"a little bit of me...(sometimes)" by Bad Alice (2011)
All songs written, arranged, performed and produced by Suzy Johnston (2011)
© copyright Suzy Johnston 2011.
WHY do I write songs? I mean, really, why? I guess sometimes in our lives it can get hard to stand up, stare the world in the face and say EXACTLY what we mean. So, I suppose songs can act as a conduit – a means of identity and not just lyrically, but also as an emotional 'call to arms' if you will which, through the medium of music, can help us not only express the very deepest of feelings but also be there for us when things are at their very worst AND their very best. Music is a friend that NEVER lets you down, it can give us a sense of belonging, of hope, and evokes memories that we didn't even know we had.
It's there first thing in the morning when, buried under your duvet, you plead for just FIVE MORE MINUTES and it's with you when you're walking home after a night out, a bit pissed maybe, but still wondering if that crumpled up phone number you have in your hand offers the promise of something MORE. This is EXACTLY why I write music. Time passes. Yup, that's pretty obvious. But what I mean is that in the time that has passed when I was last playing on a Bad Alice song SO MANY things have happened to you, me, your friends, your family and everyone you care about. That's FIVE years. Wow. Indulge me a bit coz I'm going to tell you some of the things that have happened in my small life since then. Things that are, like all personal stuff, interesting to me but maybe not to you. So I promise to keep it brief. Psychosis and depression can be a BITCH and both together saw me spend the majority of 2008 in an acute psychiatric ward, Christie Ward, in the Vale of Leven hospital in Scotland.
Life throws you curve balls at times and it's how you swing the bat that counts and, slowly, I'm getting better at it. 2008 was TOUGH and there were times when I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be coming home. But I DID, and I would be ASTONISHINGLY DUMB if I was just to turn my back on that experience – hell, on ANY experience – and not try to learn from it. So I was fortunate enough to have a couple more books published, "The Snow Globe Journals" and the gritty, real time diary "When Do I Get My Shoelaces Back?" (written during the 7 months I spent as a psychiatric inpatient), wrote songs until they were coming out of my ears (some good, some REALLY bad!) and fell in love and married the most INCREDIBLE man I have EVER encountered who DOESN'T want to change me/save me/ or make me listen to dance music. And you know what? From those past terrifying, amazing, miserable, funny, inspiring and unbelievable five years I wouldn't change a THING. I think we all have a path to walk and when you find yourself climbing hand over fist up a seemingly IMPOSSIBLE incline it's important to hang onto the thought that there might just be something at the top that makes ALL THAT STRUGGLE worthwhile. There was for me. I promise to keep my fingers crossed for you. Now, where's that guitar……?
What can I say? It must have been fate. About three years ago I was looking to start a band and found myself answering Suzy’s ad.
I’d been playing guitar since I was nine and have been singing with bands since I was in my teens. We just seemed to click straight away – as writers, as performers and, most importantly, as friends. Starting an acoustic rock band has been challenging – no longer can we hit a distortion pedal for dynamics! It’s forcing us to be more innovative and we’re rising to the challenge if I may say so!
As Suzy is working to break the social stigma attached to mental health issues this means I have to empathise with her lyrics in order to do them justice. In doing this, I see how these issues apply to everyone. Sure, not everyone will suffer from mental illness in their life but everyone has their ups and downs and everyone feels alone at times. Music is an excellent form of expression and, for me, it expresses the idea that nobody is alone, no matter how you feel. I’ve always found that music can help to get you through even the toughest situations, it’s certainly helped me through some tough times, and Bad Alice is an opportunity for us both to reach people and show that there are others who understand.
News for 2010 - With us both increasing our work committments, Linz and I have had no choice but to go our separate ways with her off to London while I still write and work on mental health issues and its recovery as well as still composing music and writing lyrics. Obviously performing 'live' is no longer a practical option for us but our music is still available either as donwloads or cds as we hope that the message of our lyrics will still help people and be seen as a way of voicing their pain and offer them the hope that they will get through the dark times.
Take care and travel safely - Suzyx