Back when their album There be Squables Ahead dropped, I was the Metal Director for 89.1 WSFX FM. I remember sitting in absolute awe of this recording, and it hit me in various ways. I fell in love with Dominique Persi’s voice. It was a perfect mixture of beauty and hostility. But, it wasn’t just that. Musically, it was an emotional ride, and was a rather unique album for me at the time. This became one of my favorites from the years working there, and I still love to throw it on now and again.
This was a little after the new staff members came into the station, which brought someone I held as a good friend who went under a height-specific alias when I told him he needed one for on-air hosting duties. He too had fallen in love with this album for the same reasons I did. I forget which song, but I remember the long conversation in which we talked about the release, and how that specific track had almost made him break down and cry given how sad it sounded. Eventually it did shift into other groups, such as Wednesday 13 and Murderdolls, as well as the song “I Love to Say Fuck” that was on one of their albums as a bonus track.
But, after having finished the review of Naught, I was met with a bit of a problem. I immediately wanted to reach out to my old friend and co-worker to tell him about the album and let him know it’s coming out incase he was unaware. Unfortunately I won’t. It would be too awkward, and I’d rather not deal with cleaning up the backlash of assumptions and mud slinging by the third parties that would more than likely come from it.
Back in the day, when he approached about doing some work on the Metal portion of the radio station, I told him we all went by aliases. He chose the name himself, which is how I refered to him many times after that, on and off air. Jokes were had about it, and he seemed to laugh along, even participating in a bump with a smile, catering to the programming day that went into the regular rotation. It was all in good fun, and I never suspected, nor did I know this would be an issue. A few years later, I found a rather bad Hardcore band, and astounded that such a group could be signed, and out of just finding it funny for how bad it was, I sent him the video and jokingly mentioned that if something like this could be signed due to the infamy of one member’s height, he and a mutual friend of ours should do the same.
It was taken the wrong way by both. My friend had assumed I was attacking his height, and even his abilities, and our mutual friend assumed it was an attack on his musical abilities as well. Neither could be father from the truth, as I respected both for what they could achieve at any moment. When I woke up the next day, I found nearly an entire page of hate comments against me. A misunderstanding found fuel added to the fire by that mutual friend, and other third parties coming to his rescue. My name was run through the mud. Declarations of my knowing the history of why they were going off were thrown about when I was never informed by the individual who claimed he told me. It was horrible watching two really good friends do everything they could destroy my good name, the mutual one moreso than my friend. So, I took the professional route, explained what happened, and bid them both a farewell if they couldn’t understand they jumped to a horribly wrong conclusion.
It’s been a good while now, and I haven’t heard from either of them outside of a death threat sent by an outside party roughly a day later.
As I look back and think about the good friend I lost, it still kills me. I don’t know if anything I said sank in, or if the follow-up messages to try to get him to talk about it or clear the air did anything. I’ll admit, the whole situation did help to remove a cancer that was plaguing my life, but it’s not worth the cost of an actual friend, one more than willing to listen or share their thoughts without lashing at me for some reason. And now, that sad atmosphere that I loved about much of Stolen Babies is even stronger, and as I sit here listening to our once mutually favorite album, I continue to ponder if it’s worth fighting through the field of ignorant outsiders who will insert themselves into a conversation that in no way includes them, and never did in the first place, all to do what I love: Spreading the word of music to people who should, and need, to know about it.