Shame’s Charlie Steen says the band’s relentless touring ‘broke his mind’

The singer opens up about the mental health struggles of touring musicians

Shame singer Charlie Steen has opened up about his mental health and the struggles that come with the pressures of being in a touring band.

The South London band have quickly gained momentum after the release of their debut album Songs of Praise earlier this year.

Speaking in this week’s NME cover interview, Steen makes a point about mental health stigma in society at large. “Any band that has to endure the mental strain of sleep deprivation and constant moving will experience that,” he says. “We gigged and gigged until it broke us – and it eventually broke my mind.”


He goes on to discuss the pressures of touring, adding that “this must be one of the only professions in the world where you’ll be shivering in the corner, you’ve thrown up 12 times in one day and you’re basically on the verge of tears – and then a promoter pokes you in the chest and says, “Go onstage, monkey, go onstage.’”

He adds that the stigma of mental heath in society needs to be changed. “One in four people that you meet have anxiety,” he says. “It’s a prominent issue, and a situation that needs to be addressed.”

Of Shame’s debut album, NME‘s Jordan Bassett wrote: “The London five-piece is audibly indebted to Smith’s revered Manchester post-punk group The Fall – louche vocal delivery, abrasive and atonal guitar and barbed lyrics all present and correct – but debut album ‘Songs Of Praise’ courses with venom and a lithe vigour that is all their own.”

“Along with HMLTD and INHEAVEN, the band belongs to a fertile south London scene that lays waste to the myth that guitar music is no longer a place for innovation, excitement and – in Shame’s case – lyrics that splat in your earholes like lumps of hot, rotten fruit.”

“This is a band with a real sense of showmanship, as those who have witnessed Shame’s sweat-slicked live shows will know. It’s this that makes ‘Songs Of Praise’ utterly invigorating.”