The Icarus Line
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February 7, 2016

Jubilee (Hard Listening)

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Thanks to Erik Wheeldon for informing me of a really comprehensive Jubilee interview starring Aaron North, Michael Shuman and (to a lesser extent) Jeff Lynn. During the interview, topics ranged from how The Icarus Line disintegrated (before Joe Cardamone put the band back together again), Aaron starting Jubilee after leaving NIN, the recording process for the songs which starred a plethora of drummers, touring UK… Anyway, you can read the full interview over at Hard Listening here.

Reading the Hard Listening article did make me wonder as to what Aaron North has been up to since the 2013 Spin article detailed his “Sad Descent From Nine Inch Nails to Nowhere”. Unfortunately however, I could only glean some information regarding his then condition from commenters gossiping on Reddit, and whilst it’s hard to confirm as to whether there is any shred of truth to them, they did delve into some of the subjects that might have led to Aaron’s decline. You can read more here, here, and here, but below are some of the choicest comments:

Very sad article. I went drinking with him (and the others) in Helsinki after the last gig of that European tour. He was definitely pretty manic, had done his stab-an-amp-with-a-guitar thing, and spent most of the night trying to choose which two from a gaggle of little blonde groupies to take to his room, whilst being a dick to everyone else.

I met him on tour with NIN, and he seemed really really chill. He seemed like he knew how fortunate he was at the time.

His band after NIN, Jubilee, was great imho. Sadly, they never released a propped record, only an ep and a couple of poorly put together singles. Aaron actually owes me $20 as I gave the band a chance with their proto kick starter that went nowhere.

He just seems like a liar. All his friends tip-toe around it but everyone seems to know. Then he pisses and moans that his “friends” aren’t good enough friends. He doesn’t seem like a great friend at all.

I completely agree. Spent a night with him and Jubilee a few summers ago and he was just off his face on coke, and slept with one of the local girls. The rest of them didn’t seem as bad and I had an awesome time with them. Never been a fan of North since.

I have to agree. Knew someone exactly like him. Amazing guitarist who let his ego get to him. Did so much drugs that he hid behind mental illness. Sad thing is his mental illness is the result of too much drugs.
After seeing what his colleagues have said, I think it’s pretty clear he burned out and is trying to excuse the shit he’s done.

They came and did a show here at a small club in my town, which was very very very rare, a small club in the middle of the UK, it was surreal. Thanks to this, I had an awesome night and got to hang with them all, got a few rounds of JD in. But though, one thing I could tell all night is how North was so off his face, you could tell he’d been on the the powder. He ended up sleeping with one of the local girls as well. It therefore doesn’t surprise me that he had an addiction, and although he was a great guitarist, I never really likened to him, but I think it may be because I love Finck so much. Finck just fits with NIN, his attitude is more mature and he’s just awesome.

One problem for North is that he suffers from a disorder that can appear to others to be symptoms of drug use, specifically amphetamines/methamphetamines/other uppers. Mania and being high on amphetamines can look 100% the same, and they feel pretty similar too (I’m a therapist and a bipolar patient myself). In bipolar disorder, mania is the hardest mood state to treat, and it can result in some bizarre behaviors, and even turn into psychosis. It’s also influenced by external factors – the energy from playing a live show can very easily trigger mania.

His mental illness looks like past drug abuse and vice versa. Naturally, because of past drug-fueled behavior, they assume that drugs are still the underlying cause. And he may very well have used drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. I saw it ALL time when I was working. It’s really sad because now the individual has TWO massive problems to sort out, and they are heavily interwoven… It’s a shame to see how mental illness and drug abuse ruin lives. And it touched us all too – never again will we see the beautiful piece of himself he brought to NIN.

So there you go… that hedonistic lifestyle catches up with you eventually.

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  1. Stephen

    I just thought I would share with you that I contacted Topspin to see if they had any information on Jubilee and what has happened with the funds we all put up. They have eventually got back to me to say that they no longer have any dealings with Aaron or Jubilee. They did say that if I gave them my postal address they would reach out to Aaron and see if he would send me through a CD. Is it worth us all doing this on mass to see if we could convince him to distribute the unfinished album to the people who wanted to hear it?

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