“I left my wife. Grab your guitar. I’m coming to town.” Those were the words James Bond (his real name) left on my phone in the late fall of 2003. It was right around the time my own first marriage was ending. Soon after that, we both found ourselves separated, living in the same apartment complex, with a volcano of emotions and an intense urge to create! This is how REMEDY was born.
Both of us had shelved our musical instincts for years before that, in order to focus on our respective marriages. But when both marriages failed (with fortuitous synchronicity) there was now an urgent need to reconnect with that creative muse! When we suddenly had the freedom to throw ourselves headlong back into music after a forced abstinence, it led to a burst of creativity I’ve not had before or since. It was effortless, fun and inspiring to ourselves and our friends! It was a jubilantly productive time!
What came from those heady days eventually became our 11-track debut album, “Paleofidelity”.
And in those early days, the writing was often very autobiographical. Especially the first song we wrote, “Any Other Way“. In that song, I describe the scene of my ejection from my marital home…what started my separation. I was being escorted off my property, by the police…the police that my then-wife had called, to escort me away. You see, I came home and discovered she had changed the locks, AND charged me with assault (which gave her the means to achieve my forced exile, but for which I was later exonerated…I’ve never hit anyone or been in a fight in my life!)! So as I walked back to my car, with 2 cops following a few paces behind me, a crowd of ~10-14 neighbours, who were gathered on the adjacent yard, gawked awkwardly at me, standing in dumbfounded silence, as they stared. So, just to piss them off, and as a middle-finger to the whole situation, I smilingly waved at them in an exaggerated fashion, with an exaggerated smile, provoking an immediate flourish of heads turning away. They acted as if they were invisible at first, even though they made no attempt to conceal their stares. It was fun watching the moment when they realized (to their apparent horror) that they weren’t invisible, and yeah, this dude knows you’re staring at him. Perhaps they succumbed to the feeling of anonymity one gets when semi-concealed in a crowd…giving the impression that I couldn’t see them. But I could. And as I was being unjustly escorted away from my own home, I wasn’t in the mood for being gawked at. So I swaggered to my car and stared right back as conspiciously as possible…and the onlookers then scattered their gazes to the wind. Shortly after that, I wrote this song: a retelling of that moment, manifested with a marching, simmering, unrelenting anger that’s just under the surface, but always in control.
The lyric video of ANY OTHER WAY can be seen HERE. The unapologetic, raw intensity of this track always gets under my skin, and has remained a personal favorite of mine since it’s creation. I hope it connects with you, like it does with me.
Jim and I were only partly aware at the time of the therapeutic nature of what we were doing. Yes, we were indulging our life-long love of music and writing….worthwhile in it’s own right. But we were also unknowingly using this creative outlet to channel the tempest of firey emotions that inevitably accompany separation, divorce and moving on. Music was our “Remedy”…our means of coping, of processing, and eventually…of healing. It was the critical, indispensable link between losing and winning. Between failure, and later success. Between bitterness, and slowly allowing love to return. It helped me recover from an enormous disaster, as it then seemed…an obvious public failure laid bare for the world to see. Music was the one thing I could talk about without feeling that failure. It gave me joy at a time when little else did. It was an unextinguishable need that for years I pretended wasn’t there. And then to finally re-embrace it, more fully than ever before, and to turn that experience into a creation I’m proud to have made… has been my most inspiring achievement to date! It helps me believe that those prior years of wasted time, weren’t truly wasted! I’d like to think that holding-back that creative urge for so long, created a build-up of tension, that then fuelled the forward thrust of inspiration we found, when that urge was finally re-indulged. That once-in-a-lifetime creative momentum we experienced, was the fortune we discovered in the ruins of those seemingly wasted years.
If you’re curious to hear that result, check it out here.
Since those days, it’s seems a lifetime has happened. A lot more craziness would follow. I became addicted to pain meds that I secretly prescribed to myself (bestowing extra irony to our Rx logo – for years known only to me). What began as a way to dull the unbearable pain of not seeing my infant son, slowly grew into a secret addiction that lasted 7 years, and ultimately toasted my medical career. Once again, I found myself at the bottom. But like before, and quite gratefully, I bounced back up. I’m now 9 years into a successful recovery! I’m also remarried…happily this time! I have a 6-year-old autistic daughter who is the light of my life! I no longer practice medicine. Music and parenting are now my 2 full-time pursuits. Permanent changes have taken hold. It’s rarely been easy. And never boring. But in a funny kind of twist…what I once sang with an ironic sneer, I can at last say with sincerity, conviction and a unique sense of fulfillment: I wouldn’t have it ANY OTHER WAY!
Thank you for ears and eyes! I hope you enjoy the ride!
(P.S. For the curious, check out my rhyming blog, Rocker Turned Doc Turned Back to Rock)
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