Suicide Silence Were in Group Therapy

  • Axl Rosenberg

suicide silence phil towle

“We were in therapy. Suicide Silence were straight-up in therapy.”

This admission from Suicide Silence guitarist Chris Garza, given during a new interview with Alt Press, is a fairly shocking one, and not just because of its personal nature: this is the kind of thing which will no doubt open the band to ridicule from more narrow-minded members of their fanbase. I mean, even Alt Press draws a comparison to Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster.

But hopefully, any fans who dig the band’s new album, You Can’t Stop Me, and who are glad that Suicide Silence have managed to soldier on despite the tragic death of vocalist Mitch Lucker, will be able to see past all that shit. Because, really, group therapy is not the worst idea for a band in the throes of conflict. As Garza and co-guitarist Mark Heylmun explain, the experience helped them confront a lot of painful issues in a way which was ultimately cathartic (or, dare I say, therapeutic):

“The guys were admittedly quite nervous about the process in the beginning. Some members participated more than others, but all of them drew closer from the experience. ‘There were things I didn’t even realize I was thinking, about Mitch, until the therapist drew it out,’ says Garza. ‘I think we all bury shit emotionally and mentally. And when somebody makes you confront it, it really sucks at first. I was a mess for a while.’

“Heylmun points out that Lucker’s death wasn’t the only issue. ‘Everybody that’s been in a band knows that everybody has those things you don’t talk about; things that are touchy subjects with different members that you just start to avoid,’ he says. ‘Therapy is where we had to bring those uncomfortable things up and talk about them, because we had to hash it out and resolve them if we were going to continue on.’”

It’s also worth noting the ways in which this is different from Some Kind of Monster: for one thing, the resulting album isn’t a staggeringly misguided piece of crap which very well may go down in history as one of the most misguided creative decisions in the history of rock music.

For another thing — and this has bothered me ever since I first saw Monster — the “therapist” with whom Metallica worked, Phil Towle, was not a therapist. Not a licensed or accredited one, anyway. Technically, he was a “Performance Enhancement Coach.” He’s definitely not a doctor; he has a Masters in Social Service Administration, which, despite its name, is not the same thing as a Masters in Social Work, and it’s certainly not a Masters in Psychology or Counseling. I basically have as much claim to being a therapist as Phil Towle does.

Of course, I have no idea who Suicide Silence saw for their sessions, but assuming it was an actual, honest-to-Freud therapist, seriously, good for them. You have to wonder how many other groups could have been saved over the years via such a process.

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