What’s up guys, so we’re gonna talk about some heavy music today and why I love heavy metal with Asperger’s, basically. Here’s Why Heavy Metal Calmed My Autism.
Music is my number one love. It’s been with me every single day of my life, we’re talking 14 hours a day of music, at least.
Heavy Metal Calmed My Autism
I grew up listening to my sister’s music, then my dad’s music, and then I eventually discovered hard rock and heavy metal.
We’re going to talk about what music I listened to, so maybe we can compare notes. Maybe you can comment and give me your favorite music, but music is just a very empowering thing for us with Asperger’s.
I mean, music normally is very powerful, but if you give someone with Asperger’s or autism music, they can make a life out of it, they can feel very powerful.
In fact, there’s been so many times that music took me to other worlds in my imagination. I’ve seen crazy things with music. I’ve broken up with girlfriends with music. I’ve made love to music. I’ve made money with music and I’ve lost money with music. I almost died with music, and so forth. You probably have had the same experiences, but with Asperger’s, we can become obsessed with music.
So I’m going to talk about the first song that I heard that got me on the journey of hard rock and heavy metal – and that was in 1984. I was 12 years old, and I heard Number of the Beast on the radio by Iron Maiden.
Now I looked at my mom and I was like what the heck is this? I never heard anything like it. Those guitars, those dueling guitars, incredible stuff, because before that I was listening to my sister’s music: Men at Work, Prince, Madonna, all the poppy sweet sugar, icky sweet music.
So, when I heard Iron Maiden that cut through all the BS and it just made sense to me. I had purpose in life now. It just filled my veins with immortality and I could daydream all day long.
Now I had an escape. I didn’t have to think about homework. I didn’t have to think about bullies, I didn’t have to think about girls that thought I was weird and awkward.
After Iron Maiden, one of my friends turned me on to Reign in Blood by Slayer and I’d never heard anything like the double bass drum 16th notes by Dave Lombardo – absolutely crazy that’s probably one of the very first songs that gave me goosebumps, especially at the end of the song when it sounds like an ocean of blood – a big wave crashing of blood. I used to just listen to the ending over and over and get goosebumps.
Then there was Ozzy Bark at the Moon with Jack E. Lee is the guitarist – exceptional guitar solo – probably one of the very first guitar solos that made me cry with just absolute giddiness. I cried tears of joy when I heard that solo on bark at the moon.
Then you got Judas Priest Breaking the Law, British Steel, some amazing lead guitar work. And, of course, Rob Halford, screaming, screeching voice. And then on Screaming for Vengeance just absolutely crazy, crazy, hard, hard stuff for the time period.
Then, when I was between the ages of 14 to 17, I listened to M.O.D. I listened to S.O.D. I listened to Anthrax’s Among the Living. Of course I was obsessed with a girl, so I always had some kind of crush on a girl and I would pair that girl with the music.
The first girl I really liked or one of the first was named Kirsten, and I used to listen to Among the Living by Anthrax. And, of course, Metallica you had Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning.
Then, I got into some heavier stuff like Venom, and Wehrmacht and had a song called Drink Jack. It’s only like 40 seconds long kind of funny stuff looking back on it.
So I was starting to get a little bit darker with my music and I discovered King Diamond and Mercyful Fate when I was 17 and I used to visualize giving a girl a Black Rose being mysterious, being Gothic, being like death and listening to King Diamond.
None of my jock friends were listening to King Diamond or Mercyful Fate. I turned them on to King Diamond like the song No Presents for Christmas. And of course, Them, which was one of King diamonds breakout albums. That’s when I started experimenting with LSD, and I remember getting a friend to listen to Them on LSD, with my headphones and he just started freaking out, and throwing the headphones down on the ground.
Then you had Exodus Toxic Waltz and you had Suicidal Tendencies. And what’s crazy about this time, when I was 17, I got wasted on a fifth of vodka and I went for a walk around the block and I was hanging out with my friends but they stayed in the basement.
They were playing Nintendo, and I went for a walk. I was drunk and out of the fog, there was a man sitting on an amplifier in a driveway and he reached out his hand and he shook my hand. It didn’t seem like reality. I shook his hand and then I went back and talked to my friends about it, and they’re like whatever Erik, you’re just tripping, you’re just drunk.
But looking back, you know 30 years later, I had another experience like that but it was in my dreams and I realized that it was my guardian angel, and he’s all scarred face and looks like he’s been in a couple bike accidents. And I realized that guardian angels will look like someone that we can recognize, and so my whole life I grew up with these heavy metal bands, so of course my guardian angel looks like a beat up rocker old heavy metal guy.
When I was about 20, I started dating a woman who is 20 years older than me. She wore a black leather jacket and she listened to crazy alternative bands, out of Seattle, you know like, NomeansNo, and the Jesus lizard, and stuff like that. She turned me onto Ministry.
Ministry just released Psalm 69, which was industrial heavy metal, same time I listened to Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral, where Trent used these door slamming metal doors and really creepy dark industrial noises.
Also got turned on to Too Dark Park by Skinny Puppy. If you go to the song Reclamation skip to minute 2 and listen to the ending of that song. It’s very creepy. It sounds like a guy gets struck by lightning in really dark industrial music.
I was doing a lot of LSD, it was a dark time, also a very beautiful time because I was out on my own for the very first time, and got away from my parents who were strict. My dad had Asperger’s. He was a control freak. And so I was just living large staying up all night on LSD, watching the sunrise, and I had my whole life ahead of me with music as well.
When I was 25 I discovered Korn’s Life is Peachy and Limp Bizkit. A lot of people love or hate limp bizkit. I thought they were great because basically Wes Borland’s guitar playing made everything awesome, and very, very crunchy.
At the same time, I started listening to Sepultura’s Refuse/Resist – a very good song, crazy guys. You know I’m skipping so many bands I mean, this is where I’m trying to summarize 40 years of music in a 10 minute video it’s hard to do,
During the Korn/ Limp Bizkit era, I had a PA system. I had these huge PA speakers with 2 15” woofers in each cabinet that blasted out 400 watts in each speaker and I used to turn that up and just let the crunchiness of Limp Bizkit and Korn. I would sit on my couch and just have those speakers blaring at me – and it was an amazing time.
Then I discovered Slipknot. There’s this amazing DVD called Disasterpieces where they played London in 2002, check it out:
I was about 34. I had a 2000 watt stereo system in my Honda Prelude I used to drive around listening to Slipknot. I had those aluminum looking subwoofers by Audiobahn – an amazing system.
Then, jumping forward – been listening to Architects Royal Beggers is a really good song. Norma Jean, they’ve been around forever. North lane, check out North Lane’s Bloodline incredible stuff.
So dark fantasy for me equals immortality and music has always been there. I escaped into my imagination when reality just wasn’t fun anymore. Bass equals power, so when I listened to music it had to be super loud. I always had music super loud because you have to get the adrenaline rush.
Bass equals power to me. I’d actually tilt my head back and just be like this when I listened to music, and the bass would just be shaking the walls of my house and I felt immortal, and I literally got tears in my eyes. I would be crying.
I would turn on Reign in Blood through a 2000 watt system and I tilt my head back and feel immortal and crying literally. I couldn’t handle it, because the music would remind me of my youth.
There was a time when I was in my 20s that music and life were amazing. So, every time I listened to something really loud like Reign in Blood or Norma Gene or something in my past, you know Ministry, or South of Heaven, even Faith No More, anything like that, like Surprise You’re Dead by Faith No More amazing stuff, it would make me ball because music is life, music was my immortality, music was my youth, and it all comes back whenever I listen to songs today. It’s not just nostalgia. It taps into my fountain of youth.
And so, for Asperger’s music is life. It truly is. There’s been many times I’ve cried with music while listening to Linkin Park on a sunny summer day with a six pack of green beer, or staying up all night on speed and listening to Ministry, over and over and just going into an alternative universe.
Guys, music has always been there. Share your story, share your music story. What music did you like? This is just a 10th of what I listened to, but I really wanted to get it out there, maybe I’ll do a part two.
Music has been tremendous to me. I was listening to all these wonderful songs this morning and getting choked up again, because I really feel like 48 now. You know, I feel like I’m half alive, like I’m in limbo. And in my 20s, music was just so amazing.
And last but not least, I found the Holy Spirit while listening to Brian head Welch. He was the guitar player for Korn. I discovered the Holy Spirit in 2016 around the same time that my guardian angel came back in a dream, the hard rocker guardian angel.
I discovered that I could feel love inside my heart for the first time in my life – not only music but the Holy Spirit, I know you guys are probably like, oh whatever man. Is this some Christian video? It’s not, I’m telling you I discovered the Holy Spirit, and it filled my heart just like music did so I just have to add that in here to add some supernatural-ness.
Because a lot of this music is really dark, you know, and some of it can be a little low vibration or a little violent, and I never did anything to harm anyone listening to this music. It’s just something I did rocking back and forth 14 hours a day.
So now I’m not rocking back and forth and I’m just listening to this music and it’s bringing back all these memories, and that is the power of music guys, you can tap into it anytime you want. So leave a comment, hit that subscribe button, and we’ll talk to you later.
Here’s more Resources for Asperger’s and Addiction
Erik C Johnson