How often have you listened to a song and wondered about what the words mean, what the writer was thinking? I heard once that when someone asked John Lennon about the meaning of a song he’d written, he responded something to the effect of “I make up the words, you make up the meaning.” Good thought-provoking answer, but maybe you want more, and sometimes you can have it.
Like many of my songs, “Everyone’s a Suicide” from the Iron Diplomat album came from a dark place. In early 2002, a friend called one morning and told me that a mutual friend and Air Force crewmate had taken his own life. Six months later I found out a close friend, also an Air Force colleague, had died in a plane crash. Six months after that, I learned another Air Force friend, a close one, had committed suicide. A week later, the police called me and told me that my younger brother Alan, after a long and debilitating illness, had also ended his life. A plane crash and three suicides in a year. It all started to hit me hard, to the point where my shock and grief circuits overloaded, and the breaker popped. After going into a major tailspin for a while, then finally pulling out of it, I started the vital processing.
It occurred to me that to some extent, we all choose the manner and timing of our own demise, hence the title. The first verse refers to one friend in particular, I won’t tell you which one, but my comrades from that era can probably figure it out. The rest of the song is about living life to the fullest. I like to end songs triumphantly, even the dark ones, and this one ends in a call for defiance. Here are the words:
Everyone's a Suicide eldon tyrell told us the light that burns so bright burns out fast some stars fall at night and shine by day unseen too good to last her final words to him come back to me we all know she tried yeah she tried some people called him loser but I know everyone’s a suicide the specter of mortality we all think about it now and then some try to hide from death and so they live fearing how and when you can drown in mediocrity leaving blind abandon to decide or transcend rationality and face it everyone’s a suicide tired of living half a life strangled by somebody else’s fears better burn white hot for fifty than smolder for a hundred hopeless years better go out laughing before the spark divine disappears burn so very brightly burn so very brightly burn so very brightly burn burn burn Listen: Everyone's A Suicide
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