In the last issue of PROG magazine, Opeth‘s mainman Mikael Åkerfeldt reflected on the lowest points during the band’s 30-year long career, and the effects it had on his private life.
“There’s been low points with all the ex-members, but in the early days when people left or got fired, it was like, ‘Okay, this didn’t work out because you’re going this way and we’re going that way,” he commented. “But later on there were other problems — all sorts of fights, abuse of many different kinds. I don’t really want to talk about it cos we made a vow that we would never bring some of these things up. But it’s been a constant thing.“
Åkerfeldt went on telling: “At one point I thought I was going to die, it was so bad. I thought panic attacks and that sort of thing was a fucking crock of mumbo jumbo shit. I thought, ‘That’s never gonna happen to me.’ But I got so ill that I was physically sick. I had to go to the doctor. I went to therapy and started reading up on panick attacks. I started to learn more about mental health, and that it could affect you physically too. Once I knew that, it was easier for me to strike back against those symptoms.“
A few years ago, Åkerfeldt divorced.
“First we had problems in the band, then I got divorced. It was quite a few years when I wasn’t feeling that well. I had so many personal problems, it was bound to find its way into the music. More so the lyrics, actually. I had to re-evaluate my life. The ‘Heritage‘ album was when I started to that.“
It took twelve years from 2002 to 2014 to sort all of the problems, both within the band and in his private life.
Asked if there are still problems in Opeth, Mikael responded:
“Of course. There are problems in any band. But they pale in comparison to the shit that was happening around the millennium.“