Something For Kate’s Paul Dempsey On How Success Drove Him To A Nervous Breakdown -
Paul Dempsey of Something for Kate photo by Ros O'Gorman

Paul Dempsey of Something for Kate photo by Ros O'Gorman

Something For Kate’s Paul Dempsey On How Success Drove Him To A Nervous Breakdown

by Paul Cashmere on July 28, 2021

in News

With Something For Kate about to perform shows around Australia to mark the 20th anniversary of ‘Echolalia, SFK founder Paul Dempsey recalls how the band’s success drove him to a nervous breakdown.

“We had two number one records and then I had a nervous breakdown,” Paul Dempsey says in a brutally honest conversation at

The breakdown came after two successive number one Something for Kate albums, ‘The Official Fiction’ in 2003 and ‘Desert Lights’ in 2006. “I lost two years of my life to a mental health break,” Paul says. “I think I just really had to reevaluate just what I was doing and what I was getting out of it and what I wanted from it and what it all meant if it meant anything at all. For me, that trajectory was 10 years of non-stop work and non-stop mental and physical effort. I hit a wall. By the time I got through that, which was a very personal journey, it was enough for me to just make music I enjoy making and just do shows I enjoy doing. I try to keep it real simple now”.

I just feel incredibly fortunate to do what I am doing and the band feels incredibly fortunate to do what we do. We are just really careful about when we do it and how we do it. We don’t make records every two years anymore. We don’t tour our backsides off non-stop. Its just management. Managing the band, managing ourselves, managing our lives and just making sure it is all good for the sake of it or like we have to. I think that answers the questions about where do you go from here. I feel like I became a very good person. After album number five I lost my mind and started reassembling it from scratch. I find it very difficult to relate to the person who I was before”.

Paul formed Something for Kate with Clint Hyndman in Melbourne in 1994. Bass player Stephanie Ashworth joined in 1998. Paul and Stephanie married in 2006. Paul was surprised when he hit the wall. “It wasn’t like I was an off the rails, erratic character,” he says. “I have always been a very steady sort of person. I was more surprised than anyone that I had this salvaging period. I don’t know. As a songwriter, as an introspective person, you think about a lot of things and I think a lot of things too much. I got myself into an existential rut. It is good to be out of that. It is still there. I’m just not afraid of it anymore”.

Something For Kate will tour the ‘Echolalia X The Modern Medieval’ tour starting in Perth in September. The first half of the show will be the 2001 ‘Echolalia’ album in full followed by highlights of the new album The Modern Medieval as well as album highlights. Paul says expect some deep cuts because these will be fan shows.

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