A Former Bandmate’s Reply to Gopal’s Post

For those of you who don’t know, Bella Morte and the members of it used to be my world. It was the grand summation of my proudest artistic achievements, my most successful business venture, and the group of friends who I traveled the world with, and who I had sworn my allegiance to.

There was a time where I called Andy my best friend and thought of him like the brother I never had. He was my business partner, my band mate, my gym buddy. We not only shared a van together traveling around the world, but a house together when we got home. I have his handprint (CD art we had done) tattooed on my arm, and he has my memento mori drawing (art from another CD we did together) tattooed across his back; people used to call us “twinsies.” So trust me when I say I am not making this post with a light heart.

Andy’s actions caused me to leave the band. His actions also put things in motion which essentially ruined my life for a number of years, made me give up on music, and even the will to live.

I fought for him the way that I would fight for my mom or dad. I believed in him. I saw the red flags, but I didn’t want to believe that he was the dark and scary thing that I could feel moving under the cracks of his smiling mask sometimes.

At some point, I told myself, “Yeah, he has a problem with what he does with women, but he can change.” Even worse I thought, “Well, he can’t be trusted with women, but I don’t necessarily think he would lie to me…especially about business…or art…or in a way that could wreck me as a person.”

Unfortunately, that is the thing, what predatory men do to women isn’t just “boys being boys.” In my assessment, I think these behaviors generally accompany a deep-seated lack of any sort of real empathy for another person. The type of person who seems to enjoy the suffering of others, especially if it is by his hands.

The type of person who thinks he is too smart to ever get caught. People are oftentimes just targets, and resources to men like this. I don’t think I will ever know with scientific proof that this description fits Andy, but I fear it may.

It’s hard to say, but here it is:

Andy can be a dangerous person if you have something he wants. Protect yourself emotionally if you have any interactions with him. As much as it may seem like the God’s honest truth, do not trust what he says with blind faith.

I wish I had spoken out about this years ago. His actions and deceptions put things in motion that shattered my life. I felt like I had no power to speak up, like no one would listen to a stupid nobody, not against the word of someone so popular and charming as Andy Deane. I even blamed myself somehow.

Instead of trying to make the situation better, I hid. I started removing myself from everything where I might have to see him, or run into him, and he seemed to be everywhere, so I just hid from public altogether. I basically stopped using Facebook, quit going to shows, and anywhere else in our small town of Charlottesville that I might see him.

Even after all the bad things that seemed to stem from him, I still hoped we could make things right. I still hoped that something would change, and he would magically be my friend and brother again at some point. I hoped he could get better.

I would like to hope that mental health played a large part in the things he did, that he wasn’t just being a dick for all those years. I hope that is the case. I hope medicine can fix someone like Andy. I hope that it is not just a broken empathy chip, or worse, a deep-seated desire to harm others. It is hard to even understand how a person could do the things that he has done and show no real sign of remorse. Even worse, to brag that he “liked himself just the way he was and wouldn’t change anything…for anyone.”

I thought I was too clever to be deceived, but I wasn’t. If you think that you know him, and this post makes you uncomfortable, I would ask that you stop and really evaluate your relationship with him. Ask yourself if there is anything he could possibly want from you. If there is, be sure to guard it, or you may find yourself regretting your lack of situational awareness in the future.

If you are a young girl, don’t believe that his interests are strictly platonic. If you have money, power, connections, or skill, don’t underestimate the draw that may present for him. Lastly, I think the worst thing Andy can imagine is to lose the love of his fans. So if you are still a fan, maybe you can help. Hold him accountable for his actions. Demand that he seek help. Silence on issues like this only makes things worse. Speaking out can be hard, but it can also be the right thing to do.