“I fired the psychiatrist who kept telling me I was going to kill myself”: Beth Hart reveals lockdown rebirth

Beth Hart
(Image credit: Provogue Records/Mascot)

Blues singer Beth Hart is set to release a covers album dedicated to Led Zeppelin, a rather surprising move from the Los Angeles-born vocalist given that she freely admits that she doesn’t actually own any Zeppelin albums, and previously turned down her producer Rob Cavallo’s suggestion to record songs by the English hard rock legends. But as she explains in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, at the age of 50, the singer is currently going through a time of creative rebirth.

“I didn’t want to do it,” Hart admits, recalling Cavallo putting the idea to her. “Hard rock – I did that world when I was young. I dressed like a dude, everything I did was like a man on stage, cos that’s what I felt like I needed to be to feel safe. Then I got on medication and did a lot of therapy and I kind of pulled away from hard rock. And I didn’t want to go back there. I didn’t want to revisit all my childhood trauma that made me rock like I didn’t even wanna be a female.

“Then the pandemic happened. No one could go out of the house. I didn’t sleep. There’s stuff going on on TV. The racism, the covid, people dying, the conspiracy theories… it all came out. Everybody showed their true colours, right? All your good and all your bad comes out. I called Wolff [Hart’s manager] and I said: ‘Yo! I wanna do this Zeppelin album now!’ I had no idea how truly genius Jimmy Page was.”

Acknowledging the “obvious horrors” which the global Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the world, Hart reveals that lockdown wound up being “one of the best things that could have happened to me, mentally.”

“I fired my psychiatrist who’d been with me for fourteen years,” she reveals. “He kept telling me that I was bipolar one, and that it was inevitable that I was going to kill myself, and that I needed to go on all these heavy drugs. I went back to my trauma specialist instead, who thinks I’m borderline personality disorder with chronic PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]. And I agree with him. Thank God. I’m always going to have an illness. But instead of having to suppress it with a major tranquiliser, I’m able to handle it with natural things – herbs, vitamins and keeping up the trauma work. So a lot of changes happened because I got so much time off the road.”

“I’ve got two albums all done and I’m starting on a third. What else are you gonna do? You can’t go anywhere. You gotta do something or you go friggin crazy!”

You can watch Hart’s thunderous version of Zeppelin classic Black Dog below.

And if you loved that, and why wouldn’t you, you can hear Hart’s take on Good Times Bad Times on a free digital album available exclusively with the new issue of Classic Rock, which is out now. The issue features Thin Lizzy, Joan Jett, The Clash, Johnny Cash, David Bowie and much more

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(Image credit: Future)

Beth Hart’s A Tribute To Led Zeppelin album is released on February 25 via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.