Fit for a king on personal struggles, slipknot’s influence, christian protests revolver

RYAN KIRBY "Backbreaker" touches on the social anxiety that used to just cripple me. It rears its head occasionally still, as weird as that sounds for somebody that goes onstage with confidence. But I always tell people it’s easy to go onstage when everyone likes your band. It’s a lot harder whenever you’re starting out and nobody knows who you are and you’re not the cool guy in the room.

And "When Everything Means Nothing," Tuck actually had a lot to do with the lyrics on that. It really reflects on looking at other people’s "perfect" lives on the internet and it really bums you out because you’re like, "Man, my life sucks. This guy has been going to the beach every weekend" and doing that hand-holding picture with his girlfriend. [ Laughs] "Engraved," is basically a song begging God to show you your purpose because you feel like your life’s not going anywhere.


You feel useless. And there’s been a lot of moments in my life where I felt that way. So it’s definitely a really personal record.

We were all dirt poor and no one was coming to our shows. I had this feeling I’m not where I’m supposed to be right now because my life sucks. I love playing music, but you can only love it so much when your bank account has eight cents in it. And you get older and your priorities change. I almost quit the band in [ Las] Vegas in 2012 because it was after a really bad show and I had just lost some money, not gambling, just lost it out of my wallet. That was just, like, all right, I’m tired of it, I don’t want to tour anymore. Then after a lot of prayer and a lot of self-reflection, I was like, I need to tough it out a little longer. Just that little longer, two weeks later, we got signed. Things started rolling and I said, "I’m going to take things in stride." Now we’re here. Things just kept getting better, and now I’m in a band and able to have a normal life when I’m at home and I’m married. So I want people to know that sometimes it’s OK and normal to be totally lost. Sometimes it takes a lot of self-reflection and prayer — if that’s what you are into. Not everyone’s going to want to pray, not everyone’s a Christian. But I think even without that, you can really reflect a lot on what you really want in life and you ask yourself, "Am I trying as hard as I can, or am I giving up too easily?"

Yeah. I would never say I was to a point where I was suicidal, but definitely anxiety and depression. I think a lot of times anxiety and depression go hand in hand because being overly anxious, it makes you not feel great about yourself a lot. I know there’s no instant cure for depression or else everyone would want it. But I think you have to want it to go away, like, truly you want to not be depressed. That’s not going to change it immediately. It can take years, but I think years of training your mind and think positively over time and take each day as good as you can, hopefully each day gets easier. Even if it takes five years for you to finally say, "I’m fine now." So I think a lot of people look at the grand scheme seem really defeated and it feeds into the depression — I know it did for me. But like I said, you just have to go for it. It may not happen immediately because when I was 14 to 20, I was still crazy awkward. Even when I was 21, the band even had a talk with me, like, "Hey, you really need to work on how you’re acting onstage because it’s kind of awkward." I’m 27 now. But it took five years of me to think, Go for it. That’s how I faced a lot of my depression, too. Like, I just need to try to find the happy, the silver lining even if it’s super small.

That song is actually about Bob, our guitarist — he’s 26. He wrote the chorus of the song and then I wrote everything around it so when he hears it he can relate to it himself. I mean, we are the same age, so that worked out. But that song is him struggling with the concept of religion and hell, because he’s like, "I don’t want to believe in something that’s going to send all my friends to hell."

I turned the song into to facing the trials of life. The tower represents life and life is going to be painful. There’s gonna be a lot of struggle and a lot of times you’re doubting yourself. But you have to be willing to climb it and be willing to go for it. Like, it goes back to the whole you have to want to be better for healing to begin because it’s so much easier to dig the hole deeper than the climb out of it.

I’ve been trying to preach to people, especially fans that are suffering with depression, a message of you can only stress about what you can control. For example, one of our fan’s dad had passed away, and I am fortunate to still have my dad. So I can’t pretend to understand how he’s feeling. But the only advice I could give to him was nothing will change what happened, but you can change the memory and how you carry on his memory. And it’s a reflection of your dad, how you handle the situation. That seemed to help him. I check in on him every now and then, he seems to be doing well. Like I said, there’s no cure, but I think that all starts with the right thinking. You may never heal completely, but you learn to cope with it. It can be overwhelming and a lot of it happens fast and it is too much to handle on your own. But I always preach you need a good support system even when things are going great.

ANOTHER TRACK I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WAS "THE PRICE OF AGONY." IT HAS TO DO WITH THE POLITICAL DIVIDE IN AMERICA. THE LYRICS ARE "HOLDING ON TO WHAT WE KNOW/TOO PROUD TO CHANGE/TOO SCARED TO GROW." THE MESSAGE SEEMS TO BE, "STOP BEING SO AGGRESSIVE AND LISTEN TO EACH OTHER, AS OPPOSED TO BLINDLY HATING X OR Y." WAS THAT WHAT YOU WERE THINKING?

You’re correct. As somebody who thinks there’s ridiculousness on both sides, especially in the election, I was like, " These are the two people?" I thought they were both awful. I noticed people were threatening each other, like, if somebody supported Hillary [ Clinton], somebody supported [ Donald] Trump, they were at each other‘s throats constantly. I was like, "It’s OK if you don’t agree. Geez." I think most people, in general, politics aside, would get along with each other and there’s evidence of that. I see it on tour because people on tour have no choice but to get to know each other. And I’ve seen someone who’s pro-life and pro-choice have a civil conversation after they become friends.