This rock identity

David Christian Morgan performs during a Halloween Show at Redwood Bar in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 26, 2019.

His friends call him Blake Dedlie. To his family, he’s David Christian Morgan. But on a September night at the Sugar Mill Saloon, neither “Blake” nor “David” was getting ready to perform.

It was Bob Margo—the dark persona Morgan learned to synchronize at the age of 16—who stood on a small platform ready to excite the audience.

Despite the chattering noise in the background, this self-taught musician pulled up his guitar, curved his back and listened intently as his fingers swiftly ran across the strings while he prepared for the show.

Morgan, writer and singer of songs with titles such as Monsters, Heaven and Hell and 3A.M., grabbed his microphone as they began to perform.

“It’s not me,” he said. “That’s what it really feels like. It’s some spirit out in the world. I’m just open to it, and then I figure out what it’s trying to say and write it out.”

Morgan has written and produced songs for his rock band Twisted Black Sole that express a feeling of anger, torment and frustration rooted in certain life-altering events. Morgan said it was Bob Margo who inspired him to write songs.

“One time I was in a shower and I heard a song deep from within, and I knew it was him. He’s my shadow—the animalistic monster inside me that I gave a name to,” Morgan said.

This concurring identity eventually became a song of its own.

I am Bob Margo

I want out of this s***hole

It’s pathetic, I wanna be free

Found the lock,

someone give me the key.

I want out

Let me

I am Bob Margo

The human stain on your soul

Your sympathetic to my cry

I can feel it, this isn’t a lie.

Born on a Friday the 13th at 12:34 a.m., Morgan’s mother, Christy, said he was considered by the doctors as a perfect baby.

“He came out with his eyes open and never cried,” she recalled. “David was a happy kid. He was an honors student, and he always makes sure to do extra.”

Morgan has attended Catholic private schools in the San Fernando Valley. He was in eighth grade at St. Bernard Elementary when he started writing lyrics. He was caught by his teacher who found  his notebook filled with curse words.

“It sucked. I was part of the student government and they kicked me out,” Morgan said.

Being introverted as a kid, Morgan started leaning toward music as a source of comfort from a challenging childhood.

“David’s songs are his truth and reality that he may not always show to other people,” his bandmate Ismael Ramirez commented. “A lot of them were written when he was young. It reminded him of all the things that shaped him of who he is now. In a sense, he’s kind of the most vulnerable on the stage while he sings his songs.”

After Morgan’s performance at Sugar Mill Saloon, he decided to sit outside the bar and grab a glass of beer—his dark messy hair now dripping with sweat. A few minutes later, he explained some critical moments in his life.

“I was molested when I was 5. That was pretty bad. And the moment my grandmother died was a big downer too, because I was very close to her,” he said.

At 18, Morgan experienced an overwhelming distress after breaking up with a girl that he thought he was going to marry.

“I just became an atheist after that. I started telling people that what they believe is dumb and stupid. I was just sad,” Morgan said.

His spiritual life eventually centered more in rock music and less on his religious education.

“God is sort of the otherness that we can’t really spell out. Rock and roll is my god. That’s my higher power,” Morgan explained. “There are things in the world that we can’t really fathom. Like, why does music move us? It’s magical.”

Throughout history, music has been proven to express and affect human emotion.

Every element of a song, from tempo to lyrics, from instrument choice to the texture of the sound, plays a role in how the brain responds.

According to an article of Mmegi newspaper in Botswana, scientists reported that rock music disrupts the reasoning ability of a person by affecting the frontal lobe. This research could help explain why listeners of this genre are more likely to use drugs or even have suicidal thoughts.

Because of the negative associations connected with the music, it might be difficult to believe Morgan’s outlet is not destructive or even unusual.

“People wear different hats at different times, according to Pierce College Psychology Professor Angela Belden.

“Having a side to you that’s a little bit darker or twisted is not abnormal,” she said. “I think people recognize that in themselves a lot of times. They are who they are. They’re complicated people, and their thoughts don’t always match their words. We think things deep inside. We keep them inside. David may just be more willing to take these things out.”

Apart from being a founder of a rock band, Morgan also has extended his influence as leader of an all-men counseling group for five years.

Ramirez shared that the image of Bob Margo has inspired counseling members to unleash their strong inner potential.

“We are shunned from releasing this energy because people are afraid of this power, and they think it is dangerous,” Ramirez said. “We just happen to accept it and allow it to be part of our lives, and then we use it to strengthen us, especially on stage, because that’s where our home is. That’s where we belong.”

He also mentioned the relevance of how this identity can be essential in facing political issues.

“I think the reason why society is the way it is right now is because it’s at the point where everyone’s ‘Bob Margo’ is trying to come out, and no one can hold it back anymore,” he said. “That’s why people are out marching right now. They’ve had enough, and it’s ready to come out.”

Whether a creative outlet or a psychological product of life experiences, Bob Margo became more than just a dark side of a rock band vocalist. It sheds light to the modern issue of freedom and suppression.

To an audience, Morgan may simply be a guy who sings rock music and plays the guitar. But to his friends and family, he’s an image of strength and authenticity. His willingness to unveil his true self is the best performance he’s ever done.

This rock identity is Morgan’s life song—the harmony that binds darkness from his past with the enlightenment of finding goodness in himself through music. “It’s who I am,” he said.

To hear what the Pierce College Community thinks about the state of mental health in the music industry, listen to the audio package by staff member, Devin Malone