Almost four years ago, Crack the Skye was released. It’s weird to say that an album can change the course of your life, but I really do believe that CTS and the story behind it shaped my present reality, and I would be a very different person now if Crack the Skye had never been released.
Four years ago, in early 2009, I was kind of on the edge of sanity, and then I just teetered over the edge and fell into a massive nervous breakdown filled with panic attacks, violent mood swings, and lots and lots of crying. For those who have never had severe depression or suffered a breakdown, you might think this sounds like something out of a meme image, but it’s not. Constantly beating yourself up every single day over mistakes from your past is a drain on sanity, and it can cause you to just snap. I think after years of choosing to ignore past abuse and trauma I had suffered, the straws that held my rationality broke.
This of course was around the time that Crack the Skye came out. I had been a Mastodon fan for years before, but they were always a band I put on to have a good time and just forget about my issues. Then I read an article in Rolling Stone that Mastodon gave, and reading Brann’s explanation for how Skye’s death shaped much of the album’s content, Mastodon went from being “that band I jam to like an idiot with friends” to “that band I listen to with the lights off hysterically sobbing”. Reading how Brann overcame so much shit from his past and how fucking sad the whole story was kind of just broke me further. I think I literally cried for the next two hours or so after reading that. I wrote a letter to Rolling Stone thanking them for the piece, and crazy enough, they published it in the magazine’s next issue.
Over that summer, Mastodon became one of my total favorite bands. I found a community of other fans, including my girl Myrsha, and we all had the same feelings about the music - it was a life saver. When I joined Fuck Yeah Mastodon in October 2009, I would read from time to time posts where fans would literally pour their hearts out over how songs like “Oblivion” and the title track helped them deal with the loss of family members, friends, and even the near loss of themselves. Two friends I know personally were deeply effected by the album, and it even helped my mother and I to talk out some of the awful things we went through when I was a little kid. Music really can heal.
The rest of my story has been told here before - how I met Brann, how he fully supports what I’m doing, etc., but it’s more than just becoming friends with Brann - without Crack the Skye, I wouldn’t have become as involved in the sludge/doom metal scene. I began paying attention to the bands that Mastodon toured with and soon found Kylesa, Baroness, and High on Fire, and from them found even more great young bands and a few amazing older ones. Noticing how prevalent women are on that scene led to the creation of Women of Sludge Metal Appreciation Week, which led to my work getting citied as a reference for Decibel magazine’s cover article about women in metal.
That Mastodon show where I met Brann was the first out of town concert I brought myself to attend. Years of anxiety and panic attacks made me terrified of being in crowds, but Mastodon got me over that. By being able to attend more shows, I have made so many friends around the southeast and beyond whose music is just as inspiring as Mastodon’s. Brann’s approval of what I’m doing with this site gave me confidence to keep writing, and it was also a catalyst for forming my own band, which is finally up and running.
I sought professional help for my problems and as a result I’m a much happier and healthier person today. I have a college degree, a boyfriend that loves the shit out of me, loving friends, and a future that seems somewhat bright, even if the lights flicker every once in a while. All of this started with one album with seven songs dealing with loss and heartache in a brutally honest way. All of it started with finding that one album that really connected with me and made me feel like there was hope. So many other people like me have that “one album” that got them through shitty times in their life, and for all better purposes, Crack the Skye was that album.
So fellow followers, I guess the point in writing all of this is that I know a lot of you are still suffering and going through some really bad times, and I want you to know that Mastodon as a band and as four very human “rock stars” really do give a damn about making music that helps people. You can take pride in listening to Crack the Skye or really any other album of Mastodon’s and know that most of the songs come from a deeply personal place, even if the meanings are hidden under metaphors or complicated story lines. I know that Crack the Skye will stand the test of time and will still be loved by new fans decades from now, because it is so real, so heartbreaking, and yet so full of a weird sense of survival. We are real, we have been heartbroken, and yes, we can survive.
TGIFF 1984 - @creamale- #webstagram
Mastodon - Crack The Skye
Mama, don’t let them take her
Don’t let them take her down
Please tell Lucifer he can’t have this one
Her spirit’s too strong…
I can see the pain, it’s written all over your face
I can see the pain, you can make it all go away
Lost love, bright eyes fading faster than stars falling,
How can I tell you that I’ve failed?
Fallen from grace, ‘cause I’ve been away too long,
Leaving you behind with my lonesome song,
Now I’m lost in Oblivion
The Skye Dailor Remembrance Day Project - September 1st
Every year here at Fuck Yeah Mastodon, we observe Skye Dailor Remembrance Day, where fans share how Mastodon’s music has saved them from depression and suicide. September 1st, 1990 was the day that Brann’s sister Skye took her own life after suffering from years of abuse, sickness, and bullying.
This was an event that devastated Brann, and the scars left behind from Skye’s death still haven’t fully healed. This is why we at FYM give Mastodon fans a chance to show Brann that he isn’t alone - just as Brann used Mastodon’s music to cope with Skye’s loss, us fans have used Mastodon’s music to cope with our own losses, struggles, and hardships. There are a number of ways that we can remember Skye and show support for Brann on September 1st, but here are some ideas that FYM supports the most:
WAYS TO REMEMBER SKYE ON SEPTEMBER 1ST:
- Wear Something Yellow. Yellow was Skye’s favorite color (this is why Brann frequently wears yellow shirts), so an article of clothing or accessories in yellow will work.
- Play the song “Crack the Skye” or the album Crack the Skye in its entirety.
- For those of you who want to dig a little deeper, write a letter to Brann explaining how Mastodon’s music has helped you in your own “daily storm”, and don’t be afraid to get personal. A few good-sized paragraphs will do. Once you have written this letter, submit them to the site HERE, or post the letter to your own personal blog and tag it as “Skye Dailor”.All letters will be approved or reblogged on September 1st.
- If you are religious, offer prayers for the Dailor family.
SPECIAL NOTICE: Brann and his wife Susanne read the content on this site, so PLEASE think about what’s going into your letter before you write and submit it.
Want more information on Skye? Here are two articles that should help out:
Please re-blog this post so it will reach as many fans as possible! I’m hoping for a large turnout :)
Skye and her big brother Brann with a birthday clown. D’awww :’(
Please, please take my hand,
Please take my soul to rest,
So we can always be around…
Like father, like son <3
Keep calm and Crack the Skye…
Let’s see how many people agree…
More of these, and I’ll likely add you on as a mod.
Every Mastodon album cover, excluding EPs and limited/special editions.