How Slipknot’s Jim Root + Mick Thomson Dealt With Their Depression During the Pandemic
To say that many people went through a "funk" during the pandemic is probably an understatement. Two of Slipknot's members - guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson - have revealed their own bouts of depression during the pandemic, speaking with Guitar World about how they eventually escaped each of their "funks."
For Root, the guitarist admitted that even music wasn't helping him initially. "Guitars were depressing me, everything was depressing me," says the musician. "It’s weird how the wires in your brain will cross up and whereas previously the guitar was an outlet for me to escape stuff, this time when I looked at it, it just reminded me of all the things that I wasn’t able to do because of Covid. So, this positive force in my life turned into this negative thing, which would’ve been absolutely fucking horrifying if I hadn’t been able to pull myself out of it."
The guitarist recalls some of his negative thinking, adding, "I was losing any sense of positivity. I had zero purpose at all. And I thought, ‘What difference does it make if I’m here or if I’m not here? What good is my existence? I’ve pretty much accomplished everything in life that I’ve set out to accomplish. How do I set new goals and why should I bother?’ That’s what was going through my head and it was scary.”
The guitarist also cites some home repairs and sorting his way through a bad relationship adding to his overall anxiety, but eventually he sought help. "Finally, I got depressed enough and dark enough and sick enough of my own shit that I reached out for help and started seeing a therapist. And that really helped. They say men only seek out therapy as a necessity. They won’t go unless it’s their last resort.”
As for Thomson, he also reveals he was in a bad place. "It seems like every plausible metric is fucked currently. I was in a very bad place a lot of the time.”
When asked if he was angry and depressed, the musician responded, “Oh, I always am. When am I not? More than usual? Absolutely, sure. It’s been like a fucking horror movie. It’s the frog that doesn’t know the water in the pot he’s in is starting to boil. It’s turning up and we’re sitting in the fucking nearly-boiling water right now and we’re going, ‘Oh, this kind of sucks.’ If you woke up 28 Days Later-style, you’d say, ‘What the fuck happened to the world?!?’ It wouldn’t seem real, but in incremental steps toward where we are, you somehow deal with it.”
Where Root initially had trouble picking up the guitar, Thomson revealed that music provided his therapy. “It’s always therapeutic for me to be doing something with guitars. I’ve got pedals all over my dining room table. There’s guitars all over the floor. I just work on shit and experiment and play," he explained. “I’m always putting pickups in something or swapping out a bridge, just messing with stuff, adjusting the action and the intonation. And as soon as I’m done working on something, I’ll plug in and play with it for hours."
He adds, "What’s fun about it is that it’ll feel like I’m dicking around with something different and testing it out. So there’s an excitement about guitar because I’m being constructive. It’s not, ‘Oh, look. Employment. Guitar.’ During quarantine, I spent hours and hours on that to get everything dialed in right. I played a bunch for sure, but my mental getaway comes from fixing shit and modifying stuff.”
Eventually the persistence to work through their issues paid off, as a new Slipknot album is upon us. The End, So Far just hit stores and you can pick up a copy here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, help is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.