Narrow Escape from Death: Seth Putnam’s Ordeal with a Coma

Seth Putnam, the iconic frontman of Anal Cunt, faced his darkest hour in 2004 when a heroin overdose led him into a life-threatening coma.

Seth Putnam, the vocalist of the grindcore band Anal Cunt, is shown holding up a vinyl record titled 'Riot - Riot Live' with his left hand, while in his right hand he holds a can of Budweiser beer. He has long, curly hair and is grimacing or singing, wearing a black t-shirt in a room with plain walls.
Seth Putnam
Key Takeaways
  • Seth Putnam, the frontman of Anal Cunt, fell into a coma in 2004 due to a drug overdose involving heroin, crack cocaine, and a large amount of Ambien.
  • After awakening from the coma, which doctors initially feared caused irreversible brain damage, Putnam suffered from paralysis and nerve damage.
  • Despite these challenges, Putnam continued performing with Anal Cunt, incorporating his coma experience into his music and persisting in creating new material.

Overdose, Emotional Turmoil, and a Coma

Seth Putnam, the notorious frontman of grindcore band Anal Cunt, found himself in a harrowing situation in October 2004. This period marked a significant chapter in his life, one that would profoundly impact both him and his band. It was a time when the chaotic blend of music and lifestyle choices reached a dangerous crescendo.

The night that led to his life-threatening overdose and subsequent coma was far from an ordinary celebration. Attending a birthday party at a friend’s house, Putnam found himself in an environment that was a far cry from a typical festive gathering. The guests were a motley crew of pimps, prostitutes, and even a convicted armed robber. This wasn’t a scene of cake and ice cream; it was a night steeped in excess and danger.

Putnam’s indulgence that evening was extreme. He spent $200 on crack cocaine, consumed an untraceable amount of heroin, and downed at least a fifth of whiskey. This reckless mix of drugs and alcohol epitomized the risky lifestyle he was leading.

Despite waking up physically unscathed, Putnam was battling intense emotional turmoil. Plagued with suicidal thoughts, he even prepared a lethal dose of heroin, contemplating ending his life. But in a moment of clarity, he decided against it, choosing life over death.

However, his struggles were far from over. Faced with an inability to sleep, Putnam made another fateful decision. He consumed an excessive amount of Ambien, equivalent to a two-month supply, in a desperate attempt to find some rest. Tragically, this decision led him to accidentally slip into a coma, marking a turning point in his tumultuous journey.

A Narrow Escape from Death

The hospitalization of Seth Putnam following his overdose was a period shrouded in uncertainty and grim prognoses. Medical professionals, analyzing the severity of his condition, were doubtful about his chances of making a meaningful recovery. They feared that the intensity of the overdose, coupled with the length of his coma, had inflicted serious, irreversible brain damage.

In these critical moments, discussions emerged about the possibility of discontinuing life support, a reflection of how dire the situation had seemed. However, this bleak trajectory was altered by the determined intervention of Putnam’s mother. Her unwavering insistence ensured that Putnam continued to receive medical care, holding onto hope amidst despair.

The ordeal had left its mark: he was paralyzed and had suffered significant nerve damage.

Defying the odds, Putnam eventually awakened from his coma. But the ordeal had left its mark: he was paralyzed and had suffered significant nerve damage. These were the heavy tolls of his overdose and the prolonged unconsciousness, stark reminders of his brush with death.

Putnam’s journey towards recovery was arduous and prolonged. He faced months of intensive physical therapy, a testament to both his physical and mental resilience. This phase likely involved a rigorous regime of rehabilitation, encompassing not just physical therapy but also occupational therapy and other medical interventions. These efforts were geared towards restoring mobility and function, addressing the extensive neurological and physical impairments he had sustained.

Making Music Against All Odds

The aftermath of the coma left him with severe nerve damage and paralysis, imposing significant physical limitations. In a poignant display of resilience, Putnam faced these challenges head-on.

In the first show after his recovery, where Anal Cunt performed alongside Eyehategod, the audience witnessed a different Putnam. Once known for his dynamic stage presence, he now remained seated throughout the performance. Yet, even in this altered state, his presence was powerful, underscoring the indomitable spirit that had always defined him.

Putnam’s commitment to music never wavered despite these physical challenges. He continued to be an active, vital force in Anal Cunt, showcasing his dedication to the band and his craft. His resolve to keep performing and creating music was not just an act of defiance against his physical constraints but also a reflection of his deep love for his art.

In an act of characteristic boldness, Putnam embraced his coma experience as part of his musical expression. He expressed his intention to continue performing tracks like “You’re in a Coma” from the 1997 album “I Like It When You Die”. This decision was laden with irony and a profound personal connection to his music and life experiences, blending his art with his reality.

Putnam’s aspirations went beyond just performing. He was determined to produce new material, signaling his refusal to let his health issues define or limit his musical journey. This ambition to release new songs and albums was a clear indication of his enduring passion and dedication to his craft, a shining example of an artist’s spirit triumphing over adversity.