Aldous Snow: The Family Man?
By: Kaley McMahon
It's no secret that Aldous Snow, frontman of the platinum selling band Infant Sorrow, is eccentric, so it was no surprise that for our interview he flew me to his private island. But what was surprising was that his private island was not in the south of France or in the Caribbean. No, his private island is located in Alaska, USA. I caught a flight to New York and then a connecting to Seattle. From there he flew me first class to Juneau. It was here, in this beautiful northern city where Snow and his wife met me on the tarmac and drove me in their family car to the ferry that travels between all of the small private islands in the area. We pulled up to their quaint home on top of the island and I was again thrown for a loop. The facade of the house is... normal. It is the standard four bedroom, three bathroom cottage that is common throughout middle class Juneau. Snow carries my luggage in while his lovely wife, Emily, shows me the guest room and it's en suite bathroom. She leaves me to freshen up from my travels while she prepares dinner. Yes, Aldous Snow's wife cooks all their meals. I don't think Jackie Q knows how to make toast.
While I freshen up I listen to Snow and his children in the backyard. I look out the window and see that Naples is visiting for the summer. He is running around with his younger half siblings, Collin and Katie. Emily comes out onto the back porch and calls all of them into the house for dinner. It's only a few moments later when I hear Emily knock on my door and call through to me, inviting me down for the family meal. I sit at the end across from Snow, Katie and Collin are on my right, Naples and Emily are on my left.
After dinner, Emily settles the children with a film in the family room. She joins Snow and myself on the back porch, bringing with her a bottle of sparkling cider and three champagne glasses. She and Snow sit on the outdoor love seat while I park in a comfy chair.
NME: So Aldous, let's get down to it. It's been an important decade for you. You were sober for seven years and then Jackie leaves you, taking your son Naples with her. You turn back to the drugs and alcohol. But suddenly, seven years ago, you're back and better than ever. Sober again, and giving us amazing life-advice hits like 'Furry Wall.' We all want to know, what made you turn back around?
Aldous Snow: It was a combination of finding true friends, leaving behind toxic people, and reconnecting with the simple, good things in life. I owe a lot of it to my good friend Aaron [Green], who became my link to reality. It was he who pulled me out of the drug induced stupor, kicked me in the ass, and shoved me on the right path. It was after his help with my anniversary performance at the Greek Theatre that he became my best friend, my producer and the head of my new record label that I'm signed to now.
NME: So you owe it all to Aaron Green. That's a pretty big thank you card.
AS: I don't owe everything to Aaron. I also owe a lot to Emily here. She's always been there. She was there through the whole catastrophe with Jackie, the drugs, the sobering up, everything. It was only after I thought I had lost everything that I found what really mattered. I was sober for a year and then I asked her to marry me. I knew I had to be deserving of her before I could make her mine. And I also knew that I had better do it fast before she wised up and found me to be the dolt that I am. [He takes her hand and links their fingers.]
NME: Emily, how did you meet Aldous?
Emily Snow: I met him at his first concert. I was fifteen at the time. He was twenty-one. I went to the bathroom after his set before the final act came on. He had gone into the wrong bathroom in his drunken stupor and was puking in the women's room. He had driven all the other women out but I took pity on him for some reason and cleaned him up. His manager wanted nothing to do with him so I carted him back to the motel and stayed with him, making sure he didn't die in his sleep. He's been indebted to me ever since.
AS: I always say that I survived that night by the grace of God. If he hadn't sent me this angel, this amazingly generous and loving woman that night, I'd be dead. I remember the next morning clearly because I woke up and the light from the window was around her head, giving her this type of halo.
ES: [laughing] Then he shouted 'Oy! Close the fucking curtains!' and the moment was ruined.
NME: That's quite a story. Usually you hear couple's stories and it's all 'he/she approached me and we instantly clicked.' Have you always stood by Aldous?
ES: No, I am sorry say that I haven't. After the whole thing with Jackie, he turned back to drugs and it devastated me. I felt like it was a slap in the face. Here I was, his best friend- I knew more about him than anyone, and he would rather be piss drunk than spend time with me. It devastated me. About six months before he got sober again, I confronted him. He had missed my birthday, and he never does, so I thought something was seriously wrong. I thought 'oh, god, he's gone and overdosed'. But he was just on a weekend binge with some woman he picked up at a bar. That's when I snapped and told him that I loved him, but I couldn't watch him destroy himself anymore. It was either get sober or I would leave. I loved him too much to watch him kill himself.
NME: Wow, so your best friend for decades is slowly killing himself with drugs and you can't bear to watch it anymore. I'm actually surprised you were able to stick with him as long as you did. No to insult you, Aldous, but I know how hard it is to watch someone you love abuse themselves and be completely helpless to stop them. Did you blame her for leaving?
AS: Yeah, I know now that it was really hard for her. I can understand how hard it would be for me to watch her drown in drugs and alcohol and can see what it would be like for her. But at the time I really did blame her. I also took her for granted. I thought that she would always be there and I had forgotten how ugly life is without her there. After she left I hated her. Here was the one person I trusted with my life and she was leaving, taking the last shred of my heart with her. Before the show at the Greek, I visited Jackie and my eyes were opened. I poured my heart out to her and she revealed some things to me that just crushed me. I realized then how good I had it with Emily and right before the show I called her. From then on she has been by my side and I've never taken her for granted since.
ES: That call broke my heart. He was crying, just sobbing and he never cries. He holds pain in and it just builds until he snaps. Before he would snap and turn to drugs but now he just blows up in anger and frustration and writes a song about it- which I definitely prefer. But that call... [she pauses and prepares herself] He was crying so hard I thought he was going to pass out. It took ten minutes for me to calm him down enough to understand him. But I could make out the words 'sorry' and 'sober' and that was enough for me. I was backstage at the concert that night and met him after the show.
NME: So even after reuniting, there's still turmoil?
AS: Not turmoil, just the normal things between a husband and wife. I squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, she likes to roll it up from the bottom. I leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night and wake up to shouting from her falling in. It's the normal stuff- not vicious, abusive fighting like I would have with Jackie.
ES: There's always going to be disagreements, I mean come on, I'm living with Aldous Snow. He can be a little crazy sometimes, but he's a great father, a great husband, and a wonderful, loving man.
NME: Now, Emily said that you write when you build your emotions up. Has settling down and having a family influenced your writing significantly?
AS: Of course it has. I write love songs to my wife now. I write songs about my children's first steps, lost teeth, and silly jokes. Just as when Naples was born, Collin and Katie inspire me.
NME: Will we be hearing this inspiration on Infant Sorrow's latest album?
AS: Definitely. There's a couple ballads to my kids, an advice song to Naples- you know he's growing up and going to be leaving soon. There's a song about fighting with Emily, a song about making up with Emily. I've been looking at a bunch of old photos from when she was pregnant with the twins and she was gorgeous. She always turned me on.
ES: I still don't get how he developed that fetish for pregnancy- I was a beached whale, but I had to beat him off with a stick just to go to the bathroom. He was randy ALL THE TIME!
AS: I still am, but we've got the little ones. I can't wait till they go to all day school- I get my wife all to myself for seven whole hours a day!
NME: You think you can tolerate that, Emily?
ES: Definitely. I will always love Aldous and want to spend time with him. Make no mistake, I never stopped loving him even when I had to leave him. I think it would be like cutting my own arm off if I were to stop loving him- I just couldn't do it. It would be impossible. And I never really left him. I still followed his concerts and read every article, watched every interview. I knew how he was doing and always worried about him, but I always watched from the shadows, there to save him again in case he passed out in the women's bathroom again.
NME: Sounds almost like stalking!
ES: It was. I am addicted to him- I never really left and I never could separate myself from him again. I love him completely, wholly, and eternally.
AS: We're just going to have to face it, we're addicted to each other and we are both enablers to the other. We're helplessly in love and thankfully there's no twelve step for that.
I think all his fans can agree that they don't mind him being so in love with Emily. Since their reunion, he has written the best music of his career and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. I, and everyone else, hope that Snow continues to stay addicted- to family, to his friends, and to his lovely wife.