Framing Hanley - Flight Risk (Demo)
First off, let me start by saying this is rough demo of a new song. It is in no way “finished” and will likely change from what you’re about to hear before it goes on a record. I just wanted to share this as we played this song live in Australia & I’d rather you be able to hear the recording as opposed to crap quality YouTube videos. Yesterday my dad would’ve turned 60 years old. First off, to clear up confusion, he was my stepfather, but to me, he never was anything other than my dad to me. My real dad & I have spent the past few years fixing our relationship, but I think (and hope) even he understands why I consider my other dad my dad, too. Confused yet? Haha.
Anyway, cancer took away the strongest man that I’ve known my entire life 2 years ago this August. I watched my dad become a shell of the rock that I always knew him to be, and it was hard. I stayed touring and I think a part of me subconsciously had this belief that if I wasn’t at home seeing it, then it wasn’t happening. Because I was scared. Plain and simple. I was scared to watch my dad die. And because of that, my father left this world with a lot of stuff that neither of us ever got off of our chest, and I’ll spend the rest of my life regretting that.
My dad and cancer itself both became the subject of almost every damn song I tried to write after that. I hated it. The last thing I wanted was to spend the coming years of my career singing about the most difficult time of my life I had dealt with (or not dealt with). So, again, I ran. Until finally, I just embraced it. In January we went to record 4 songs with our homeboy Brett Hestla. There was a song that, as a working title, was called Flight Risk. When pen went to paper, it went back to the subject of my dad. And I didn’t stop it this time.
Something I think about everyday is the last time I talked to my dad. He had collapsed while I was at home & was taken to the hospital. I went to visit him the day before we were to leave for a show in Little Rock, Arkansas, the start of a short 2 week tour we were about to do. I could tell the man in the hospital bed wasn’t the same man that I knew my entire life. He looked like a machine with all the wires connected to him. I remember him asking for watermelon…he was craving watermelon so bad. My brother, Mikie, got him a big thing of sliced watermelon and he was just inhaling it like he hadn’t eaten in months. And he was trying so hard to have that same corny sense of humor he was known for, to be light hearted, as if he just wanted us to relax and not worry about him. But I remember telling him before I left, “I’ll see you when I get home from this short run of dates we’re about to do. I’ll see you at HOME.” The thing I’ll always remember is him saying “yeah” and nodding his head, but I could see the tears dwell in his eyes as he held them back & just the lack of conviction when he said it. It gave me the worst feeling…like he had given up hope. I kissed him on the forehead, told him I loved him, and walked out the door.
The next night, about an hour and half before our set was to begin in Little Rock, my mom called my brother who was out doing merch for us on tour & told him my dad had seemingly had another stroke…and that they had reason to believe he was brain dead. We did the show, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and cancelled the rest of the tour to go home immediately. And for what seemed like months, but was probably just days, we waited in the hospital for my dad to just show us something…anything…any movement…anything. It never happened. I never got to hear him say “I love you” again, and I never will again. And that’s what I miss most.