I thought you might show your face
Or have the grace
To tell me where you are
Found this very thoughtful interview with Russ Ballard. Full interview is here. Interesting that the depression components were extracted and published in a heavy metal site, which has the higher hit.
What he says:
Rockpages.gr: May I ask you to describe to us the period when you suffered from depression but especially the time when you finally recovered and wrote “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You”?
Yeah, it’s strange, but I knew what I was doing when I wrote it. I remember that I wrote a song called “I Don’t Believe In Miracles”, when I was going into the period of my depression. When I look back and I listen to that song, I know exactly that it refers to what I was going through at the time, and how I felt.
In 1971, I started to feel very kind of low, you know, for some reason. I haven’t experienced that feeling before in my life, but at the same time I was writing songs that reflected my depression which –from an artistic side- was good. So I sat at the piano and I wrote “I Don’t Believe In Miracles”, which was really all about my depression. I remember finishing the song. It had such an effect on me that, by the time I finished it, I started crying. I felt so emotional about it.
I remember (that) I didn’t stop working at the time. I started a tour with Argent, in America. The doctors recommended that the best for me to do is keep on working, keep on being busy, because there is absolutely no hope for cure if you stay at home. So, that’s what I did. I went to America with Argent and I didn’t cancel any show.
The problem with being a depressed man is that you feel unstable, and you can’t really control your emotions. It took nine months to get totally out of depression. Let me tell you this: one day I woke up, and I felt reborn! It was the most incredible feeling and, having said that, I want to point (out) something to all those people suffering from depression: it’s something that it doesn’t stay there; it’s not something permanent. It goes away, and one must be strong until that time.
You know, Sakis, what’s the great thing that you realize afterwards about depression? It’s an illness that becomes, in retrospective, a unique and rewarding experience. You suddenly get in touch with very deep emotions that you didn’t know that they even existed. For me personally, being an artist, it was a fascinating experience because, as you probably know, there were many artists through the centuries that produced their finest works when they were suffering from depression.
So, the first song that I wrote after my depression was “God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You”. The lyrics were all about that optimistic feeling that I had at the time. Of course, when KISS did another version of the song, they changed some of the lyrics, because they didn’t fit with the overall image of a rock band in America.
Every single song I wrote during my depression was sad, but it was also natural. “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You” was my first happy song, after the depression period.