A note to folks clicking through from the Mojo article…You’ll find a more relevant “Crooked” page here.

What brings me to a song is not necessarily what a listener should take from a song. In my experience, music is no more “about” something than a person could be. To associate the images and sweat and life of “Crooked” with anything other than itself seems limiting. So, at the risk of “explaining it away,” can I tell you my crooked story?

A few months ago, an acupuncturist friend from Chicago, said to me, “I can’t watch you go through this anymore. I’m going to help you whether you like it or not.” What she was referring to was bipolar disorder. It’s true, I haven’t found much on planet earth to ease this condition which destroys bands, marriages and lives.

Music and movement help a little…lithium was amazing until its side effects prevented me from working. So I gave up the fight–I’m trapped in here–and my insides lived an up and down, back and forth, past and future, switch-flipping existence for years. I prayed that my outside could hide this world from those around me (it couldn’t).

When my friend met me in San Francisco and stuck needles all over me, I sighed, thinking, “You don’t understand. This isn’t subtle, it’s systemic; a world view, a personality, an everything. And nothing helps.”

Then the room started spinning, my heart started pounding, my brain time-tripping, a baseball-sized lump swelled up in my throat…it felt like race cars were driving my outline, but the outline wasn’t me. I had an unshakeable “phantom-body” syndrome that wasn’t inside my skin—the real me was next to the one made of skin and bones and muscles: a dark, crooked space body. So, I’m not trapped in here. I’m not in here at all.

This woman flew to New York to treat me on the road, then to New England to treat me at home. She moved the crooked body into my skin. She saved my life. Suffice it to say, acupuncture is as “not subtle” as bipolar disorder and it seems to be curing me of an illness for which western medicine has no cure. Songs still fly out unchecked, because the healthiest me is a songwriter. Knowing what it’s like to feel everything and nothing may help songs breathe; but it’s no way to live.

So that’s my “Crooked” story. Please take what this song offers as a scrim for you to view your own life pictures through and share them with me, if you’re moved to. A song shouldn’t function as a page from my diary, but as an offering for your soundtrack. That’s the highest honor afforded any musician.


Find this song and all my recent work, in multiple formats – including lossless, free for download on my CASH Music pages. Information on how you can support the creation and distribution of this music by becoming a subscriber is here.

Posted in: Kristin Hersh, music, words on May 23, 2009