Of Mice & Men: The Man Who Could Be King
As a troubled teen, only the words of his metal heroes kept Austin Carlile's head above water. Now the Of Mice & Men commander finds himself following in the footsteps of those very icons.
Basking in the sunshine on a blazing afternoon in Hollywood, Austin Carlile removes his designer sunglasses and tells a short story which offers an illuminating glimpse into his character. Of Mice & Men’s frontman was contacted recently by one of his 700,000+ Instagram followers, a young lady who was having a hard time dealing with the passing of her mother just one week earlier. “I don’t know what to do,” the heartbroken teenager wrote. “I don’t think I can handle this.”
Having lost his own mother in 2005, when he was 17 years old, Austin could relate. The singer tapped out a reply.
“I wrote, ‘You can’t hold it in, you have to let yourself feel these emotions and then let it out,’” he recalls. “I said: ‘Run. Play basketball. Go for a hike. Go do boxing. Write. Read. Run into the middle of the street and scream your head off. Yell at the sky and cry your heart out. Do whatever you need to do. But you need to release it, because if you hold it in, this will feel so much worse down the road.’”
When Austin’s own mother passed away, suffering a heart attack related to a genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome, the young man was, by his own admission, disconsolate – lost, frightened and bitterly angry. He remembers pulling out a sketchbook and inking a picture of a knotted noose hanging from a workbench: in stark type the words beneath read: “I wish I could join her.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that,” he says quietly. “My whole life had been turned upside down. I hated God, I hated my family, I hated my mum for leaving me... and I hated myself. It felt like I had literally nothing. So I just wanted to go see my mom and say, ‘Fuck all this bullshit.’”