Just a month after Slint guitarist and Yeah Yeah Yeahs collaborator David Pajo survived a suicide attempt, the musician has opened up in a new interview about his long battle with depression, the circumstances leading up to his suicide attempt as well as how his recovery, both mentally and physically, is going.
On February 13th, Pajo posted a suicide note (since deleted “for legal reasons”) on his personal website, which was then followed by a failed attempt on his own life and a stay at a New Jersey hospital. While Pajo blamed his suicide on personal matters between he and his ex-wife at the time of the attempt, the guitarist now tells The Thin Air that his problems with depression were deeper rooted than that.
“I had the Suicide Hotline number saved as a speed dial in my phone for over a year but never called because I didn’t want to be talked out of anything – my mind was made up,” Pajo said. “My blog was supposed to be a way for people to know my side of the story. That’s all. I didn’t intend to be around for the aftermath.” However, the suicide note on Pajo’s blog resulted in fans contacting authorities regarding his intentions and EMS were able to revive the guitarist.
Pajo admits that he kept his personal turmoil to himself, partially because he’s “good at disguising” his depression but also due to the fact that he felt that it’s a difficult subject to open up about. “I believe depression and suicide should not be taboo. The media often talks about cancer, AIDS, and other terminal illnesses, but depression and suicide rarely get any attention unless it’s unusual or a celebrity,” Pajo said. “We don’t talk about it amongst friends – we think it’s too morbid. But I’ve known more people who have died from suicide than any other illness. In my world, it’s a bigger problem than cancer. Yet it’s never talked about.”
Since the suicide attempt, Pajo has focused on his healing, saying “My children can only benefit from having a present and stable Daddy in their lives, not a dead one.” The guitarist has also been moved by show of support from friends, fans and family. “Honestly, there was such a massive outpouring of love and support by making my heart public that there was no way to avoid being empowered by it all. My family drew me in tighter than we’ve ever been,” he said. “Thousands of emails and messages from friends and strangers came flooding in immediately, literally from the minute I posted it and attempted suicide.”
When Pajo was at the height of his depression, he admits that he was completely disinterested in creating or even listening to music anymore. While Pajo still hasn’t picked up a guitar in months, “The urge to listen is slowly coming back, though it’s very limited. The urge to write is slowly coming back, but only in terms of ideas in my head. I know all this intense emotion will fuel my music in the future, but I’m not rushing anything.”