The band has been active in giving back. They've made comments against bullying. They've also helped about supporting people with mental health and addiction issues. They've spoken in support of LGBT+ people including releasing a new song through an activist support group. Justin, especially, has spoken about his experiences with addiction and mental health. As their sound has changed, MCS has kept their connection to the fans. I can't express how inspiring it is to hear and see people consistently and whole heartedly speak out and support young people.
Recently, Justin was on a panel. About music, creativity, and mental health. It also includes song performances from each of the speakers! Go watch the thing!
The whole panel is quite good, but if you don't have time for the whole thing I pulled out a few quotes that really spoke to me.
Well it's interesting because in the recovery process there is a sense of kind of elation and excitement that happens once you identify, or you're willing to admit, I have a problem. Oh this is going to be easy. Now I stopped. I took alcohol out of the picture. I took drugs out of the picture. But then what you realize, when you were using drugs and alcohol you were actually escaping from real sort of emotional issues in your life. [...] So what happens is: Once you get those things out of your system, you have to really dig down. (Adam Levy, At this time 6:44)
Here is the cut to the sweet darling speaking about his experience! A little earlier he plays with Andy Bothwell of Astronautalis.
Oh yeah. I should go to the place that scares. And that was the first time that I ever made a decision that went against everything I wanted to do. And it was the first time that I ever attacked it. And I don't know where it came from. [..] It's been doing the hard thing over and over. (Justin, at this time 40:09)
I was sober in terms of not using. But I was fighting everything. I don't know how to go into detail, it was like this constant fist clenching and teeth clenching way of getting through life. (Justin, at this time 41:09)
Then he played a song "Everything that Hurts" written for the group "Everyone is gay" I promise I didn't cry.
I can promise I laughed when they all, in synch, said that NO you don't need to be unwell or in pain to produce good art or be a productive creative.
It's romantic and it is a great story. But it's no way to live your life. (Caroline Smith)
Learning to change - so deep. And the idea that Andy spoke about, that this is a constant struggle and that there is no fix.
I think maybe I'll come back to this in a little while and write how these quotes affected me or link them to my own struggles and development. I think that hearing all of these diverse perspectives in one place and in conversation with each other is really useful and constructive.