A few years ago a close friend of mine took his life and as much as I think it a waste I understood why he did it. Unlike most of us he started life the hard way thanks to his dad who was a sadistic, wasteful bastard. He blew the family fortune, lost priceless heirlooms and tried to justify his failures by looking for salvation in the bottom of a bottle.
When that didn’t work he started to take the anger he truly felt at himself, out on his wife and children. They all suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuse from this person who had they had given their love to.
I could only imagine what it would be like as a youngster to have your father come into your bedroom at night with a shotgun that he laid against your head as you pretended to sleep, blaming you for his failures in life.
On top of having a father like that, my friend and his brother who was also a good friend, suffered from a rare genetic anomaly that caused horrible, terribly painful ulcers to develop around their ankles, because of certain valves that were missing it meant the blood was not able to be pumped back up the leg. I can remember seeing these terrible sores on my friend’s ankles and watching the agony it caused. One of the brothers had both his legs amputated in his adult years as a solution to the terrible constant pain, while the other tried to live with it as best he could.
When they were both old enough and big enough, they put their father in his place and the family escaped his terrifying prison of a world. With his mum, two sisters and brother, they lived as poor as church mice struggling over the years doing shitty jobs to make ends meet and trying to make their lives better, bit by bit.
One of the brothers spent some time in institutions for the insane, trying to cope with the physical, sexual and mental abuse he suffered as a child. Eventually when in his forties, he took his own life rather than suffer any more, two months later the other brother died of a heart attack and this song is for both of them.
Both brothers weren’t perfect but they were more courageous than most people I have met.
Despite all that had happened to them, they were people of genuine goodness who tried as best they knew how to be decent and loving, sometimes they succeeded and sometimes they didn’t.
They “travelled with madness and its bundle of sin down strange twisted roads where some of us have been but they travelled further past the last wooden gate into the deep where the tides will not wait”.
I think of them every so often, the seasons pass and the light of memories grow dim and I sometimes wonder what life would have been like for them had they been born into a loving, nurturing family.
I know some of the wonderous things they would have achieved.
One brother was a very intelligent scholar and the other had a true gift for painting and drawing.It was he that is my inspiration every time I pick up a pencil or a brush but I will never come close to his ability to make a painting or a drawing come to life.
The day of my friends funeral, it rained as I read out the lyrics to this song, it was the only thing I could say that meant anything as I looked at the hole in the ground in which my friends body had been laid.
The old line of “Why do the good die young” comes to mind and I wish I knew the answer. It seems unfair that evil bastards seem to get to prosper and live to an old age while those who die young have only a short time in which to do so much good.
How unfair and it seems, a waste but they had both touched my life and taught me things that have helped to make me the person I am today and for that I am very grateful.
Even though time passes and memories that once seemed so painful no longer shine as they once did, I will never forget them and so their lives have had meaning if only for me.
When I wrote this song it came together very quickly and very easily.
Even though the cause to write the song was a sad one, I found playing it a beautiful delight and never tired of playing or singing it.
When I was recording it I met someone who had spent a lot of time in India learning to sing in Indian scales. She had never sung in a western way before using the limited range that western music has nor had she sung a song like this before.
I asked if she would like to sing backing vocals on the song and I’m so glad she gave it a try, her voice is perfect for the song giving it a haunting, melancholy other world feel.
I hope the song touches you as it has some people and when your time comes, I wish there be Wings For You.