THE HALO EFFECT's MIKAEL STANNE Explains Why JESPER STRÖMBLAD Is Still Unable To Tour With The Band
September 11, 2023
In a new interview with the "Scars And Guitars" podcast, THE HALO EFFECT frontman Mikael Stanne was asked if guitarist Jesper Strömblad, who has been battling addiction for more than a decade, will be part of the group's lineup when he and his bandmates tour Australia in November. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't think so. No. For Jesper, traveling is a big issue for him. So he won't be [going with us to Australia]. I don't think so. I would love to, and it would be awesome. And let's see. And I know he wants to, but he also knows that if you have addiction problems like he has, being on a 25-hour flight and stuff like that, it's just not the best environment for him. But we'll see. But I really hope so. It would be fantastic."
Asked if Strömblad is still part of THE HALO EFFECT's songwriting process, Mikael said: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. And that's what I love. He brings so much to it. And it's amazing to see. Going to the studio when we started kind of recording for the next album, Jesper's instinct is so kind of finely tuned and so kind of instinctual that we can sit and work on something that we've been working on for hours and hours and then Jesper goes in and says, 'Let me take a stab at this,' and it's solved. He just has this way of finding just the perfect kind of melody or the perfect rhythm or perfect riff to kind of like solve any issues we might have with a song. And it's amazing to see. So he contributed a lot to the new songs that we've been writing. And it's great to see."
A founding member of IN FLAMES, Strömblad quit the band in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction.
Strömblad's THE HALO EFFECT bandmates have been supportive in his ongoing battle with the bottle, going so far as to hire THE HAUNTED's Patrik Jensen to fill in for him at any gigs he is unable to play.
THE HALO EFFECT recently completed work on its second album for an early 2024 release via Nuclear Blast Records.
Back in 2022, Jesper opened up about his ordeal in an interview with A&P Reacts. Regarding the support he has received from his THE HALO EFFECT bandmates, Jesper said: "They have my back. They know that if we do some media stuff and I say that I have to bail because a panic attack is coming or something like that, they are, like, 'Yeah. Just go. We cover for you.' I have that net of people backing me up this time. So I'm gonna be on my feet and I'm gonna be on my full potential sooner than later.
"I got so much love," he continued. "I was so relieved to read the comments. It's not, like, 'Oh, not again. You never learn.' It was all just love. And that helps me a lot. And also that I have such a great support from the band and everyone involved with the band, that makes me also even more motivated to get well.
"I developed some kind of depression. I want to do stuff, but I'm not able to do that. It sounds weird, I know, but that's how the disease manifests itself. So I can never say, 'Oh, we have a show in two weeks. Okay, I'm gonna be there.' Maybe that day I'll have a good day, but I can never guarantee that from day to day. So that's what I have to adjust; I have to rewire. And there is some work left to do. But I have good doctors with me that help me out."
Regarding how he was going about dealing with his addiction differently this time around, Jesper said: "I've always been saying yes to everything, basically — like years ago, 'We're gonna do that thing. We're gonna do that show. We're gonna do that.' Okay, well, yes. And then I've been drinking to handle it. This is just an example. But now I'm just listening to my body, and if it says, 'No, but you shouldn't do this,' then I'm not doing it. And everyone is cool with it. And that feels so, so great, to have that support from the band. … And it's also very motivating for me to get well and come back on stage. I wanna be on stage rocking on stage. I'm so frustrated that I can't, but I have to listen to my body. There is a plan worked out, and if I just have discipline that I lack — I have to find it somewhere. But I am very optimistic. I am.
"Logically, I'm very happy — I know what is going on — but I cannot feel it," Jesper admitted. "It's weird and it's frustrating. And if you haven't experienced it, it's really hard to try to imagine [what I am talking about]. 'Hey, it's not that bad. Chin up.' If it was that easy, I would. But that's not the case. I have more good days than bad days; it's getting, like, more good days than bad days.
"I'm kind of a pessimist; I've always been. And now I say to myself, 'Why do I always wake up and say that it's gonna be a shitty day? I'm gonna wake up and say that it's gonna be a great day.' You never know what's gonna happen. A changed mindset — a rewired [brain] to get rid of the depression."
Strömblad went on to say that he is committed to getting better and conquering his demons once and for all.
"I have really good help. But it takes time," he said. "I would say that it's kind of post-traumatic stress that I have to go through and I have to deal with, that I always pushed ahead for the sake of the band or for the sake of a relationship or whatever. But now I have to think about myself a hundred percent. Because it's better that I sit out the tour and I come back and I am a hundred percent instead of me being always so-so. I'm kind of tired to be so-so. I wanna be on my full potential again. And I'm on my way — I am. I can feel it.
"The addiction, it led me to the depression, and that's a disease," he added. "And that's nothing to be ashamed of. That can happen to anyone at any point. And if I tell my story and I'm just honest with it, maybe it can inspire one guy to take that step and say that, 'Well, maybe I get the insight that I have a problem with alcohol' or 'I have a problem with drugs.' Because being a drunk in denial, that's like a full-time job, I tell you that… And I'm so tired of it."
THE HALO EFFECT, which also features fellow former IN FLAMES members Daniel Svensson (drums),Peter Iwers (bass) and Niclas Engelin (guitar),was officially launched in 2021.
THE HALO EFFECT released its debut album, "Days Of The Lost", in August 2022 via Nuclear Blast Records.
THE HALO EFFECT made its live debut in June 2022 at the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden. The show marked the first time in over a decade that Strömblad played with his former IN FLAMES bandmates.
THE HALO EFFECT's first-ever tour was as the support act for Swedish death metal giants AMON AMARTH and U.S. metallers MACHINE HEAD on 31 dates throughout Europe in the summer and fall of 2022.
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