New Noise Magazine reached out to a diverse group of artists and asked them to speak about their personal experiences with dealing with their overall wellness. The topic of being in good physical and mental is an exclusive spotlight coinciding with Issue #32 of the print magazine, deemed The Wellness Issue. Each artist speaks with a refreshing transparency on the struggles they face and how to better go about their own health.
Featuring bassist Matt Deis of CKY
West Chester, Pennsylvania’s CKY came into being in the scene that birthed the “CKY” video series and helped inspire MTV’s “Jackass.” They’ve shared stages with Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica, and Deftones and pushed the envelope for hard-living onstage and off. If there’s anyone who has tested the boundaries of wellness to the absolute ends, it’s these guys. With a new album, aptly titled The Phoenix, out on June 16 via eOne Music, bassist Matt Deis shares his dietary advice for keeping energy up and depression at bay.
Keep your sugar and carbohydrate levels in check while on the road! Even though you’ll be giving it your 110 percent for 30 to 90 minutes a night onstage, you’ll usually be spending the other 23 hours of that day relatively inactive. Tailor your carbohydrate intake to mirror your activity levels. Avoid sugar—especially added sugar—at all costs; it acts as an inflammatory, which can cause a myriad of health problems, most notably the newly discovered link between inflammation and depression.
I follow a ketogenic diet and try to keep my daily carbohydrates under 30 grams per day—but if I know I have a long set, I’ll be sure to eat an extra 20 grams 60 minutes before show-time. You’ll be able to feel fuller longer and have a better overall feeling of clarity if you focus on eating whole foods high in healthy fats—avocado, grass-fed butters, coconut oil—lean proteins, and non-starchy vegetables and skip the breads, pastas, and candy at all costs.
Featuring vocalist/bassist Taylor Iversen of Abrams
Denver grunge-metal rockers, Abrams, have spent a lot of time on tour. Having recently released their new record, Morning, via Sailor Records on June 9, the band’s vocalist and bassist Taylor Iversen takes this opportunity to offer some advice about eating healthy on the road!
Even for a band like Abrams—in which none of the members have any dietary restrictions or convictions—eating healthy on the road can be very difficult. We try our best to keep our van full of nuts and granola, and we eat a lot of fresh and dried fruits: at least one banana a day. We drink tons and tons of water and very little else. Once [we’ve] downed at least one gallon jug, [we] don’t even have to stop for bathroom breaks anymore! Most of that stuff you can find at any gas station worth its salt, so it helps keep costs down.
All that being said, if we see an In-N-Out Burger, there’s an 80 percent chance we’re going to stop. My go-to is: two Double-Doubles and Animal Style fries with a coffee. Hardly a healthy meal and an easy way to get the rest of the van to hate you if you’re not careful. We’ll certainly be experiencing some weight gain on our upcoming West Coast tour in June.
We’re huge fans of local cuisine too, so if we can find something cheap, unique, and tasty in whatever town we’re in, we’ll usually spring for it. If you see us in your hood, let us know what’s good.
Featuring vocalist/guitarist Frank Discussion of Feederz
Feederz—whose influences include concepts like Dadaism, confrontation, subversion, and stealing—are considered an integral part of the unholy trinity of early Arizona punk, alongside Consumers and Exterminators. Led by vocalist and guitarist Frank Discussion, Feederz appeared on the classic 1981 Alternative Tentacles compilation, Let Them Eat Jellybeans, with their song “Jesus Entering from the Rear.”
The current incarnation of the band includes bassist Clear Bob, who was an early member, as well as drummer D.H. Peligro who helped record their first LP, Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss, in 1984. In January of 2017, the group came together in Phoenix to record four songs, two of which appear on their recent 7”, WWHD: What Would Hitler Do?, released on Slope Records. The remaining two songs will appear on the full-length studio album they hope to have finished by the end of the summer.
“Be Prepared” is more than just a boy scout motto…
Sooner or later, we all end up being confronted by the scourge—scum—of the streets: the cops. Officer Friendly has a terrible habit of showing up when he is least needed—or wanted. Let’s face it, you are much more likely to get harassed or beaten by a cop than a mugger. And at least the mugger has an excuse, he just wants your money. Cops on the other hand…
So, when going into cop-infested areas, you need to be prepared. One time, the Feederz were playing in Phoenix. About five years earlier, I had been forced to flee after it was found out I was responsible for printing and distributing 5,000 copies of a paper entitled “Bored With School?” which informed the students of a few facts the Arizona Department of Education had not gotten around to telling them. But instead of being thankful, they wanted to put me in jail. Perhaps because it had the signature of the superintendent at the bottom of it.
Anyway, when we were about two blocks away from the club, someone informed me there were a lot of cops in the area, and they were looking for me. I was flattered, of course, but not wanting to test out their accommodations, I knew I had to disguise myself.
Fortunately, I had a long-haired wig, which was quick and easy to throw on to cover my bald head. Sure enough, there were cops all over the place, and they were definitely looking for something—or someone in this case. When I got to the club, there were two cops in front of me talking about how they were looking for one Frank Discussion and were to grab him—me—on the way in or on the way out of the club to avoid a possible “incident.” I tapped one of the cops on the shoulder, giving an ever-so-polite “excuse me,” and with that, I was soon in the club. I left with the wig on, and the cops actually helped us move our car without knowing it.
Needless to say, it can be really, really important to have a straight disguise. Especially if you happen to have a penchant for indulging in a little destruction. These days more than ever, due to the political “climate”: utterly polluted with a chance of fascism.
“Insurrection means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Featuring New Noise reader Alex Martinez-Jebsen
Surviving the New Hostile and Oppressive Reality
“‘Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration,’” I recite over and over again. As I prepare to head back to the hospital, I choke back a tear and take another breath, “‘I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” When I finish, I walk outside, and wait for my Lyft.
The Litany Against Fear from “Dune” helped me face the death of my best friend, husband, and companion of 16 years.
Creating rituals in moments of crisis helps strengthen my resolve. Find what makes you feel fire in your belly and draw from there.
The process that led me to embrace the approach I share above came as result of years of exploring methods to heal from personal trauma. In the process, I found yoga, peer counseling, somatic therapy, psychotherapy, and holistic community-based approaches.
Much of the latter I learned while at San Francisco State University studying in the Art and Ethnic Studies departments. Latinx Studies played an important role in helping me realize that mental health issues affect everyone in communities that are marginalized and exploited.
However, in the last few months, those marginalized and oppressed communities have grown larger. At this time, it benefits us all to join in solidarity and learn from each other: survival tactics to heal and resist.
But “how do we help each other when we are all so broken?” The answer is we take our pain and we make it work for us. Don’t let the tragedy of life keep you from shining. Learn to suffer well, and then teach someone how you did it so they can do it their own way. Death reminded me of how fragile life is, and it sparked a sense of urgency in me to create more work.
There are days when all I can do is collapse into a puddle, and that’s OK. It’s tough to feel creative when life is kicking your ass. However, life is lived moment-to-moment, so when I find myself looking too far into the macrocosm of life, I remind myself to bring it back into focus. I notice my surroundings, I breathe and pause to process what’s around me. It’s an exercise that slows down time and has helped me cope with anxiety.
As a collective, we are all witnessing transformation in our system of governance that is terrifying. The mental instability of the current leader puts our existence in peril. We can learn to take a deep breath and exhale together, then use our creative gifts to soothe and protect each other from the psychological attacks on our well-being.
We have an opportunity to create a different reality for ourselves through our art-making and creative activities. Curate your world, filter the crap out; it’s not an easy task. Just the other day, I allowed myself to get emotionally upset over some ridiculous thing 45’s daughter did.
Learn more about building small, supportive communities. Abandon any thought process that feels inauthentic, stop treating people like they are products. Practice being genuine in your interactions. Break free of any societal convention that hinders you from experiencing life on your terms. Skip, play, be silly.
It’s not easy, but we have to keep practicing, every day. In a way, we are at war, but the war is now PSYOP. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. To quote Jawbreaker for a moment, “If you could save yourself / You could save us all / Go on living, prove us wrong.”
I hope my words will fuel the curiosity, courage, and discipline within all of us to face our demons, villains, and psycho-dramas, to reshape our reality through compassion and cooperation. Remember, “Survival, never goes out of style.”
Paolo Freire, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”
Leah Friedman, Ph.D., “Ritual as a Means of Personal Transformation”
C.G. Jung, “Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious”
Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman, “The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry into the Condition”
Terrence McKenna, “Opening the Doors of Creativity”
Song lyrics by:
Blake Schwarzenback / Jawbreaker, “Save Your Generation”