Tom Meighan opens up about mental health, rehab and “consequence culture”

"If the consequence of what I did is that I lose my career, I accept that," said the former Kasabian frontman

Former Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan has opened up about his mental health, experience in rehab and “consequence culture” – after pleading guilty to assault last year.

Meighan parted ways with the Leicester group in July 2020 shortly before being charged with assaulting his partner Vikki Ager, who he then married this summer. He was subsequently sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.

In a statement, Kasabian said that there was “absolutely no way [they could] condone [Meighan’s] assault conviction” and were therefore “left with no choice but to ask Tom to leave the band”.

Meighan, who has since relocated to Cornwall with Ager, said last December that the incident was a “one-off” and a “drunken squabble”. “I regret everything that happened that night – what I can remember of it,” he added. “I don’t condone it – it’s horrific. I love my partner to pieces.”

Now, in a new blog post on his website titled Check Your Soul: Why it’s never too late (published today, September 28), Meighan reflected on the “totally unacceptable” assault, his mental health struggles and the issues with “cancel culture”.

Kasabian. CREDIT: Getty

He said in the lengthy message that his decline in the early days of the COVID pandemic resulted in Ager “[ringing] the police repeatedly to say I was suicidal, but nobody knew what to do”.

To begin, the musician explained that – despite having “all the bravado that you need as a lead singer of a rock band” – he had been a “ticking time bomb” since the start of Kasabian’s career in the early ’00s.

“It feels like the great adventure and you live for it. But no one talks about what’s really going on emotionally,” Meighan wrote, going on to say that he’s “always struggled” with his mental health and anxiety.

“But the lifestyle made me worse. I was pushing everything down with drink and drugs — suppressing my feelings. I ignored every red flag,” he continued. “For a long time, I knew something was wrong, really wrong in my head. But I didn’t check myself.”

Meighan then said that he “hit a rock bottom” in April of 2020, when the assault against Ager took place.

“I did something I will never forgive myself for: I physically assaulted my now wife Vikki in [a] row fulled by alcohol. It was totally unacceptable,” he wrote. “In fact, it makes me feel sick every time I think about it.”

Kasabian NME
Kasabian at Mad Cool. CREDIT: Derek Bremner

Meighan said there were “no excuses”, adding that he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions. “Anyone who knows me knows that it’s not in my nature to be violent and it had never happened before,” he wrote. “But my failure to address the issues within myself led me to breaking point.”

The former frontman said that he was “at the bottom of a very dark well” at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown last year, explaining he had “no focus, nowhere to channel my energy”.

“I was fighting for access to my daughter, who I hadn’t seen for months,” he wrote. “I was confused and emotional about so many things, and those things were making me drink heavily to drown out the noise. I was pushing everyone I cared about away.”

The singer went on to describe the worsening situation at home as a “perfect storm”.

Recalling his “turning point”, Meighan said: “Being arrested that night changed everything. It was the wake-up call I needed to get help. It was as bad as it could get for me.

“I was in a police cell, not knowing what had happened because I’d drunk so much alcohol. Having to watch the video revealing the reality of what I’d done repulsed me. I pleaded guilty straight away to everything. The shock set in. I was shaken to the core.”

He continued: “But it saved my life — it’s that simple. That night, I rightly lost everything: my home, my job, and people around me. I was sacked and shunned.”

The latest line-up of Kasabian in 2021, without Tom Mieghan (Picture: Press)

Meighan said that he felt there was “nothing left to live for” after being charged with assault last year, adding: “I could not bear the thought that Viks was frightened or that she had been hurt. To this day, even now I struggle with how I made her feel that night. I will always have to live with that.

“It’s a lonely, horrible place to be and I came very close to doing something there’s no way back from. At that darkest moment, it was the probation system that stepped in and permanently changed me for the better.”

He continued: “Looking back, I realise that although I was in a deep black hole, I didn’t really want to die. I just didn’t want to live the life I had.”

Meighan later went to rehab to tackle his alcoholism, which had been unsuccessful in the past. “But this time it clicked. I got sober,” he said. “With the support of my family and friends, every day clean and sober is a victory.”

After speaking of his ADHD diagnosis, Meighan said he would try not to allow those around him to be “plagued with my addiction and the suffering it brings”.

He then explained that he was “conflicted when it comes to cancel culture”, but agrees with the idea of “consequence culture”. “If the consequence of what I did is that I lose my career, I accept that,” the singer said.

“It’s important to suffer consequences because of your actions,” Meighan explained. “To be given the chance to look deep within yourself and learn how to make changes and to become a better person for yourself and your family has to be a good thing.”

Meighan added that music was “like a form of therapy” now and that he was writing songs “about his life”. “I’ll probably be terrified if I ever go back to performing — but my head is back in the place it was when I started out in music,” he said. “Music feels fresh again, and now I know how to focus my energy on the right things.”

He concluded: “It’s a journey; it’s not just about reinventing yourself. Sometimes, it can feel like a daily battle to confront issues. It takes hard work. I stay sober a day at a time. But it’s worth it. Just make sure to ask yourself, honesty — are you alright? And if you’re not, reach out for help.”

The remaining members of Kasabian are due to embark on their first UK tour without Tom Meighan as frontman next month. They are also scheduled to headline next year’s Neighbourhood Weekender and Isle Of Wight Festival.

For help, support and advice regarding domestic abuse, visit Refuge here or call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

For help and advice on mental health:

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