John Wiederhorn (writer)
“Me and Chris are so brutal and we fight so bad we sometimes want to kill each other,” Brink says, hands clasped like a child in prayer. “We’re both Sagittarius and we’re really stubborn. He’s the metal crazy dude, and I love all the heavy stuff, but I also love U2, Ani DiFranco, and Death Cab for Cutie. So when we write, there’s some intense, psycho shit going down with all this yelling and throwing things. And, neither of us get what we originally wanted. But in the end, that’s what makes our music different.”
The only child of a hippie mom who raised her on Black Sabbath, Patti Smith, and Rolling Stones, Brink first showed an interest in performing at age 5, when she would recruit local kids from her trailer park to act in versions of Annie and The Wizard of Oz. But that was the end of the “good times.” Her father bailed on the family, she was sexually abused “a few times,” and her mother became heavily addicted to drugs. In response, Brink became surly and rebellious, severely depressed, even suicidal. Then, at 15, she became pregnant with her son, Davion.
“Getting pregnant gave my life a whole new meaning,” she declares. “There was suddenly this bright light where there had only been darkness. I really think my son saved my life. I couldn’t feel sorry for myself anymore because I had to take care of this baby.”
Brink moved out of her mom’s place and got her own apartment. She worked in a laundromat to pay the rent and was too occupied with raising a child to think about her career. Then, when Davion got older, Brink was consumed with her mom’s ever-worsening drug habit. Eventually, Brink was forced to check her mom into rehab. However, as with most of her past traumas, the singer looks back at the ordeal as a learning experience, and her mother’s struggle with drugs (which she’s since kicked) as her motivation not to use.
When her mom had finally detoxed, Brink suddenly had more time to worry about herself. She went into therapy, then embarked on a motivational book and video kick that helped boost her confidence and gave her the strength to follow her dreams. She turned 18, decided she wanted to be a singer, and formed a band called Pulse with some musicians in Albany. The group opened local shows for Coal Chamber and Sevendust, then broke up. Convinced she would have better luck in Los Angeles, she packed up her belongings in a UHaul, towed her car behind her, and spent four days driving to Los Angeles. “I was terrifi ed, but at the same time, it was liberating,” she says of the 2002 pilgrimage. “I got there on the Fourth of July, and there were all these fi reworks going off, which was amazing. And then suddenly I was like, ‘Okay, what the hell do I do now?’”