I always say that there is no best way to tell your story. Write it, paint it or sing it. Look for Keith’s book coming soon.
1. Abuse can be defined in many ways. How would you say that you and your brother were abused growing up?
Answer: Verbally, emotionally, physically. Eventually we were disowned by our parents and left to starve to death by the side of the road which resulted in the complete mental breakdown of my brother and his then very mysterious disappearance.
2. How did you and your brother cope with the treatment you were given at home?
Answer: Not so well, but him much worse than I. Despite a 4.0 gpa he was expelled from school and then went on a crime spree, joined the local chapter of the New Zealand Hells Angels and was eventually arrested on a series of burglary, robbery and car theft charges.
3. You lived away from home many times at a young age. What was this experience like? What did you learn from being out on your own, given the circumstances?
Answer: I basically learned that I had only myself to depend on, and could rely on no one else for support. It also made me basically very suspicious of everyone and anything – this mind set of mine of course lead to others being suspicious of me. It took me years to identify this and to learn to start trusting people again. After being disowned by my parents and left to starve to death on the streets, and then watching my twin brother’s mental breakdown and disappearance it ended up being 10 years before I saw any of my family members again.
4. Despite the tumultuous atmosphere back home, did you still miss it? If so, was that hard for you and your brother to have these conflicting emotions?
Answer: Of course. Though completely abusive and dysfunctional, it was of course the only home and family I had. As for my brother, he had a complete schizophrenic breakdown and surfaced years later in Riker’s Island criminal insane ward. Conflicting emotions about my parents were the least of his problems at that point.
5. You go into detail in your transcript about your brother’s deteriorating mental state. How hard was it to be there every step of the way during his transformation?
Answer: Unbelievably difficult. I was completely helpless and had to just sit back and watch it happen. It was a miracle that I didn’t slip over the abyss into complete mental collapse with hm. I’ve heard some bad, bad stories of child abuse during my life from friends and associates and nothing touches this one. That is what prompted me to write it all down and attempt this book’s completion. A few years ago after a very serious car accident I had to go to a psychiatrist regarding panic attacks I was having. He of course asked me about my childhood, and when I told him this story, he nearly fell out of his chair and told me that it was the worst case of child abuse he’d heard in his 35 year career. It was he who told me that indeed me and my brother were “survivors” of filicide.
6. Has this experience inspired you to take action to help others who are affected by similar situations?
Answer: Yes, I donate time, energy and money to support homeless shelters and the homeless whenever I can. There’s nothing quite like being homeless and I hope it never happens to me again. People take their “homes and families” for granted. It’s quite something when they are taken away from you – especially violently via a PTSD damaged, Vietnam War veteran father.
7. How does this story tie in to the album “Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal” that you wrote for your band The Great American Robber Barons?
Answer: All of the songs on the album are about Gambling, Vice and Betrayal and all link back to or are in some way related to what went down with all of this – we were of course abandoned by my parents on the border of Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA on XMAS Eve. There are many references to these events in the lyrics and song titles of the album such as:
I Know You Just Don’t Want Me Anymore
Where Were You When I Needed You
Nowhere Left To Go
It Was All My Fault For Ever Trusting You
Nobody Saw It Coming
I Promise I’ll Never Blow It Again
What Were They Thinking
This last one – What Were They Thinking – is the clincher. It has many verses about these events and their follow up. The song can be found on our virtual press kit (http://cyberpr.biz/clients/3227), and the lyrics can be found here.