Sal Costa on music career and hitting rock bottom

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Salvatore Costa is best known for his contribution as a guitarist for the band ‘My Darkest Days’. He later formed the band ‘Smashing Satellites’. In a recent Ted-X event, Sal spoke about his rise in the music industry and later loosing all of it.


The rockstar dream as a kid

Sal talked about how music was his passion as a kid. He dreamt about being a rockstar as a kid every night. As a kid he would spend every moment playing the guitar, singing and songwriting. In those days, music was his first love and it made him really happy. Gradually, he started thinking about becoming a rockstar during the day. Even in school, when his teachers would call out his name, there would not be any response, cause Sal would be lost in his head. As high school came to an end, Sal dropped out in the first year of college and saw his friends move on to accomplish great things in life, while Sal would only be singing in local clubs in front of a small crowd.

Success as a rockstar

Sal claimed he didn’t want the things his friends had but he wanted to feel validated. He wanted to achieve the financial accolades so he started thinking about how to turn his passion for music into a business. Later on, he would spend a large amount of time just thinking about how he could earn more and more and would spend time praying to the universe to help him make it. At that time, becoming big, powerful and known was more important than his love for music. After years of hustling, he hit his big break. He joined a band with which he enjoyed great success. Their debut single reached No. 1 on the American Billboard top 100 rock charts, becoming the biggest song in rock in America that year. It was also one of the top 5 most purchased music video that year on Itunes becoming gold, then platinum. They were also nominated for a Juno award in Canada. Sal was hanging around celebritites, women around him all the time with good amount of alcoh*l and dr*gs.

Mental Struggle as a Rockstar

Once, Sal was walking, thinking to himself and having this feeling of deja vu. This was his childhood dream manifested into reality but something was different. He wasn’t happy. He didn’t feel fulfilled. He wasn’t sure why anymore. He had lost the love. He had put an immense amount of pressure on himself to just make it that he wasn’t loving it anymore. Even after manifesting the dream, Sal felt depressed. He was filled with anxiety and began taking extremely addictive medications which were really difficult to get off of. Sal was not even close to 30 years of age and he was taking an extreme amount of narcotics to just somehow manange to survive. Sal explains that there were times when he couldn’t get to bed because he couldn’t even walk. He would cry uncontrollably and still head to the stage which had become his battlefield.

For years, Sal never told anybody about how he was feeling. He kept those feelings inside because he was so scared and ashamed of even thinking about walking away from something he had spent his whole life on. He chose to stick with it even though he was suffering very deeply on the inside out of fear of having to walk away.

Panic Attack

One night, during a meet and greet with fans after the show, Sal felt like a bolt of lightening through his body. He suffered a panic attack. Although he had suffered a lot of panic attacks in his life, Sal never felt one like this before. He went completely blank not knowing what to do. Sal described like a primal energy taking over him telling him to run and so he just ran right out of the venue and further down the street.

Sal realised that he was running from all the lies that he had been living and at this point he knew that he couldn’t run any further. Realising that all the things that people would feel about him walking away didn’t outweigh how empty and lonely he felt.

Picking up Cooking

Sal neglected all the other pieces in his life while living his life as Sal the rockstar. At that point in his life, he didn’t even realise what the other pieces were anymore because he was far into music. Sal had lost himself completely as he explains. He had hit rock bottom. This was the scariest and hardest point in his entire life and somehow he walked away from it in the hope of finding himself. Sal began working as a cook in a kitchen out of sheer desperation to find some passion other than music. As he began cooking more, the love for cooking increased and that triggered a lot of memories that Sal had buried a long time ago. Some of the happiest moments of his childhood which was him as a little boy being in the kitchen with his grandparents and his parents as they made italian dishes which would make him feel happy.

So, it was through cooking that Sal began to see that there was more to him than Sal the rockstar. Sal talks about many moments, pieces and memories that made him who he was like his family, animals, martial arts, travelling, exploring etc and for years, Sal had neglected these parts.

The Realisation

According to Sal, the human body cannot function off of a diet of chocolate. It will survive but not well. This was the same thing with human spirit. If it is neglected of all the things that make it whole, it won’t flourish. This was a massive revelation for him and he made peace with himself. Things changed and he became happy.

Picking up music again

However things changed again. Some time back, Sal met with his old friends Bryne Burne and Dave Benedict who had also lost the passion for music. They really bonded with this common experience. They decided to fly to the west coast to just write, create and see if there was still something left in music. When they started playing music, Sal realised that music still felt great and the passion for music was back. Sal realised that he was doing it for the right reasons. It was only when Sal decided to walk away from all of it that he realised that he didnt need a music career to feel whole.

You know there is nothing in the world than playing in front of 50,000 screaming fans. Nothing. But there is something better. The sound of my kids laughing, cozy nights at home, creating music with the people I love true friendship and family…………………………………………………………………….. You know I have gone through a lot of crazy things in my life. I never had a ridiculous amount of experiences being a rockstar and I’m young and I’m sure there will be a lot more, but if there is one thing in my life, that I am most grateful for, it is hitting rock bottom.

Sal Costa

So this was Sal’s experience regarding hitting rock bottom. We wish him all the best for future.

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