Dana Key – Teenage Suicide
Dana Key from the Christian Rock band, DeGarmo and Key passed away recently. My prayers go out to his family and friends and the congregation he pastored. I wanted to share a little bit about what his music meant to me, especially the song, Teenage Suicide and his solo album, The Journey.
His band, DeGarmo and Key, was one of the bands I listened to a lot in my formative years when I was learning to love music and finding out what kind of music I loved. Their music captured the essence of everything that was good and bad about 80s music – and they did it with wonderful and thoughtful Christian lyrics!
They used some of the cheesiest synth sounds they could find on top of processed guitars. And they dressed the part too – check out some of their videos on YouTube like the one below to see what I mean. I had one of their concerts on video and you could tell how much they loved what they did and that they had a sense of humor about it as well. It was great to see a band that featured guitar and synthesizers equally – they were even both up front side by side on stage.
I looked for a video of the song Teenage Suicide – it was on the concert video that I had (on VHS of course, long before DVD’s). Unfortunately this was not on YouTube and I couldn’t find it anywhere else either. For a moment, I thought I would be able to contribute to the blatant disregarding of copyright law and post the concert video since on one else had. Alas, I threw away my last VCR a few weeks ago, so the concert tape will sit unwatched in my closet until my children throw it away after I die (they probably won’t even know what a VHS tape is). There is a posting of the song without a video on YouTube so if you’re not familiar with it, go listen to it real quick.
The song, Teenage Suicide, was on the D&K album (1987). It’s a nice piano ballad with some beautiful solo guitar playing. I was always impressed by the emotions in the singing and guitar playing. The lyrics are first person point of view with the singer voicing the thoughts of a teenager contemplating suicide. There are many other good songs addressing the issue of suicide but I don’t think any of them capture the gut wrenching emotions involved like this one. The first verse is:
I don’t wanna hurt nobody
It’s just that I know I’ve had enough
It’s too much pain and hatred
I think I’d rather be dead
Than live without mercy, hope, and love
So don’t come any closer, I really mean it
Yes, I know that you think I’ve lost my mind
My gun’s here and I’ll use it
This time I’m gonna really lose it
List it as a teenage suicide
The best part of the song, though, is the coda at the end. The point of view shifts from the teenager to the writer of the song. This is the line that sticks in my head.
It could’ve been me
I’ve been in the moonlight screaming
Not only did they write a song capturing the thoughts of a troubled teenager but then they step back and declare that they’ve been there too. A friend of mine in high school committed suicide and I had some hard times too and this song meant a lot to me at that time. It meant that I wasn’t alone and that maybe life would turn out to be ok after all. You can scream in the moonlight all you want but be sure to stick around and watch the sun rise.
I’ve rambled enough for today, I’ll have to write about Dana’s solo album, The Journey: Walking with Jesus another time. And if you haven’t heard it, go buy it or download it, but whatever you do, please pay for it – stealing is stealing whether it’s digital merchandise or physical merchandise.