Friends and family have confirmed that Krissy Arnold, bassist for Dallas’ Mercury Rocket, took her own life in San Francisco on Friday. She had just turned 35, and was splitting time between Texas and California in recent months. “Love each and everyone one of y'all I've had [a] personable moment with,” Arnold’s last Facebook post from Friday morning begins. And then it ends with, “Peace out."
Less than a week ago, in a interview with the Dallas Observer for an upcoming story, she spoke frankly about her suicidal thoughts. "The transgender community has one of the highest suicide rates out of any minority," she said. "I have tried to kill myself. I honestly cannot think of a trans person I have ever met that has not said they at least thought about it. That’s horrible."
Arnold also optimistically described her career arc. “I’ve been playing in bands my entire life. And I’ve been in bands who had a little local success or whatever. But honestly I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a band that was this fucking good," she said. "Ben and Grammy are like my soulmates, I love them to death. They are the greatest, weirdest people that I could ever associate myself with, and when we walk into a room magic happens."
With a background in punk rock, Arnold left her band, Giraffes Eating Lions, behind in Indianapolis and moved to Dallas in 2013. The mother of three was transitioning during the relocation. “I sold all my shit to help pay for the move down here,” Arnold told the Dallas Observer.
She started looking for people online to start a band with, wanting to pursue shoegaze or doom metal. On Tinder, she met guitarist and singer Ben Fleming, who was looking for a bassist. Drummer Graham Brotherton had already been recruited by Fleming via Craigslist. Brotherton, an employee at The Kessler Theater and a former member of a Butthole Surfers cover band for years, actually met Arnold at a venue in Indianapolis before she moved.
Fleming and Brotherton were looking for a non-traditional bass player who could produce more of a punk rock or metal sound. “They usually don’t have an amp,” Fleming said, in an interview before her death. "They just show up and want to plug in. But Krissy has a big old board with like nine pedals.”
Arnold added a lot of atmosphere to Mercury Rocket, creating sounds that resembled not only a bass or guitar but also an organ or keyboard. In January, the band released their excellent debut album, Mindbenders, which was recorded at Aqua Lab Sound Recordings in Deep Ellum.
During her interview last week, Arnold shared her thoughts on the difficulties facing transgender people. “I am extremely comfortable with the fact that I am trans. But not everybody is. All of our stories are different and there are a lot of extremely vulnerable people," she said. "We are all just trying to be ourselves and live our lives. It’s painful. We just want to exist. We have such a huge struggle to be who we are and then to throw in getting subjugated and treated like pieces of shit.”
Her friends and bandmates are rallying after news of the loss. “We’re planning to have a celebration of her life,” Graham Brotherton said. At 9 P.M. on Tuesday night, friends and family will gather at Double Wide, the bar Arnold referred to as her “Cheers.”
Mercury Rocket also have three remaining shows booked in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Marfa. Brotherton and Fleming have performed as a duo when Arnold was out of town in the past, but Arnold was scheduled to appear. The two will play these shows as a tribute to Arnold. “We’re going to record the next record,” Brotherton says, when asked about the band’s future. “We have recordings with Krissy and we will probably use a few of them.”
A GoFundMe account called The Krissy Arnold Family Fund has been setup to help support the three children Arnold left behind.