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Category ArchivePerformer’s Studio

Badflower: Ghost

Badflower: The True Story Behind Ghost and Suicide

In February 2019, the alternative rock band, Badflower, introduced their debut album, Ok, I’m Sick. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the four-piece band surprised the music world with their first collection of songs. There are 13 songs listed on the debut album, with a total listening time of just less than an hour. And with songs that discuss controversial topics like drugs, anxiety, rape, and suicide, Badflower fans are certain keep coming back for more new stuff.

Click this link to check out Badflower’s entire album, or just download your favorite songs from Amazon.

Badflower: Ok, I'm Sick Album and Ghost Song Review

Badflower: The Story Behind Ghost is Based on a True Story

One of my favorite Badflower songs is Ghost. It’s music video only appeared on YouTube about a year ago, but the song already has over 14 millions views.

According to several interviews, Badflower’s lead singer and guitarist, Josh Katz admits that he was in a dark place when he wrote the song Ghost. He wrote the song directly after a gig, and after a lifelong struggle with severe anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. Josh also admits that Ghost is a true story about his personal history with drugs and self-harm. And at one of his lowest points in life, he even contemplated taking his own life.

Fortunately, Josh soon realized that writing about his compulsions helps him feel better able to manage his behavioral health issues. And now he feels like he’s in a better place mentally. He wants to live, so that he can continue making and sharing his music.

Finding Your Creative Inspiration

If you’ve had a chance to read LG’s post: Jeremy Zucker: Depression and What the Fuck Are You On? , then maybe you understand why songs like Ghost are important. Especially for those people who suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression.

You are not alone. In fact, thousands, if not millions, of fans and musicians also suffer from mental illness. The only difference is what each person chooses to do cope with the symptoms.

For many musicians like Josh Katz, he had to hit rock bottom to remember how to stand. And how to allow his music to become his saving grace.

Today, Josh openly shares his worries, fears, and feelings of inadequacy through his lyrics without fearing judgment. He knows he’s not alone, and he no longer feels like suicide is his only option. Instead, he tells his story through his music, and he speaks to an audience who understands. He found his purpose in life.

Jeremy Zucker: Depression, and What the Fuck Are You On?

Jeremy Zucker: Depression and What the Fuck are You On?

In May 2018, recording artist Jeremy Zucker posted a music video to YouTube called, “All the Kids are Depressed”. The video features a story about the signs of depression and contains dialogue from teens and young adults wanting to share their experiences. To date, the video has received over 6.5 million views, over 450K likes, and over 13K comments, including one comment from Jeremy Zucker himself.

“Guys, just want you to know I see all your comments. I love you, stay strong.”

Jeremy Zucker | YouTube | All the Kids are Depressed

You Are Not Alone

When Jeremy Zucker made his request for stories, hundreds of people responded. Only a few stories made it to his video, but the numbers don’t lie.

You are not alone in your fight against depression.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, and several studies, anyone can experience depression regardless of gender, age, race, or geographic location.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

In fact, the World Health Organization says that:

“One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.”

World Health Organization

All the Kids are Depressed, and Getting Better at Hiding It

The main purpose of Jeremy Zucker’s video, “All the Kids are Depressed” is to remind people suffering from a mental illness that they are not alone. But since no two people experience depression the same way, there are just as many symptoms of depression as there are stories. So, this is why every story matters, and why every story needs to be shared.

For some people, like Jeremy Zucker, depression means not wanting to get out of bed, let alone participate in life. For others, depression means constantly feeling inadequate, unimportant, and undeserving of happiness. Or, worse yet, not wanting to feel anything.

Substance Abuse and Addiction

Let’s be honest. Sometimes it feels easier to light up a joint or open a bottle of alcohol than it is to sit down with our thoughts. Or, to grab a pen and a piece of paper, and start exploring our feelings. Like most unwanted situations in life, it’s easier to deny a problem exists, rather than to deal with all the issues we’ve kept tucked away for years.

But what many people don’t understand is that drugs and alcohol often intensify hidden symptoms of depression. Then the same people go on a prescription anti-depressant because they “just can’t figure out what’s wrong.”

Also, constantly smothering or drowning our sorrows can eventually lead to addiction, making it even harder to dig ourselves out of a rut.

“The thing that frustrates me the most is that I can’t control how I feel. Even if everything’s perfect, I still find a way to feel like shit.”

Jeremy Zucker | All the Kids are Depressed

Mental Health Stigma

We live in a society that stigmatizes mental health. We train ourselves not to act “crazy”, entertain crazy, and to simply ignore crazy people. Then we write off taboo opinions as “crazy”, like a person’s words mean nothing more than a nuisance. But we can learn a lot from each other, and from listening to ourselves. Because mental health issues are real, especially to the people suffering.

Like many people who suffer from depression, Jeremy often feels like he can’t talk to anyone about his mental health problems. So, he pretends like he’s O.K. by smiling and forcing his laughter. Sound familiar?

But what if there are healthier ways to cope with depression?

Combating Depression with Music

It’s no big secret that art and music connects people. Both forms of creative media allow for better communication and self-expression, which is why so many people choose to tell their stories creatively. And why it’s important for musicians and celebrities to interact with their fans and help support their creative endeavors.

In a Billboard interview, Jeremy credits the band, Blink-182 for inspiring him to pick up a guitar and start writing his first songs in fifth grade. He calls music a release for him, which allows him to express all the emotions that he feels everyday. He says he writes music to feel, and he encourages his fans to listen if they want to be honest with themselves about their own feelings.

Jeremy Zucker, along with many other known and unknown creative talents want you to know that you are not alone. Even though a mental illness like depression can make you feel that way. You just have to connect yourself with the right people, and find the right kind of music that speaks to you. But more importantly, never stop telling your story, or using your creative talents to inspire other people to tell theirs.

Peace and Blessings.


Shallow song lyrics and meaning

Shallow: Featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

In 2018, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sang a chart-topping duet called “Shallow” in the third remake of the movie A Star is Born. Then she accepted an Academy Award for best original song during the Oscars in February 2019. It was a proud moment for all four of the talented songwriters, but also for the fans who’ve helped support the song’s journey by downloading its single.

What is the song “Shallow” about?

A Star is Born broke records for ticket and DVD sales. And just the video of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper singing “Shallow” at the Oscars has received 77 million views in a month. But what is the song really about?

As with most music, the meaning behind the song lyrics for “Shallow” is up for debate. Because a lot depends on interpretation and how a song’s message resonates with its listener. The following is based on Lyrical Gypsy’s interpretation.

Communication: Having Deep and Meaningful Conversations

Sometimes music fans get lucky, and one of the songwriters will share his or her insight regarding the lyrics.

According to countless interviews with Lady Gaga, the song lyrics for “Shallow” represent a conversation between two people; a man and a woman who is trying to understand and help each other.

But with society now feeling the wake of the #MeToo movement, the song means so much more. And to some people, “Shallow” represents sharing the truth and bringing hidden issues to the surface.

A Choice: to Take a Leap of Faith, or Stay in the Shallow Where it’s Safer

In the movie A Star is Born, Lady Gaga’s character (Ally) struggles with self-doubt, and she doesn’t want to perform her own music on stage. Not because she lacks talent but because she’s worried about her personal image; specifically her looks, including the size of her nose. So, in the song lyrics, Bradley Cooper’s character (Jackson Maine) questions Ally’s motives for pursuing music and then challenges her to step out of her comfort zones.

“Tell me somethin’, girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?

Ally agrees that Jackson is right; she needs to step out of her comfort zone and take a leap of faith if she wants to succeed in the music industry. But she worries why he wants to help her when he seems like he can barely take care of himself. She recognizes his addictive behavior but needs help understanding him, too.

“Tell me something, boy
Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?”

Eventually, Ally becomes more confident and begins singing on stage with Jackson to build her self-esteem. Then once she starts performing her on music, her music career ignites.

But as for Jackson, he’s slowly losing his battle against depression and addiction. He’s in way too deep to save himself, or his music career, and now he’s barely treading water.

Both actors sing the same lyrics as a duet, but for very different reasons.

“I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now.”

Personal Accountability: and Avoiding Taboo Subjects

Ally feels embarrassed by Jackson’s erratic behavior, but according to the movie, she does very little to intervene. Instead, she often asks Jackson, “You O.K.?” but most of the time she already knows his answer.

Here are a few scenes where Ally could’ve confronted Jackson and held him accountable for his actions:

  • When he passes out before they have sex, but she says nothing. Instead, they have sex that morning, then share breakfast with each other as if nothing happened.
  • When she learns about his family’s history of drinking during an argument between him and his brother.
  • When she tries to share her excitement with him about a possible record deal, but mid-conversation, he falls off the couch drunk. Some people nearby offer to help, but her only response is:

“He’s O.K., it’s fine. He does this all the time.”

Ally follows Jackson into the bedroom and tries to talk to him, but he changes the subject, and she lets him. They flirt and joke around with each other, knowing he has a drinking problem, but neither person wants to talk about it.

The scene ends with Ally slamming the bedroom door; perhaps, as a metaphor for shutting out the rest of the world.

Avoiding Complacency in a Relationship

When Jackson is sober, he’s supportive, and Ally likes that about him. She even sings, “Look What I Found,” which illustrates how much she enjoys being in a relationship with him. She’s in love, but sometimes love makes it difficult to see a person’s unhealthy behaviors.

Perhaps Jackson’s friend and neighbor, George “Noodles” Stone (played by Dave Chappelle) explains complacency the best:

“You float out to sea, then one day you find a port, and you say I’m gonna stay here a few days. A few days become years, and you forget where you were going in the first place.”

Then you realize you don’t really give a shit about where you’re going because you like where you’re at.”

Like many couples, Ally and Jackson are way over their heads in love with each other, and neither can see a shoreline. They’ve gone too far, and they’ve been through too many things together to turn back now. So, they start pulling each other down.

Improving Self-Awareness in a Relationship

During one of Jackson’s drunken stupors, the couple has a fight and things turn nasty. Jackson becomes belligerent and tells Ally that she’s embarrassing and that she has no talent. Then he calls her ugly, knowing that she’s conscientious about her looks.

But instead of trying to talk to Jackson about how she feels, Ally uses the only ammunition she has against him; his addiction.

“Why don’t you have another drink, and we can just get fucking drunk until we fucking disappear?”

“Hey, do you got those pills in your pocket?”

A Star is Born is a two-hour movie, but Ally only confronts Jack once while he’s sleeping. She vows that she’ll never try to find him again or help clean up his messes. But then the two of them smile at each other and start carrying on a normal conversation about her show.

Once Jackson is sober, Ally finally confesses her fears that he might not come home, or want to be with her once he finishes rehab.

“I wondered without the booze…you know, if you’d want to come home. Because when you met me, you were drinking and now you’re not.”

Of course, Jackson has an excuse and reminds her that he wasn’t drunk the whole time they were together.

Then she replies:

“…but it got bad while we were together.”

It’s O.K. It’s fine. I was just wondering, that’s all.”

“Whatever you want is O.K.”

“I just want you to be happy.”

In the same scene, Jackson finally confesses to Ally that he’s sorry, to which she replies, “It’s O.K., it’s not your fault. It’s a disease.”

Even if addiction is a disease and not a choice, it’s not O.K. because it ruins jobs, families, relationships, and lives. And it’s important to talk about behavioral health issues, such as mental illness and addiction because nothing ever gets better without adequate communication.

“I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longin’ for change
And in the bad times I fear myself.”

Sometimes old habits are hard to break, and soon, Ally experiences another rude awakening. Because when all a person knows about life is how to self-medicate to drown out the noise, achieving sobriety becomes much more difficult. And sometimes, experiencing an uninterrupted level of self-awareness is too much to handle.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody and Why We Need More True Stories

In October 2018, millions of devoted Queen fans from the United States and the UK rushed to nearby movie theaters to see Bohemian Rhapsody. But in some other parts of the world, fans had to wait until November, December, or even March 2019 for the movie’s release.

Bohemian Rhapsody gross sales
Source: The Numbers

Bohemian Rhapsody grossed over $889 million in theater ticket sales, and another $37 million from DVD and Blu-ray sales. That’s twice the amount of A Star is Born, featuring the vocal talents of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and nearly four times the amount of the heart-wrenching movie, Green Book.

But why is that? How did a biopic movie about a classic rock-n-roll band named Queen, and its flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury generate more revenue than two award-winning movies combined?

The answer comes down to the truth of the matter.

Is Bohemian Rhapsody Based on a True Story?

Movies based on a true story; inspired by a true story; inspired by real events all have one thing in common; a notion of truth. Not impeccable truth, or a perfect timeline of events, but just enough truth to make a story believable. So, even if the screenwriters took a few extra creative liberties while writing Bohemian Rhapsody, the basic story remains true. Wild, chaotic, and painfully true, which is exactly what fans would expect from a movie about an unapologetic rockstar like Freddie Mercury.

How to Catch a Fallen Star

The band Queen has had a strong following since the mid-to-late 70’s, which is partially due to its candid and flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury.

Bohemian Rhapsody
Freddie Mercury’s funeral

Before his death in November 1991, Freddie loved to play the piano, discuss music, and show off his four-octave, operatic singing voice. He loved being the center of attention, but he didn’t like discussing his personal life. He wanted the press to see him only as a performer, but his reckless behavior, excessive partying, and bisexual promiscuity quickly became a topic of conversation.

Unfortunately, there are no secrets in Hollywood. And most diehard music fans won’t turn a cheek to a lead singer’s self-destruction. Yes, Bohemian Rhapsody did well in theaters because rock-n-roll music has millions of devoted fans worldwide, but not even the best music or band compares to the excitement and fear people feel while watching another person’s life spiral out of control.

Was Freddie Mercury’s silence a cry for help?

Freddie experienced so much more loss and disappointment than what the movie dares to explain. He gave up the love of his life. He felt judged by many of his family members and friends for his life decisions. And worse yet, he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, then bottled up all his emotions. But was his silence trying to tell us something?

According to the movie, Mary Austin; Freddie’s ex-girlfriend tried to intervene, but he refused. So, she just left? Certainly not, but that’s how the movie depicted their relationship.

Freddie Mercury with Mary Austin (“the love of my life”)

So, what happened in between? Did he talk to Mary about his addiction? Where are all the interviews between Freddie’s family and friends? How did he feel about contracting the AIDS virus? And, how did he feel about unknowingly giving his life partner a disease?

Freddie called Mary “the love of my life”. He wrote a song for her, and according to the movie, Mary stuck beside Freddie until the bitter end. So, it’s hard to believe that he never confided in anyone.

Will fans see a remake of Bohemian Rhapsody?

American-born actor, Rami Malek played the part of Freddie Mercury in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek wore a pair of prosthetic teeth to mimic Freddie’s toothy, trademark grin, and he danced like no one had ever seen him dance before. Most fans agree that Malek gave an excellent impersonation of the late rockstar; however, some film critics think the overall movie needed more.

The movie, despite its electrifying subject, is a conventional, middle-of-the-road, cut-and-dried, play-it-safe, rather fuddy-duddy old-school biopic, a movie that skitters through events…”

Owen Gleiberman | Variety (2018)

Why are true stories important?

Most people watch reality television and biopic movies to either reflect on their own lives, or to live vicariously through one of the actor’s lives. Because true stories take some of the Hollywood out of a movie and replace it with more relatable content, characters, and events.

But even though TV and movies come from Hollywood, people still deserve to know the truth about their favorite celebrities. The whole truth, including all the good, the bad, and the ugly reality of what it takes to achieve stardom. Why? Because many future generations of kids will look to Hollywood for their own creative inspirations. And because music fans don’t like to shell out millions of dollars to see a story they already know.

Any future remakes of Bohemian Rhapsody should delve into Freddie’s mental health, addictive lifestyle, and festering emotions. That’s the story people NEED to hear. Forget complaining about the movie’s misrepresented timeline of events and start focusing on what really matters. The truth.

A Star is Born: A Traveling Legacy and a Reflection of Music History

A Star is Born: A Traveling Legacy and a Reflection of Music History

While filming A Star is Born (1937), actors Janet Gaynor and Fredric March couldn’t have predicted that one day the classic film would expand into a musical. Or, that a pop star named Lady Gaga would sing an excerpt of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in 2018. But both events happened. Why? Because like movies, music is a traveling legacy.

A Sign of the Times Shown in Music

During a 2018 interview with Vogue magazine, Lady Gaga used the words, “traveling legacy” to describe her thoughts about all the remakes of A Star is Born. And she’s right, but not just about the movies. Music creates its own legacy, and each soundtrack for the movie features songs, sound bites, and dialogue exchanges specific to its period in history.

For example, the original version of A Star is Born (1937) is one of the first films made in Technicolor, so its soundtrack features songs about movement and change.

The soundtrack for A Star is Born (1945) is the first remake as a musical. It features performances by the late Judy Garland, who struggled with behavioral health issues. So, most of the songs are about self-awareness, feeling comfortable in one’s own skin, overcoming self-doubt, and practicing mindfulness, especially while in relationships.

The soundtrack for A Star is Born (2018) is mostly about love, in all its glory. And perhaps that’s why the movie broke music records by selling over one million copies worldwide in such a short amount of time. Followed by the soundtrack’s most popular song, “Shallow” (Listen Now!), which set another record for the most downloads.

A Star is Born soundtrack 2018
Click here to shop Amazon

But for those people who haven’t seen the movie or heard the soundtrack, prepare yourself for legacy infused with life lessons about the reality of self-doubt, the gift of self-love, and the power of addiction.

A Star is Born: Women’s Rights and Empowerment

In 1937, not many female actresses received the same appreciation in the film industry as men. In fact, actress Janet Gaynor, who played Esther Blodgett, didn’t receive any awards for her performance, and many film critics questioned her level of talent. Though, she later received countless awards for her acting abilities.

However, by the 1945 remake, actress Judy Garland was at the height of her career. And some critics call A Star is Born one of her best performances. So, perhaps becoming a musical helped? Perhaps in 1945, being a musical made more sense for an aspiring actress?

Barbra Streisand: The Queen Bee of A Star is Born (1976)

Barbra Streisand, along with musician and actor, Kris Kristofferson starred in the 1976 version of A Star is Born. But after Judy Garland’s stellar performance, not many people appreciated the second remake as much as the first.

Fortunately, the 1976 soundtrack helped carry the movie because it gained a lot of attention due to its particular timing. Just a year before the movie’s release, the United Nations declared March 8, 1975, to be International Women’s Day, which celebrates accomplished women throughout history.

During a 1977 interview, celebrity philanthropist and women’s rights activist, Barbra Streisand said:

“Women have as much need to express themselves as men. In that respect, we are equal.”

Then she quoted a line from “The Woman in the Moon”, which she sings on the 1976 soundtrack:

“I believe in the best of both worlds; mixing old and new.”

1977 interview with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson | A Star is Born

Streisand not only played the queen bee in A Star is Born (1976), but she also sings a song called “Queen Bee” on the movie’s soundtrack. Here are a few of the lyrics, which also fall right in line with the times.

“The Queen Bee’s story is the power and the glory of the women who have ruled alone…”

“So in conclusion, its an optical illusion if you think we’re the weaker race. Men got the muscle, but the ladies got the hustle, and the truth is staring you in the face.”

Fans are Somewhere Over the Rainbow with A Star is Born

When Vogue magazine asked Bradley Cooper why he chose A Star is Born to make his directing debut, he said,

“I wanted to tell a love story…and to me there’s no better way than through music. With music, it’s impossible to hide. Every fiber of your body becomes alive when you sing.”

Bradley Cooper | Vogue Magazine (2018)

And, he succeeded. But A Star is Born is not a typical love story. It’s mostly about self-love, which Lady Gaga’s character (Ally) struggles with in the beginning. She, like many aspiring singer-songwriters and musicians, struggles with confidence and self-doubt. She makes a lot of excuses about why she doesn’t like to perform her own songs on stage, but most of which have nothing to do with her talent.

“Almost every single person has told me that they like the way I sound, but they don’t like the way I look.”

“I could’ve had a maybe hit song if it wasn’t for my nose.”

Ally, played by Lady Gaga | A Star is Born (2018)

Judy Garland: A Star is Born 1954 film

Judy Garland: A Star is Born and the Dark Side of Hollywood

At first glance, A Star is Born seems like a movie about a modern day romance. Except, it’s not. Yes boy meets girl, and they fall in love, but not everyone lives happily ever after, such as Judy Garland. Because while the movie offers its audience a sneak peek into a celebrity couple’s grandiose life together, it also reveals some of the dark and unforeseen costs of achieving stardom.

Judy Garland: Wishing Upon A Star is Born

It’s no surprise that some fans think A Star is Born is based on a true story, but it’s not. A Star is Born is a fictional adaptation of the screenplay, “What Cost, Hollywood?” However, there are several elements of the story that makes it feel “real” to most audiences.

Overwhelming and Unpredictable Nature of Addiction

In the 1945 remake, actress Judy Garland starred alongside James Mason in the first musical adaptation of A Star is Born. Both actors delivered notable performances; some say one of Garland’s best, but then rumors began spreading about her having an addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Garland denied all allegations, of course; however, her unstable behavior made some people reluctant to work with her.

Despite all the rumors, a history of mental illness, and several suicide attempts, Garland still had many fans that stayed devoted to her and her career. But then her successful 45 year career ended in 1969, after she overdosed on barbituates.

Some years before Garland’s death, she wrote about some of her experiences while on set, and revealed the truth about her addiction.

“They’d give us pep pills. Then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills… after four hours they’d wake us up and give us the pep pills again…

That’s the way we worked, and that’s the way we got thin. That’s the way we got mixed up. And that’s the way we lost contact.”

Judy Garland | New York Times archive (1969)

Pushing Stress and Mental Health Too Far

Judy Garland wasn’t the only cast member from A Star is Born who suffered from addiction. In various interviews with musician and actor, Kris Kristofferson, he also admitted to drinking too much while filming the 1976 remake of A Star is Born. But fortunately, he recognized that he had a problem and stopped feeding his demons.

“I had a half-gallon of Jose Cuervo in my trailer and they never let it empty. They just kept coming back in and filling it up, same half-gallon bottle. I don’t know how much I was drinking, but it was a lot, and I had to quit it soon after.”

Kris Kristofferson | The Guardian (2008)

“The Dark Side of Fame, Addiction, Loss, and Suicide…”

In 1999, Lorna Luft; daughter of the late Judy Garland, published a book called, “Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir. In the book, Luft shares her feelings about watching her family struggle while in the spotlight, and what it was like to grow up as one of Judy Garland’s daughters.

‘I tried my damnedest to believe in the rainbow that I tried to get over and I couldn’t. SO WHAT!’

Judy Garland | Daily Mail UK (2014)

Then, in 2018, Luft published a book that she co-wrote with author Jeffrey Vance called, A Star is Born: Judy Garland and the Film that Got Away, which she describes as a story about “the dark side of fame, addiction, loss, and suicide.”