• Nick Hartkop

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

When I was in middle school there was a club called, "Power of the Pen." It was a program where you would write short stories during a specific amount of time and the best story won. I was a poor student, I struggled with emotional disturbances, ADHD, dyslexia and a ton of social problems, and the application tournament was during recess, so it was a big deal to me because I was always inside for bad behavior. I remember writing some weird story about a kid who dies and what it was like to go to Hell if you weren't a Christian. My mom was abusive with how she punished me for religion and it was something I had to think about constantly, so I would create these weird stories to try to cope with my fear of dying and going to Hell for being a bad person. Not only did I not qualify, but the teacher pulled me aside and asked me questions about my emotional state. It was humiliating, not just because my writing piece didn't make it, but also because I was told that what I wrote wasn't normal.


I remember being jealous of the kids who qualified, and I decided that some day I wanted to be a "professional writer". However, I struggled to write anything completely because of my lack of commitment. Writing always took too long so I started writing poetry (like most teenagers) and that became what I liked to do. My dad was going through a midlife crisis at the time and started buying acoustic guitars for himself, which I stole and would keep in my room. I connected with the idea of making music because I had been spiraling emotionally since I was a child, and just screaming poetry that I had written over some chords felt powerful to me, because it was mine and no one could take that from me. I started writing songs but couldn't sing for shit so I never really thought about doing it publicly. All my friends would say I sucked, but I would always think about failing "Power of the Pen" and I stuck with it despite the rejection. I'm glad I did though, and I have been really blessed for my music to reach some people. The thing about life is that there is always going to be rejection and failure, but if you keep going, you can end up doing what you want to do, and be who you want to be. __ The song "Waste" by stuck in the sound has always stood out in my mind as one of the best of the 2000's. It's a 2006 song so it's older, but the acoustic guitar is so beautiful and the electric riff is bright. José Reis Fontão has an incredible voice, and they are my favorite french indie band. Check the song out here.

  • Nick Hartkop

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

I've been thinking about a time on tour where I shamed a homeless man. It was at the end of 2017, I forgot where the show was, and I am ashamed I can't remember. I was always scared to be on the road when I made the decision to do music because I have really unrealistic fears about dying before I do something with my life. Whenever I would play a show I would get manic, and give off the impression I was well and having a blast, but off stage I was incredibly toxic and angry. Before I knew what Borderline Personality Disorder was, and was medicated, I would dissociate from reality and treat people as disposable, because I felt disposable. There was a man who wandered off the street after a show into the venue and he was carrying some kind of heart rate monitor. He was an older man, and I remember he had a shaven beard that was starting to grow back. I was talking in a group of people and he came over and asked us if we wanted to buy the monitor from him. This was a person who was sleeping in the streets and needed help. He came into that venue hoping someone would be interested in purchasing what he had because he needed some money. When he asked the group, I was cruel and told him to "get the fuck out of here" because he was homeless. I could tell I had made everyone uncomfortable because someone confronted me saying I was cruel. I brushed it off and told them I was sorry, and they told me "You don't owe me an apology, you need to apologize to him." To which I responded to go fuck themselves. I left the venue and didn't think about it again.

Looking back, I can't stop replaying how that situation should have gone. I was poor myself and the thought of helping another human hadn't crossed my mind because I needed to make sure I took care of myself. I should have helped that man. I should have gone over to the merch table and given him as much as I could have. I wasted an opportunity to use my position to help other people. I did the exact opposite and I made him disposable. I should have apologized to him, and I should have apologized to the person who rightfully called me out. Every time I think about it, it makes me sick. I think about him often, and I wish I knew who they were. I should have asked their name, their dreams, and their story. I wish I could have seen where they slept and helped them get something better. I should have shaken their hand and given them the respect they deserved. I think about how that interaction could have changed a life for the better, but it made it worse. That's not the type of person I want to be, but that is the person I was. I am sorry to them both if they read this. The worst thing is to look back at an experience that has caused pain to others and say that you "have perspective" and "have grown" because those people were still hurt. It doesn't change the interaction. I've needed to tell this story. I am not a role model and I have not been a good person in my life, but I want to learn from these interactions, and share the stories of my failures. I need to do that man the respect of never shaming anyone ever again like that, and to help people in need. I didn't even see him as a person. I can't even imagine how humiliated he must have been. I saw the sadness in his eyes when I said that to him. I can't stop thinking about it. I wish I could go back and given them the respect they deserved.

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Lately, I've been listening to the song blah blah blah a lot by Say Hi. I think it has one of the coolest synth lines I've ever heard and the lyrical imagery is powerful. When I listen to it, it makes me think of fall with oak trees and crumpled leaves. I like how dancey it is accompanied by Eric Elbogen's vocals. It's always been one of my favorites. You can check it out here.

If you have any bands you want to recommend, send them my way. I'll try to add them to future posts.


Nick

  • Nick Hartkop

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

My therapist and I have discussed being allowed to post to a blog here on my website. My team has set this site up so I don't have direct interaction with anything. I send these posts to them to screen, and if they think they are appropriate they will post them. My Borderline Personality Disorder makes me extremely paranoid and toxic on social media, so I won't be returning to those platforms.


I am working with new producers and musicians who are aware of my past and my cancellation. I reached out to a studio over email and let them know about me and created a professional relationship and friendship with them. I am grateful that they are willing to work with me, and I have enjoyed the couple of singles we have made.


Currently, I am writing an EP for fall 2021, and we are planning to record in November. If I hadn't been cancelled I would have never begun treatment over a year and a half ago. I still struggle with my mental illness daily, and I always will, but it was necessary to see how badly I was treating others, and stopping abusive behaviors that had become routine for me. I'm thankful for the messages people have been sending through the site, my team reviews them and sends them to me to reply to as well. We have had some interested parties inquire about producing merch, and I have no plans at this time. However, I have been in talks with a production company who reached out to me. They are passionate about the band and are aware of my past as well. I won't be doing music full time ever again, or playing shows, but I will always write McCafferty songs, and I am thankful the music connects with people. I am not someone who deserves to be in the public eye, and I was convinced that I had to put on a show to be someone I wasn't so people would like me, and I am sorry for failing to be a role model, or even a decent person in my past. McCafferty has always been about my imperfections, and it always will be, and that's something I was afraid of for a long time.


I'm going to post reflections of my experiences (good and bad) and updates about music here. Thanks for listening. nickhartkop@mccaffertyband.com


Nick