Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, and Finding Recovery

Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, and Finding Recovery

by Ryan Dusick
Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, and Finding Recovery

Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, and Finding Recovery

by Ryan Dusick



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Two decades after Songs About Jane, Maroon 5’s original drummer presents an unflinching examination of fame, anxiety, mental health, and recovery

In the nineties, Ryan Dusick and his friends Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael dreamed about making it big . . . and against all odds, they did. This inside story recounts Maroon 5’s founding and their road to becoming Grammy-winning megastars, told through the eyes of former drummer Ryan Dusick. He takes readers behind the scenes of the band’s meteoric rise to success—and the grueling demands that came with it—as well as his personal struggles with anxiety and addiction after his departure from the band.

For Maroon 5, fame came with a platinum debut record, jam sessions with Prince in his own living room, and encounters with celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, and Bono. For Dusick, stardom came to an abrupt halt with the devastating loss of his ability to play drums due to chronic nerve damage. 

Alongside Maroon 5’s story of camaraderie and pressure, Dusick interweaves his own narrative: a decade lost to liquor and antianxiety medication, his ferocious commitment to recovery, and his current perspective as a professional counselor. With a candor that will speak to anyone who has struggled with mental health, Harder to Breathe moves beyond celebrity to examine the nature of human heartbreak and resilience, and to buoy anyone currently facing similar challenges.

Ultimately, Harder to Breathe is a roller-coaster memoir about how making it to the top sent Dusick to the bottom—and how he let go of the past and embraced a new future, one breath at a time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781637742341
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 11/15/2022
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,022,098
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Ryan Dusick is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist with an MA in Clinical Psychology and the founding drummer of the world’s most popular band, Maroon 5.

As a boy, he dreamt of pitching for the Dodgers and writing adventure novels. Arm injuries sidelined his burgeoning baseball career, just as rock music became his new passion and purpose. Founding the band Kara’s Flowers in 1994 with fellow Brentwood High School students Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, and Adam Levine, Ryan worked tirelessly through his college years at UCLA before the band changed its name to Maroon 5 and finally had its first hit record, Songs About Jane. Multiple hit songs, two Grammy Awards, and 20 million albums sold later, Ryan found himself suffering and without direction as his career as a performer came to an end, just as it was taking off.

Struggling with physical and mental health challenges, Ryan finally overcame his struggles in 2016, when he began his journey of recovery, culminating in a new life path full of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Now working as a mental health professional at The Missing Peace Center for Anxiety in Agoura Hills, CA, Ryan is spreading the message that recovery is possible, and some astounding things can come with it.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Survivor's Note 1

Prologue: A Musician Never Reveals His Secrets 3

1 At the Intersection 12

2 Smells Like Teen Spirit 23

3 Fuck You, I Won't Do What You Tell Me 35

4 Kara's Flowers in Bloom 45

5 Just Like Suicide 54

6 The Times They Are A-Changin' 66

7 Breaking the Fourth World 77

8 Searching for the Ground, with My Good Eye Closed 87

9 The Renaissance 101

10 What a Maroon! 118

11 The Making of Songs About Jane 131

12 Get in the Van 143

13 The Man in the Arena 155

14 Try Harder 164

15 Cracks in the Ceiling 175

16 The Big Time 190

17 The Small Time 200

18 Fame & Fortune, Part One 212

19 Fame & Fortune, Part Two 225

20 The Lost Weekend 236

21 The Illusion of Control 247

22 Connection and Purpose 261

23 The Impossible Has Happened 272

24 There's No Time Like the Present 287

Acknowledgments 300

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“When we first got together and played music, it was one of the best times of my life. In his words, I can practically see and feel those moments again. So, I hope you have fun while reading this—but I also hope you walk away with inspiration from what Ryan has accomplished and achieved.”
Adam Levine
“I didn’t know there was so much I didn’t know about my friend Ryan . . . He shares about his pain and discovery with such vulnerability and honesty and wit, and I’m inspired by his transformation. His willingness to invite others towards themselves through his own story, is undoubtedly going to help a lot of people.”
Sara Bareilles
“Ryan captures youth and success in all their contradictions; the delirious joy, the heady sense of discovery, the searing bliss, the heartbreak, the confusion, the pain and disappointment. The real beauty of his story, however, lies in what comes later: finding balance, peace, and meaning as the light and noise of youth and fame dim . . . His story resonates with universal truths far deeper than the particulars of his path.”
Mickey Madden
Harder to Breathe is not only a detailed chronicle of the early days of the band, but an inspiring story of redemption. Ryan’s personal journey is inspiring and will remind those in need of help that change is possible.”
James Valentine
“Ryan had to face a devastating loss and step away from the group just as our childhood dreams were coming true. How he navigated his way through such a difficult life experience is admirable and inspiring., and now here is this book for you to read.”
Jesse Carmichael

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