(CP) Winston Marshall, the former banjo player who left the famous British band Mumford & Sons after facing a barrage of attacks for a post on Twitter praising journalist Andy Ngo's book about Antifa, said after spending months reflecting on the matter, he feels like "I got my soul back."
In an interview with The Sunday Times (U.K.), Marshall celebrated being free to speak what's been on his heart since his departure from Mumford & Sons after both he and his friends faced immense pressure over a tweet that he said he still stands by because it was innocuous. The tweet was posted after he read Ngo's book, Unmasked, and said: "Congratulations, @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You're a brave man."
Although Marshall told UnHerd last year that he'd much rather be playing music in a rock'n'roll band than not, he didn't want the band to suffer for his views. After going through this experience in which he even saw his Wikipedia page changed to falsely identify him as being a "fascist," he now feels liberated and freed because his voice isn't constrained by PR or gatekeepers. Because "words are important," Marshall said he's now even more careful to make sure he's "speaking the truth."
"I got my soul back. I felt I could sleep again," he told The Sunday Times, speaking about the ordeal and how he felt after leaving the band in 2021. "It's amazing the effect that had on the ordeal me. It has been completely liberating. I feel like it was the right decision."
Before Matters posted the tweet that upended his career, for years, the musician enjoyed life on the road with his band, earning money and winning numerous awards, including a Grammy.
"Your initial reaction is, 'I'm so sorry I've offended you. I apologized because I felt like maybe I don't understand this topic fully, and I need to understand it," Marshall said, adding that after reflecting on his tweet and the backlash that ensued, he did more research into the matter and later came to realize he wasn't in the wrong.
His bandmates also dealt with the backlash from Marshall's comments, prompting the musician to apologize. However, after giving it some thought, the banjo player questioned his decision to apologize publicly.
"As I continued to research, I felt more and more that I'd participated in a lie," Marshall said. "That really affected my conscience."
Through this process and introspection, as well as looking more into radicalization, Marshall told the Times: "Through that I found a higher appreciation for my own cultural background, for the Judeo-Christian tradition and belief system."
According to the U.K. Times, Marshall has returned to his Christian faith "after a long hiatus" that caused him to question the wellbeing of his soul. And he walked away from the band because he didn't want his public comments to impact his bandmates.
Leaving the band, he said, was an "incredibly difficult" decision.
"I imagined being in my 60s and still playing with the band. That's one reason it was so hard to leave. I thought we'd always be together," he said.
However, Marshall said he doesn't regret his decision because he believes everyone, especially artists, should be free to express themselves without being canceled.
"I don't miss fame. I don't think it was real," he added. "I was seduced by it. I got pulled into it. Particularly through this recent experience, I've realized that a lot of my friends in that world weren't my real friends."
In 2020, Marshall divorced actress Dianna Agron after four years of marriage. He said that moment was when he "came to Christ again."
Because of his sobriety from alcohol and drugs over the last three years, he said he now has "clarity and energy" in this new season of his life.
In an earlier interview with former The New York Times columnist Barry Weiss for her "Common Sense" podcast, Marshall shared why he left the band to continue to be vocal against cancel culture.
"My faith has played a big part in this period of my life, and actually, the week before making the final decision, I was pretty much planted in my local Catholic Church around the corner from the house," he said. "I was praying a hell of a lot."
Marshall then quoted Kanye West to describe his current faith posture.
"If I can quote the great American theologian of all time, Kanye West. He said, 'Fear God, and you will fear nothing else,'" he shared.
"I love that because for me, I do fear God. And I think it's true. That if you fear God sincerely, then you won't fear worldly issues, worldly problems," Marshall maintained.