CINCINNATI - Sometimes even Superman falls, sings John Preston.
The Marine combat veteran and Tri-State native has been fighting post-traumatic stress disorder one song at a time, touring the country with his music, singing about veterans and their suffering.
Two of his songs appear on the album, “Battle Cry: Songs of America's Heroes,” which made the top 40 of the rock chart on its first day of release on iTunes last Friday. He donates every nickel to the cause.
You see, Preston shares the pain.
The Warsaw, Kentucky, native and firefighter had been channeling his own struggles with PTSD for years through music when he got that call last year that he'd lost his ‘Superman,” his big brother, to that awful disorder.
Michael Preston was a Newport police officer, husband and father of four.
“The night that I got the phone call about Michael taking his life, the cameras were rolling. We were getting ready to go on stage in Sacramento,” Preston remembers.
“And I felt like a failure. I felt like, What am I doing? I need to put the guitar down. I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I failed my own family. I missed it because I was too busy out preaching it - 22 veterans a day commit suicide - all over the country. And I missed it in my own home.”
When Preston did pick up his guitar again in the middle of one winter night, a song poured out for his brother.
LISTEN TO "Superman Falls:"
Michael was Superman to a lot of people.
“An awesome dad,” John said.
I had to ask him, then, how Michael could take his own life:
“So in some piece of his mind, he knows this is going to hurt people and yet he could not … reconcile whatever was going on inside him," I said. What do you think that is?”
“I think there's a monster,” John replied.
“I think that at the moment that Michael pulled the trigger, if there would've been one thought left, it would've been regret … But at that moment, whatever box he was trapped inside of in his own head, he wasn't able to get out of.”
Everything is changing
When Superman falls.
Preston hopes his album helps others hear a message that's helped free him.
Don't suppress. Let it out. There is no such thing as weakness.
Of course, Preston hopes his music makes a real difference to save other families the pain his has suffered.