In 2011, the Australian rock band split up and went into what they described as an “indefinite hibernation”, having formed in 1992.
Speaking in a new interview with ABC Australia in which they reflected on their career, Joannou remembered that around fourth album ‘Diorama’, former frontman, guitarist and songwriter Daniel Johns – with whom they’ve had little contact with since the band broke up – began to take creative control.
“Ben probably struggled with it the most,” Joannou said. “He might have felt that his friend didn’t trust his musical judgement anymore. And that creative relationship that they had was pretty much all but gone.”
Gillies admitted that it was “a chink in my armour” but that “Daniel is amazing at what he does”.
However, his marijuana usage increased to multiple times a day, sharing: “I’d never experienced that before. I just started feeling like I was losing grip a little bit. Not on reality, but I couldn’t control it.”
He was then offered his first ecstasy tablet which “pushed me over the edge”. He added: “I had what I know now was an acute psychotic break. It was really, really scary. I thought I was going crazy.”
Gillies continued that he “didn’t tell a soul” because he was “scared that admitting it was admitting that something was wrong and that I was crazy”.
He reportedly stopped smoking marijuana, but found the psychotic episode triggered an underlying anxiety, causing him to become withdrawn.
He also admitted that it “took me a long time to talk openly about it,” and still manages his anxiety.
“The reason I’m doing it here and in the book is because what I’ve found is that being really open about it is liberating, but it also helps others.”
The pair are releasing a tell-all memoir titled Love & Pain this month about their rise and fall.
Elsewhere in the interview, Gillies recalled an unhealthy drinking culture within the band and Johns’ battle with anorexia.
Joannou, meanwhile, reflected on experiencing health problems after the band split up, including cancer and a heart attack.
For help and advice on mental health:
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians (CALL MUSIC MINDS MATTER ON: 0808 802 8008)
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues (CALL: 0800 030 6789)
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day