Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Black Queen) will be releasing his first book, “Separate The Dawn,” on February 12 via Federal Prisoner. The 226 page book will feature a collection of poetry, photography, etc. that was written and taken during The Dillinger Escape Plan’s final year and a half. A limited edition hardcover version can be pre-ordered HERE.
“This is the heaviest and most brutal, but ultimately positive and necessary piece, in a series of thematically connected output for me, during what I now see as a long transitional arc, of realization, processing, shedding, accepting, and then finally coming out of the other side into a different place. A walk through a broken mirror.
Chronologically this goes after ‘Dissociation,’ and before ‘Infinite Games.’ It’s also a surprising and welcome reconnection with a medium that was my first creative love, even before music, and an equally surprising fascination with a new one.
I guess it’s essentially my first (and maybe only) solo release. Thanks to everyone who picks this up, for continuing to encourage me to keep creating with zero regard for parameters of gene or medium. Also, Lebron James is not greater than Michael Jordan.”
He also discussed the book further with Revolver and said he originally had no intentions of releasing a book and that he was thinking of using the title for a “violent solo album.” He added:
“…Thematically, this goes in between the Dillinger record and Black Queen, which sounds insane, but I really do care that this chronology is in place. The one thing I don’t want, is for people to read this and think this is me currently, because that time period was so intense.
There’s a lot of stuff in there that I read now and think, “Good God, man.” It sounds fucking suicidal. I don’t people to think, “Greg‘s gonna jump off a bridge” anytime soon. At the time, I was going through a lot of panic attacks and things from my subconscious that were repressed, childhood type things, were starting to come out. I just needed a release.”
He also talked about the state of his mind while writing the book:
“The end of Dillinger was this black hole that I didn’t know what was going to be on the other side of, and that causes a lot of anxiety. Especially as a singer, a lot of your identity is as the mascot of this band. That fuses to your identity. So when you’re marching to the unknown and know “this is going to dissolve,” you start to realize how much of yourself has fused with that and become the sort of bundle over the last 17 years.
Then you’re like, “Well, what happened to the person before this is what happened and do I have enough of another person outside of this to withstand losing this massive identity?” The singer gets it the worst because they’re the face of the band.
I think that it was a combination of a lot of other things that were happening behind the scenes that were causing me to kind of reevaluate my whole idea of what I thought caused my trajectory in life. Just a lot of shit was happening that was pinpointing me having a lot of anxiety and pretty much endless panic attacks.
The bus accident came at the height of that. When I was already at my worst, like, I was already in really bad shape on that particular tour and I was not in a good place … The bus accident came when I was in the peak of not being in a good place, and it just wrecked me beyond what normally would wreck someone if they were asleep and got hit by a fucking tractor trailer. [Laughs] Which is bad enough.
When you’re having panic attacks a lot, it’s coming out of nowhere and part of what you’re doing is trying to figure out where it’s all coming from, but it’s still hitting you from out of nowhere. You’re in this feeling at all times that you’re not safe. You’re getting blindsided by this energy torpedo.
The bus accident was kind of a physical torpedo that happened while I was already feeling that way, and it just made my whole life feel surreal in a way that I was not used to. And not surreal in a good way, like, “I can’t believe this is happening — the band is kicking ass and this is crazy!” or “I can’t believe we’re on tour with this band!” Those surrealities are positive, but this was like when you’re in a dream with this person you love and that person fucking turns into a monster and blows apart, then all of the sudden it’s horrifying? That’s where I felt at all times.
After that, there were a lot of things that just got worse. I came home and ended up getting on all these anti-anxiety medications and became addicted to them, then I withdrew from them, and it was just getting worse and worse and worse. A lot of when I read this [book], a lot is just like, “Fuck, man.” What a weird place I was in, and like I said, I don’t feel like that at all now.
The title even, before I knew what it was going to mean, now it means something different to me. If you can separate the dawn, literally, and draw a line in the sand between dark and light, or the beginning of a positive time period from the dark night of the soul.
[The title] just came out of me. Now I’m like, “Oh wow, that works out sometimes,” you know, like with ‘Dissociation‘, it was the same way. It didn’t start as Dillinger breaking up, but then we made it and suddenly Dillinger‘s breaking up, so suddenly the title makes a lot more sense. It’s really serendipitous things that I guess kind of make me feel like I’m tapped into what I need to be tapped into.”
He also opened up about the “self-medication” that he was using to face his demons:
“In the past there were things that I really enjoyed that were probably not healthy for me that I dove into wholeheartedly as anything else. There was a period of time where I was really alarmingly self-destructive. I was just like, “Whatever, fuck it. Who cares? I can withstand anything. I don’t give a shit.”
And I didn’t think about why I was doing it. I thought about the fact that I enjoyed doing it. The more reckless I was offstage, the more genuinely reckless I felt onstage. Then obviously with Dillinger, you get rewarded for that, but I had a hard time turning it off.
It wasn’t a performance for me, and it wasn’t something I knew how to turn off. It wasn’t like, “I have this part of me that I need to access and I can safely express it onstage and then I’m going to turn it off.” I would just keep going. And you gravitate toward people who enable that — you start developing a lot of friends who are into that, and the next thing you know you’re doing drugs and drinking and partying and fucking, you know, being out of control but not noticing the signs around you that it might not be healthy.
You’re not noticing the signs around you that it might not be healthy, and you’re not believing that there’s going to be any consequence to it. Whether it’s in your life emotionally or through your neurotransmitters or anything like that … Now that I’ve been through it, I understand that there’s a consequence to these kinds of things just like there’s a consequence to anything.
So what I was using this for, because I had all of this anxiety at the time and I hadn’t been to — and I hate talking about therapy — I hadn’t been to any therapy. I hadn’t had any sort of intense self-realizations yet regarding my life. I was just living like a fucking animal. All id, all instinct. I had a romanticization of that, like I thought it was just part of being an artist and I just believed that I didn’t have to give a shit about motive.
I was using drugs and alcohol and sex as basically anxiety release and self-medication without really knowing it. There were multiple times where I was pretty close to, uh … I had a few, like, overdoses. Whatever. I’ll say what they are. That’s when it first started becoming a lot. There were alarming signs and I was like, “Oh shit.” I’m suddenly aware that I’m mortal and something can go wrong.
But when that’s not happening, you’re in such a state of fucking bliss, and you’re in a state of relief from these things that are bothering you or driving you that you don’t care. You’re just fucking lying on the floor, blissed the fuck out, and you might actually be fucking close to death. You’re with someone or other people that equally as fucked up and you all look like fucking cartoons or zombies at this point, and you don’t even know.”