Stuart Murdoch is the lead singer of Belle and Sebastian. He has been living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) since the 1980s when he was a student.. For about seven-eight years, during the '80s to mid-'90s, Stuart was severely ill. A one point he was hospitalized, but he says, "they didn't know what to do with me."
He was born August 25, 1968 in Ayr, Scotland. He married photographer and documentary filmmaker, Marisa Privitera, on 26 November 2007 in New York City. Their first son, Denny, was born in 2013and his second son, Nico, in 2016.
In an 2009 article in the The New York Times Magazine, Murdoch, who was experiencing a period of improved health, talked about his experience of trying to gain recovery from ME:
"Murdoch attended church as a child but drifted away as a teenager. In the depth of his illness, he began attending services at Hyndland Parish Church in Glasgow and joined the choir. Eventually he became the church’s handyman and moved into an apartment on the church’s grounds. (He’s still the youth coordinator for the parish.) 'I could cling to God or go the other way,' Murdoch said. 'And the other way would have been oblivion.' One day he visited a faith healer in his neighborhood. She placed her hands above his body for an hour. “I actually got sicker for a few months, and I feel that was when the demons were being cast out,” Murdoch told me as we hiked the beginning of the West Highland Way on a rare, clear Scottish afternoon. Murdoch’s health has largely rebounded — his energy has returned to near-preillness levels (though he’s still susceptible to colds that can linger for weeks)..."
"I feel a little bit guilty because I haven't spoken up about ME for years and years. But I think with the last LP I basically had a relapse in the past two or three years, and it directly affected the work we were doing and then, it affected the songs I was writing and I had to talk about it during interviews...It's quite freeing to be able to talk about it. I kept so much of it secret for so long...
"When my band started and I started writing music and I got energy and my group came together, there was no point in talking to non-ME people about ME. It's so exhausting to try and explain what you're doing....At some point in the day you just have to disappear...It seems rude, but you just have to do it...I didn't mean to make it secret, it was just easier...
"[The past couple years, including when my son was born] it's been a cycle of virus and post-virus ever since...That's the thing about the show, you know. It's a great life...It can work great, but when I get sick, it just turns into the worse, because on top of the actual being away from home and just feeling so miserable, you have to do the show. They really will prop you up in front of a microphone, because so many people rely on you. You just can't afford not to...ME people are marginalized...I was a second-class citizen. I, sometimes still feel like a second-class citizen, certainty when in Britain...It was easier to put the metaphor of other [marginalized groups into the songs] because ME is almost too difficult to talk about. Or it's not dramatic enough or something...
Belle and Sebastian cancelled their November 2015 tour due to Stuart Murdoch's "current health". Touring resumed from June to September 2016. Upcoming live performances are scheduled for the summer of 2017.Stuart has spoken out in support of research and Invest in ME and left a message of the group's online guestbook in Nov 2015:
"best of luck everyone, and keep up the good work "Invest in ME". it's a long hard struggle, but keep putting the boot in, and i'm sure that one day ME will get the recognition and the remedies that we so desperately desire. can't help thinking that in 50 years people will look back on these days as the ME dark ages. let's get into the light!
Song about ME
- August 2015 Solve ME/CFS interview Stuart in L.A.
- May 2015 Key of Life Interview with Mary Anne of BBC Radio 6 Music
- Stuart Murdoch
- Belle and Sebastian Website - Cancelled November 2015 Tour
- Message from Stuart Murdoch