Dan Spitz: My home life is hell
Former Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz says his home life is hell – because it’s a daily struggle to be the parent of autistic twins.
That’s the inspiration behind his new band, Red Lamb, and their self-titled 2012 album, which he co-wrote with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine.
And while only one track, Puzzle Box, is directly about autism, the whole record is about the challenges the condition presents on a daily basis.
Spitz – who’s midway through a US tour entitled Anarchy For Autism – tells Metal Assault: “You feel my pain in all the other songs because it transcended into whatever the topic may be that Dave and I wrote about. It’s all a piece of me. The place I was in when I wrote this album is not a good place to be.
“My daily life is hell. We’re locked in our house most of the time as prisoners. There are chains on our doors. When our kids get outside they don’t know their name – they cannot transition simply from inside the house to getting in the car.
“They could literally have what we call meltdowns. Someone else’s child might have temper tantrums, but ours are brought on very severe, and it could just happen with a change in pattern in their daily lives. The pattern has to be exactly the same. To get themselves in the car is a major transition for them, to the extent that they can really throw themselves on the driveway and try to injure themselves. They can’t handle it.”
Simple shopping trips become dramatic events when young Brendan and Jaden are involved. Spitz reveals: “The police are called, and they think quite often that we’re trying to hit our kid or something like that. It has to be explained to the officer that they have autism.
“Dave has stayed in my house and he has held our children, so he knows the pain that I live through. He knows what it’s all about. He understood that my time can be stopped at any moment when there’s a disaster at home that I need to take care of, and that comes first.
“Other producers might not have understood that because they don’t understand the Autism world. My world operates differently. So Dave has played a large role in getting the feeling and anger that I feel inside, out there.”
Last year Spitz discussed the pain of realising his sons were unlearning about life as they get older. But he believes the metal community can help find a cure for autism.
“The first generation of metal started with the likes of Black Sabbath,” he reflects. “Back then we were the generation of heavy metal fans listening to those bands. Everyone said, ‘You’ll grow out of it – when you’re 23, you’ll start listening to Elton John or whatever it may be.’
“That didn’t happen for the majority of us. We’re three generations deep, and the community on a global level is so powerful if it’s banded together. We have people in governmental positions all over the world. We have people who are doctors and lawyers. It’s the whole gamut, all the way up and all the way down the totem pole. We’re a force that’s way more powerful than the film industry is in California.
“If we come together, we can make changes. Music is the most powerful thing. It’s not film. We just need to get it together, and metal is the only music that tells the truth.”