Location: Los Angeles, California
Promotional video: Ashamed
Directed by: Franky Kerrigan
Release date: July 26, 2019
Last night I was having a conversation, actually was an argument, with my son regarding why he needed to take honors chemistry (although science wasn’t really his big deal it’s more English). My argument was that even though he wasn’t going to need to know the density of water when he was an adult, doing whatever he needed to do to pass this class would be a good exercise for him. He would need to work hard to slay the chemistry dragon. He needed an obstacle to overcome; a challenge he thought was unsurmountable. I said to him, “Life is going to throw things at you Lucantonio when you’re an adult, and you need to be able to know that you can handle these challenges. If you can overcome chemistry then you can overcome anything that life Throws at you. And I can tell you from experience it’s going to throw a lot at you.”
In the opening scenes of Uncompliant’s video for their song “Ashamed”, a lanky youth throws down his phone and collapses on the couch after hearing bad news about a loved one. The medical providers have done all they can, there’s no more to be done. This kid’s going to lose somebody and it’s somebody that he loves and he can’t take it. Lucky for this young man he’s got amazing bandmates that come to sit by his side and try to help him through this time. He’s also got an outlet, he’s also got something to funnel his rage and his sadness into and it’s his band. Not all people have this, not all people have support systems, and not all people are gifted with resilience and intellect to push them through bad times. And unfortunately not all people have had to struggle with small things first so that they could overcome the big things later in life.
The problem in today’s isolative world is that young people do not have a chance to test their limits. When I was young I got on my bike and I left the house and if my foot got caught in the spokes or I stepped on glass or I stubbed my toe I needed to get home by myself without a phone without my folks and handle that problem on my own. This may not seem like a huge deal, but in today’s society you rarely see a kid with a cast, you rarely see a kid with a broken collarbone. I broke my arm at 12 skateboarding, my sister broke her leg in a drunken fracas in the playground at 16, my other brother, at seven years old fell off the porch and broke his arm. Why do I tell you this in the middle of a review for a song? Because it’s really important for children and young people to have to overcome small things in life. Classes they don’t like, friends that they have problems with, even injuries, so that they know they have the capability physically and mentally to overcome these obstacles - and that life gets better.
Why we have so many anxious, suicidal kids today is that they don’t know they can handle life. Because they’ve never been tested, because I can always run back to their parents and say ‘fix this for me’ and we do it... because we love them... because we are frightened for them... because in our 24 hour news cycle the world is a dangerous, frightening place where our children can be snapped up from us in moments. We are super permissive in some ways and over protective in others. I worry that my children won’t have the fortitude that it takes to be an adult in this world. Because I haven’t offered them challenges or the challenges that they are offered are in controlled environments like school.
Getting back to this video (after that long diatribe) this young man has similar problems to the youth of today it seems like he’s collapsing, it seems like he’s collapsing under the weight of this loss - of this impending loss. How is he going to deal with it? How is he going to overcome the emotion that he’s feeling and turn it into something positive? He fights his own friends that are trying to help him, at first he rejects their compassion because he’s wallowing in that pain. He wants to be in that place that his loved one is in, he wants to share in their death struggle and in that end of life pain. And that’s fine; but the living have to remember that they are still living and that they have to go on. And their mission in going on is to show others that the struggle is worth it. That overcoming obstacles leads to better things, more confidence, better experiences and deeper relationship with others. When we experience pain we can commiserate with others, we can recognize their pain as ours.
This video kind of reminds me of “Fall To Pieces” by Velvet Revolver, where you have Duff cradling the ultimately doomed Scott Weiland in his arms in the bathroom of some skeezy club, saying ‘don’t do this you can overcome these problems I’ve overcome them you can do it too you’re smarter than this you’re more talented than what you’ve given yourself’. In this video Mr. Weiland gets his shit together and overcomes. Unfortunately, not so in real life. In the “Ashamed” video we watch singer William von Hofsten struggle, fight, collapse and overcome the terror of living in this world attached to another human being. This is the struggle of life; do we love? Do we love knowing love ends? Whether it be through breaking apart or death? Do we Love regardless, giving our all to our parents who will die, to our lovers who will go, to our children who will move on without us, and if we do our job correctly, not need us anymore. Life is overcoming struggles and in that overcoming we slowly drop pieces of ourselves across the world, across other people, until hopefully at the end of our lives, we’ve given enough pieces of ourselves to be remembered. That is why the struggle of life is worth it. That is why we need to teach our kids that they are strong, capable people and that they can overcome the simple problems in life when they’re younger so that when they’re older they can overcome things like love ones passing. They will not permanently collapse. They can continue to contribute to the society and say “I lost my loved one and this is how I overcame it”. We’re doing an enormous disservice to our children and to the world if we don’t teach kids to have confidence in their abilities. I feel that we are doing that as a society and I fear that I’m doing it individually.
Again, getting back to the “Ashamed” video by Uncompliant. Why is this young man ashamed? I wonder is he ashamed for loving? Is he ashamed that he needed his friends to help him? Is he ashamed that he turned them away? I sort of feel this song is not aptly named although I have no suggestions. There’s no shame in asking for help, there’s no shame in accepting help. There’s no shame in wallowing in sadness for a while. The only shame comes when you can’t get up, dust yourself off and go on. The music in the driving yet melodic tune suggests forward motion. It suggests that when we do face these obstacles we get up and we move, we take thoughtful action. After we see Van Houston rage during the bridge, releasing all the anger and pain that sits inside him, again his friends (who he rejected) come to his aid and help him in his struggle. I guess that’s where the ashamed comes in. We need never be ashamed of failure because we tried. We need never be ashamed to ask for help, because we are giving others a chance to nurture and care. We need never be ashamed of emotions or how we love or who we love if our intent is pure. I believe that Uncompliant have pure intentions and I believe they have a good road ahead of them. Their name suits them; they are not going to comply with the tough guy metal image that blocks out emotion that scorns love and that is so self-reliant as to be an iceberg. Uncompliant are dark and introspective but caring and insightful and I expect great things from them. -Heather Dawson
William Von Hofsten: Vocals
Henrik Exel: Guitar
Zachary Richard: Guitar
Tanner Kahn: Bass
Max Codoceo: Drums
[Max Codoceo has since left the band due to personal issues. -DW]
[Max Codoceo has since left the band due to personal issues. -DW]