Child Abuse Drummer Shares Tips That Helped Him Write His Memoir
For most people in the metal and hardcore scene, personal struggles remain on a sheet of lyrics or in a sequence of blast beats and riffs. Child Abuse drummer Oran Canfield, however, was able to document growing up, overcoming heroin addiction and all the adventures that happened in between.
His memoir is very different from your average rock star, ‘Behind the Music’ story. Yet, not even Lemmy can say he joined a circus, smoked pot in a cop car and dodged death as many times as Canfield did before his 14th birthday. Oh, and his dad, Jack Canfield, is responsible for the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ movement.
“I wrote the proposal in 2005, and it was released in 2009, but the actual book took me about two years to write,” Canfield told Noisecreep. The drummer says it took the band a year and a half to work on their latest release, ‘Cut and Run’. Their self-titled debut came out in 2007.
So while the band was busy playing shows with Genghis Tron, Pig Destroyer, the Locust, Made Out of Babies, Car Bomb and a million other underground bands, Canfield was re-sketching out his life. The book isn’t exactly in chronological order. The chapters alternate from baby Ory and unicycle-riding, ball juggling Oran to post-high school and drug-abusing Oran.
“The later chapters were probably the easiest for me to write about just because the experiences were fresher, and I had already done so much personal work about my drug use just to get clean. The harder parts for me were the childhood stories, mostly because I had pretty much severed all of my ties to the past, and was afraid of what I might find if I started digging around in there,” Canfield said.
The 336-page book was the first work Canfield professionally wrote. While two years may seem like a lot of time, it’s short in comparison to the the 30-plus years of personal history he needed to recollect.
“Managing my time when I’m not working for someone else is probably one of my biggest weaknesses. The fact that a lot of what I was writing about was not stuff I wanted to relive only made it harder. Often, when I ran out of other distractions, I would even do laundry and pay bills to avoid writing. When I was coming up on my first deadline, a friend told me, ‘If you wait until the last minute, then it only takes a minute.’ I don’t recommend it, but that is pretty much what I did,” Canfield said. He also shared with Noisecreep some big tips for first time writers.
He said, “The two big tricks I used were to tell myself that I was simply writing the story for my friend and that no one else would ever see it, because the idea of showing it to the world was totally paralyzing. And, since I didn’t know anything about writing, I just decided to use my own voice, the one I talk to my friends with. The story was already there, so once I was able to trick myself out of the overwhelming horror of telling my deepest secrets to the world, and the self consciousness of not knowing how to write, it simply became a matter of sitting down and doing it.”
Child Abuse plays Glasslands in Brooklyn on April 26. Their latest record ‘Cut and Run’ is out via Lovepump United on April 13.