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Band of Brothers

Patrick Meese turned a lot of heads two years ago with the release of his debut EP, I Don't Buy It. But no one was more stirred by the music than his younger brother, Nathan, who was so moved by a single song that he dropped out of college in Ohio and came to Colorado to join Patrick's band.

"I had to be part of it," Nathan declares. "I remember when I got 'I Don't Buy It' on my dorm-room computer. It was better than half of the stuff I had on my iTunes at the time. I think it's one of the best songs that he's written on his own. I would've been stupid not to move out with my brother -- my friend and my former bandmate -- and get things rolling again."

Just a year apart in age, the Meese brothers grew up in Cleveland, where, bonded by a shared fondness for early-'90s grunge, they played together in bands as teenagers. Nathan was always a mama's boy, he admits, while Patrick was the fearless, adventurous one -- too adventurous for his parents' liking. By the age of seventeen, he'd developed a drug problem that his folks dealt with in short order.

"Both of my parents are recovering alcoholics," Patrick reveals. "So they saw the warning signs and kind of overreacted, but kind of not. I woke up one day and this guy's standing over my bed, and he said, 'You're going to Montana.' I'm like, 'Uh, no.' And he said, 'Yeah, come downstairs,' and they had an intervention.

"I tried to run away, the police were involved, it was really messy," he continues. "I never got to say goodbye to any of my friends. So they sent me to inpatient rehab in Montana, where I did two months. It was tough, you know. It took me a few weeks to stop hating my parents, especially. I don't know if I was necessarily addicted to the drugs that I was doing, but I was definitely addicted to my friends and my social life. I needed to be accepted, is what it came down to. So for me to be taken out of that, I was horribly resentful. Because I was missing out on everything, and that's the one thing I didn't want -- to miss out."

Nathan opted to stay at a friend's house during the intervention. "I was just about to enter my sophomore year in high school," he remembers. "It was a lot to deal with. There was definitely a feeling of 'There goes my brother' -- and we had a band going at the time -- and my friend." Losing a brother to rehab was like a living embodiment of the DARE program.

"I kind of dabbled myself a little bit," Nathan notes, "but for the most part, I just kind of hung back. I had my own group of friends, and we weren't as into drugs. And like Pat said, our parents are recovering, too. And people always say it's in your blood and be careful. It's definitely something I think about and used to think about."

Meanwhile, after a 65-day stint in Montana, Patrick was transferred to another treatment facility in northern Idaho, where he completed almost a year of treatment. "It was like a boarding school-slash-rehabilitation-slash-behavioral center," he remembers. "There were only 25 kids there, way up in the mountains. It's based upon Alcoholics Anonymous. But there were a lot of Christian people up there; 95 percent of the people who worked up there were Christians. That's where I really started to define my spirituality. I had a couple very meaningful experiences that kind of shaped me in a really short period of time. I realized that I really needed to stay sober. But I also realized that I just needed to be a better person. I think it was more of a spiritual awakening."

His bunkmate was a crack-addled kid who'd recently become a Christian. Rather than listen to his proselytizing, Patrick began reading the Bible on his own. And then something happened that changed everything. "I had this dream where I met Jesus," he says. "There was a lot to the dream, a lot of energy going back and forth, and that did it. And then, later on, I had another very intense dream, and I still don't understand what it means. But those two dreams are what have sustained my faith thus far, because I've had a lot of reasons to abandon it."

Patrick's parents weren't as quick to embrace his religious conversion.

"They were frightened at first," Patrick says, chuckling. "And now that I look at it, they had good reason to be, 'cause I was in northern Idaho. There's a lot of weirdos up there, a lot of Christian, super-right-wing weirdos. My parents were kind of freaked out. And I can see why they were skeptical at first. But then they realized it was an evangelical kind of thing. I mean, they'd be supportive of anything I'd do, which is great.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera