An artist going to rehab isn’t all that shocking. But when it’s an artist like High On Fire’s Matt Pike, that definitely comes as a surprise. We mean, his first band Sleep is a cornerstone of stoner rock, and they named an album Dopesmoker, for fuck’s sake. He didn’t really strike us as the type to clean up, especially when the band’s albums kept getting better. Yet shortly after De Vermis Mysteriis was released, and just before the band was set to hit the road on the Mayhem Festival, they announced that Pike would be heading to rehab. Pulling out of such a huge tour only four weeks before it began was a big move. Yet it’s encouraging to see that he got the help he needed when they could have just done the tour. High on Fire, with a rehabilitated Pike in tow, set off on a headlining tour last month that’s just wrapping up now. And while there wasn’t a noticeable difference between Pike’s performance before and after rehab, if he’s healthier, then that’s all that matters.
It’s been a downright brutal year for touring bands. While Converge, Between The Buried And Me, The Acacia Strain, Glass Cloud and more suffered van crashes, bus fires and the like, none of them were as serious as Baroness’ bus crash earlier this year. Just having released their ambitious Yellow and Green album and playing Metallica’s Orion Festival, the band were touring the UK in what promised to be an ambitious touring cycle when their bus lost its brakes and careened 30 feet down a ravine, with serious injuries to frontman John Baizley and the driver. After several months, Baizley offered an update that revealed the extent of his injuries while stating how happy he was to be alive. And just last week, he posted a video of him and guitarist Pete Adams playing acoustically. It looks like the road to recovery is still a long one, but it’s encouraging to see that the band will persevere.