Drugs made Devin Townsend feel like God
Metal maestro Devin Townsend says recreational drugs inspired a series of albums in his youth – but dictated his mental health in later life
Devin Townsend says that taking drugs when he was younger made him think he was God.
The musician and producer says he began taking acid and mushrooms following his work on Steve Vai's 1993 album Sex & Religion and brief stint in the UK with The Wildhearts the following year.
Townsend tells Metal Hammer: "There’s a predisposition toward mental health issues in my family. I had a fairly sheltered childhood, and then I moved to LA to do the Steve Vai thing and moved to the UK to do The Wildhearts thing, and so there were a lot of experiences in a short space of time.
"When I moved back to Vancouver, I decided that, ‘Now is the time to start doing acid!’ I remember the first time I got really high on mushrooms, and I thought, ‘Well, clearly I’m God!’ Now I know that everyone feels like that, but at the time I felt like I was the first person to ever experience that, so I had to write a series of albums about it and do interviews about it.
He adds: "Note to self, it really labels you in hindsight as being a little bit of a fuck-up, you know what I mean?”
Townsend says he was on anti-psychotic medication for 10 years. He decided to visit a psychiatrist when he and his wife had children to help overcome substance abuse.
He says: “ I said to myself, ‘I don’t know if I’m actually mentally ill in the ways that I’ve been told, or if I was just on a ton of drugs.’
"So I went to a psychiatrist and said, ‘I’d like to try coming off these psychiatric medications, come off alcohol and drugs, and change my eating and exercising habits. A lot of those mental health boxes that were ticked were a result of a lot of these experiences I’ve had, compounded by a massive ego, massive insecurity and a lot of psychedelic drugs. I got off everything.
"When I quit weed, it was like, ‘Holy fuck! Where have I been for a decade?!’ And thus started my fun-free lifestyle."
Meanwhile, Townsend recently explained how allowing the songwriting sessions to become more organic helped ideas flow on The Devin Townsend Project's forthcoming album Transcendence. It's available for pre-order in various formats.
Devin Townsend Project 2017 European tour
Jan 28: Antwerp Trix, Belgium
Jan 30: Esch-Sur-Alzette Rockhal, Luxembourg
Jan 31: Paris Le Bataclan, France
Feb 01: Bordeaux Rockschool Barbey, France
Feb 03: Madrid La Riviera, Spain
Feb 04: Barcelona Razzmatazz 2, Spain
Feb 05: Marseille Le Moulin, France
Feb 07: Milan Live Club, Italy
Feb 08: Pratteln Z7, Switzerland
Feb 09: Stuttgart LKA Longhorn, Germany
Feb 10: Munich Backstage, Germany
Feb 12: Zagreb Tvornica Club, Croatia
Feb 13: Budapest A38, Hungary
Feb 14: Vienna Arena, Austria
Feb 16: Prague The Roxy, Czech Republic
Feb 17: Leipzig Taubchenthal, Germany
Feb 18: Krakow Kwadrat, Poland
Feb 19: Warsaw Stodola, Poland
Feb 21: Hamburg Grunspan, Germany
Feb 22: Arhus Voxhall, Denmark
Feb 23: Gothenburg Pustervik, Sweden
Feb 25: Bergen Blastfest, Norway
Feb 26: Oslo Sentrum Scene, Norway
Feb 28: Helsinki The Circus, Finland
Mar 01: Seinajoki Rytmikorjaamo, Finland
Mar 03: Stockholm Berns, Sweden
Mar 04: Malmo KB, Sweden
Mar 05: Copenhagen Amager Bio, Denmark
Mar 07: Berlin Columbia Theater, Germany
Mar 08: Dortmund FZW, Germany
Mar 09: Tilburg 013, Netherlands
Mar 10: Amsterdam Melkweg, Netherlands
Mar 12: Bristol Colston Hall
Mar 13: Manchester Academy
Mar 14: Glasgow Barrowlands
Mar 16: Birmingham O2 Institute
Mar 17: London Hammersmith Eventim Apollo
Mar 18: Nottingham Rock City