As I begin writing this up, it's 12:12am on Christmas Day 2019. On so many occasions I never thought I would live to see this day for various reasons. But here I am. As of a week from now it will be 202, I can't see the last week being any more eventful than anything else that has happened this year, so why not get this overly drawn out speech out of the way to purge myself to get ready for for the 3rd decade of the 21st century?
2019 was without a doubt, the single worst year of my life. I have had worse things happen in other years, but nothing that came even close to the hell that was the last year of the 2010s. In the beginning of the year I was on the verge of ending everything once again. It was so bad that the cops were actually called on me to see if I was ok. I was completely honest and my life has only gotten worse since that day. Just a few days after the cops came, I got sick. Really, Really sick. 6 years ago sick when I was in the hospital off and on for 8 months sick. I had to go to the ER and find out what was going on, I felt like I was going to die. Turns out I was close to it.
I was experiencing Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Which basically means my blood sugar was way too high and was on the verge of death. So I spent 13 days in the hospital. In all honesty, I don't remember a lot of it as a good portion of that time I was in the ICU. When I finally got a real bed, more horror came my way. When the nurse wanted to look at my feet for any wounds, they found the gaping wound in my foot that I was scared to mention to anyone that I had for too many years. It was caused when I was working at Electronics at a big box retailer and I was instructed to wear a particular type of shoe that my feet did not feel comfortable to wear. I walked too much, big ol calluses and blood blisters came from it and one day years later, it popped and the wound never recovered. My left foot had it as well but it recovered though I do get an occasional callus in the same spot as my right foot had. One look from the doctor and yeah, my big right toe had to be amputated. It was why I was afraid to say anything to any doctor as I was trying to avoid the inevitable. Couple days later and I had the operation. While it actually turned out it could have been worse, only half of it is gone (basically the whole toenail region is gone). It's a weird feeling, I still occasionally get phantom pain there and it's the oddest feeling.
While I was in the hospital, I had some of the worst sleep of my life. Anyone who has had an extended stay in the hospital can tell you that. Nothing like getting checked on every couple hours and getting blood tests or getting a new IV or just making sure that you are still alive. I also had a revolving door of doctors, physicians, and others come in through the different rooms I stayed in (4 in total). Everything from Doctors telling me that I was going to die soon unless I changed my ways to mental health specialists checking to see if I needed to go to the mental health hospital afterwards to spiritual advisors who actually gave great advise about breathing techniques that I am trying to implement to this day. And for the first time in 10 years, I saw my oldest sister out of nowhere. She came to see how I was doing and we had a couple really good talks that day. The single best moment of the hospital stay was a therapy dog came to visit me near the tail end of the stay and it brought me to tears. Just seeing such a little pup wanting to be near by me and letting me per her was spectacular. It really made me miss all my pets that I had over the years, it's so sad to see them all gone now, but that few minutes made up for almost the entire hospital stay.
After I finally got out of the hospital, I was advised to not be able to walk for almost 2 months, which crushed me. Hell, the first 2 weeks or so, I couldn't even get into my own bed as it would cause too much pressure on my stitches and it could pop. So I slept on my couch and I gotta tell you; you don't appreciate having a 55" 4K UHD TV until you are in the hospital nearly for 2 weeks straight. Being able to see things vividly, being able to play my games again and just being able to watch channels and stream things that I couldn't at the hospital was a great way to be able to recover.
I wasn't able to start walking on my own till mid April and even then, I still needed a giant boot on my foot until the scar was healed.But it was great being able to get back to work as I missed it so very, very much. I missed out on a lot. Be it promos that I couldn't give enough attention to unbelievable shows that I had to miss out on as I physically couldn't get there or sometimes even get in the venue; even then, if I could sit or stand all that time. But as soon as I was able to start working on That Drummer Guy again, doing interviews, and recording the show; I couldn't have been happier as it brings me the most joy in life. That joy didn't last long though...
May 17th, my brother died from a combination of kidney failure, high blood pressure, untreated diabetes, being a massive smoker and drinker, and all of his other major organs failing in one day. For anyone that knows me; this was a day that will forever live with me for the rest of my life. I still don't know how to handle it. For the average person, you'd think "of course it will be rough, but he's your brother, he loved you and he wants you to move on." the last word my brother said to me were over the phone and verbatim were "I hope you die, you need to kill yourself, and when you do, I will go to your funeral, and piss on your face and laugh because you are a fucking loser and everyone hates you. Kill yourself." Normally I don't like swearing in these posts, but that was the last words he spoke to me that I heard live. The final words I ever heard him say were in a voicemail a week and a half before he died after he spent the time to call me several times in a row and I hit ignore every time as I know he was doing his usual pattern of pretending to be someone else, I call him out on it, he tells me how worthless I am and tries to get me to kill myself as it will be funny and he will be happier without me around. Those words? "FUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUU". He said it in a quiet yelling voice as if he was in his Kidney dialysis as he thought to call me and get me to end it all. Who would of thought I wouldn't have wanted to answer the phone knowing what was going to happen as it's happened more than enough times?
The night he died, I met up with my oldest sister and her then girlfriend to see my brother still laying there, with his fiancee and her family in the hospital room. My parents were nowhere to be found and didn't bother showing up till the funeral. Seriously, why would I go see my brother with everything he had some to me in the past 30 and 3/4ths years, all the abuse of almost every kind, every single word, ever hit, every lie, every drama story, everything he did to me; why would I dare to go see him with all of this? Well, I was asked to go. As my sister and I were on good terms again and I wanted to be there for her. That's the only reason I wanted to be there for moral support as everyone else was hurting. That's been my role in my life, I either was a venting post, a peacemaker, or the guy people came to for moral support. While it may be looked at as a doormat, and for a lot of people that is all I ever will be, I helped people feel better. If that is my role, I'll wear it. Anyways; My sister said her final words to my brother's body and I let her have them. I know that he was her favorite brother for so many unsung reasons. They thought so much alike, and honestly to a fault as they both really had a stubborn attitude that when they fought, it was vicious, all the way to the end. My sister and I got along in the enjoyment of music and gaming, so I got that going for me, which is nice.
When It was my turn to say my last words to him, so much anger was built up inside me that I just felt like I was going to burst, but amazingly, I held my composure as well as I could have. If there is anything beyond this life, I hope he heard it. I let him know how much he hurt me over 3 decades and he ruined my life to the extent that I may never recover. But I also thanked him because if it wasn't for him, I may not have had the integrity to start my life out of my hometown, start That Drummer Guy and try to do something with my life. My last words to his body were the same words that he left for me. With a middle finger to his face I said "Fuck You!" and left and outside of seeing his head occasionally at the wake/funeral; I never saw him again. *Those are my last curse words, I promise*
You'd sure think that would be the end of it, wouldn't you? NOPE! As I walked out of the room, for about a half hour I found out some of the most horrendous things that have happened in my family that they either caused or had happened to them. I could not have been more hurt by every passing word that was being said. Think of some of the worst things someone can do outside of murder; It was probably covered in this conversation (or one that came a couple months later that killed me in a 2 hour phone call from his ex fiancee). My life has never really been the same. For them, they were talking about it as they were just catching up on what's been happening and sharing horror stories. For me, I was completely appalled as I heard NONE of these stories and it messed me up to the point where my body finally said, Yup, I need therapy again as I can't process any of this on my own. I will not speak of what these horror stories are as they are not my stories to tell; I'll just say that what happened was unforgivable and to the party/parties responsible for the actions; I never wanna see again in my entire life. And I really, really hope I never do.
So taking all of that into consideration, things got better from July(?) out besides the depression episodes I deal with on an almost daily basis. As of this month, I am back in therapy and my next session is in 6 days. I am also seeing a psychiatrist in February to see what I can do as far as medication as I have tried several different medications and none of them have a lasting affect. Let's hope for the best.
A sad side affect from getting myself together is that my weight ballooned since leaving the hospital. I am actually the heaviest I have ever been. 4-5 of my medications can cause weight gain and...it really did. I won't say the weight, but I'll say I'm between 2x-3x shirts again, it actually hurts wearing a belt around my pants and just seeing myself without a shirt on is....I don't understand how anyone could possibly find me attractive. So why am I not working out or even going on walks to shed the weight? Well, my right toe being the biggest issue. Back in August, my scar from the amputation opened back up and since then, I have been scared beyond belief. But today, I get to counteract that, as I now have an exercise bike. As soon as it is setup, I will be working out every single day that I can as it puts zero pressure on my toe and I can get my body moving every day without jerks at the gym or passers by giving me a sarcastic thumbs up as if to say "good job, fat boy. You're trying to live longer." Another reason why I hate being alone, but also feel better being by myself.
And let's get to that last bit of sad stuff for the year...my crippling suicidal depression. Yeah, it's as bad as it has ever been and it hurts so much. Some days I sleep 18 hours days as I simply don't have the will to get out of bed. Even two days ago, I slept as long as I could as I just did not want to face the day. I pretty much took all of December off to work on myself and in some aspects I have and others, the depression keeps me from being able to do anything, even doing the work that I love, being That Drummer Guy. One of the hardest aspects of working from home is that you are alone so often. It sounds appealing when you work in customer service of any kind, not having to deal with others, but when you only have yourself, after a while, it gets to you and it can bring you down so very, very hard. With therapy I am hoping to be able to get the depression out of my mind or at least tolerable, get my anxiety under control and realize the past can control my future anymore, and the biggest one for me is the trauma that caused all of this. From the two therapy sessions I've had, Trauma seems to be the biggest issue going on with me and it's horrendous. PTSD is not just for soldiers, folks. It can happen with any traumatic event and it can hinder you for the rest of your life. But again, I really hope moving forward I can control all of this and find some joy in the new decade.
And let's get into that, the joy of 2019. there has been a lot of good as well. I've done 86 interviews (only one written interview), I've hit 652 interviews overall, I've hit well over 3K likes and followers on Facebook, at 680 subscribers on YouTube (320 away from being able to make money on the platform again) and my show is FINALLY on Spotify amongst the other big podcast stations. It feels so nice being able to upload more than 2 shows at a time now and I was able to start doing that on episode 350, which that alone, I am at 355 episodes of my show now, which is mindblowing to think about. And I wouldn't be here doing what I do without the likes of you reading, listening, checking out, or just supporting my work in any way. Sincerely, thank you.
The 2010s has been an absolute roller coaster for me. Most of my 20s were in this decade. I had so many bands that were created and imploded, so many times I thought I was on the verge of making it in a band to just have it fall downhill, I moved out from my hometown (which would have killed me had I not moved), I moved to Minnesota, I made so many great friends, I had so many great friends that left this mortal coil or just wanted nothing to do with me anymore. I went from being nearly blind as a bat to being able to see again. I spent almost a year in the hospital between hospital visits this decade. I lost family both physically and emotionally. I have discovered so many great tv shows, movies, video games. I went from having a big box tv that helped mess up my vision to now having a gigantic 4K tv to call my own. I got back into wrestling after not watching since 2001. I created That Drummer Guy in 2011 and 2020 will be my 9th year and going strong. As previously mentioned I have done over 650 interviews in 8 and a half years. I have received countless promos, I discovered so many bands that have impacted my life, I have covered so many shows from doing interviews and pit photos. I have been on so many tour buses and partying (only drinking on my end). I went from only being able to do interviews at shows to being able to have my own office setup and being able to talk to anyone who has an internet connection or a phone number. I've been cited on sites such as Blabbermouth, Metal Injection, Metalsucks, Brave Words, Ultimate Guitar, and other sites countless times. I'm cited on Wikipedia for an interview I did with All That Remains. I've broken so many stories that I can't believe I get to say I help break to the world. I did ALL of that as a one man operation. Of course I had help along the way with radio stations, personalities, those in the radio business, the ever long Press Agents that I love for digging my work enough to ever grant me any interview ever. To every single one of you reading this and giving the littlest bit of a care about what I do. I can't say it enough, thank you so very, VERY much! I would not be here without your support and realizing what I do is not in vain. I can't wait to see what 2020 has in store for me.
Oh, and I finally first got laid in this decade. GO ME!
As for the aforementioned 2020 (yes I know some people don't consider 2020 the start of a new decade and 2021 is the real start of the decade, I disagree. The 3rd number from the left changes, that's a new decade to me) I have some plans for things in the That Drummer Guy Universe.
First with That Drummer Guy itself. The show is going on as normal. 2 hours of the best in heavy music today, with interviews as they are available or the week they have a new album to promote. I am hoping to break the 100 count of interviews next year as this is the first year in quite a while that I missed out on it for so many reasons listed above. But I am also planning a couple new things you may get your attention.
I wanna start doing a Song Of The Day collection that I will make posts about here and on social media. Post the song, say a few words about it, and put it into a Spotify playlist that will have 366 songs on it (Don't forget, 2020 is a leap year). It can be a brand new song, it can be an underrated classic, it can be a huge hit of yesteryear, it can be a band I simply want to show off in some way shape or form. I really like the idea of doing that.
Oo Fridays, I wanna start doing a band retrospective of 52 bands and covering their discography to date, then ranking said discography from favorite to least favorite. Obviously I am going to cover artists that have a realistic number of albums I can cover without losing my mind. Buckethead and Frank Zappa are examples of musicians I simply can't cover like that without making it years' worth of time, if at all.
The last Friday of every month, I wanna cover the month's best albums. I tried doing that this year, but starting it February that opportunity got taken away from me. So this coming year, let's try it again. 10 Albums, alphabetical order, a few words on each album just like my best of reviews. Don't get worried, these are not replacing the Best Of lists or even a true representation of what will be on those lists, as new albums always come out and I may discover something after the fact, or I simply don't enjoy an album as much anymore (happens to all of us.)
As far as non-That Drummer Guy stuff goes:
Something Gives has been heartbreaking to make this year, It's taken a lot out of me. The original idea was to get musicians, fans and those in the music business to talk about mental health struggles and how they get through. It turned into my hell of a year (with one exception). I really hope I can bring that original idea back to form in 2020. If anyone reading this is interested in talking about their mental health struggles, let me know if you're up to talk about it on the show and try to help ourselves and others struggling.
Such Good $#!+, I dropped the ball on it. I had the idea for such a long time and I tried to implement it this year and only was able to make a few episodes (to very little fanfare) I also wanna get back to this in some way, shape or form. I may reformat the show. I had friend in the past wanna do a kind of podcast or even just do brief segments on it for crossovers. MAYBE? that will happen again in 2020. I really want it to as I love covering wrestling, gaming, movies, tv, etc. If it happens, It won't be a weekly thing. It may end up being monthly and doing a recap of the past month and stuff to look forward to. If you were looking for my lists of the best of games, movies, etc. That'll come in January. I need time to go over everything. I hope you understand.
One last idea I wanted to make happen is the audio (or video) documentary of That Drummer Guy. Since I was in high school (when I was originally called That Drummer Guy in my cover band days), I wanted to do a Behind The Music style parody of myself and my rise to the top. My cousin, Ben and I came up with the idea in school and I just thought it would be amazing to do. Hell, even if it turns out to be a non-fictionalized documentary of myself, I'd love to make that happen. If it ever comes to fruition, I wanna premiere it August 2nd, 2021; the 10th Anniversary of my very first time being on air. I wanna get all my friends involved in that. Musician friends, social media friends, even those I've never talked to once. I'd love to do a 1-2 hour documentary. If you were up for being involved in the next year; let me know. Let's make this thing happen and celebrate 10 years of That Drummer Guy!
Alright, that is more than enough words. I'm pretty sure I've written more than a novel's worth of words here and I wanna enjoy this last week of the decade. If you made it though this epic saga, you're an amazing human being and you deserve a medal of some kind. BUt seriously, thanks again for all of the love and support this year, this decade and the continuing support going into 2020 and beyond. Have a great rest of the holidays and until 2020 this is That Drummer Guy Saying, SEE YA!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)