This went on for the rest of the college tour until the last night, at NYU, where I had an epiphany. I realized in a moment of clarity that this depression of mine had become so unbearable that I was going to jump out of a window to get away from it, and that this was completely insane. I was sick in the head and something had to be done about it, immediately. I needed to cancel the European tour. My problem wasn’t a simple problem, with a simple solution and a quick turnaround, like flu or a headache or food poisoning or a sprained ankle, and I couldn’t manage it on my own anymore. I needed to check myself into some kind of psychiatric-treatment facility where trained professionals could help me to fix my broken psyche.
Before the show at NYU, I called my manager and told him that I wanted to cancel the European tour (which was scheduled to begin in a few days). I explained the situation and told him that if I didn’t do something about it I feared I might end up hurting myself. And then I said, “Gary, I am not well.”
Life on hold
I found it hard to admit that something seriously bad and out of my control was happening to me, and even harder to make the decision to actually try to find someone to help me. I was always reminding myself that everybody gets blue sometimes. “It could be worse” was my mantra. But “worse,” for me, now, might mean a broken back or a coma or two shattered legs.
I knew that my guys and my audiences and the European promoters would recover from my canceling. But I also knew there would be repercussions. Record companies don’t like it when artists shirk their promotional duties, for whatever reason.
For example, I was once in the middle of a tour when my bass player received word that his beloved grandmother had passed away. He wanted to take two days off to fly home and attend the funeral, and then rejoin the tour. It would mean a canceled show. When we informed my record company about the situation, their reaction was, “Does he really need to go to the funeral?”
I knew that my decision to cancel a whole tour of a whole continent, which was meant to launch the release of my newest album over there, would quite likely hurt the album’s success and sales. If I didn’t continue working, pushing my new product, working the momentum I had built up from my last big attention-getting album, I could screw up my whole career and future by failing to capitalize on whatever fleeting buzz I’d managed to acquire, temporarily.
And on top of that, my musicians and crew had been counting on paychecks and had planned their lives around going to Europe and working for the next two months. A couple of them had sublet or given up their apartments and so had no place to go back to until two months later. And now they were going to be all of a sudden out of work in New York City.