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an open letter to nero bellum

March 20, 2011

Dear Marshall or Nero (whichever you prefer),

I just wanted to write you a quick letter after reading your post, “Cleanliness [a message to my world].”

The first thing I want to say is that you’re not the only one who’s descended into the dark abyss of depression, drug addiction and self-loathing. I’m sure many of your fans have already shared their own feelings and personal experiences with you, so I won’t go into detail about mine, just add my voice in saying that I’ve been trapped in a similar place, too. At the beginning, it seduces you — the darkness, the drugs, the creativity trying to tear itself out of you — but more importantly, it helps you survive, acting as a security blanket for your fears and anxieties. But, as you know, all of that comes at a price.

But reading your letter, I’m heartened by the fact that, with the support of your fans, close friends and family, it seems like you’re climbing your way back out. It’s not an easy path to take, and you may slip and fall into old habits (and vices) along the way, but I’ve found from personal experience that it’s a journey worth making and I wish you luck.

The second thing I want to mention is that I’ve been a big fan of yours (and Psyclon Nine’s) for years. Your music is absolutely fucking amazing, and if you ever find yourself in a pit of despair, feeling like a failure because you’re unable to recapture everything you had in the past, I hope reflecting on the fact that you’ve already created musical masterpieces for thousands of people to enjoy will help bring you out of the darkness and give you some peace.

Truth be told, I envy you, even with all of your flaws and painful experiences. I’d never wish to go through what you have, but at the same time, you’ve done what relatively few people have: you’ve created something unique and extraordinary, something that’s appreciated by people all over the world. That in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself for that alone, regardless of anything you might’ve done to disappoint yourself or your fans.

I honestly have no idea why I’m even bothering to write all of this garbage, but I think part of it is that I see a lot of myself in you. I fell into my own downward spiral, and I know from experience that it’s a “long, hard road out of hell,” so I guess I just want to give you a little encouragement or something.

Another reason is that your letter touched me, not so much as fan, but as a fellow human being. It’s honest. It’s real. And it’s good to know that even one of my idols isn’t really all that different from me (besides the whole ‘making awesome fucking music’ thing). We’re all flawed and imperfect creatures, but the music you’ve created transcends those imperfections, and nothing, not even your mistakes, can take that away from you.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I really hope that you come through this experience a better (and happier) person, but even if you don’t, I’ll still respect you because at least you tried.

Best wishes,



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