No Breaks: An Examination of Mental Health in the Music Industry is a photo book with journaling that attempts to dismantle common perceptions of the touring lifestyle. Drawing on my experience as a photographer on the final Vans' Warped Tour, as well as interviews with artists and crew members, the book examines the origins of these misconceptions, the conditions of touring that agitate mental illness, factors that encourage those suffering to speak up or stay silent, and ways the public can alleviate the pressure put on members of the music industry.
While touring may have been all about sex, drugs, and rock n' roll back in the 70's, the money in music has transferred to tour profits, rather than album sales. Thus, artists tour harder and more frequently, leading to an industry of overworked and usually underpaid individuals. It isn't unusual for a touring professional to work 14+ hour days, 7 days a week, and the work is sometimes back-breaking labor. Physical illness and living with coworkers can also add to the stress of an already strenuous job.
Even worse, pressures from the public, their clients, and even their coworkers can prevent those suffering with mental health issues from speaking out about it. No Breaks describes the "cycle of silence," or the high probability that those experiencing mental health issues will continue to stay silent if members of their touring crew or larger music community also fail to speak up.
The book concludes with a list of actions the public and industry can take in order to prevent and alleviate the intense pressure the music industry feels, including putting money back into music, donating to organizations that work to treat mental illness in them music industry, and offering support those who do choose to speak out. The purpose of No Breaks, however, is not to eradicate the conditions that exacerbate mental illness with a turn-key solution, but rather to explore these complex issues and create awareness. Many of the problems discussed in the book are self-perpetuating or linked with each other, and will take time, awareness, and cooperation to move forward and create a better industry for all.
- No Breaks: An Examination of Mental Health in the Music Industry