The Bronx – White Guilt
How’s your self-esteem in 2018?
“It’s good. One of the things about being a musician is that it’s so all encompassing. This is basically all I do. So when I stretch out of my comfort zone to try other things – things like photography, or painting or something life that – that’s when my low self-esteem creeps back in and I start to think that maybe I don’t have the skills to do these things. But, in general, life is pretty good. We’ve been doing this thing for more than 15 years now… and it just feels good. I’m happy with where I’m at in my life right now.”
You’ve spoken about your own mental health, and about depression in the past. Is this the thing that plagues you?
“Oh yeah, 100 per cent. And you just never know when it’s gonna come up. When we recently came back from Australia everyone was super jet-lagged, and I could feel myself creeping down into that spot where I could tell I was low. It’s crazy how soul-destroying thoughts can creep into your brain, like, ‘What am I doing here? What am I doing with my life?’ It never really goes away and I’m aware that it’s always going to be around. But these days I have way much more control over it. I’ve got to a place where I can recognise what’s happening, and for me that’s an amazingly powerful thing. Because once it gets control of your mind, or when you no longer have control of your thoughts, that’s when things get really, really dark. For me, it’s always going to be an issue, as it is for a lot of people. But it’s about talking about it and communicating what’s going on. It’s about realising that no-one is perfect.”
Is one of the ways of dealing with these thoughts to remain aware that sometimes your mind is an unreliable narrator?
“100 percent. I remember going to seminars that deal with this kind of thing, and it’s amazing to learn that your brain isn’t always telling you what’s good for you. In fact, it can be the opposite. Your mind will sometimes tell you things that aren’t fucking true.”
One particular episode resulted in a panicked phone call to your bandmate Joby Ford. Tell us about that, please.
“I was messing around with a bunch of drugs. I had a couple of buddies over at the apartment, and one of them had a bunch of pills, but didn’t know what they were. At that time we were so high that we just started popping them. And it was a really dark thing; it was really, really bad. Before you know it, I’m laying in my bed after everyone had gone and I felt that my heart was growing and starting to beat out of my chest and getting faster and faster and faster. At the same time, I felt that my body was sinking into the bed. It felt like I couldn’t move my arms, and, basically, it felt like I was dying. I got super freaked out, so I called Joby and I called my brother and said, ‘Hey man, I’m overdosing and I don’t really know what to do right now.’ It was a super scary moment. Fortunately I was able to get to the hospital and from thereon out I was alright, thank God. They were able to fix me up, and I haven’t really gone down that road since.”
Do you mean you don’t take drugs any more?
“Well, not exactly. I’m always gonna be the kind of guy that partakes in a little bit of weirdness every now and again, but in a lot of ways I think it’s about how you approach drugs. At that point in my life I was approaching drugs from a dark place. I was in a bad, bad way. I never want to go down that road again. It’s crazy how fortunate I am. When I was young I did so many drugs, all the while thinking that I was invincible – and we all know that if you take that attitude, you can die. It’s that simple. But I have the band, and that is the thing that has literally saved my life. It’s given me a purpose, it’s given me something to do and a place that I can put my energies. I’m super thankful for that.”