When Deacon Burns woke up in the hospital in November 2007, he discovered he was paralyzed. He’d never walk again.
The first thing he asked for was a pen and some paper. The jotted down lyrics. But he struggled. When his confidence waned, his partner, Kaya Rogue, encouraged him — his injury wouldn’t take away his talent as a writer, musician or performer.
“It was like my life ended. I thought it was all over for me, but Kaya, my partner, stuck by me and she’s what gave me the inspiration to continue,” Burns said. “She kept telling me, ‘Write it down. I know it’s hard, but write it down.’”
Four years later, the couple is about to celebrate the release of their first CD since his accident, which is about the end of their lives and the end of the world. The couple, who formed Kounterclockwise more than a decade ago when they were living in New York City, will perform a free show at 9 tonight at .
The album “Daylight Savings Time” is about Burns’ fear that the world will end Dec. 21, 2012, according to the Mayan calendar.
“When things really freak me out, the way to get over it is to embrace it. Like with the accident. I just had to make an album about it and get it out of the way,” said Burns, who writes most of the songs, is lead vocals and plays guitar.
Though he hopes the prediction doesn’t become a reality, he wants one thing to happen before his last day on Earth — the Browns need to win the Super Bowl.
For the past four years, Burns has had weekly doctor and physical therapy appointments. But the couple focused on the music.
“It’s hard and it’s scary but it’s something we have to deal with. And by continuing with the music, it’s the healthiest thing we can do to heal and to feel normal,” said Rogue, a New York City native.
Another setback that left Burns in the hospital on Christmas Day almost prevented him from performing. He fell out of his wheelchair and broke his femur.
“I still have a big brace on my leg and I’m in the chair, but we’re going to knock it out,” he said.
Guest performers will also help put on the show tonight, including Damon Taylor, INR CRCL and Nick Holmes. B-No Good from 2-1 Sick Radio will host the event. Kounterclockwise’s music videos will be projected on the wall, as will the work of artists. In addition, the group asks that everyone dress in a costume for a chance to win a “mystery package.”
“I want it to be Comic-Con meets Lollapalooza and kind of like a freak show,” Burns said. “The people are the characters and are part of the show.”
Burns, who attended from 1990 to 1993, says his music is “like Tribe (Called Quest) meets Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails.”
“It’s hip-hop, but it’s got a darker edge to it … I’ve always seen life with a dark blanket, but I always see the hope at the end,” he said.
Rogue, who plays bass, keyboards and takes care of the backup vocals, said she couldn’t wait to see Burns perform.
“My favorite, favorite, favorite moments when I’m with him happen when I’m with him on stage or when we’re recording. He’s so amazing on stage, I never know what to expect. I just have to be quick and on my feet,” she said. “I’m his biggest fan.”
Rogue has been his full-time caretaker since the accident, but she said it’s made them a closer, stronger couple.
“It’s so great to see him finally able to get on stage and conquer the demons he was dealing with right after his accident … It’s a scary thing to face the world with this injury. I’m really inspired that he’s ready to face that.”
Kounterclockwise CD release party Friday, Jan. 13 at MYXX, 12459 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights. Party starts at 9 p.m. The show is free, but 15 percent of the proceeds from Kounterclockwise CD and T-shirt sales will be donated to the Wheelchair Foundation, and 5 percent of MYXX's sales will also be donated to the organization.