How Nu Metal Helped Calm My Autism

Nu Metal Helped Calm My Autism

I’m going to talk about nu metal helped calm my autism, what exactly is nu metal, and what my life is like now after nu metal. 

Basically, nu metal is a subgenre of alternative metal that became popular in the late 1990s. The first band that really put it on the map was Korn in 1993 with their demo tape Nadirmeyer. Then, in 94, they launched their first actual studio album.

There’s a couple characteristics with nu metal, they liked to blend other genres like hip hop and rapping and a lot of the nu metal bands had a DJ, and a lot of the guitarists had seven strings instead of six strings and they would tune them down to D instead of C. 

Nu Metal Helped Calm My Autism

What I really liked and this is the part that really helps Asperger’s is that nu metal was probably the first genre to make mainstream topics about bullying, about exs’, about pain, about alienation, emotional issues and abandonment.

Bands like Stained with their song Ugly Like Me and Linkin Park’s Crawling and Falling Away from Me by Korn – all of these had dark taboo subjects that weren’t really talked about in music beforehand. So that’s why I really liked nu metal. 

But what also happened during this time was, I really felt my youth and I felt like I had a voice. I had a lot of energy. I had just gotten out of the Job Corps. 

I spent nine months in Job Corps and during that time I was sober, and I got in shape. When I got out of Job Corps I was 25, and basically  discovered Limp Bizkit and Korn. 

At the same time, I also met my next door neighbors and they were on social security disability, and they were a little crazy. So as an artist and a writer, I wanted to document how they lived because abnormal psychology had always interested me and those guys just seemed really zany.

So I went over there and I was still sober. I went over there for a few months and I recorded them and wrote about them. I tried fitting in as much as possible but they saw through my act.

Eventually I was like, why not just go all the way with them and party with them so I started drinking with them, started doing other drugs with them, mushrooms and later on a little bit of meth, which we’ll talk about in a minute. 

But it was crazy. I mean, 25 years old, just got my life back, just got my freedom back, wanted to be an artist, wanted to be a writer and nu metal set the stage. 

In fact, I turned those guys on to Korn and Limp bizkit. We used to drive around in my Honda Prelude blaring that music. Later on Slipknot came on the scene, and that’s when I had the 2000 watt stereo system in my car and just destroyed my eardrums with that but that was later on. 

One of the guys from this commune that I called The One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was called “Weasel” and he was actually deaf, and he was a hobo from Haight Ashbury, he was around 50, and he had a huge pockmark hobo nose and he drank all the time. That’s all he did. 

He’d go through the dumpsters in town and go for walks and he was in the back of the car and Shawn was my buddy in the front and we drove around blaring Korn and Limp Bizkit with Weasel in the back and he was just yelling he was like. this is exciting!” 

They never got out of their commune, because they all walked every place. They didn’t have cars, they didn’t have driver’s licenses and here I am 10 to 15 years younger than these guys, fresh out of Job Corps blaring Korn and Limp bizkit driving around, and it was just an amazing time. 

I could really relate to the lyrics (of nu metal) because all of my life I’ve been bullied by teachers, friends, even my parents. I still have Asperger’s. I was an introvert kept to myself and music was my number one lover . 

I grew up on music when I discovered Heavy Metal (Iron Maiden) when I was 12 years old. I was like what the heck is this, this is something new. I’ve never even experienced it in my life. It gave me my imagination, it gave me my fantasy world. I could visualize destroying the bullies at school and getting the girls, which in reality was the furthest thing from the truth.

I was awkward, I was quiet. I never got a girlfriend, bullies picked on me every single day, my dad picked on me. The teachers hit me. It was just a horrible time, so music was my very first lover and it’s been there ever since. 

But when I discovered nu metal, it just blew the doors off of everything I ever heard because nu metal didn’t have the wild guitar solos like Slayer, and Metallica. It had a very tight hip hop beat, and a lot of rappers would sing along on these albums, you know, Eminem would make cameos and Ice Cube would make a cameo with all these guys, and it was just a huge event. 

So basically nu metal went mainstream in 98’. A lot of bands were coming out with huge hits and they were getting Platinum albums, left and right, they would be on the top 100 lists all over the place. Follow the Leader from Korn was like their biggest album, and then after that Woodstock happened in 99’. That was the catalyst that was the peak of nu metal. 

And, craziness happened at Woodstock. People were moshing and surfing on plywood that they tore off the walls and girls apparently got raped or whatever and it turned really ugly.

Then nu metal eventually made its decline in 2003. So it only really had a five year reign, but there were a lot of bands leading up to nu metal that set the stage like Primus and Faith No More, and the punk scene and the industrial metal scene, like Ministry. 

So, here’s the thing, during that time when I was partying with these next door neighbors, I basically lost a piece of my soul. And I’ll talk about that in another video but what happened was I got turned on to a little bit of meth when I was 25, 26, or 27. 

I became a little bit different after that, I believe, because now when I listen to nu metal 20 years later, I get teared up. You know there is something that I left behind when I was 25 years old. That was an amazing time driving around with those guys yelling up at the stars drinking wine, you know, having huge bonfires and destroying their little trailers.

At one point, I actually scared them because I was getting more drunk than they were. I was blacking out. I was pounding the floors and screaming up at the sky and, you know, Shawn was like, Erik, you were kind of crazy last night, I don’t know what you were yelling, and I didn’t remember either.

So, I had blackouts, and when you have blackouts you kind of let yourself become vulnerable to spiritual demonic entities, I believe. And so I blacked out a lot in the hole, the commune where they lived, it was called “the hole” because it was like a crater in the earth and their trailers were down there. 

So I used to party in the hole and my blackouts scared them, and then eventually Shawn gave me a little bit of meth one time, and I smoked it and I stayed up all night playing with myself, and I really think that I lost a piece of my soul that night. After that, it wasn’t as fun. I started drinking more than ever and it was just getting pathetic from then on. 

But now, when I listen to Linkin Park, like “Crawling” any of those songs, I tear up, because that time signified my youth, it was like the peak of my youth.

During that time, I also lost a piece of my soul by experimenting with those heavier drugs, but nu metal was always there for me. I could sing along, and I could feel tormented and tortured just like the singers, because they talked about breakups and cheating and just being really down on on their luck. . . 

Even Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit said that he hated High School, that he even said this on some of the songs – he hated High School. He was bullied, and I was bullied, all these guys, Jonathan from Korn was bullied, that guy from stained was bullied, and when it comes down to it, we’ve all been bullied and picked on. Now, these guys are singing about it, backed by these tremendous crunchy power chords and powerful tight, hip hop drum beats really catchy stuff. 

They also called it emo rock as well it’s like emotional rock, you know they talk about their feelings and some people criticized it and called it whine rock, you know, because they’re whining all the time about their feelings. 

So nu metal got played out pretty quick and people started making fun of it, but a lot of wonderful things happened to music after that point and still today, 20 years later, there’s still elements of nu metal in a lot of new bands. 

So, you know, even though people criticized it, it was actually a very brilliant genre that came out with Korn, doing all those crazy trippy sounds with their guitars and effects. 

So, what is the point? The point is, that nu metal gave me a voice because it made me realize that I wasn’t alone and I could actually listen to that music, and they were like my friends, they were in the trenches with me.

They felt insecure, they felt lonely. They felt embittered, and they were picked on. I really felt like, for the first time ever, out of all the music that I listened to since I was eight years old, nu metal was the first true genre that spoke to my Asperger’s and my autism, and for all the other people in the world that feel inferior to the popular kids and the cheerleaders and the jocks. 

And what’s funny is that Limp Bizkit was actually categorized as jock rock. But, Fred Durst actually couldn’t stand jocks and I couldn’t stand jocks, you know jocks picked on us and they weren’t that smart and, but they were getting laid, and they had nice Camaros and sports cars. 

But look at these guys now, 20 years late they’re balding, they got receding hairlines, they’re fat, they got beer bellies, they’ve gone through two divorces. 

So really, the jocks lose in the very end, and that’s the gist of this video so thank you for watching this video, hit the subscribe button, we’re gonna have more music reviews for people with Asperger’s, and it’s just an awesome time. 

So much of my life is around music and what it’s done for me. I’ve had such a beautiful and traumatic ride with music it’s been there for me up and down in my life, it’s been there for every breakup, and every new relationship, it’s been there for new jobs and getting fired from jobs, it’s been there when I was really healthy, and almost dying from drugs and alcohol. So thanks for watching god bless we’ll talk to you soon. 

Here’s more Resources for Asperger’s and Addiction

Sincerely,

Erik C Johnson

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