Helen Barradell of Australia's X-Press Online recently conducted an interview with OPETH mainman Mikael Åkerfeldt. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:On the band's early years: "I guess it gets more romantic in retrospect, almost like we actually had a good time. Of course we did have a good time but there's also been some very, very rough times for this band. You know, after the two first records we almost spilt up because half the band left. Nobody really cared for OPETH until we did 'Blackwater Park', which is our fifth record, and after that we weren't doing anything really. We weren't pulling people, we weren't selling records, I was the poorest man on the planet... not really, but for heavy metal, at least. But it was a rough ride and I feel like we are quite fortunate to be where we are today and I'm also quite proud of myself that we kept going, writing songs instead of working in a factory or something." On the current status of the band's drummer Martin Lopez: "Lopez is not on this tour, he's back home and he's not been playing with us. He's been sick for quite some time. He's had some panic attacks which have been plaguing us for a couple of tours and we've had to cancel them. I don't really know what it is. We get all these kind of things — they're saying it's a blood disorder on one hand and he's had some pains in his back and depression. It got to a point where he couldn't play anymore. He got so skinny and he couldn't play. Basically we just agreed that it wasn't working out. He had to get home and get well you know? And he's been away ever since, almost nine months." On whether the fame game might be something Lopez finds a little to heavy to handle: "Well, I don't know... it might be. He is a very social guy but he's not one of those guys who goes out looking for the fans and trying to...you know? He doesn't like that whole thing around him, he basically stays on the bus. It's got to a point now that he's been away for such a long time that we don't know what is going to happen. We don't know if he's ever coming back. "
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