Zack Borer is a licensed marriage and family therapist, based in los Angeles. Zack is also the co-founder of backline. care, a non profit organization that provides mental health resources for musicians and employees of the music industry. During our conversation, Zack and I discuss his beginnings as a musician and what led him to explore psychiatry as a profession. We also cover some best practices for self-care, talk about how toxic the music industry can be and we discuss a topic that's very interesting to me: how do people that provide care then care for themselves? Zack provides a lot of insight and does so passionately.
Backline on FB | IG | Twitter
Jermaine Charles is a multi-faceted creative professional based in Brooklyn, NY. Over his career, Jermaine has also worked in radio and film production, leading to a very diverse professional experience that aligns with his unique personal experiences. In this episode, Jermaine and I talk about all sorts of things; from the fallacy of the nuclear family to his complicated relationships with both parents. You'll also hear about Jermaine's nomadic existence, which has taken him across the country and back a time or two, and he and I revisit a topic that seems to rear its head in every episode of Detoxicity--empathy.
To wrap up the first year of Detoxicity, I am interviewing Tash Neal. Tash is a musician, singer, and songwriter born and raised in New York City. He first gained notice as a member of The London Souls, and released his debut solo album, Charge it to the Game, just last week. He's performed with Lenny Kravitz, The Black Crowes and Slash.
Tash has a lot to talk about during this interview, starting with his NYC upbringing with musician parents. We get into the topics that currently inform his music, with racism being one, particularly as a Black rock musician. He speaks movingly and hauntingly about his miraculous recovery from a 2015 car accident that cost him a part of his skull and almost cost him his life, and what that experience has taught him.
Tash Neal on socials:
So here's something a little different.
For the first time in Detoxicity history (and certainly not the last), I am interviewing two people at once. Gerry Hirschfeld and Chris Tsaganeas are members of the L.A.-based indie rock trio Wax Owls
. We cover a lot of ground in our conversation. Gerry Chris and I discuss the Wax Owls dynamic, which is probably applicable to any business relationship between friends. We also discuss how they balance their burgeoning music career with day jobs as attorneys. Digging deeper, we discuss dealing with anxiety and various other neuroses, and how they affect our self perception. We break down self-care routines and intention setting, whether in the form of new years resolutions or just making goals for general betterment. We also get deep into discussion about child abuse, recovery and forgiveness.
Jacob Slichter is best known as the drummer for the band Semisonic (most famous for the international smash "Closing Time". He is also the author of the book So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star, an honest account of the time in his life when Semisonic went from upstarts to Grammy-nominated radio mainstays. Currently, Jacob is a writing professor at Sarah Lawrence college and he is wrapping up his second book.
As you'll find out over the course of our conversation, Jake is completely honest and transparent about everything, whether we're discussing his ongoing battle with impostor syndrome or why he feels like Generation Z gets a bad rap. We also discuss the motivation behind his interest in African-American studies (this was back in the '80s, y'all!) and we have a conversation about religion and spirituality, which is something that sustains him but I remain skeptical about.
Semisonic released an EP called You're Not Alone in 2020, and you can purchase or stream it wherever you find music. You can also find Jake on Twitter at portablephiloso
is an actor, entrepreneur and creative multi-hyphenate (surprise) (originally from Maine and now (well, in non-COVID times) making his home in New York City. He currently is a cast member of the D&D-related podcast Encounter Party
, runs a website for theater professionals called Audition Cat
, and is also developing a podcast based around eulogies.
Ned also has a pretty interesting past, having spent time as a professional stunt coordinator (!!). We get into that during our discussion, but we also talk about growing up with an addict parent, what he learned (or didn't learn) being brought up in lily-white Maine, learning to understand and then use his privilege for good, and finding personal and professional catharsis after a series of personal tragedies left him reeling.
Troy Ramey made it to the top 12 of the televised singing competition The Voice. However, Troy is a lot more than a contestant on one season on a reality show. In our interview, we talk about how the passing of his father drew him closer to music being more than a hobby. We also talk about the plusses and minuses of being your own boss, and how much of a struggle that has been in the last year of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is all framed around Troy's ongoing experiences with depression and anxiety, which is discussed in depth.
A previous guest described himself as a connector, and I consider myself someone who values the connections that can randomly come as you walk through the world. My connection to this episode's guest, Joel Frieders
, comes from my friend Jonny Boucher
, who I interviewed a few episodes ago. Like Jonny, Joel is connected to the charity Hope for the Day
and is a tireless advocate for mental health. Like many of our other guests, Joel is a multi-hyphenate. He's a "recovering musician". He used to be a beekeeper. He runs a pharmacy. He's an alderman! Yes, folks, I've got my first actual elected official on Detoxicity.
Over the course of our conversation, which will almost definitely be continued at some point, Joel and I talk about a variety of things, including but not limited to the topics I've mentioned previously. You'll hear about everything from how social media taught him to be a more honest version of himself to the very quick and very frank birds and the bees talk he gave his teenage son. On a more serious note, you'll hear about what led him to mental health work.
My guest for this episode is Varghese Chacko, who is a partner in the organization NYC Nightlife United, whose aim is to provide relief to BIPOC-led venues in the New York City area during the COVID-19 crisis. In our interview, Varghese and I discuss his Indian-American heritage and what diversity means to him. We also discuss how he's staying afloat during stay-at-home orders, his recent recommitment to sobriety and exercise in light of turning forty, and the love and value he has for his homies.