Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

(Left to Right) Alanis Morissette, Halsey and Shirley Manson of Garbage performing at the 9th annual … [+] “We Can Survive” fundraiser on October 22 at the Hollywood Bowl.
The power of music could not have been any more evident than during this past Saturday, as some of the biggest names in entertainment spanning over three decades showed up in support of the 9th annual Audacy “We Can Survive” evening at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Headlining artists Alanis Morissette, Halsey, Garbage, OneRepublic, Weezer and Tate McRae took the stage to perform their many chart-topping hits in front of a large crowd of music-loving fans. With mental health as the leading topic and the driving force, the benefit raised over $750,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Founded in 1987 and currently the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, I asked AFSP Chief Executive Officer Robert Gebbia what it means to him and his team to have a platform like “We Can Survive” being embraced by the public in 2022. “I can tell you, we were founded by some researchers out of New York who wanted to do more research into suicide,” Gebbia continues. “Some families that lost loved ones in New York 35 years ago that were brave enough to say ‘We have to do more.’ They couldn’t of imagined this event because no one would talk about [suicide] 35 years ago.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Alanis Morissette performs onstage during Audacy’s 9th annual … [+] We Can Survive at Hollywood Bowl on October 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Audacy)
I followed up by asking Gebbia what is the greatest significance and impact in having these popular music artists supporting AFSP’s ongoing mission. “It means the world to us because what happens is people listen to people they follow, whether it’s entertainers, sports figures – and when they say ‘I’ve struggled and I got help. It’s okay.’ It’s a message that gets through, better than we can do it. Music is a big part of this.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Halsey attends Audacy’s 9th annual We Can Survive at Hollywood … [+] Bowl on October 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Audacy)
Shirley Manson, lead singer of the 90s rock band Garbage and a longtime advocate for addressing mental health concerns, spoke openly with me about her own struggles. “I’m a fragile, messed up individual,” Manson reveals. “I haven’t functioned too well in society a lot of my life. I understand what it feels like to be dark. I understand what it feels like to suffer from depression and low self-esteem and these are things I’m well-versed in. I feel like in a funny way that we as a band have been a great vessel for expressing things that aren’t often voiced in our society.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Shirley Manson of Garbage performs onstage during Audacy’s 9th … [+] annual We Can Survive at Hollywood Bowl on October 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Audacy)
With hits songs like “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains” over the years, I asked Manson and her Garbage band members how they balance their many business commitments in the evolving music industry while still taking the time to care for their own mental health.
Manson laughs, “Well, that’s assuming we have balanced it.” Garbage drummer Butch Vig continues by saying, “We’re not that well-balanced. One of the important things with mental health is that when someone is spiraling down, it’s important to talk and get a dialogue going. One of the reasons we’re still together after almost 30 years is that we love each other, but we communicate and we talk and it’s not always easy. We get into arguments, but there’s a healthy aspect of that, that is good for us and nurtures us in a way. That’s what has kept us together as a band.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: (2nd from L) Susan Larkin, COO at Audacy with (L-R) Duke … [+] Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig attend Audacy’s 9th annual We Can Survive at Hollywood Bowl on October 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Audacy)
Susan Larkin, Chief Operating Officer at Audacy, a leading multi-platform for audio content, discussed with me the growing need to widen the support and mental health services available to the public today. “There is unfortunately a proliferation of folks that are dying by suicide and we’ve seen post-Covid that become really much bigger numbers,” Larkin continues. “So now, it’s really important, especially young people. Shirley Manson just spoke recently about that and about how important it is to get this message out. We’ve raised $1.5 million dollars over the last two years for AFSP and hopefully talk saves lives.”
Knowing that Manson continues to face her mental health matters head-on, I wondered what advice she might have for others that may find themselves quietly battling with their own inner-struggles and unsure of where they can turn for help.
“To call somebody is of primary importance,” Manson says. “Talk to your friend, talk to a lover, talk to your wife, husband, whatever, sister, talk to a stranger on a helpline. I think the problem with mental health is you can feel unbelievable despair. Then, if somebody is talking you through a couple of hours, all of a sudden, you get through 24 [hours] and things look a little different the following day. You can really get caught up in a pool of despair and I think that is the sort of catch that we all really should be advocating for, is that moment when you can scoop someone up and stop them from really going over the edge.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Butch Vig, Shirley Manson and Duke Erikson of Garbage perform … [+] onstage during Audacy’s 9th annual We Can Survive at Hollywood Bowl on October 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Audacy)
I wrapped up my conversation with Manson and Garbage by asking them what it means to them knowing that their songs over these nearly three decades continue to be a source of comfort for music listeners.
Manson responds, “I love it. It’s the best thing that we get to do as a band.” Vig concludes by saying, “We’ve had countless times where fans come up and say they were spiraling down or they had a problem in a relationship or work or whatever and they were hitting rock bottom and then a Garbage song or an album pulled them out of the abyss and back up into the light. That means a lot to us when we hear those kinds of stories.”

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