Not everyone, of course, is as strong-willed as Danny, and unlike him, many musicians also suffer from poor mental health. Add in an industry that often exploits those it makes money from, even the strongest will can be overwhelmed. Ginger Wildheart, the 56-year-old frontman of The Wildhearts – whose 2019 mini-LP, Diagnosis, is all about mental health and the government’s inability to adequately tackle it – is a case in point. Ginger does still drink, although his days of excess are long gone, but he has seen how touring life encourages people to fall down that slippery slope.
“There are a lot of different elements to blame,” he says. “You also turn up at a venue and get paid with a fridge full of beer at lunchtime, so you end up drinking heavily every night because it’s all part of the circus. The industry is filled with greedy bastards who only have their own interests at heart. Arguably, the industry has killed a lot of these fallen rock stars, because they’ve allowed this to happen. People don’t get addictions overnight – it’s a long, drawn-out process that everyone’s allowed to happen.”
As much as Ginger blames the music industry, to really make a difference within it, he believes that it’s imperative to start outside of it. And while charities like MusiCares and the UK’s Help Musicians/Music Minds Matter do their bit, as festivals like Download also become more mental health-aware in recent years, more needs to be done.
“There needs to be some kind of platform to talk about this,” says Ginger. “Everybody needs to be talking about this. There needs to be a campaign that includes every celebrity who’s ever been affected by this. It needs an education that begins in school, so that kids are made aware and they don’t grow up with these things being stigmas. Because they aren’t.”
Check out Help Musicians, Music Minds Matter and MusiCares for more info.
If you’re struggling with your own mental health, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you can trust – a friend, a family member, a teacher, a doctor or a counsellor. Find more information on how to look after your mental health at the Mental Health’s Foundation.
And if you need help immediately, we recommend these organisations:
- CALM: thecalmzone.net or call 0800 58 58 58
- The Samaritans UK: samaritans.org or call 116 123
- Or, in the U.S., the Samaritans helpline: (877) 870 4673 (HOPE)