… excerpts from the forthcoming book titled: ESCAPING SUITE OBLIVION – PSYCH, DRUNKS, & ROCK ‘N ROLL by Tom Leu (2018)
Ready or not
By the time 1985 rolled around, I’d had enough of air drumming in my bedroom to KISS and Krokus tapes. I’d been playing drums for real for only a few months, so I (thought) I was ready to form my first rock and roll band and take the world by storm. Funny to look back on that thinking now… I’d jammed in my parent’s basement with a few guys I knew from high school — because the drummer’s basement or garage was typically where most band’s rehearse when starting out. We did our best covering the hard rock hits of the day from bands like the Scorpions, Judas Priest, Dokken, Ratt, and of course my obsession band at the time, Motley Crue. But these jam sessions were far from qualifying us as an actual band. We never played anywhere besides that basement, and the experience was merely my first exposure playing live and loud in a room with a guitarist, bassist, and lead singer. It’s hard to describe the feeling of this first experience performing in a band setting. It’s surreal…
A few months later, my first real band formed. This time however, my buddy Greg (the singer) and I had moved the band over to his house, and his basement. I believe I told my parents the reason was because he had more room at his house, but the real reason was because things were a little more “free” at his house. Freely drinking lots of booze and having girls over to “watch us practice” was much easier to pull off there.
We dubbed our first band “Wikid Romance”… which today for me, is a very stupid 80’s sounding name that came from a lyric in the Motley Crue song titled “Save Our Souls.”
The suite oblivion
What I call the “suite oblivion” is a metaphorical place or a state-of-mind that a lot of us go to and reside in at various times in our lives. Oblivion is defined as: the state of being disregarded or forgotten; total forgetfulness. Simply put, we often “forget” who we are and why we are really here. We then digress by consciously or unconsciously distracting ourselves with artificial realities, superficial relationships, or misguided endeavors. I call them vices, devices, and distractions… some call them addictions.
We need to be reminded that each of us has a purpose and a reason for being. But the chaos of life often clouds our view of this purpose. While we can’t see exactly where we’re going, we live and work and interact day-to-day in our many unsatisfying suites of oblivion until we reach a threshold and decide to make some changes. Great pain usually precedes significant change. But unlike the “Hotel California”… you can check out any time you like AND you can always leave the suite oblivion if you choose. It starts with awareness, moves to a decision, and then has to be followed by deliberate action to truly escape…
At 36 years old I decided that teaching might be a good way for me to make a few extra bucks. I figured that I’ve always enjoyed learning, and never minded “being in school” so-to-speak, so why not try my hand at helping others learn about subject-matter that is of interest to me? I mean, how hard could it be…?
The other rationale besides supplementing my income was to be able to get in front of people and talk about shit I knew a lot about; something I’ve always loved doing. I thought, and still think, this is a great training ground for anyone interested in speaking publicly.
It was the summer of 2004, and I’d been sober about a year and a half at that point. For several years prior, I’d always wanted to pursue more education, and had always fantasized about getting a masters degree in psychology, or something along those lines, since I graduated from Illinois State University back in the late 1990. For whatever reasons up until that point, I hadn’t pulled the trigger. Likely, it was because I was always too busy talking about shit like that while in the bars with my buddies drinking my brains out day in, and week out, for years. I’ve always said, I was everything I always wanted to be when I was drinking. But in reality, of course, I was none of it…