Being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when I was around twenty-six (being honest) was a relief. I had always known. The way my brain worked was neither sustainable nor healthy. The professionals who help me think I suffered from childhood-onset schizophrenia and that I could almost function with it for whatever reason.
My stage name is Mason Andrew Freak, but everyone calls me Drew. I have lived in my car, abandoned trailers, and isolation. And all with the dream that it was for a purpose. With hope, God had a plan for me.
Let’s start this with a little bit of math. What do you get when you solve the equation below:
The death of your innocence
+ the trials of adulthood
+ dark humor as a coping mechanism
That’s right! You get my album Dixie Plaza.
As someone who has always wanted to finally get myself together and make an album, I never realized that sometimes it takes your worst moments to create something that you are genuinely proud of in the end result.
In eighth grade, I was challenged by my English teacher, Mrs. Walters, to write something that exercised our class’s objective at the time, imagery. I was very naive but full of heart back then and wrote this cheesy piece describing the practice room of me and my friends’ first band, Tigerlake. It has a certain charm to it I think, but only the kind of charm you find in old terrible family photos.
It reminds me of how sure I used to be of me and my friends becoming something, doing something with our music. So yes it is cheesy, and it doesn’t really talk about anything I’ve been working on recently, but it talks about where I’ve come from, and sometimes that’s even more important.
“The moon looked pale and wan, as if it shouldn’t be up on a night like this. It rose unwillingly and hung like an ill specter.”
This is a quote from early in the third chapter of a book called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. This is a book that I don’t like very much but loved in 8th grade. Before I was in a band, before I played an instrument, before I even listened to music, I loved the stories of Dirk Gently. So, when my friends and I started a band in middle school, I suggested this line as a name, and, being in middle school, misspelled specter as “spector”. This was, more or less, how the band started; as middle schoolers who couldn’t play our instruments, misspelling words, and deciding we liked it better that way. And this is, more or less, how the band has stayed since then.
Recently, I was playing a show at a wonderful spot in Nashville, TN called Douglas Corner. It was a Wednesday night, and just before I was about to go on stage, a buddy texted me saying, “What are you doing Friday night? Do you want to go to the Ryman with me?” If you aren’t familiar with the Ryman, it’s a beautiful venue located in downtown Nashville, just off Broadway. It’s called The Mother Church of Country Music, many legends have played there & continue to play there, and the Grand Ole Opry was born out of that room. It’s truly legendary. Needless to say, if someone asks you to go to the Ryman with them, you say yes, regardless of who’s playing. So of course, I immediately responded to his text with “Hell ya! Of course, I want to go to the Ryman! Who’s playing?”
While in an earlier post today, we told the story of Lance Allen, who learned how to make some decent money online with his music, Nick Roberts of the indie band And The Giraffe from Nashville, Tennessee has learned a completely different lesson.