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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Dr. BLT offers advice for a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis. 
 
Dear Dr. BLT:

I write songs and play guitar. I guess you could call me a knee jerk punk. My music has punk attitude but also has the new Bakersfield knee jerk folk style that everyone keeps talking about. I've been in so many bands that keep falling apart and it's like, I don't know, I'm starting to feel like it's all a major waste of time. Every time I get into a band, something happens. My last band fell apart because we got into partying all the time. Can I say that in a Christian e-zine? Instead of practicing we kept doing drugs to the point where we were too loaded to play any serious gigs. In the band I was in before that, the lead man tried to manipulate everyone into doing things his way. It was like, my way or the highway. No matter what the problem is, my dad always gets in the middle of it, keeping me away from band practices and bitching (yeah, I know, you already informed me that this is for a Christian e-zine) about me not looking for a real job. It really sucks (oops!). I guess all I'm really asking is how the heck am I suppose to ever amount to anything if the thing I dream about all the time just turns into a nightmare all of the time? 

Loser
 

Dear Winner in the Works:

“Loser” is the name or label you seem to have adopted for yourself. I do not automatically accept that label and I'm not sure why you do. One person can't make a band work, but there are many things that one person can do to drag a band down, or, for that matter, keep it vital and cohesive. Have you ever heard that song by the Beasty Boys called Sabotage? Well, I don't really know you, but I sense that you are into a certain common form of sabotage called self-sabotage. The most famous shrink of modern times, Sigmund Freud, developed a bit of a drug problem too, but those brain cells he was so carelessly burning were pretty remarkable, as yours may also be.

Freud's remarkable brain cells came up with the notion that we have a constructive side he called Eros, and a destructive side he called Thanatos. I actually prefer the Apostle, Paul's terms. The Apostle Paul referred to these two sides as the spirit and the flesh. The spirit drives us to succeed in our God-given dreams as long as we are following the will of God. If we are, we are acting in concert with our own best interest and the interest of others. The flesh, or Thanatos, drives us to destroy our own dreams through self-sabotage. 

There are many ways that you can contribute to the sabotaging of your own musical dreams. Have you heard the song “Whipping Boy” by the band, Dropline? It's on the CD __You are Here__. Well, the song reminds me of you, because it seems that you have become your own Whipping Boy. You must stop feeding your Thanatos or your flesh with self-sabotaging habits of thought and behavior. You must stop starving and begin feeding the spirit by cultivating thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with God's will for your life. You'll find that these divinely guided thoughts and actions will work for you, not against you. 

It all starts by examining negative beliefs about yourself that are not based on reality. I don't believe you are a loser, but your Thanatos, or flesh, works overtime, repeatedly digging up incidents from you past in which you did not succeed to support the premature conclusion that you are a certified loser. You must examine and challenge those notions. Beyond this, you will need to surround yourself with positive friends who want to see you succeed, not negative, drug-addicted, self-destructive types who want to drag you down. Do whatever it takes to stay away from drugs and sexual relationships that turn your life into a tangled web of turmoil. Your community has support groups for teens, some church-affiliated, some not. NA (Narcotics Anonymous) has its faults, but for some folks, it's the only thing that works. If you need a specific referral, e-mail me back. I think it's cool that you are pursuing a rock 'n roll life style. But remember that sex, drugs and rock 'n roll don't have to go together. Stand apart from the crowd. Dare to be a rock 'n role model. Bondage to either sex or drugs can kill rock 'n roll faster than a formally trained piano teacher. The Rolling Stones, a band that is to old folks like me what Radiohead or the White Stripes might be to you, once had a big hit called “It's Only Rock 'n’ Roll (But I Like It).” 

Well, It's (not) only rock 'n’ roll sex and drugs can kill, it's you, too. If you want to learn some good rock 'n’ roll survival skills, look into the Bible and see what it has to say about these matters. I'm not a perfect angel, never have been, so I'm in no position to judge your lifestyle. But I think you'll find what I have always found every time I gave up this low road that I spend so much time wandering around aimlessly on. The high road is much more satisfying in the long run, than the low road, the flesh-paved road to Thanatos. And following the high road will take you higher than any drug possibly could. Take it from me, the rock doc. 

Dr. BLT
 

E-mail letters to Dr. BLT at drblt@drblt.com
 
 

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 


 
 
 
 

 

 
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