Vision Video‘s Dusty Gannon has seen his fair share of the horrors of the human condition. After leaving active duty in the Army, the veteran of the War in Afghanistan returned to his native Athens, GA after becoming disillusioned with his experiences in combat. “I just knew that I couldn’t keep on supporting something that was fundamentally against my nature as a human being,” he says. “It made total sense to go back.”
So here I go again, I’m crawling on my knees
Through the jagged era of uncertainty
With my incompetence, it’s painted on my face
And I am left here wondering when I’ll leave this place
After returning to civilian life, Gannon devoted his vast experience and service to society as a paramedic and firefighter: life and death still hang in the balance, but now he can operate on more altruistic terms. He also knew he needed a meaningful creative outlet to deal with the severity of his trauma: “I knew in my heart that I wanted to play music, as I had been writing about my experiences during the war, and I knew it was a message that needed to be heard.”
At its core, Vision Video’s debut album, Inked In Red, dives inward to unravel the effects of war and a global pandemic. Gannon’s military experience imparts authentic gravitas, revealing a cautionary tale of unhinged mental illness borne from trauma. With a synthesis of goth, synth-pop, and dance-punk, Vision Video’s debut balances genuine malaise and existential dread through the catharsis of dance. “I tried to write music that was inviting at first listen. I wanted people to be drawn into the music first, but then immediately see the lyrics are distinctly jarring, dark, and foreboding,” Gannon explains.
When not saving lives on the frontline, Dusty Gannon sports fishnets, combat boots, and wild makeup to play gothy post-punk with Vision Video. Lurking within the catchy hooks, however, is a desperate message. Gannon’s wrenching lyrics manifest the agony of PTSD; his trials with manic depression and the inability to connect and integrate with civilian life are channeled through his words. Creating music has been extremely therapeutic for the veteran, who uses the process of songwriting and poetry to confront his inner demons and learn to work in tandem with the darkness and the light. The catharsis and exploration are real, yet universal.
“To put it bluntly, I completely lost my damn mind…this music and this band were the only things that saved me…This is music for people who need to bring their skeletons out of the closet to make friends with them, instead of recoiling in horror at their sight.”
Shortly before the pandemic, Vision Video assembled with bassist Dan Geller (I Am The World Trade Center), and Jason Fusco (Shehehe). Emily Fredock, a classically trained pianist, cemented the lineup with her complex synth-work and vocal harmonies. “As much as I love bands like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Sisters of Mercy, I wasn’t really interested in a direct reproduction of their sounds. I wanted to do something new,” says Fredock.
During lockdown, Gannon’s disciplined work ethic kicked in as he explored alternative channels to feed the hungry performance bug. Life after combat is a complex psychological journey, but Gannon is determined to inject levity and fun into his own life and others’. His Instagram and TikTok generated over 40K followers of his cheerful (and often poignant) gender-bent explorations of artistry through makeup and goth fashion. Part Fred Rogers, part Alice Cooper, part Gomez Addams, Gannon’s heartfelt chats inspire others to try their hand at their own unique forms of personal expression…and, quite frankly, you must check out his sweet tour hearse -complete with roll-out coffin.
During lockdown, Vision Video remotely finished their tracks with producer Tom Ashton (The March Violets). After entertaining several offers from record labels, the band opted to release their first full-length independently. Inked in Red is a culmination of Gannon’s trauma, but the band is all about having the time of your life: “While the subject matter of Vision Video is full of real-life terror and monsters, I want our listeners to feel the same thrill of the teenage Friday night horror movie rental. They say that when looking into the void, it looks back into you, but it will damn well see us dancing our ass off.”
Watch the video for the single Inked In Red below:
For that Friday night thrill, watch their Dario Argento-inspired video for Comfort In The Grave below:
Stream Inked In Red below, and find it on Bandcamp here.
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