The Destructive Behavior Men Struggle With That Got Me Forced Out Of Maroon 5

Men are told this traditional 'masculine' behavior will keep them safe. Ryan Dusick, founding drummer of Maroon 5, disagrees.

Members of Maroon 5, Ryan Dusick isolated with a secret, colored blue to represent depression Featureflash Photo Agency via Shutterstock | Canva

He was at the peak of his career, and everything seemed like a dream. Ryan Dusick started a band with high school friends and helped lead them as a self-taught drummer. After a few years and many struggles, they re-emerged as Maroon 5 and took the world by storm. They even won a Grammy.

He should've been over the moon, but he kept a secret inside. He was in pain, experiencing weakness and numbness in his hands and unable to keep time. He was also struggling emotionally. But he told nobody, and the secret eventually led to him being pushed out of his own band, incapable of playing on their second Maroon 5 album. 


On a recent episode of the Open Relationships: Transforming Together podcast, host Andrea Miller sat down with Dusick to talk about the destructive behavior many men face and how this played a role in his departure from the band — the one that contributed to the end of his musical career. After that, this same behavior contributed to hiding mental health struggles and a serious substance use disorder. 

How 'male silence' ended Ryan Dusick's career & harms many men's lives

Being in a huge band took a lot of emotional strength and hard work. At first, he believed he could keep up with it all. He thought his self-taught style of drumming would hold up to the intensity of drumming on stage during a massive tour. 


Dusick says, "The hours were long, the drives were long. You know, there were times when we didn't have a lot of sleep, and I certainly was exhausted, but I felt like I was able to keep up with the pace of it. "

But with 90-minute sets every night, hardly any sleep, and more responsibilities pilling up, well, even the toughest of us would begin to struggle.

He explains, "One day we did The Ellen DeGeneres show. One day we were live on the air on KISS FM. You know, just like it was it. There was no rest, there was no stopping. And that just continued from that point on."

On top of that, Dusick began to feel the pressure of not measuring up. He wanted to be the best drummer he could be but he didn't have a professional background. Unlike his peers, he was completely self-taught. 


"I was also highly perfectionistic and always wanting to be at the very best of what I could achieve," Dusick told Miller. Because of this, he kept his suffering quiet, as many men are taught to do.

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And as he found himself around people who were more talented or went to the best top schools, Dusick began to experience imposter syndrome


He was under a lot of pressure to measure up to these guys, and his mind was filled with self-doubt. However, Dusick believed that if he kept pushing and "toughening it out, "then he would eventually be fine. 

But as he points out, "In retrospect, I think I do believe that everyone was going through something [due to] the pressure [and] the demands of the lifestyle, maybe in slightly different ways, based upon our own different temperaments and personalities. "

And despite his best efforts to perfect his craft — even to the point of not drinking or smoking — it didn't matter. This imposter syndrome continued to follow him everywhere. 

He recalls, "I think the first time I ever really experienced imposter syndrome as a drummer was when I watched Travis Barker, who at the time was in a band called the Aqua. "


Barker was classically trained in percussion, experienced in band, and able to do this technique where he could play both fast and powerful.

Dusick continues, "And backstage he would have a little drum pad strapped to his knee, and he was just doing his para doodles and rudiments, things I had never even heard of that didn't even occur to me."

As a result of his technique, he was diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in his right shoulder and thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused his right arm to slow down.

@yourtango Ryan Dusick, the founding drummer of @Maroon 5, shares his story of rehabilitation and recovery on the latest episode of the ‘Open Relationships’ podcast - available now! #drummer #musician #maroon5 #podcast ♬ original sound - YourTango

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But despite this setback, he continued to push himself. He went to doctor after doctor and did physical therapy, but he kept on playing the drums, knowing it would worsen his injuries. 

"I couldn't keep up with the track," he explained. "There was a playback coming and I kept getting off the track and it was embarrassing."

And after struggling for so long, Dusick was finally asked to leave the band. He admits he saw it coming, but still clung on to hope. However, he knew it was over when Adam Levine delivered the news to him personally. 

Dusick recalls "And he phrased it that way. What happens if not if the same thing happens? But what happens when the same thing happens? And so I knew. I knew at that moment there was there was no bargaining with this. This was this was a done deal."


Describing it as devasting, Dusick sank into a deep depression, and that's when the drinking and alcohol abuse began. 

Dusick admits, "You know, you just you put so much pressure on yourself and you're, you don't have to be perfect all the time. You could let go a little bit. And so alcohol became a facilitator of that."

It was a tough road to face the truth and start the recovery process, and Dusick knows now that things might have been easier if he'd just opened up. He knows that most likely, much of the problem could've been prevented. 


There's a lesson here for so many men. In our society, men are told to keep quiet, power through, and deal with problems on their own. 

But as a therapist today, he's ready to share his story to help others steer clear of the same mistakes he had made. And this all begins with asking for help.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.