Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt Says Going on Tour is “Agony”
Going on tour is not for everyone. The extended periods away from the comforts of home (basic things like your bed, regular hot showers, decent food), time away from family and friends, the endless drives, the hours spent killing time before and after shows… it’s a grueling slog that often gets overlooked when fans and aspiring musicians glorify “the rock star life.”
Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt, at least at this point in his career, is over it. In a recent interview with HeadbangersLifestyle [transcribed by Blabbermouth], Mikael revealed that he dreads going on tour and finds it difficult to stay in a good headspace other than when he’s on stage performing. Asked how he feels prior to going on tour, this is how he responded:
“Agony. Sitting at home not wanting to go… Generally, it’s a terrible thing for me to be facing a tour. I have a girlfriend and two daughters back home [and] two cats that I don’t want to leave, but this is what I do. I love to play with the guys [and] be on stage, but you’re in a fragile state of mind — or I am, at least — when you’re on tour. You have, like, a little family away from home, which is the guys in the band, but the moment someone else steps in, that circle is broken, and you’re insecure and you want to go home, basically. My best moments on tour is when we’re on stage playing and when we’re in the dressing room afterwards talking about the show. The rest I can definitely live without.”
“Back in the day, you got sedated by vodka. Drinking and listening to music, and we still do that. That’s fun, but it gets very samey after how many years we’ve been together. I try to walk out — whatever town we’re in, I wake up, check where’s the record shops. ‘It’s 20 kilometers that way.’ Can I walk that distance? Maybe, maybe not. [I] find the record shops, go for a coffee, walk around town, do that and find some records. That’s my motivation apart from the show itself.”
I certainly don’t blame Mikael for feeling that way, and imagine my experience would be much the same (I realized long ago that the touring/musician lifestyle was not for me). That said, we Opeth fans are extremely grateful Mikael has put all that aside and delivered us top-notch live shows over the years, and that he’s willing to keep doing so.