Chapter 16: Donna – A Love Story

Donna closes the loop. It is my most personal song on After Vengeance. A song that very nearly uprooted an already rootless man. Musically, I’d never done anything like this: an electronic rock anthem that pushes and pushes and doesn’t relent. Lyrically, it’s about the loss of love that was never yours to begin with. About my own mistakes. My pain, anger and denial. Almost all the songs thus far were recorded in one take: digital technology makes it too easy to end up with infinite possibilities. I wanted to get them right, with the right emotions, and if I didn’t exactly put Freddie Mercury to shame that was fine. I sang with feeling.

The greatest: Mercury.

On Donna, there was so much feeling that I would break down when singing the chorus. So I had to keep going until I couldn’t cry anymore. “You didn’t love me then. You never loved me at all”. Denial yes? And then bargaining and remorse. “Angel, oh my angel, I never meant to hurt you”.

I had crossed oceans to find her. How could I have been such a fool to lose her…

By the way, the “stages of grief” theory is complete shiite, and it’s about time pop culture and ‘pop’ psychology stop birthing these incestuous ‘theories’. The author herself has said she was basically making it up as she went along. I know I went through about at least a dozen stages of grief including several not on the ‘official list’: hysterical laughter, intense brooding, jumping rope, eating spicy Cheetos, and bingeing on old Craig Ferguson videos. Sometimes all at the same time.

The city felt empty without her. All roads reminded me of her. It was time to leave this place. Washington on the left, with Virginia on the right, and the Potomac river in between.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if her name was Donna, it wasn’t. I would never do that to her. She was my all the things. One of the stranger things about this exceedingly strange record was that Donna was actually conceived and named before I had even met my sweet girl. Little did I know what that song, and that name, would come to signify.

Love. Life. Loss. Irony. Redemption?

Goodbye. Perhaps some day, in another lifetime, we will meet again. I will wait.

Next: Acknowledgements