Even MORE About DSM 5

By admin

DSM5 formed in January 2000, nurtured by The Living Museum, an artist’s asylum in Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, Queens N.Y. The band rose out of the depths like the Phoenix. Taking its name from the next phase of the psychiatrist’s diagnostic manual and beyond, DSM5 is an eclectic mixture of diagnosed and undiagnosed musicians who use their common sensitivity, vulnerability, and fragility as their weapon. This joint venture of outpatients, volunteers, and hospital staff, cleverly dubbed by Museum director Dr. Janos Marton, indicates the next step in mental health, “Requiring extreme creativity as a symptom of mental illness.”

“Art is fed by the experience of freedom,” the doctor says, “and to quote Janis Joplin, ‘freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.’ If your creator spoke with you and you are still here to tell your story, it sure is an exciting and special story to hear. That’s an advantage that others don’t have. This band writes songs from the bottom of their heart and the bottom of the pecking order. Rock bottom is a great place to write from. With DSM5 you are faced with songwriters and musicians who have the freedom of fools, and there is nothing more exciting and even dangerous than someone speaking the truth.”

DSM5‘s musical glue is NYU alumna and music therapist Mary Beth Pepe, who co-writes, sings, plays keyboards and deftly keeps the band as tight as they can be.











The band is fortunate to have TWO drummers, Harold Hanna and Spiros Arnakis, though they are never in the same place at once.

Spiros Arnakis













Tim Noe brings Boho hipster cred via Beefheartian blaring on his 24-carat sax.


Philip Velazquez‘s fleet-fingered fretwork makes him a worthy guardian of the Gibson. Tim Quinton anchors the din with rock solid bass.

Philip Velazquez, Harold Hanna and Timothy Quinton







Erin Armstrong is a fine Irish lass who sings with plenty of moxie and heartbreaking tenderness.










DSM5‘s front man and principal songwriter is Issa Ibrahim. Though he conjures the image of Johnny Mathis on amphetamines, he is pleased to have been called ‘Chocolate Elvis.’ A devotee of pop song-craft, he brings British Invasion beat music by way of Black America by way of Bedlam into the mix with a healthy dose of introspection, social consciousness and mental health perspectives.


A collective who creates an intriguing set of dreamy folk, jazz-infused angular rock, psychedelic blues, and moody, melodic, experimental pop with a flair for the absurd, DSM5’s music is honest, heartfelt, and thought provoking, conveying themes of troubled souls, outsiders, and imagery from the land of the broken. Their message is ultimately positive, one of caring, inclusion, and empowerment, challenging us to look at ourselves and reflect on who we are and who we are going to be.


Contact: dsm5@dsm5band.com     Catch us on twitter and facebook