Me and my health: Michael McKeegan on his lifestyle
The 48-year-old musician, from Larne, is bassist with rock band Therapy? which has sold more than two million records worldwide and has just played a gig at Custom House Square in Belfast. He is married to Gabine (44) and they have two children, Noah (8) and Niek (4).
Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
A: When I'm at home and I have time, I swim a bit at the local pool but it's not a regular thing. I don't exercise regularly when I'm on tour either, mainly due to the fact that the schedule is normally pretty tight and our shows are very high energy anyway. We normally play 90 minutes to two hours and I find that's a pretty good workout in itself - it feels like doing an intense cardio workout in a sauna! I always come off tour in much better shape than when I start. A few weeks ago, I also tried doing some basic Pilates at the suggestion of my wife - I think she was tired of me complaining about my sore back and so far it's worked wonders. I've only dipped my toe in, but I could see myself getting into that a lot more soon.
Q: What is the worst illness you've had?
A: I had a ruptured duodenal ulcer in my stomach when I was 18, which was horrendous. As a result I had a large blood transfusion and some major emergency stomach surgery which thankfully sorted it out. Apparently it's the sort of condition that can run in families and my mother and both brothers have suffered similar over the years, but mine was the only one that ruptured so nastily. God bless the NHS.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: Pretty good, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and we try to cook everything from scratch so no shop-bought sauces or pre-made meals if we can help it. We've also cut down considerably on our meat consumption in the house which has been great - no-one misses it. Obviously we'll eat out occasionally and Larne is quite well appointed with fast food places, so when we do rarely have something like that I know we've been healthy the rest of the time.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: Nothing too terrible - I have a bit of a soft spot for crisps and would happily eat a couple of bags in one sitting. I did have a particularly rabid Maltesers chocolate habit during one recording session, but I blame all that on the producer who goaded me on!
Q: Do you drink and smoke and if so, how much?
A: I've never smoked and haven't had a drink in 11 months or so now. No big agenda, I just found that with age, hangovers were becoming too unforgiving and it wasn't worth the hassle trying to deal with them. I did spend a lot of the band's early touring career hungover and that didn't make the travel or shows go any better, I can assure you.
Q: Do you take any supplements?
A: On tour I take fizzy Vitamin C tablets as there's always some sort of lurgy doing the rounds, plus occasionally I take hydration tablets if it's been a particularly hot gig. I used to take lots of stuff before like echinacea and other assorted multivitamins but for the last few years I have just concentrated on eating well, keeping hydrated and trying to sleep as well as I can. It seems to work - I very rarely get ill with colds which used to plague me previously.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: The band side of things is quite intense and cathartic, which is a brilliant way of letting off steam, so when I'm 'off duty' I try to take it easy and relax. Hang out with the family, listen to music, watch movies and try to catch up with friends, all very normal - I get enough thrills being onstage.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: Not great to be honest. With two youngish children there's a lot of early starts and touring is a sure-fire way to disrupt any kind of sleep pattern. I try and get as much as I can when I can, work off the deficit and avoid getting run down.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't. Yes, the all too familiar feeling of existential dread rears its ugly head every now and then. I think I worried about it more a while ago, I try to live 'in the moment' as much as I can and enjoy the family and band stuff as you never know what's around the corner. That simple switch in outlook has made me much happier.
Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: Boring as it sounds, water. I drink tons of the stuff. I also swear by Tiger Balm Ultra which is a more potent version of the regular Tiger Balm. That soon sorts out any muscle pains or stiffness and also really helps if you are bunged up with a cold or general stuffiness.
For tour dates, visit www. therapyquestionmark.co.uk