Exclusive: Taproot Singer Stephen Richards Reveals Battle With Seizures
Taproot were set to celebrate the release of their latest album 'The Episodes' earlier this year, but things took a turn when singer Stephen Richards began to battle a serious health condition, which has resulted in multiple seizures.
In an exclusive interview with Loudwire, Richards opens up about his health, the seizures he has had and his outlook on the future as Taproot prepare for their upcoming trek with Nonpoint. Read our revealing Q&A with Stephen Richards below:
How are you feeling?
I’m kind of up and down, overall I’m okay but I still have a lot of unanswered questions that need to be addressed next week or so.
I understand you have been having seizures; when did this start happening? Has this been something you’ve been battling for a while?
Well now it’s been five months, I had my first one in February but we didn’t know what it was that was kind of a trippy story. I was home babysitting, just watching my kid alone and next thing you know I was found by my roommate laying half-naked in the bed with blood all over the bed – luckily my boy had locked himself in the room with me so he couldn’t go around the house causing trouble but I was out for like five hours not knowing what was going on. We weren’t sure if someone broke and didn’t steal anything and just beat the crap out of me. We weren’t sure if I was possessed by a ghost ‘cause that place was definitely haunted – all these crazy goofy things were running through my mind.
It was a crazy coincidence that the new album came out, ‘The Episodes,’ on April 10 – we were supposed to play this big hometown record release show in Flint, Michigan, and the guys came to pick me up at one o’clock and at 11:30 a.m. I collapsed and had four seizures and didn’t wake up later that night in the hospital. It was kind of like 'The Wizard of Oz' – seeing both my parents in the same room, which I haven’t seen aside from my wedding.
Have there been consistent seizures since then or has it decreased at all?
After the April 10th one they did all the MRIs and all the epilepsy tests, it seemed like everything was okay, they put me on medication just to keep the seizures at bay. They put me on the lowest dose because they know I’m already on cocktails of medicines to deal with anxiety and stuff so they didn’t want to overload me with pills. I was actually pretty good for about four months – the only other one I’ve had since the record release show was when we had to cancel a bunch of shows and do my tests and all that – I had one about three weeks ago out in Vegas in August. It wasn’t that bad, luckily my wife was home and took care of me, it wasn’t too bad. They bumped my meds up to try to keep it at bay but I haven’t had one since.
It’s just kind of crazy because we did a six week tour and I was told I shouldn’t be doing anything too physically exerting or tiring and then I’m out there performing shows in the hot light, sweatin’ my ass off and just trying not to headbang too much and jump around and do all the goofy stuff I used to do.
Do you know what causes these seizures at all?
They’re not a hundred percent sure. There are some things – that’s why next week I’m going home Sunday to start rehearsing for the next tour with Nonpoint and I’m going to do my next MRI – they moved it up because I had the seizure, they weren’t supposed to do it until November. There is a possible Meningioma in my brain in the front right lobe which could just be a calcium deposit they just want to compare it to April to make sure that it’s not growing or changing. I’ve definitely done some trauma to the brain a bit after years and years of performing as well as a major competitive hockey player – I’ve taken a lot of dings to the head.
Touring with Nonpoint what are you looking forward most to that tour?
We’re just really excited to be going back out with those guys, we did plenty of touring and shows with them a long time ago, then we just started playing some radio festivals over the summer and started getting back in with those guys. We’re very friendly with the Nonpoint guys and we’re fans of their music and vice versa so it’ll be cool to get back on the road. I cant have as much fun as I used to [Laughs] but it’ll still be a good time.
How do these health issues affect your stage performance or even just the mindset of touring, especially since touring in the healthiest condition can be grueling.
It’s actually changed me quite a bit, especially on tour, now I can’t really drive. The last couple tours we’ve done have been the first couple that I’ve had to do sober. I used to have a ritual of drinking a certain amount of port wine before every show for a good eleven, twelve years. So now I’m going up sober and wondering why everyone’s staring at us and not knowing what to say between songs, “Hey my name is Steve” [Laughs].
Physically it’s been really tough and I know the next one’s going to be rough too but we’re just waiting to see how the next MRI goes next week just to make sure that I’m going to be able to do it first and foremost and then just deal with the physical part of it after that – just to make sure I don’t need to have surgery or anything like that, unfortunately a slight possibility but I think with my meds bumped up I should be fine.
Stay tuned for the rest of Loudwire's exclusive interview with Stephen Richards when the band premieres their brand new video for 'The Everlasting' on Sept. 11.