"Get Thru This": Art of Dying is the Art of Living

It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.

Fun fact, Rocks Off is always sort of thinking about killing ourselves. Part of it is the music we listen to, part of it is because we think our afterlife is way cooler than anything the rest of the world has come up with, and the remaining balance is a desire to not have to pay back a student loan. Don't worry, as long as there's a place for snarky prose we're sticking around, but yeah, it's there in the background.

So when a band called Art of Dying comes to town we're going to perk up our ears. After all, maybe they have some ideas on methodology. We were thinking about stuffing our clothes full of candy then jumping off a building to become a human piñata, but we're open to other suggestions.

Frankly, Art of Dying doesn't sound like they're going to be much help. We've been watching their video for "Get Thru This" on a constant loop for the last hour or so, and its message is really messing with our well-honed brooding skills. It's metal in the pop sense of the word. If you're craving something to eradicate life to it's not for you.

In fact, dare we say it, it's as uplifting as a training montage from a Rocky flick. That empty place in your soul that whispers of the sweet joy of oblivion gets a nice coat of spackle and paint, perhaps even a mural involving My Little Ponies. Art of Dying has, with a single song, reaffirmed our will to live.

Granted, according to the video the tough times they're trying to get thru seem to involve having too many boobs to autograph, piles of alcohol that they must find the time to drink, and the pressure of rocking in front of a large paying audience. But then again, who are we to judge another man's pain?

Next thing you know we're perched on a ledge looking down a healthy ten stories or so and the police have sent vocalist Jonny Hetherington in to try and talk us down. He started with the usual crap, bright future, loving family, McRib is back, etc., but we made it pretty clear that what we wanted to know was where the band came up with their name.

"It comes from the longer sentence 'The Art of Dying is My Life to Live,'" said Hetherington, his voice augmented by the megaphone. "It's more of a philosophy or a way of life...to accept the fact that we're all on a path to death and we really don't know when that's coming. All of us in the band live by this code of preciousness and try to live each day with passion and intensity. It's really about the art of living. It's how I live my life. It means never giving up. It's about making music that feels real and comes from the heart. It's about friendship and the brotherhood that we share as a band. It's about embracing the path we're on."

That gave us some pause. It's very rare that a band actually manages to give us a deep and insightful meaning behind their name. Most of the time it usually involves a rather boring dream or just some random assortment of letters... as if VH1 sponsored the jumble. It's clear that Hetherington has thought this through, and is dedicated to spreading a more positive message through his music than the standard bitchy hard rock you hear these days.

With a shrug, we came down. The police had already dispersed by the time we reached the ground (we do this every third Saturday of the month). Hetherington was still standing there, though. We shook his hand, thanked him for his kind words, and asked him what the most artful way to die was. We're still trying to come up with a good idea, you see?

"If you are doing what you love while you die you are dying artfully," he said. "I can't help but think about the deaths of Michael Hutchence and Kurt Cobain. Both died before their time with deaths cloaked in controversy. Their art has touched millions and I hope they felt the art of dying was their life to live."

Life is tough, friends and enemies. Our buddy and mentor Chris Gray is recovering from a heart attack and he's only six years older than us. We're working two jobs to keep the family in Skittles and Dora the Explorer episodes after the Wife With One F was laid off for leaving a half hour early to care for our daughter after a fall. On top of that, we just read the synopsis for Human Centipede II, and we're not sure if we want to live on this planet with you people anymore.

But listening to Art of Dying makes us want to try and tough it out a bit longer.

Final Definition

Art of Dying (n) 1. The reverse of suicide 2. Upbeat, hard rock 3. Neither a human piñata or a human centipede

Art of Dying plays Wednesday at Scout Bar with Adelitas Way, Emphatic, and New Medicine.

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