It might not be a stretch to say that writing saved the life of singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato. After the release of his previous album The Brag & Cuss, Votolato suffered bouts of depression and anxiety so severe that he barely left his apartment for a year. To overcome this, he did two things: he read and he wrote.
What struck me most, as I talked to Votolato backstage before his show at the Black Cat in DC two weeks ago, was how writing, for him, was an act of survival. While he wrote his latest album True Devotion (Barsuk Records) to appeal to his fans, of course, he found that he needed the album even more than they did. Writing became an act of therapy for Votolato, who told me, "I used to see suicide as a viable option for existential suffering. I used to think it was a fine choice, a justified choice." Votolato no longer feels that way, but those were dark times, made bright by the power of the written word.