Garry George Wilkes

Featured Artist of July 18, 2019
with the song: Face in the Crowd

My story is a difficult one. At 18 years of age I saw Pink Floyd live in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. To put it mildly, I was completely blown away by how great they were live. I wanted to be like them, and I was especially inspired by Roger Waters' creative brilliance. But at the same time I was drinking beer every night at a high level. Although I wrote songs and recorded them whenever I could, underneath the self-medicating was a very fractured young soul. When I was very young I had endured several traumatic experiences dealing with the deaths of close family and friends. I saw some things no little boy should ever have to see. When I got my first job working in a funeral home at age 17, my mental state started to fray and I basically fell to the ground in pieces. I was so off-center that I could not memorize my songs, therefore when I would join or put together rock bands, I couldn't focus or play live. And the loud noise from the drums and the amplifiers shook my nervous system to the core. I would literally start shaking, and became very agitated. All I could do was compose music and record it, though the recording sessions were very loud and distressing. It wasn't until years later that I was diagnosed with multiple traumatic stress disorder. I was put on medications that basically saved my life. Also, at this time I was
married to my soulmate Suzanne, and we had two wonderful children, Katie and Andrew, who are now grown and have their own families. I function fairly normally today, although I still can't memorize my songs. I continue to write and record, but I still don't perform live. I would love to perform live, but it would be a huge challenge for me. So I feel lucky to be alive and to have a very close-knit, loving family around me.

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