Artist and Musician

Biographies, to me, have always seemed sort of like an obituary. HEY, I'm not dead! Keep that in mind. To really know who I am you'll need to know some history. Luckily for you, I feel like you'll enjoy the read because I'm a kickass dude, my own opinion. As you read, I have included links that will better help to understand the full situation. EXPLORE AWAY!

When I was just on the verge of memories my parents divorced and my mother quickly remarried. Something bad clicked in my mother's head and set her off on a series of suicide attempts shortly thereafter. She was institutionalized, medicated, experimented on, and by golly, with enough shock treatments she began to forget her troubles and past deeds - for awhile, but then she always remembered what she had done. And every time she remembered her life, the suicide attempts would resume. Why today do I have a touch of schizoid personality disorder, nature or nurture? You tell me.

The first time she went bonkers I was three. Very early in the morning I was told to wake my brother and pack some things. My brother and I were going to be living with Grandma and Grandpa for awhile. While staying there I overheard enough to piece the puzzle together. She had walked out of the house in a negligee in sub-zero temperatures during the middle of a blizzard without saying a single word to anyone. She walked barefoot down to the convenience store a block away and buried herself in snow in a deep ditch. She would have died, except a passing drunk searching the frozen ditches for money found a blue hand sticking out of the snow and alerted the cops. I was taken to the hospital just once to see her. They brought her to us in a dirty white straight jacket. She was babbling, drooling, and incoherent. They tried to make her drink orange juice and it ran down her face and neck into her jacket. I was about six or seven when she came back. We were introduced to my new baby sister Mary. Mom was talkative and animated. She said she had convinced Donny to stop at a gift store on the way back and she bought two little rocking chairs with our names on them. I knew then my mother was dead and that this was an imposter, a monster. I made a big scene screaming and crying and pushing the chair away and my Grandpa slapped the shit out of me and sent me to my room. Even at six years old I knew how to spell my own name and it wasn't spelled M-I-K-E! I didn't cry much after that. I had seen the world for what it really is.

When I was about eight they told me I could keep my name or change it to Webber. WHAT??? Apparently, no one thought it was important to tell me that the instinctive hate I had for Donald L. Webber had a basis in fact. My genetic birth father's name was Richard Cox (whom I have since met and he's the best!) and my full name was really Kenneth David Bryon Cox. And apparently "BRIAN" was not how my real name was spelled?! That was a shocker. They told me my Grandpa Cox had misspelled BYRON on my birth certificate, leaving me with the unique spelling of BRYON. There was an entire world out there that had been intentionally hidden from me. Suddenly a whole lot of things began to make sense. Me and my brother Mike decided to change from Cox to Webber and we were adopted by Don Webber, the practice of "go along to get along." That's not always a great thing in the end, although the anagrams from my new name are fantastic.

It was 1974 when KISS released Hotter Than Hell. I was an instant fan. I remember my best friend, Brian (B-R-I-A-N) Franks, showed it off to me at his house and the images of makeup, absolute freedom, and naked chicks burned themselves into my brain. We played that album "till the needle fell off." The next big dose of rock n' roll came in the form of a stack of albums my stepdad got for me at a garage sale. It had KISS' Double Platinum, Led Zeppelin II, two early (and horrible) Alice Cooper records, and a Deep Purple album with Smoke on The Water. When I reached my teens I joined Columbia House's cassette club - multiple times under different names - and quickly ran up a collection of about 150 cassettes by bands such as Judas Priest, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Def Leppard. Metal had it's hooks in me. When I got my first job working at Carlsbad Caverns National Park I saved up my money and bought two electric guitars. That pissed my stepdad off to no end. He couldn't understand why I would buy another guitar when I already had one. But in my mind the equation was GUITARS = CHICKS and so I had to have that second guitar, a blue Ibanez. Just had to. Music was something that attracted chicks and repelled parents. PERFECT!!!

I didn't know what to do at eighteen exactly but my stepfather wanted me out of the house and the Marine Corps was offering... a free BADASS red USMC t-shirt. Yeah, a t-shirt. Because a red BADASS USMC shirt = CHICKS. That's the hook the recruiter got me with. I remember stepping off the bus and onto those yellow footprints thinking what in heaven's name had that free t-shirt gotten me into. Intense training followed with equally intense learning of the FA-18 Hornet's avionics (MOS 6317). They sent me to the east coast, Beaufort, S.C.- Voodoo capital of the world. I then traveled the world in style and HONOR and they paid me! I served out my enlistment and then reenlisted a second time to earn enough money to go to art school. In the summer of 1990 I took my DD214 and Honorable Discharge and left the Marine Corps just as all my buddies were packing up for the first Gulf war.

I enrolled in the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design in nearby Savannah, GA and grew my hair out, down to my ass. My second year in school I fell in love with both Erin Black (a photographer) and Carolyn Angelini (a graphic designer) but unbeknownst to me, I had been exposed to some VERY TOXIC stuff in the Marines and a gumball-sized brain tumor was growing in my head. As it grew, it put pressure on my brain. I began to hear voices, see visions, see dead people, and lost ALL my energy. I became a personal magnet for all things paranormal and weird; which was very hard to balance and try to hold down an ordinary life. I pissed off a local secret society and was attacked. I eventually dropped out of S.C.A.D. I had very few friends to rely on. So in 1997 I quit my job at Walmart and left Savannah behind to tuck tail and run back to the shelter of stepfather and mother.

Turns out that my stepfather was a serial womanizer and my mother found out and split to Carlsbad, N.M. (where I had gone to High School as a child). I was sent by my stepfather to go and watch out for my mother but by this time I was probably more of a basketcase than she was. And with the loss of testosterone and pressure on my brain, I grew increasingly insane, angry, and violent. This resulted in my sister Mary and my mother taking out a restraining order on me and I had nowhere to go. So I called up my brother and he sent me a bus ticket to join his family in San Diego.

I was living with my them for about a month and he got called to Iraq (my brother had followed in my footsteps and was a Staff Sergeant in the Marines). Once Mike was gone, his family kicked me out of the house. I ended up homeless on the streets of San Diego for about a year and a half. I was working as Chief of Staff for Mann Theaters and getting diddlysquat for wages. In my off hours I watched free movies and maintained a homeless "campground" next to a road at the base of a big valley in Mission Valley San Diego. I had a place hidden away in a thicket of woods, a plastic chair, a tarp, a camp shower, a backpack, a Marine Corps sleeping bag, and a bicycle. That was my whole world for awhile and no one really knew I was homeless because I wasn't one of those dirty scumbags standing on the freeway begging for cash. I kept myself clean and I earned my way. I kept a journal of art and business plans and ideas I intended to put into action as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

woods in San Diego

A series of jobs later and I worked at The Home Depot for better wages. My brother had come home from Iraq, caught his wife with another man, got divorced, and we both got an apartment together for a few months before he moved off with his high school sweetheart. One day, out of the blue, a bump appeared in my hand. I freaked out and went to the doctor. They did some x-rays and told me the good news that the bump was a harmless cyst. HOWEVER, they noticed tufting on the ends of my fingers and that was a rare condition usually only caused by a rare brain tumor. WTF?! They sent me for an MRI and there it was, a brain tumor on my pituitary gland that was forcing it to produce huge amounts of growth hormone. I was officially diagnosed with a form of gigantism called acromegaly. We tried medicines at first to shrink the tumor but it eventually became crystal clear that I needed surgery. I told The Home Depot I would be using my insurance to the maximum. They made up lies, accused me of sleeping on the job. I demanded they produce the video tapes because I WAS NOT sleeping on the job. They laughingly refused to show me any evidence at all. I realized what they were doing and told them off - which was exactly what they wanted. They fired me for using "inappropriate language." As they were cutting my final check I heard quite clearly the manager whisper laughingly to the HR head, "these young guys, they just don't know how to play the game. We just played him like a violin." Making up lies and firing people who become too expensive, The Home Depot way... and that's why I shop at Lowes whenever possible!

My brother, at this point in time, had remarried, had two children, and moved to Marlin, TX. So once again, I called him up and he and his new family took me in. Once there, he took me to the VA and they saved my life. They set me up with the some of the best brain surgeons in Texas and in 2008 many of my mental problems lessened with a transsphenoidal endoscopic hypophysectomy (they used a camera to remove the tumor through my nose). In 2010 I had gamma knife surgery to get the leftover bits that the brain surgeon couldn't reach. I was working then in Marlin at the same company where my brother was also employed; Global Rail Systems, Inc. The Obama economy, at that time, destroyed business and I was laid off as times got bad. I used the time off to search for another job but I didn't have a car and Marlin's a very small town. With nothing turning up, I decided to teach myself animation, web design, and mixing and mastering music with Ableton Live. As business eventually picked up I too was picked up again at GRS, this time as their chief marketing/web design/advertising guy. Freakin' loved it! I was laid off again in 2012.

Backtrack a bit back to 2007/2008 when I resettled in Marlin and hooked up with the VA. At that same time I had also applied for compensation from the Marine Corps. Acromegaly has two, and only two, sources. You have it from birth genetically and become a giant by the time you hit puberty or you acquire a toxic agent later in life that lodges in the brain. I wasn't born with acromegaly so we know I was somehow poisoned. Acromegaly is a condition that takes years to show bone growth and symptoms but I had photographs from my time in service clearly showing my large hands and enlarged brow so I knew I had picked up acromegaly while in service. In 2013, just as my money was running out... I WON MY COMPENSATION CASE! I won because I had photographs, because I had doctor's statements declaring the disorder had started in the Marine Corps, and I won because Obama had given the go-ahead to payout the hundreds of thousands of civilians and Marines who had been poisoned in the Camp Lejeune/Cherry Point water contamination scandal. The government was finally admitting the truth.

I was one of those lucky Marines who had been poisoned.

I say "lucky" because many of my friends that I served with are today dead, or living on borrowed time with cancer, or have had children die due to genetic disorders that they passed on to them. The poisoning scandal was the result of improper handling of toxic waste. Instead of disposing of it properly, they dumped the dangerous chemicals in a nearby river - that flowed back into the water supply used by the Marine Corps base. The improper dumping began in the mid 1950's and lasted into the late 1980's when I had the misfortune to stay there on deployment. Base commanders knew. They did it anyway to save money. So now... the government is paying for its murderous negligence.

In 2013 I won my compensation case after years and years of battling the VA for justice. I bought a shit ton of recording equipment and paid some lawyers a huge stack of cash to create Plague of Smiles LLC. I decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to create my very first CD. You of course, cannot have a successful crowdfunding campaign without first having a crowd. Halfway through the campaign I realized this fact and pulled the plug on it. VERY STRESSFUL, especially if you also happen to have an undiagnosed condition of sleep apnea (that was discovered around 2015). And shortly after that failed campaign I had a heart attack. This resulted in the installation of a pacemaker, as my heart now beats at 30% efficiency to a normal person.

Acromegaly (stop and think about that for a second. Guitarist hand size! I'm a musician. Do you get what I'm saying?), cardiomegaly, Facial disfigurement, excessive bone growth, excessive weight gain, massive arthritic damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain, type II diabetes, bad dental problems, sleep apnea, disastrous sexual and social complications, heart problems, hormone replacement therapy, problems concentrating, and complete unemployability. And the future will not be kind. Sooner or later my hips will give out and I'll have to have both of them replaced. I take a monthly shot of lanreotide to keep the tumor at bay and that has given me massive gallstones, which will one day result in surgery to remove my gallbladder. And every ten years or so I will have to undergo extremely painful surgery to replace the batteries in my pacemaker. "Old Fart Status." I believe I have earned my status, yes? As of this writing, I am only 51.

There is this ---> the Marine Corps Motto: CHANGE. ADAPT. OVERCOME!

"Go big or go home" is another popular saying. So I am spending my time now working through pain to create a massive body of quality art and songs. All Marines have a goal. My first goal is to lose 60 pounds so I can have hip replacement surgery. That is a challenge indeed because I am still flooded with excessive growth hormone and IGF-1. My second goal is a bit more ambitious. I want to put together an immense package of 111 kickass songs and 333 oil paintings as a PDF/Download and see how many millions of fans I can make smile. The window I'm shooting for is 2022??? I suppose I'll have to work around any upcoming surgeries.

Money doesn't bring happiness. Reaching your goals, enjoying them, and feeling grateful for the opportunities you've been given in life is what brings happiness. Having a strong base of support from friends and family - that's happiness. Walking up to the desk of the highest person in the VA and handing them a great big ole' check to pay them back for all they've done - that's happiness!

My stepdad is gone, where I don't know, or care. My real father Richard Cox is back in my life (thanks to Facebook) and I got to meet my two new half sisters, Melissa and Angel. My mother eventually beat her demons down, takes her meds, no longer throws poop like a monkey at the zoo, and is in fact... one of my favorite people to visit. She lives two streets over with my sister Mary and her daughter Haley. I never experience depression. I also never really experience happiness, though I strive for it. My anger now is never aimed at people, it mainly pokes out where Microsoft Windows 10 is concerned or when other programs I use display their bugs; revealing the incompetence of their coders AND WASTING MY TIME!!! Time, to me, is a precious commodity. I am an artist and a musician and as of this date I am fucking invisible. That's not entirely a bad thing at the moment. I can work with that. And it's a great Ronnie James Dio song, yes?!

The purpose of this website is to chronicle my progress in all my goals as a sort of online diary. My competition is fierce. They are young - so their liberal inanity and blatant stupidity are quickly forgiven. They have tits and ass and handsome chiseled features that easily take on the fashions or dance of our age - and are quite willing to sell their souls and asses for money and fame! They sell messages of hope and endurance and bravery to audiences that lick that shit up without a single questioning thought - though these artists themselves have never encountered an ounce of pain or adversity in their ever-so-short drug and alcohol filled lives. They have the physical ability to tour and perform live (even if that's backed up by Milli Vanilli autotuned backing tracks). So with competition such as that I thank each and every person who sees my Plague, spreads it, supports it, and smiles. You and I, we are real people and as such will see the last word of my Marine Corps motto realized. And for now, that is all.

Kickstarter page

"The BEST way to kick adversity squarely in the face is to spread a smile!"