Tag Archives: mildly medicated

Mildly Medicated: Wall Street, Parkinson’s Disease and the Music at the Root of it All

Michael Basile is the manager and the “man behind the scenes” of the modern rock bandScreen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.40.37 PM
Mildly Medicated”, a group of very talented young people all sharing the bond of a medical disability. In his old life he was in investment banking on Wall Street until the world changed forever in 2008 and he re-invented himself as the owner of a school that teaches rock and roll music to budding musician’s. He is the modern day Rubin Kincaid to Mildly Medicated, producing their music, booking shows, and of course paying all the bills, which over the last 4 years have amount to around 150K. A diagnosis he wasn’t expecting changed his perspective on life and the work he is doing.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.
If someone told me I’d be in this position 20 years ago, I’d have said they were nuts. I thought I had cut a deal with the universe that I’d be the modern day Peter Pan. I surely felt invincible at the time. But as I’ve learned, life provides no guarantees, and sometimes you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt. Just to give you some background, I came from a lower middle class family in Brooklyn and an only child because my father really didn’t like children. When I asked him why he even had me, his reply was straightforward and honest, “That was your mother’s idea”, and then he resumed reading the morning addition of the New York Times. My father never quite understood me. When I was in art school pursuing a degree in film, he handed me a copy of the entrance exam to the postal service. In is brute honesty, he proclaimed, “Let’s face it Michael, you’re not capable of anything more complicated than that. Look on the bright side, you put 3 or 4 years in the sorting room and maybe they will promote you and let you sell stamps behind the window. At least you’d have the honor of handling money which is a great responsibility, and after 30 years there will be some sort of pension.” It’s fair to say my father and I did not see eye to eye on most topics. At best he tolerated me. In the late sixties and early 1970’s, dyslexia wasn’t really understood, or even recognized. In the third grade I was labeled “stupid” and a “daydreamer”. I think that was hard for a parent to deal with. Truth be told, I’m far from stupid. I’ve been label a savant, but honestly I think I’m more idiot than savant, but that is a story for another time. In the fourth grade I realized on my own that I had a very strange ability to memorize things, even things I didn’t study. If I saw it sometimes it stuck in great Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.41.34 PMdetail, like the electrical schematic of a microwave oven. I wasn’t even conscious of doing it. My best friend Kim from the old neighborhood will sometimes call me and ask “What’s my password for my online checking account?” and I’ll know it. Yes, I’m weird. During the summer between the 3rd and 4th grade, I realized that I had the ability to “Pattern read” so I memorized the entire pattern of words. To make this easy to understand, I memorized shapes. A lot of them. For me “eht” and “the” is the same word. This ability allows me to read very fast. My friend gave me his discarded copies of Popular Mechanics and I found a partial set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in a garbage can. I spent my summer reading them all and memorizing. By the end of the summer I was able to read with blinding speed, because I could read an entire word at a time, forward and backwards, and just to keep myself from getting bored, I tried to read as much as I could while holding the book upside down because the pattern of words would change. I was devoid of the concept that I was different. I actually thought everyone was like me because no one bothered to tell me I was different, just that I was born stupid. When the fourth grade rolled around, we had our bi-yearly standard testing, and my reading level was off the charts. I was many years ahead of everyone, and the school and my parents accused me of cheating. They tested me again, all alone to be sure I had no help, and I scored even higher. The school was forced to put me in the IGC class, which stood “Intellectually Gifted Children”. I hated it because I just didn’t learn that way, and I was bored. To spare you reading more of this, let’s fast forward to High School, that I completed in 3 and a half years, excelling at things that involve abstract thinking, like music and art. I can play multiple instruments, all self-taught because my parents had no money, and those skills were not really valued at home. When I applied to art school in NYC, my father went ballistic. He was right. When I got out, I could barely make a living. I was literally starving. Things needed to change. Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: HGH Therapy, Music and the Metamorphosis

Rocky Basile is the compact drumming dynamo behind the sound the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues. It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

Labels – Sometimes the packaging hides what’s really within

I’ve been called them all, midget, dwarf, shrimp, shorty, just to name a few. When a girl Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.34.46 PMwrites in your middle school yearbook “Rocky, you’re my favorite midget in the whole world” it’s hard to find the compliment in that statement. By then I was already one of the best drummers my age in the state of NJ, but that didn’t seem to matter much to people my age. I think that’s one of the things that drew me to drums, other than the fact that I sucked at everything else, was that I sounded big. I mean you could barely see be behind the kit, but there was no question I was there when I stated to play. My beats were loud, angry, attacking, and complex; all the things I wasn’t in physical form.

You see, at age 12 I was diagnosed with a non-functioning pituitary gland, which just happens to be the gland that produces human growth hormone when you sleep. My growth velocity was measured as zero. I was destined to be a little person. Other than being able to park in the handicapped zone, I wasn’t really happy with the prospects of being 4’2″.

My parents gave me two options, one being to break my legs and transplant bone grafts into the gap and put rods through my legs to hold everything in place, or lobby our insurance company for legal human growth hormone, which costs around $5,000 a month. I opted for hormone therapy, and thus we embarked on a two year battle with our health insurance company to get them to pay for it. Their position was I was not sick. Our position was that we wanted them to look at the situation holistically and treat the entire patient, not just an affected area. I would be a happier and healthier person if I was able to grow to a normal height. During this two year battle with them, my internal clock was ticking, and my growth plates would eventually lock up, and no hormone would ever make a difference. I became depressed hearing my father constantly fighting with the insurance company, while trying to hide the pain of labels and the natural abuse you get in school by being the “favorite midget” .

The recluse

Even though we finally won the battle over the insurance company and I was taking daily injections into the flank of my stomach, I threw myself in my music because I could feel the Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.34.59 PMdepression and the anger start to build. School was still problematic, and I had not yet found my voice. My body was changing, some of it for the better, but some not. It’s a funny thing about human growth hormone, it makes everything grow, even the bad stuff inside you. And for me, the bad stuff wanted to make itself known. I developed tumors in my wrists and ankles, which is not great if you’re a drummer, causing me to have multiple surgical procedures. I had just started playing with my band Mildly Medicated, I had just starting feeling like I was accepted and surrounded by people who understood me, and now my drumming career could potentially be over. Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: How Type 1 Diabetes and Music Made a Family

By Steve Freed of Mildly Medicated

Steve Freed is the 2nd lead Guitarist of the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues.  It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

It’s not easy not knowing what is wrong

It all started so normally. I grew up happily in the bucolic and sleepy town of Colts Neck NJ, content to play video games and watch movies on TV. My parents were wonderful and I got Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 11.58.00 AMalong ok with my older sister. I was generally a quiet kid and blended in well, sometimes into the back ground, of school. Then things started to change. I became bloated and a little over weight. I started to not feel right. One day at school I passed out and it prompted my parents to get me tested of an assortment of things. When the results came back, it was determined that I had Type 1 Diabetes. I was dumbfounded. Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: ADD, Normalcy and Finding Acceptance in Music

Pay Attention!

If there were two words that I could have stricken from the English language growing up, it would have been those two. You would think that hearing them countless thousands of times you’d become desensitized, but you don’t, or at least I didn’t. People with ADD, which is very different from ADHD will know what I’m talking about. It has nothing to do with being smart or mental capacity, it’s just that your brain has its own set of commands and protocols that it intends to follow, and getting it to do something completely different and focusing just goes against the grain. In fact, it really wants to do something completely different most of the time, regardless of how much I want it to do what everyone else is doing. It’s not a question of desire; it’s a question of a biological constraint. The sooner you learn to work within that constraint, the easier things become.

There are a lot of very good people who I know I frustrated early on, my mother is one, and this woman has the patience of a saint. She was raising 3 boys on her own, and I’m sure I didn’t make the task any easier for her. My family, my teachers, all people who had the best intentions of trying to help me, sometimes made matters worse. I learn at my own pace. Sometimes that can be slower than normal, and sometimes faster. It depends on the protocol. Thankfully I was able to find a connection with music. Listening to it, understanding it on an intimate level, and being able to play it was somehow within my ADD brain wiring protocol. I must admit that in the beginning I was not very good, but I found out early that my condition seemed to exclude music while my brain usually bounced around from subject to subject, or topic to topic. I realized I was actually able to practice for very long periods of time and get things accomplished. Through music, I was able to be recognized as more normal, or should I say “more acceptable”. I dove into it with everything I had. I knew that in some way, it would be my salvation. Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: Musicians Find Hope and Possibility After Diagnosis

By Jenna Basile of Mildly Medicated

Jenna Basile is the Bassist of the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues.  It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

I’m going to start this story backwards.  I can assure you it ends well, and I have found peace, love, and acceptance. I have forged a family out of people who were once strangers, I have found my passion, my defining life force, my balance. The road to all this enlightenment and nirvana was not exactly an easy one to walk as there were many obstacles in my way and many forks where decisions had to be made. Let’s back uScreen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.22.08 AMp a little a put ourselves about 4 years ago. I was a young female going through my really awkward stage. I wasn’t hideous, but I wasn’t the belle of the ball either. I did not hang with the “popular kids” and my father spent long hours as an investment banker in NYC, and sometimes left to live in foreign lands for weeks or months. I took solace in playing music. My older brother was already an accomplished drummer, and it looked like he was having fun, so I decide to follow him and began studying piano. After almost two years, I was pretty decent, although if I was honest with you I don’t think I was truly passionate about the instrument, but I did enjoy the accolades. One night while practicing, I noticed that I was unable to strike the keys with precision. As I continued, I realized that I was losing control of my body as a whole; the movements that were happening were not of my own design. I freaked out and had to be taken to the emergency room. I remember when the doctor walked in after I had taken a battery of tests. Just the look on his face told me that my world was about to change. Continue reading

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