Mischke show notes: Jan. 5, 2010
Today on Citypages.com's 'In The Stream' with T.D. Mischke: Singer/ Songwriter Dietrich Weiss:
Get in the water, waders!
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I first began playing guitar at 19 when I was a patient in the Adult Mental Health unit of Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. I admitted myself voluntarily after a year of being stalked by wishes for death, suicidal strategies, manic anxiety and a lumbering depression. What I didn't know was that I was experiencing the blooming of bipolar disorder. My older brother Garth brought me his guitar to keep me company and I found I was able to pick out the melody of "Scarborough Fair" on the high E string -- a small moment, yet a seismic occurrence - like flint, spark and flame. In the terrifying refuge of this psych ward, scattered yet essential parts of myself connected, and a new possibility arose.
During my sophomore year at college and after leaving the hospital I took a few months off from school and did little else but learn the guitar in my dad's Minneapolis basement. When I went back to school I helped form two bands. My story would be triumphantly short if music could have been my sole healing agent. A year after I'd first been in the hospital I'd made a deliberate suicide attempt. Awakening from a 48-hour coma to the traumatized eyes of my family is a memory forever seared into my inner skin.
After being hospitalized again I returned to school but soon left. I moved to the Uptown area of Minneapolis and immersed myself in all things music. This also meant immersing myself in the culture of the Minneapolis music scene as well. I started using heroin and whatever was about, although out of respect to challenges faced by recovering addicts I would say I was merely a tourist. The bipolar was the issue for me. Underneath the bipolar was dysfunction that I believe set off the manifestation of the mental illness. I think back on these years and wince a little to know that I was as vulnerable as a dog on the highway - cars and semis whizzing past me........
Also today: A three-way conversation with City Pages sports blogger Judd Spicer and Vikings new stadium point man Lester Bagley.