Depressalin: Chapter 3 “The Sounds of Music”

Lookie here, it’s Chapter Three. Enjoy and such!

Do you cry in your sleep? All my failings exposed… Gets a taste in my mouth as desperation takes hold. Why is it something so good just can’t function no more?” — Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart

I have a confession to make: I only recently in my life have begun to seriously appreciate Joy Division. Yeah, I’ve always kinda liked them. I read The Crow comic and saw all the quotes, but I always preferred the Cure quotes, truthfully. I loved Nine Inch Nails’ cover of Dead Souls, but I was no fan of Ian Curtis’ singing style. His lyrics? Sure. Love them. Always have… ever since I first heard Joy Division when I was much, much younger. I heard them on the radio in Germany when I was a kid and I thought “Jeepers, this guy is really sad”, having no idea he’d killed himself about five years before, in 1980. Later on down the road, I would joke about how Ian Curtis probably could have improved his vocals had he survived the hanging. But now… now I love his voice. Its haunting quality finally rings true with me. His lyrics hit even harder, and the music behind him is truly awesome. He is fucking immortal, that guy. They are immortal. As for New Order (the band that formed out of Joy Division after Curtis died), I love them, too. I own every album, much of it on vinyl. I used to rather listen to New Order than Joy Division, but now it’s the other way around more often than not.

This guy I used to work for, my dear friend Mike, “MusicWerks Mike”, told me one day while we were drinking beer together in his store that I would like Joy Division more when I was older. I was 26 at the time and I thought he was full of shit. I told him “Whatever, man. Let’s listen to New Order instead”. Now here I am, and I hear Ian Curtis in my head all the time.

Does this mean I’m going to fucking kill myself?

Nah, probably because I just muttered “Well, if you gave Curtis some vocal lessons and had him sing for early New Order then you get She Wants Revenge.”

No, not Interpol, you weenies. Though I do like me some Interpol… Just not as catchy as SWR. Sorry.

Ah, music. I love music. I don’t need to walk around with little plastic knob things in my ears for my continuous soundtrack. It’s all in my head, nestled there. Nice and cozy.

I am an electronic baby of the 80s; thus, I love electronic music. My dad got me hooked as a kid on stuff like Abba, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Village People and Blondie. When I was a wee lad, I took up playing the recorder and then saxophone. Jazz came naturally to me. But I also loved marching music and heavy metal. All of this culminated into my obsession over industrial music. Particularly Electronic Body Music, or EBM. Man, I fucking love it. The beats, the basslines, the movie samples, the distorted euro-vocals (which leads to fun, mocking terms like “ESL-BM”). After playing jazz music for years with my tenor sax, I moved on to flirting with bands and diving right into djing. Then I was booking bands, working at nightclubs, etc. It became my life in my 20s.

And I do owe quite a bit to my role-playing nerdery. See, I wanted darker, futuristic music for my Cyberpunk 2020 game sessions, so I ended up playing bands like Frontline Assembly, Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails for my fellow nerd friends I was running said Cyberpunk games for.

You don’t know this yet, but I’m a weird crossover gamer nerd type. I don’t actually look like a dork, nor do I obviously act like one (right?). But I am one to the core. I’m probably borderline autistic, considering just how into the details of everything I get. But I’m also a charming erudite freak, too. I’ve never had a problem with “getting women” and yet I nerd out, throw dice and all that terribly nerd-freakish stuff.

I merged two of my favourite things, Music and Gaming, into one sweet, tasty pie. In the mid-90s I wanted to be cyberpunk. I wanted to look it, feel it, live it. I didn’t have the programming or hacking knowledge for a “true” cyberpunk, but I read all the literature, read the comics, played the games, listened to as much industrial music as possible, wore a lot of black and military clothing and even riveted nails into my black leather jacket. I had blue hair for a little bit, I dabbled with piercings, but most of all I was a giant throbbing dick to half the people I met.

Where the fuck am I going with all this?? (A common question I will ask you throughout Depressalin.)

Ah, yes. Liane. Because there’s always a girl involved somewhere.

Let me tell you about Liane…

She was probably the first woman I truly fell for at the tender age of 18. Granted, I had loved and lost already. I started having intimate relationships with women around 17 and I was with an older girlfriend for a while, but I think I was just really, really into the sex. So, yeah, Liane. I met her at a 24-hour coffee shop (which I eventually worked at, but that’s another story). At the time I was doing renovations and other odd jobs, using the money to go to shows in Spokane, where I lived at the time, and Seattle. I bought quite a few band shirts, albums, and other sundry merchandise items with my hard-earned money. It’s one of those shirts that led me to meeting Liane.

There she was, sitting at the coffee shop. I was wearing my KMFDM Angst shirt, having not-long-before seen the show at DV8 in Seattle. I loved that shirt. So much so, that I actually still have the ratty old thing in my closest, a physical manifestation of old memories. Liane noticed my shirt and immediately struck up a conversation with me. She had an unearthly beauty about her. Thin, blonde, blue-eyed with very pale skin. I fell in love with her within minutes. She even smelled amazing. I still recall her small. It was sweet, warm, glowing. Liane was home for the summer from a prestigious university back East and while it certainly impressed me, I was more impressed by her quick wit, gifted intellect and programming skills, her devil-may-care attitude, the fact she played violin, and, oh, yeah, her love of industrial music.

She was vastly different than the other girls I hung out with at the time. She was special. She was almost… alien. Through Liane I learned a lot about life, music and intimacy. While I don’t think Liane realised just how much I learned in that latter department, I did absorb the necessary knowledge I needed for future relationships.

Liane introduced me to a whole new world of obscure European electronic industrial bands, as well as a few American ones. Swamp Terrorists, X Marks the Pedwalk and Chemlab became lifelong musical champions of mine thanks to her. That shit really did change my life.

Alas, things weren’t to be with Liane. Our swiftly consummated relationship soon took a dive when her college boyfriend showed up unexpectedly. I even hung out with him a bit, which was pretty strange for me at the time. He was a big industrial nerd and I’ll readily admit he had some influence on me, as well. Ten years later, he would be running a record label and even came into MusicWerks, that music store I worked for, a couple of times (he lived in Portland, Oregon, which wasn’t far away). Nice guy.

He probably still hates me.

It all weighed down the relationship and things fell apart. Just in time for Liane to go back to college, actually. And there I was, broken and alone. But I quickly filled that gap with more women.

There are always more women.

Liane will always live on in my heart. I hold no grudge or petty contempt for her. She was and still is very special to me. I haven’t spoken to her since that fun summer of ’94. So long ago, but all those memories of her are still fresh.

I like to hold on to one in particular, where we screwed in my parent’s bathroom. Naughty children, indeed.

Liane was also one of the first people who I told I’d like to be a writer one day. At the time I was very rough around the edges, only dabbling here and there. Now look at me.


My love for music—industrial music, in particular—has followed me into many different relationships with a variety of lovely, and usually crazy, women. I guess it goes without saying that I also developed a terrible taste for goth girls. Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to the outlandish appearance of those sultry darkwaver gals. In short time, however, “darkwaver”, “goth” and “industrial” became pre-requisites for dating me. Later on, I would seek non-goth types, which ended up biting me in the ass because only goth-industrial types can really relate to me, my outlook and my sense of humour.

Let’s face it: Classy goth girls are HOT. Women in camouflage and big boots are HOT. There HAS to be something wrong with me, right? Because here’s the thing: They usually have severe emotional issues.

Well, let’s be fair—most PEOPLE have severe emotional issues. The budding adults of the 90s got fucked around and twisted by a culture that was too careful and too reckless all at once. The “PC” Generation twice over when you think about it. Old enough to remember rotary-dial phones but young enough to be unable to live without the internet. The book and movie Fight Club doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of just how fucking fucked up the second half of Generation X is. We are enlightened intellectuals who play dumb and try to deny just how we lie and stab each other in the back to get corporately ahead, while openly espousing integrity and honesty. We want to care and to get ahead simultaneously. But those who care don’t, and those who get ahead hate themselves for it. Or maybe they don’t and just numb themselves with episodes of Intervention (or Dexter, for the really real-people who are, you know, real). We are the eyes-wide-open but emotionally gagged tools of the Baby Boomers and their ilk. And we love it because we get to take the reigns next; armed with our Future Reward Piñatas, and all we have to fill them with are smaller and smaller iPods for the generation we get to fuck over.

Fuck over hard.

I could go on and on and on, but I should save that for later, eh?

Anywaaays and all that, I’m sure you get the point that music is very important to me. You also may get the feeling that I like saying the word “that”. Music triggers all kinds of memories and emotions for me, which can lead to all kinds mnemonic disasters. Being a club DJ for years didn’t help either, as I would tire of the same old crap people always wanted to dance to, and I would find myself cursing old stand-by Tracks of Awesome like Front 242’s “Headhunter” and Skinny Puppy’s “Worlock” having to hear them all of the time… sometimes multiple times in the same weekend. Not only did I DJ sometimes, you see, but I also worked doing bar-duties or as a doorman, which means I was at nightclubs all week long. Working in a spectacular gothic/industrial music store made things worse in a way, as I would always be exposed to new music and wanted to expose it to the club denizens whenever I could.

That’s the thing, see. People like the same old same old. They enjoy familiarity. Not just with music, but with people and interests, too. I suppose this is why I tend to date the same kind of women over and over again, wondering what the hell is wrong with me and why I seem to have this masochistic desire to find incredibly broken girls and fall in love with them. Maybe I just hate myself. Maybe I hate people on some kind of bizarre level unknown to no one but only the most astute, insane Japanese scientists.

But I don’t hate music. It is a part of me. It sings the craptastic epic that is my life. It’s my soundtrack to reality. And I feel fine.

I think.



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