain. Loving something that was at such a safe distance that if they disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn’t hurt too badly.
But then there was an announcement. The Darling Buds became Counterfeit, and their music changed. Changed to something I was already feeling. Anger, bitterness, pain. Fast guitars and mosh pits.
They released an EP. A community formed. I met other people who loved them. I started feeling like I belonged to some sort of community. There were actual friends I was making. Gemma, who ran the Team Counterfeit Twitter. Virginie, who stood for the French fans. And more. So many more people who were falling in love with the same thing I was.
I started my own twitter page for the US fans. Sharing articles and pushing for a North American tour.
We got an album. Then finally we got the tour I was hoping for.
I drove to Dallas. I told them thank you. I took pictures. I made friends in the crowd. I danced on chairs.
I drove to Nashville. I met Gemma and Virginie. They showed me how Europe moshes. The lead singer threw his arms around me and screamed “these are my people”.
When I got home, I had a Twitter DM from some random chick who’d also met them. She saw my pictures from Dallas and checked my bio. I was a writer. She was a writer. We should be friends, according to the message I had to dig for in my message requests.
I normally ignored stuff like this. Sure I wrote, but my writing sucked. It was little more than overhyped fan fiction with no talent. Why put myself out there like that?
But something about the message stuck to the sides of my heart that falling into the community of the band had started to thaw. What was the point of connecting with other fans if I didn’t take the opportunity to commiserate with them about how wonderful the boys and their music was?
I messaged back. And then again. And again.
Turns out, she loved my writing. She loved it so much she took me under her wing and showed me the process to get myself published.
Turns out, she loved me. The more we talked, the more coincidences fell into place until before we knew it, we were writing books together and flying across the country just to be around each other.
She found the little cracks in my cold exterior that the band had started to form and broke them wide open.
I told her everything. From my movements to my feelings. We obsessed about the band, had listening parties when new stuff came out, shared live video of the concerts we’d been to.
And then this past weekend, it all came together.
She bought the plane tickets for me to come out there. She bought the VIP entry passes. She didn’t let me back out.
And I was there. In front of Jamie, the lead singer, telling him part of this story. Telling him how they inspired us to write. Telling him how they changed our lives. How they brought us together.
And I don’t think it was lost on him.
The thousands of little steps they made, the thousands of little steps me and my best friend made. That led to that very moment.
If The Darling Buds had never fell apart, if Counterfeit never formed, if they hadn’t started with music that expressed the exact feelings I was going through, if they’d put off doing a North American tour or never done one altogether, if I hadn’t posted the pictures, if my friend had never taken the time to reach out to a stranger, if I hadn’t loved the band enough to take a chance - I would still be a hard shell of a person. I would still be living in that place of anger and grief. There wouldn’t be a book series based on a rock star who feels like he has to maintain a hard appearance but only really wants to fall in love, both with a girl and with life (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42443300-adeline-s-aria). There wouldn’t be another book centered around Kit Marlowe because the lead singer happened to play him in a TV show (https://swoonreads.com/m/fair-youth/).
The chain reaction of events led to a place of healing, of love, of hope, of creativity.
So it’s fitting that the new album they’re working on now reflects those things. Yeah, it’s still music I can mosh to. And you best believe I’ve lost my voice from screaming the lyrics so loudly. But there’s an underlying hopeful theme.
It gets better.
And so this is my story of exactly how it gets better.