Singled Out: A Clever Con
It's not every day that you hear that a drug addiction saved the future of a rock band…. Usually it's the other way around, but for the boys in A Clever Con, it's a story that they tell in their music, shows and their history as a band. Their song, "Heroin(e)" retells the events and emotions that occurred when singer Mike Dietz was in a serious relationship with a struggling heroin addict, one who also suffered from bipolar disorder.
It started off as your typical "boy-meets-girl" love story, but shortly into the relationship Mike learned of her addiction. He was faced with an internal decision – leave her or try and save her. He made the choice to stay with her as she swore that she would kick her addiction and give up the drugs for him and their relationship. Meanwhile, A Clever Con was at a crossroads. After their debut performance, their bass player and drummer left the band without warning or provocation. Mike and guitarist Ryan Marsa were without a rhythm section after a year of hard work and writing. They were back at the drawing board staring a bleak and uncertain musical future.
Things seem to be going on track for Mike and his girlfriend. That is, until she attended a funeral for Mike's family member high. It caused extreme outrage in his family leading them to give him an ultimatum - ditch her or leave home. He held onto the hope that he could save her and decided to move in with her where he could monitor her actions more closely. This proved not to be an easy task. He attended rehab meetings with her (and fellow drug addicts) and helped her along through seemingly endless nights of withdrawal symptoms. Her psychological disorder took effect too, causing violent outbursts and personality shifts. Mike tried only in vain to rid her of her addiction and sickness. He'd catch her in public high or sneaking out of their apartment in the middle of the night to shoot up.
In amidst of all of this, they recruited bassist Bobby Certo, but without a permanent drummer, A Clever Con's progress was still stagnant and frustrating. With little accomplished but a few demo recordings, the band was close to breaking up. Everything seemed to be falling apart around Mike. He was being pulled at all ends from his relationship and after months of trying, the strain it put on him forced him to end it.
"The relationship was like one big battle against drug addiction. Unfortunately, addiction won. The thing is that, as much as you want to help someone, they need to want to help themselves first. It's a hard lesson to be learned," says Mike on his experience.
Marsa recalls the events too, "I know that Mike saw the situation as life or death. He loved her so much and didn't want to see her succumb to her vices. Mike and I spent a lot of time together, so I witnessed a lot of the hell that she put him through… I really don't know how he did it. Mike's got the patience of a saint. After the break up, I remember spending nights in that run-down apartment that he shared with her. The lease was up and he was ready to move out, so we'd just hang out in this empty apartment drinking beer and writing songs on pizza boxes."
It was in that time that much the material from their debut release, The Robot EP came to life. Mike used A Clever Con to vent and tell his story, inspiring songs like "Heroin(e)", "Little Miss Bombshell" and more.
"The funny thing is that, with all the fighting, drama, and heartache, the experience became the saving grace of A Clever Con. Midway into their relationship we were going to breakup, but in aftermath, it provided us with a new source of inspiration and motivation to resuscitate the band. We picked up TJ on drums, started playing shows again and set the course to where we are today. That's why we spell it "Heroin(e)", because in a way, she was our hero.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself on AOL Radio's New Alternative First Station, or grab tour dates and learn more about the EP, and stream the song right here!