Mike Patton on His Struggle with Alcoholism: “The Drinking Just…Happened”


As the world continues to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to return to normal, people are only now just understanding the mental toll the forced isolation and fear had on so many people. And while it will likely be a long time before we understand the true scope of the pandemic’s effect, we know that for Mike Patton, the effect was pronounced.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the legendary vocalist of so many beloved projects like Faith No More, Fantomas, and Mr. Bungle said he initially thought the lockdowns and social distancing was a blessing in disguise for a man who’s so busy with multiple projects at once. That is, until it wasn’t.

“My initial response to the pandemic was: ‘I love this shit!’ It allowed me to be an antisocial motherfucker. I had maybe three months of that: ‘This is fucking awesome.’ Then something changed — and not for the better.”

Patton said he ultimately became depressed and was diagnosed with agoraphobia. According to the Mayo Clinic, agoraphobia is defined as “a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.”

Ultimately, Patton said that fear of going outside and being around people drove him into a pattern of excessive drinking and alcoholism. His diagnosis forced the cancellation of a string of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle shows.

“Because I was isolated so much, going outside was a hard thing to do and that’s a horrible thing. And the idea of doing more Faith No More shows — it was stressful. It affected me mentally. I don’t know why, but the drinking just … happened.”

Thankfully, Patton told The Guardian that he’s since sought professional help, has been sober “for a while” and is gearing up to get back on the road with Mr. Bungle in South America, though he’s still a little worried about some things that he declined to go into too much detail about.

“I’m afraid of myself. The band is rock solid and I want to make sure that I bring it. There are a few issues going on.”

We’re glad to hear Patton’s gone and sought professional help. Too many people let their mental health issues go undiagnosed and that’s when tragic things occur. Patton’s experience goes to show that it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the greatest vocalists on the planet with years of experience performing in front of people, this sort of thing can happen to anyone.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please seek professional help. Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), text “HelpLine” to 62640, or email [email protected].

Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits