Things are going well for Lieberman, 51, who by day works as the comptroller for the town of Freeport, Long Island and by night works on his music. Lieberman said the problems began as a teen when he began to cut himself and he sporadically continued to do so until 10 years ago. Feeling intense mood swings with no viable explanation in sight, he said he rationalized that there had to be a reason for his suffering.
“I was thinking that the Lord was making bad stuff happen for me,” Lieberman said. “I figured perhaps I did something wrong and maybe if I punished myself, he would go a little easier on me.”
Lieberman said he was diagnosed with situational depression in 2001 and more recently, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 2001, he said his house burnt down due an electric fire, he said.
“I was on the toilet,” he said. “I had to run out in my underwear. We lost everything.”
Soon after, he said he voluntarily checked himself into the Psych ward at South Nassau Community Hospital. His biggest complaint, aside from a patient shouting during group therapy, was the lack of access to a highly rated TV show.
“They didn’t have channel 11,” he said. “That was because they didn’t want people watching Jerry Springer and getting worked up.”
Lieberman said he was given Zoloft, which helped, but the key is that he is now on the proper combination of medications.
“I suffered for many years,” said Lieberman, who added that he has been feeling much better for the past two years. “I am totally open with my story because I want people who might suffer to get diagnosed because they can be helped. I just kept it a secret and I thought it was a part of life and it was very hard for me.”
Lieberman has had some tough luck with love, including a third marriage that lasted only six weeks, stemming from a personal ad he put in Newsday. Ironically, it was another personal ad in Newsday that helped him meet his fourth wife, Linda. “She’s great,” he said. “She is very grounded and she’s a blessing.”
She said she didn’t expect him to become so religious. Lieberman said he believes in the Torah but not the Talmud. On the Sabbath he doesn’t go out or use the computer but he puts on the TV. As for tefillin, he does use the standard kind, made of leather.
“I don’t have a better way,” he said. “I wish I could make one out of vinyl but I can’t invent stuff right now so I use the same stuff everybody else does.”
But the punk rocker doesn’t do what the other artists do when it comes to body art. He has no tattoos, citing the prohibition in Leviticus. As for his musical inspirations, Lieberman said he grew up with Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. In describing his beliefs he said he is not exactly a karaite and with his long hair and beard, jokes that he is a nazarite “without the restriction on whiskey and wine.”
As for his music, Emily Goldsher, associate director of public relations for JDub, said Lieberman has a distinct sound.
“It''s super unique and I think other people will like listening to it,” Goldsher said. Emily Goldsher. “It''s punk rock in a way that isn’t traditional.”
His newest album includes the song Obama-Rama. Lieberman describes President Barack Obama as “a cool dude…Nixon was not and that’s what I grew up with.” Some of his songs also deal with the collapse of the economy.
Lieberman says he loves performing and will often do so with a neon green guitar. He also plays the flute. He’s a vegetarian and he hopes to visit and perform in Israel in the near future.
He also wants to help his town of 45,000 people where unemployment is a problem. As for family, Tuesday night is movie night with his girls, who are 24 and 15. And his wife Linda, who has seen his battles and his music, said she is pleased more people will hear his music.
“As with everything, there are ups and downs,” she said. “I am very proud of him and I love him.”