Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When Music is More Than Just Noise

As some of you may know, if you are local to our area, that the band Billy Talent is heading to Michigan. Normally, when I tell people about Billy Talent, they either have no idea who I am talking about, or they get really excited and start talking about how much they love that band. Or they are Canadian and know of the band, cause you know, Canada. However, this band changed my life. Extreme? Not if you know the whole story.

When I was growing up, my father was a choir teacher. The house was constantly flooded with music from musicals ranging from The Music Man, to Phantom of the Opera, to Les Miserables. My mother was a huge fan of John Denver and similar oldies. Mind you, I still will rock out to the Broadway classics, and enjoy Harry Chapin, but back then, I had little exposure to "punk rock" or "rock music"

I went to college and did the whole "answer a couple questions and get matched with your roommate" thing, which really was similar to online dating but instead of a romantic connection, you had to live with this person for 8 months. I was matched with my roommate, Jessy who was a huge punk rock fan. She was a tough, fun, entertaining, vivacious person, and I am so glad I was matched with her, despite obviously glaring differences. Believe it or not, back then, I was a little more shy and introverted. I listened to Broadway. I didn't break the rules. I studied very hard when I wasn't chatting on AIM to my high school friends.

Jessy's music taste was known to the hallway, as our door was often left open for the potential of social interaction. The more I listened, the more I found I actually really enjoyed her music. The lyrics were fantastic and meaningful and I found I really liked singing along with this music. She said the band she was listening to was "Billy Talent." I was entertained by my roommate's invention of the "one-man mosh pit" which involved her jumping around the room and into the hallway. Her favorite song of theirs during that time was (and still is) Prisoners of Today

My interest in that kind of music, specifically Billy Talent, helped me connect with my then boyfriend, who helped me download music on to my laptop, which was a new thing back then. He was an avid gamer, and while that year I didn't participate, it was my first introduction in to the world of video games and those who played. Despite an interesting/tricky breakup, the two of us talked things out and realized it was best if we still remained friends, due to how well we got along. His friends and my friends combined to form what would be my core group of friends in college. Many gamers, nerds, geeks, and overall wonderful people. Many of us dated each other, and some ended up married.

College ended, people moved away. Jobs, relationships, marriages, children etc... moved some people away farther than I would have liked (and not just measured in miles) but many stayed close. I kept a lot of the Billy Talent CDs and would listen when I got nostalgic. Sometimes they ended up being a part of a mixed CD for my car, which still only has a CD player.

Billy Talent III came out, and by that time, I wasn't actively following their new music. I cannot remember which happened first, but by the time I downloaded the album Billy Talent III, a close friend from high school died tragically in a motorcycle accident. It just so happened that one of the songs on Billy Talent III really spoke to me and helped me cope with the loss of Tom. "White Sparrows" talked about loss, but wasn't a slow dramatic song. Singing at the top of my lungs to this song on the way to funeral was the only way I made it home in one piece.

It was only a few months after this did I meet Breaky.

My online dating profile had Billy Talent listed, as well as my, mild at the time, interest in video games and things of a geeky nature, and I was matched with Breaky. It was, maybe like the third or fourth date, and we were in my car. I had either a mixed CD or Billy Talent III playing, and Breaky's face lit up.

"That's Billy Talent! You like Billy Talent? I love them, I haven't heard them in years. I grew up listening to them!". I knew then I was going to marry that man. He just didn't know it then.

I, of course, went in to my stories of my roommate and college, and how special Billy Talent was to me, and how it was probably in my top 5 bands of all time.

A month or so later, Billy Talent's fourth album: Dead Silence came out. It was something Breaky and I bonded over. One of our first Facebook interactions was me sharing the new Viking Death March video to his Facebook page:

In later 2012, I also lost my grandmother.  A few years later, Breaky lost his grandfather, and a HoN player he knew. We have known loss and we have coped.

Billy Talent came out with a greatest hits album, and with it, two new songs: Kingdom of Zod, which is a very awesome song,  and Chasing the Sun. The story behind Chasing the Sun was that the band had lost someone very close to them, and a song with a very different sound was produced.

I listened to it, and burst in to tears. It was like they were talking about my losses, specifically about Tom, my friend whom I had lost about 2 years previously.

It didn't really seem to resonate with other fans of Billy Talent, but it is definitely one of my favorite songs of all time.

Breaky and I got married in 2015 and our music selections for both the ceremony and the reception were... uniquely us.

The wonderful people at Overneath did an absolutely fabulous job. We had an instrumental  arrangement of the Halo theme song for our Bridal Party, and an instrumental arrangement of "Never Stop" by Safety Suit for my processional. For our recessional, they did a fabulous instrumental arrangement of "Stand Up and Run" by, you guessed it, Billy Talent.

Our wedding also included us heading in to the reception to "Space Jam" and Breaky insisting they played "Darude-Sandstorm" at some point in the night.

When I found out that Billy Talent was coming, not only to the Michigan area, but to where we lived, the first person I told was Breaky. The second person I told was Jessy. It also sounds like a few others who are fans are interested in going.

It has been more than 10 years, and I have remained a Billy Talent fan. It holds a special place in my heart. That band helped me connect with my roommate, then my husband, and helped me cope with loss and then turned around and helped me celebrate my wedding day.

When someone tells you music is just noise, send them to this blog post. Billy Talent changed my life.


  1. Love the post! A very special tour indeed! After realizing a show in my home state of Utah wasn't on the menu, I thought about road tripping to Denver for Riot fest. However, a festival was not want I had in mind for my first BT experience, so those plans were put on hold. As parents of 6, escapes (however small) have been hard to do. But this year, for our 24th anniversary, we did something crazy! Bought tickets to Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Niagara for an epic road trip! The kids, being fans themselves, are less than enthralled. I've never been to Niagara Falls, but -like friends with benefits, it's a nice little side show. People are like, "So you're driving out to see Niagara Falls?" And I'm like, "No, Billy Talent!" All smiles! :)

    Am I excited to finally see my favorite band? Haha... Understatement of the century!

    1. I have never been to Niagara Falls. What an experience to go on that awesome road trip AND see Billy Talent! :) <3