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Occasionally issues in mental health can be detrimental to composers, especially those in a band. One such composer cofounded a band which lasted many decades, although he was only a member for a few short years. He worked on one full album as the primary composer, and he contributed to a second album during the years he remained part of the band. Following heavy use of psychedelic drugs, primarily acid, this composer seemed to undergo a drastic change that involved social withdrawal, hallucinations, disorganized speech, memory lapses, intense mood swings, periods of catatonia, and a blank, empty stare.
Although never formally diagnosed, many believed that this composer suffered from schizophrenia. Following a tour where his ability to play became very sporadic, the band had another guitarist substitute for him, and shortly thereafter the group announced that he was no longer a member and he had moved back to Cambridge. Although no longer a member of the band and not always remaining in contact, the other bandmates still supported this artist’s work and even wrote a song dedicated to him on a future album. Talented both in playing and writing, this composer was able to continue with some solo work after his band years. People who worked with him, however, always had a difficult time due to his erratic and difficult behavior.
After his solo years, this artist attempted to reside out of the spotlight, although he was harassed by paparazzi until his death. Almost twenty years after leaving the music industry for good he was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. His closest companion was his sister Rosemary who lived near him in Cambridge and was his main contact with the outside world during his later years. He enjoyed many other things outside of music, including painting, photography, and horticulture. In fact he even studied painting in London for a time. After his death, his sister discovered that he had written an unpublished book on art history. He received royalties until his death, totaling 1.7 million pounds, which he gave to his two brothers and two sisters. Following his death, a tribute concert took place, and a year following that there was a series of events celebrating his art, music, and life. After this festival’s success, an arts charity announced plans to create a center in Cambridge to use arts to help people suffering from mental health problems. In the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge, a memorial bench has been placed, and at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, which is where this artist played his final disastrous gig, a piece of artwork has been placed to commemorate his life and work. Of all this recognition, his sister says that he was just having fun. Although the impact of the drugs and possible mental health issues led to this artist leaving his band, he still inspired many regarding music. Even posthumously he provided inspiration for the creation of a mental health arts center, and so I believe that having difficulties in mental health does not have to define you even if it influences the direction your life may take.
Once again, the answer is in the links if you’re curious as to whom this artist is.
https://paintedbrain.org – Painted Brain Intern
Music and Mental Health: Guess Who (II)