How Led Zeppelin and COVID Saved Beth Hart
Beth Hart discussed how Led Zeppelin and COVID presented an opportunity to change her approach to her long-term mental health issues.
The blues-rock singer recently completed work on A Tribute to Led Zeppelin – a record she previously refused to make, despite her producer’s attempts to persuade her, because she believed it would return her to a period of her life when she felt less in control of herself. Plus, she never owned any Zeppelin records.
“I didn’t want to do it,” Hart told Classic Rock in a recent interview. “Hard rock – I did that world when I was young. I dressed like a dude; everything I did was like a man onstage, because that’s what I felt like I needed to be to feel safe. Then I got on medication and did a lot of therapy, and I kind of pulled away from hard rock. And I didn’t want to go back there. I didn’t want to revisit all my childhood trauma that made me rock like I didn’t even wanna be a female.”
But when lockdown required her to remain at home while observing “racism, the COVID, people dying, the conspiracy theories” in the media, she decided that "everybody showed their true colors, right? All your good and all your bad comes out. I called [my manager] and I said, ‘Yo! I wanna do this Zeppelin album now!’ I had no idea how truly genius Jimmy Page was.”
In her period of forced change, Hart also addressed her health support. “I fired my psychiatrist who’d been with me for 14 years,” she said. “He kept telling me that I was bipolar one and that it was inevitable that I was going to kill myself, and that I needed to go on all these heavy drugs. I went back to my trauma specialist instead, who thinks I’m borderline personality disorder with chronic PTSD. And I agree with him. Thank God.”
She described her lockdown as “one of the best things that could have happened to me, mentally,” while accepting she was “always going to have an illness.” "But instead of having to suppress it with a major tranquilizer, I’m able to handle it with natural things – herbs, vitamins and keeping up the trauma work," she noted. "So a lot of changes happened because I got so much time off the road.”
A Tribute to Led Zeppelin arrives on Feb. 25.