// The World of Statts

The following was written for the Friends of Statts brochure 2013. I thought it should be posted here for various reasons.


Life has a way of happening whether we want it to or not. It doesn’t care if we are ready for changes. Things are thrown at us constantly and indiscriminately. It is mysterious, uncompromising, and sometimes cruel. It can also be joyous, insightful, inspiring, and wonderful. No matter what, it goes on; sometimes for the better and, often, for the worse. No matter, we are expected to move along with it. Some believe things happen for a reason. I, myself, fit into this category. I was shot in the neck at point-blank range five years ago and it changed… well, everything.

As a result of the shooting I was paralyzed from the chest down. I’ve been confined to a wheelchair since. At this point I have all but forgotten how it felt to walk, or run; to crawl into my bed at night, or to get up in the morning. I now do those last two tasks with assistance. I now do a lot of tasks with assistance. At first, having to rely on others so much really got to me. Time has changed a lot of that for me. Now I am thankful to have caregivers who treat me as though we are family. I love them and they love me. They serve as much more than my helpers. They are my therapists, confidants, and, most importantly, my friends. Without them I would be lost.

Being dependent on others for so much has definitely humbled me. I consider myself to be extremely lucky in having such a great support support system. My family and friends, including my caregivers, mean the world to me. Some in my situation are not so lucky. Not a day passes that I don’t think about the good in people around me. I truly have the best friends on the planet. How many people can say they have a fan club? The amazing “Friends of Statts” continually amaze me with planning events designed specifically to help raise funds to keep me living a decent life. Quadriplegia isn’t cheap. Sure, it sounds like fun to roll around in a fancy motorized chair all day every day, but it is not all fun and games, believe me. I can’t say for sure that I would trade everything for a working pair of legs. What I have learned, and, more importantly, what I have gained in the last five years is priceless to me. I have seen the best in people. I feel extremely lucky for that reason alone.

The past two years have been particularly challenging, though amazingly rewarding at the same time. I have been bed-ridden for the better part of those two years. That, in itself, is enough to drive a normal person crazy. I resolved to not let it happen to me. My writing has gone from personally blogging to publicly reviewing records for a few online outlets. It has really kept my mind moving in the right direction. The thing that really got that ball rolling was that Decibel magazine allowed me to tell my story to their readers. Things kind of took off after that story appeared on their blog in late January of this year. Since then I have written over 40 reviews, and have done a couple of interviews of some amazing bands. Music has been good to me. It has always been a passion of mine, and I could not be happier than I am these days. Though I do miss playing in bands, being able to write about it keeps me connected.

Art is also very important to me. I am still drawing a bit every day and feel am getting better and better, developing a style. My goal is to eventually get limited edition prints made, sell them online, and possibly show them in gallery settings. Time will tell. Hopefully it will go as planned. After all, things do happen for a reason. For better or for worse. I accept things either way.

Life has a tendency to throw us curve balls. There’s not much we can do about it, but we can make the most of it. That is all I hope to do. That is all any of us can hope for in the long run.

Thank you and take care.

August, 2013


Donations can be made to stattshimself@gmail.com via PayPal, or by sending checks/money orders to: The Jason Statts Assistance Account, P.O. Box 801578, Acworth, GA 30101.

// Future & Present

On Jason Molina and his untimely death…

He was 39. That’s my age now. He died of alcoholism. I used to drink a bit. Had I not been shot, I’d still be drinking. I know I have an addictive personality. My biological father died an alcoholic. I could have easily gone in the same direction, but I realized what I was doing and stopped doing it. I have many friends who I worry about. A lot are my age or even younger. We are not immortal. We’ll all be dust one of these days. Hopefully not for a while. To all my friends and loved ones: think about your future… if you want one, think about your present. You are in control of both.


// First Assignments

I received assignments to write about heavy/aggressive/extreme music this week. I’ll be doing album reviews for About.com Heavy Metal, as well as a bi-monthly column for Portugal’s largest metal magazine, LOUD! To say that I am excited would be a major understatement. Both opportunities are a direct result of the story I wrote for Decibel Magazine’s blog—the Deciblog—this past January.

I have published music reviews in the past, but never on the scale of these two major outlets. I would like to publicly thank José Carlos Santos (LOUD!) and Chad Bowar (About.com Heavy Metal) for giving me a chance to write for a much wider, larger, and international audience. Much respect. I am both humbled and honored. I’ll be joining the ranks of some great writers.

Sometimes it pays to be a total geek about something. That “something” for me is music.

I can’t wait to get started.


// Fallen Idiot & Dumb Buddy

Last week—Thursday to be exact—I attended a show at my favorite bar/venue, The Jinx. My former band, Conquer/Devour, was on the bill, along with Burnt Books and Whores. It was quite a show. All three bands sounded pretty great. Whores absolutely killed it. I’m glad I finally saw them live. If you get a chance to see them, do it. You won’t regret it.

Conquer/Devour features Athon from Black Tusk, David Williams (who got hit by the same bullet that put me in a chair), John Collenberger (my roommate), and Wes Davis (amp tech/guitarist). A very promising young band (in band years. Old bastards IRL).

After chatting with a few friends at the end of the night, John and I started making our way back to my van. It was early in the morning. 3 a.m. We happened to be walking parallel with two highly inebriated young men. They were a bit ahead of us. It didn’t take long for us to catch up to their slow, wobbling pace. One guy lost his footing (tripped himself) and fell all over my legs, almost hitting the ground (my legs broke his fall). And that is when things got interesting.

“There’s traffic on the sidewalk,” I said in a polite manner.

It took a moment for the guy to register the fact that I was in a wheelchair.

“Well, just keep on rolling your roll!,” he responded, drunkenly and with attitude.

I was sober, but tired and a little agitated.

“I will keep rolling my roll, motherfucker.” I said pretty matter-of-factly.

Hearing that, his dumb buddy chimed in with a high-pitched, girly laugh. I mocked him immediately, turned my chair around to look at his face. They both stopped dead in their tracks. My mocking laugh still mockingly laughing.

“You know, I can still kick your ass from this chair.” I said flatly.

Dumbfounded silence.

John looked at me, thinking I was going to get him hit in the face. The two drunks looked at me like I was nuts, thinking they were going to get hit in the face. I turned and started moving forward. I made it a few feet and heard the guys still talking shit. I turned back again.

Me: “Okay, let’s do this.”
Fallen Idiot: “Hrmfduh.”
Dumb Buddy: “Let’s do this?” Girl-squeak.
John: …

I take my hand out of my pocket.

Me: “Sure.”

Fallen Idiot is walking toward me at this point. Walks past, sits on a ledge by a window, flips his phone open as if he is answering a call. His phone did not ring or ding.

Dumb Buddy: “Maaaaaan… he’s just drunk.”
Me: “Yeah, and what’s your excuse?”
Fallen Idiot: …
John: …
Dumb Buddy: …
Me: “You guys have a good night. Hope you don’t get pulled over.”

John and I turned again. This time we made it to the van. I don’t know where the two guys went. After all this fun, the van was dead. Called Wes. He ran down the block, literally. We eventually got the van started and made it home. John was happy he didn’t have to hit anyone (or get hit himself). I was happy those two guys thought I was a freaking maniac. My apologies, John.

When life hands you lemons…

… make them feel like complete assholes.


// Decibel Magazine

In my last post I talked about having a dream of writing for Decibel magazine, a great publication covering most everything heavy in the music realm. I got a gig with the help of some friends. My story went live on the Deciblog yesterday at 3 p.m. I wanted to link to the story here. Please check it out:

Strength Beyond Strength

So many thanks to Decibel, and especially to Justin Norton, who helped get this thing going.

Follow Decibel on Twitter.
Like Decibel on Facebook.

I hope this article helps people out.


// A Dream Come True

About two months ago I posted something on my Facebook wall, as I do quite often. It was a simple statement: “I want to write for Decibel Magazine.” I didn’t expect much after I had written the sentence. It was a pipe dream, after all. A friend put in a good word for me, and sent in a link to my own blog. A day later I received an e-mail from one of Decibel’s editors. He invited me to write a piece for the magazine’s blog (the Deciblog). I’d get 2,000 words to tell my story of survival and how music—namely metal—helped in my recovery. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

I started writing that very same day. Before I knew it I had written almost 1,000 words. At that point I thought I needed to outline a bit. So I did. It helped immensely and I was able to finish pretty quickly afterward. Nervously, I sent it to my contact.

News came back fast. Everyone had loved it. I only had a few changes to make and a couple of questions to answer. They were satisfied. I was over the moon.

The piece, titled Strength Beyond Strength: The Jason Statts Story (not my title), should go live on the Deciblog January 30.

Dreams do come true; even pipe dreams.


// Recent Madness

The following is something I wrote in response to our current state of crazy. I encourage anyone who might have mental issues to seek help. Read on.

“(Person), thanks for thinking of me as eloquent in any way. I appreciate that.

I do not mean to put you, or Morgan Freeman, down. I was fed up with much more than people sharing Mr. Freeman’s quote. I didn’t mean to offend. He said something that should be on our minds all the time. It’s not news to me. That’s the reason these kinds of things happen. It’s us. All of us. We’ve all grown more and more apathetic and desensitized to pretty much everything that once caused us—at least some of us—to cringe. I didn’t want to talk about CT for the simple fact that it has been talked about. It’s done. Kids are dead. Teachers are dead. It is horrible. We should talk about ways to fix broken people and a broken system. I was shot and paralyzed by a gun. A gun held by a disturbed and misguided kid. The gun didn’t shoot me. The young man did. Crazy is crazy, and it begins at birth. It can be inherited. Or it can be beaten, or raped, or mentally driven into a person. There’s usually a sign and it can be dealt with. Some people just need help.

Anyway, this is more than I was going to write. It is a general thing, too. Please don’t think it is aimed at you, (Person). Thanks for your response. Appreciate it.”


// In Dreams

In my dreams I am usually flying – or floating – above the earth. I use my arms as wings and fly over familiar streets, buildings, cities and oceans. I see people I know, wave and continue on. It might sound dumb, but that’s how I get around in the nighttime world since my injury. Last night was different, however. Last night I walked for the first time in four years. It was nice.

In my dreams I am usually alone. People do pop up here and there, but I don’t interact with them, let alone have conversations with them. Last night I was visited by my ex-wife, Lyra. She walked with me. We ran along a sidewalk downtown, laughing and being goofy. I remember it being sunny and bright. I remember not giving a shit what people thought of us. It was over as quickly as it started.

I woke up smiling.

Lyra and I are still very close. I told her about the dream in a text. She was touched. We sent smileys to one another. I told her if I could walk, I most likely would run to her just to show her I could.

“Don’t make me cry at work,” she wrote.

“Didn’t mean to,” I responded.

I smiled again. A wide, sideways smile.


// A Query

In the end time, just before your eyes must close, pinching off the last bit of life – living, breathing, colorful life – and the scene fades to pitch, would you be satisfied with what you had given to the world?


// Officially Free From Tobacco Addiction

It has been long enough now that I feel I can share this info with the world. It has been one full month since my last cigarette. I wanted to quit for a while, but would always find some kind of excuse to keep doing it. The fact is, I really liked to smoke. Yes, it stinks, it makes the smoker stink, it’s bad for your body, and is all-around no good. But I liked it. A lot.

There are many reasons why I made the decision to quit. The one huge reason was that my house was beginning to smell like a bar. I had never smoked in the house prior to this year. It all started when I came home from the hospital. I had no way to go outside to smoke, so I just did it in the bed. I know, bad idea. I’m full of them. Flash-forward about nine months and yes, stinky house. That had to end.

My method: cold turkey with a side of e-cigarette (for about two weeks).

It has only been one month, but I already feel the benefits of not smoking cigarettes. I do have a little more of an appetite now, but that might not be a bad thing. I probably do need to eat a little more. My roommate keeps me stocked up on Snickers and Twizzlers. He’s a good man.

I’m on my way and my breath doesn’t stink. Good start.