Q. I think I may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. All I can think about lately is a band called Five State Drive. It started when I discovered their music on mp3.com. I downloaded a few songs and thought they were pretty good. They do that whole punk/emo/pop thing I guess. Well upon further listens they just kind of crawled under my skin and burrowed there. They're now all I listen to. It's like they're a part of me. Sometimes I think life without them would be meaningless. Is this unhealthy? What should I do?
Brandi Svenning, Eden Prairie, NJ.
A. As with any addiction, it all starts simply at first. It seems like your fixation with Five State Drive might be a subconscious attempt to compensate for some type of void in your life. Possibly the loss of a loved one? Maybe an unsatisfying relationship? Take an inventory of your life up until this point. Are you happy? Try and pinpoint what seems to be missing. Addictions are unhealthy because in order to satisfy them, we sacrifice control. I recommend pursuing a 12-step support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The first step is admitting you have a problem, which you've already done here. Good luck.
Q. My girlfriend and I have been going out for months now. Things were great for a while, but lately she's become cold and distant. She's no longer interested in physical activity in general. All she wants to do is stay inside and listen to Five State Drive. Ever since she heard their song "Hey Anne" on the "All That Matters" compilation on Up To Zero Records, the change in her behavior has been dramatic. I'm so upset that I'm thinking about destroying that band and everything they stand for. I just don't want to lose her. What should I do?
Earl Partridge, San Fernando Valley, CA.
A. Violence is never the answer, although I can understand the temptation. From what you described it sounds like she's suffering from depression. The music is not the cause of the depression, but rather the crutch that enables it. I recommend starting with relationship counseling. The toughest part will be getting her to agree to go. Open the lines of the communication with her. Express your feelings and concerns calmly and rationally. She needs help, but you can't force her to help herself.
Q. I'm dropping you a line cause I've been a little crazy lately. I'm like totally obsessed with James Holland, the lead guitar player and co-singer of Five State Drive. His uni-brow is soooooo sexy. *LOL* Heck, I think I'm in love with the whole band! Their drummer Daniel Smith, there rhythm guitar player Chris King, and they're bass player/singer George Hickman all make appearances in my dreams. If their weren't anti-polygyny laws in Texas, I'd marry them all! *LOL* Their dedication just astounds me. Like how half of the band lives in San Antonio, while the other half lives in Austin and yet they still find time to practice. They are just so kewl. Did you know that the band started in summer of '98 when George was introduced to James because George's little brother was trying to start a ska band? That's like, so funny cause they're soooo not ska. I listen to there debut CD "Anytime Soon" everyday and it's like a wide variety of styles from pop punk to emo to power-pop. Sorry I'm rambling again! *LOL* Anyway my question is what makes you a stalker? Because I'm totally against stalking, but lately I found myself following members of the band around and waiting until they get home and go to bed. Then I usually just slip in and watch them sleep. Then before they wake up, I take something to remember them by... Like their wallet. Is this bad? It just feels so right...
Sara Goldfarb, Coney Island, NY.
A. Yes, it is stalking. And yes, stalking is very illegal. However, you seem innocent enough with all your *LOL*'s and your inability to discern the proper usage of their/there/they're. So instead of telling you to seek counseling, I'll go ahead and mail you my pamphlet on how to be a more effective stalker, featuring such tips as "Do must of your stalking late at night. Wear camouflaged colors. Travel on foot. Always have an alibi." Remember, it's only illegal if you get caught. Seriously though, you know your behavior is wrong. It's up to you to get help.
Q. My girlfriend is quite the exhibitionist. She likes to fool around in public, usually at concerts. And by fooling around I mean more than just kiss! We've seen this band Five State Drive play with such bands as The Impossibles, the Honor System, the Lonely Kings, Antifreeze, Riddlin' Kids, and Mock Orange and at each show we've gone farther and farther. I'm afraid we'll soon be having intercourse in public. While I certainly find it exciting, I think my sense of decency is winning out. What should I do?
Andy Kornbluth, New York City, NY.
A. Some men might consider you very, very lucky. It's good to know, however that you're thinking with the right head. Exhibitionism taken too far doesn't help anyone. The fear of getting caught can be addicting. I hate to use the "c" word again, but if itís change you seek, counseling is most likely going to be the answer.
Q. I have a problem. Sometimes I pretend to be other people and write into advice columns, all the while inserting subtle (and not so subtle) plugs for my band. Sometimes I feel like I don't slip enough information in there, like our ages and that sort of thing. (We range in age from 21 to 17 for the record). Maybe all the anxiety over planning to record and release our second album later this year is leading to this behavior? Regardless though I feel guilty and I want to come clean. What's wrong with me?
George Hickman, San Antonio, TX.
A. You make me sick.