Those two words, in relation to what Twenty One Pilots have done for me, always feel a bit redundant.
Thank you is what you say when someone holds a door open for you, or when someone passes you the peas at dinner, or wishes you a happy birthday. Thank you are words that are part of our every day lives. So how can those same words be enough to express how truly grateful I am for this band and for your music and your message? How can ‘thank you’ ever be enough?
Unfortunately, thank you is all I have.
I could tell you that the reason I did all of this crazy ‘following you across Europe and spending several nights camping out on the streets of various countries’ thing was all to show you how thankful I am. And partially, that’s true. Part of the reason I dedicate so much of my time and money and energy to this band is because I want you to know, I want you to see how much it means to me, and I want to give back to you in every way I can. So if that means spending every spare penny I have on your incredible live shows, I’m going to do it. And knowing that through doing so, I have contributed to your financial stability and more importantly, your joy, even just a little bit, even though I am just one, barely significant person, then that makes everything I do so worth it.
But the truth is that I also do all of this for me too. And in some ways, running off to follow a band on tour was the most reckless and selfish thing I have ever done. But I made the greatest memories, the most wonderful friendships and had the absolute best experience of my life because of it.
And what I cannot forget, what I cannot escape from, is that I wouldn’t even be here to have had these wonderful experiences if it wasn’t for Twenty One Pilots.
12th May 2015. That was the day I first saw you perform live. You played the Deaf Institute in Manchester, a tiny 200 capacity venue with weird wallpaper on the stage. That was one of the most important days of my life. That was the day I made the decision to live.
The absolute truth is that I was in the worst place I have ever been. I have no idea if you would remember, but I actually gave you a letter when I met you after the show explaining how much you had already helped me prior to that show. And you did. You really did.
I remember so clearly when I first started listening to your music. It connected with me and spoke to me in a way no other person, no other music, ever had. There are lyrics of yours that I have said, or thought, or written before even hearing them. And there are lyrics of yours that I had needed to hear for years without even realising it. Somehow this music knew me. It knew my biggest fears, and my darkest secrets and my hardest struggles and it showed me that I was not alone in any of them. For the first time I felt that there was someone out there that really, honestly got it. And for the first time, in my dark hole that I had been dwelling in for so long, there was hope. Real, honest, bright as fuck hope.
Unfortunately though, as bright as the hope was, I was too far in the darkness to know how to use it. And as the day of your show got closer and closer, I only fell further and further down.
But that show changed something in me. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it’s because of the friends I made in the line. Maybe it’s because of the way the beat of your songs rippled through me and reminded me of what it meant to feel my heart beating. Maybe it’s because live music is the closest thing to magic we have in this world.
But whatever it was, I went into that show wanting to die and I came out of it desperately wanting to live.
Since then I have been to 17 more Twenty One Pilots shows and every single one of them has retained that same magic and that same feeling – the feeling of being alive, and being so fucking glad to be alive.
And the thing is, I know you’re just people. You’re just human. And I know that. But I think that, in part, is at the very essence of why Twenty One Pilots brings people so much hope.
Because you are just two guys from Ohio that wanted to start a band. And you have struggled with stuff and you have not only got through that, but you created something so beautiful and so helpful and so important. And that inspires us to create something too. You have shown us, shown the world, that humanity has so much capacity for good. And that we all have so much potential to create and survive and succeed in our lives.
So, thank you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the happiness you can possibly hold. I wish you all the joy the world can possibly hold. And although I hope very much that Twenty One Pilots keeps going for a long, long time, please know that what you have done, and what you have created will stay with us forever. Nothing about this is temporary.
And although maybe, as your success has grown, some of our voices may get drowned out by other voices, please know that we are still here. Know that no matter what, we will always be here.
But in the meantime, look after yourselves. Get some rest. Eat a vegetable every now and then. Tell Michael we miss him. And know that even though these words are all I have, I mean every single one of them.
Thank you Tyler and Josh. Until next tour,