It is not often that we do things in english here at Evig Lyttar. But this article and interview demands it - not only because the interviewee is American, but because the subject should be possible to read for all of you!
September 10 is the World Suicide Prevention Day. When most people hear the word "suicide" they shrug their shoulders or just try to avoid the subject all together. It is time for this ignorance to stop.
One man has been trying to push the subject that is suicide, and how important it is to talk about it for a very long time. Dave Pickett is his name, and he has a story and a vision you need to hear. For 2 years he has put together a gig in convergence with Worlds Suicide Prevention Day. He has organized the gig, he has booked the bands and he has done his best to make people aware of the issues and horrors out there. The 3rd edition is just around the corner, and will kick off September 7 at Checkpoint Charlie (info in the poster above). Please attend.
I had a blast talking with this guy, and his knowledge is as real as it gets. Check out the interview below!
First of all: How are you?
I’m pretty okay, but I’d be better after a sandwich and a nap.
Haha! I think sandwiches and naps are something most of us can appreciate. For those who don’t know you; could you introduce yourself in a sentence or two?
My name is Dave Pickett and I’d like to talk about suicide.
Straight to the point! I like it. Let’s get right down to it then. What is your experience with suicide?
That’s tough to keep short. Well, I guess… I remember that being a life long thing. It was a considered opinion since I was little… Maybe 6-7-8 years old. I would get a nagging voice that seemed to know me well, that was always pushing towards suicide. I’m not sure why, I have lost all my uncles to suicide.
I can’t imagine how it must feel to have a nagging voice inside your head from that age and onwards - and then to loose all your uncles to suicide, how hard that must be. How did you get through it all? How did you cope?
Fast drugs, fast girls and fast music. Two of those three just gave me more heartache. Can you guess which two? Music has been my saving grace my whole life, it’s like I can hear the music in my bones. The drugs sometimes made things easier but it’s such a complicated life when you take that on. The doctors told me that I was Manic Depressive when I was 16, and that I needed to take a pill everyday or I’d never have balance. I didn’t like their pills and I was too immature to articulate it so… I just used street drugs to make my own way.
My uncle Jon did the same program and he shot himself in the head on August 10, 2008. I haven’t heard my nagging voice since January 2016 when I moved into a dusty, mouldy old room at Tou Scene and started working on the vision in my head. Before we could get to the first suicide show my uncle Hal, Jon’s younger brother, shot himself in the head on August 7, 2016. To answer the question directly; I can honestly sat that drugs saved my life. We need to end pill shaming by the way.
I think it’s a huge accomplishment to be standing here today after all those challenges. And I speak from the heart when I say that you inspire me, and many others as well, with the important work you do! Why do you think that it’s hard for people to talk about suicide and mental health?
It’s tough to articulate to someone else that you believe something inside of you is trying to kill you.
But also peer pressure and the stigma of seeing a psychiatrist or getting medication. Did I mention that we need to end pill shaming?
I’ve never thought about it that way before! Thanks. Do you have a suggestion on how to make it easier to speak up and how we can make it less stigmatising and more open and accepted? What each person can do to make it better?
Those are important questions that probably have many answers. Norwegians don’t usually discuss these types of things and that’s where me being an outsider helps. Doing what we’re doing allows the discussion to come up and that’s our main goal; get people talking about suicide. As I walk through town strangers that have seen me in the press will come up to me and tell me their suicide stories. I have become that guy and I think that’s great. When you’re feeling suicidal or if you’re just having suicidal ideation, it becomes less strong and less real when you talk to someone about it. We need to be able to discuss the horror before it becomes horrible.
I agree. Talking always helps! And it is so awesome that you have taken on that role, where people can come and talk to you. Good man! This is the third year you have put together this gig. Have you seen more people attend as the years and gigs go by? Do you notice more awareness around the subject?
Yes actually, it’s been gaining support from different directions in the last couple of years. I think we maybe started at the right time because mental health has been a hot-button topic in the Norwegian press the last 2 years maybe. I think its super important in our crowd for this to be okay. We’re the punk rockers and we’re supposed to be open and non-judgmental, but that doesn’t always happen. Ultimately I’d like to have the holy trinity as the show but these things take time and there’s no funding, there’s just us.
Beer, comedy and music, those are the proper Stavanger staples if you ask me.
So good to hear! Let’s hope that you guys get this out and in to as many heads as you can, and that the following and support grows as much as possible. And yes, it takes time, but hopefully you have cut down the time a bit with your actions!
Couple of last questions: What can we expect this year? And what do you look forward to the most?
These suicide shows are an emotional rollercoaster for me. When I do something I pour my heart into it and I’m not sure here what the end result is or should be. That makes it even harder, but the thought of even one kid hearing and digesting the message is enough for me to keep moving forward.
We are going to have a kick ass show at Checkpoint Charlie. Psyko Blasfemi is an amazing young band from Stavanger that is so young they are not allowed to stay at the club after their set! They are young and pissed! I was blown away by their set in Bryne.
Dödsstraff is fucking nuts! Ski masks, baseball bats and a sound that’ll make you want to punch yourself in the face!
Panic Attack! Just recorded 13 songs with Espen Håland and it sounds really good. The band is starting to emerge from it’s ugly cocoon and it’s about to take flight. We’ve been taking a minute before songs explain what the song is about and it makes it more cohesive for the audience. We’ve gotten some great feedback by taking the audience to the edge instead of just pushing them off.
I look forward to getting the Stavanger Region Mental Helse Ungdom some money. They are not used to money coming in. They were quite confused and excited last year when money started rolling into their Vipps account! They had no idea why or where the money was coming from, haha!
I think we can be sure that you are the right man for the job. I look forward to it as well; it’s going to be a blast! Thank you again man. And thanks for taking the time to talk with me!
Thank you so much Patrick, and thank you for covering this. Suicide is not an easy thing to get out there!
Any last words for the readers?
There is a saying that goes “people who commit suicide never regret it” but that’s not true. Google the stories of suicide attempt survivors and they all say the flood of regret and the panic to stay alive kicked right in.
One way that I’m attempting to get people talking openly about suicide is by using graphic suicide photos to show the reality of the situation.
Please, listen to Dave's words. Speak up and speak loud about this subject, we need to face it. And if you can, come to the show and take part in the World Suicide Prevention Day!