Creeper guitarist Ian Miles believed he could kill people by ‘blinking at them’ during a psychotic episode which led to him being hospitalised against his will.
Last year, Miles was sectioned after suffering a delusion about religion and the government, in which he believed that religions were collecting money and giving it to MI5 to buy nuclear weapons.
The musician began to suffer hallucinations in the form of messages that would pop up in front of his eyes, and believed he was part of an ‘underground alliance that was fighting against religion and the government’.
On the day of his hospitalisation, Ian left his home and walked ‘four or five miles’ into Southampton, where he encountered people he believed to be Mormons at the train station.
Speaking on Mighty Moon Media’s podcast Creeper: The Story Of… Sex, Death & The Infinite Void, Ian said: ‘I just stumbled up to them and started screaming at them, “this is all a f***ing lie, if you want to believe in anything, believe in yourself”… A lot of it was gibberish.
‘At the time, I thought I could kill people, like, with my mind, and I could just blink at people and they’d die. So that’s what I did. I shouted at these guys… and then I blinked at them, and in my mind they were dead.’
Miles, who had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, believed he had killed four people when he went to find his friend and bandmate Will Gould to try and get him involved.
Gould, the lead vocalist of Creeper, realised he would have to call the police upon seeing the manic state his friend was in, but Miles got away from him as he ran away to attempt to burn down churches, now believing he had killed six people, including someone who told him that the first church he was trying to set fire to was made of stone.
Before Ian managed to cause any harm to buildings, or himself, his wife Cat found him, and the musician was brought to a psychiatric hospital.
He can only now remember the episode after a lot of treatment and ‘the right cocktail of drugs’.
While in hospital, Ian actually continued working on the new Creeper album over FaceTime with his bandmates.
Will told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat: ‘At the time, basically the band was going to break up if if we stopped… we had to deliver.
‘So Ian’s wife brought a guitar into the hospital and I would FaceTime him from a piano and we would try and write like that.’
One of the songs on the album Sex, Death and The Infinite Void, called All My Friends, was written by Will for Ian, and he admits he finds it ‘very difficult’.
However, Ian is glad that it made it onto the album to open the conversation about mental health.
He said: ‘When you come round from a psychotic episode, it does make you question yourself a lot, because all you see in movies and media and computer games is that psychotic people are killers.
‘And then on Halloween you’ve got the psycho clown hospital or whatever – and it makes you think to yourself: ‘Am I in that category?’”
‘Yes it’s important to talk about depression and anxiety, but it’s also important to talk about psychosis and OCD, and all of the harder subjects to talk about.
‘Children should be made aware at a young age that if they do have these issues they’re not alone – and that there are people older and younger, from different classes and ethnic backgrounds that all go through the same stuff. I feel like the more people are aware of that, the less alone they’ll feel.’
Creeper formed in Southampton in 2014, and the current line-up features Gould on vocals, Miles and Oliver Burdett on guitar, keyboardist and second vocalist Hannah Greenwood, bassist Sean Scott and drummer Dan Bratton.
The goth punk band notoriously announced at a November 2018 concert at London’s Koko: ‘Not only is it the last show of this album, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do’ – a reference to David Bowie retiring the character of Ziggy Stardust in 1973.
However, the band did make a return, making their live comeback exactly a year after their ‘last show’.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void – their second studio album after 2017’s Eternity, In Your Arms – was originally slated for release in May, but was delayed to July due to the pandemic.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is out now.
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