Ever wonder why certain bands tend to have this really amazing period of time where they create some of the best music ever heard, and suddenly fall off the face of the earth? In most cases it’s because the band members got sober. It’s true, albeit a sad truth, but still a fact nonetheless. Drugs make music better, but they also make it much worse. Confused? Go smoke another one, hippy. Kidding!
For example purposes, let’s use the band Metallica. You may or may not have heard of them, but they are a really talented group of choir boys from the Bay Area. Okay enough fucking around, you damn well know who Metallica is. Just as their name is widely known, so is their history of substance abuse. Back in the 80s they released some of the most groundbreaking metal albums that would forever influence the genre. Then they got sober, and starting sucking. Badly. So bad in fact, that by now they have released more albums that people hate, than the ones we all love from their back catalogue.
So does this mean they should have continued abusing their bodies? Absolutely not! I’m just pointing out that this idea is a double edged sword. There are basically two paths you can take if you want to pursue a popular career in music. You can pursue a life of drug abuse and lose yourself within your creative juices, but you risk having the same thing that happened to Metallica happen to you. A more intelligent approach would be to avoid the substance abuse, and have your creativity inspired organically. This way you pose less risk off falling flat once you need to sober up. There is also the obvious third path, which is basically saying ‘fuck you’ to everything anyone says thus pursuing your own path.
Of course several people will argue this concept, but it’s an important concept that lots of musicians need to address, regardless of what path they choose. Believe it or not, there is still a wide amount of peer pressure in the realm of bands and musicians. Its ridiculously stupid to imagine, but people still exist who actually let others influence them to abuse various detrimental substances. Whether it be a new band member trying their best to fit in with the rest of the band, or a group of young musicians who just think its cool to copy what other people did back in the day.
I’m no saint by any means, and am well aware of the effects these substances can have on yourself and the people around you. If I read this article ten years go I would have labeled it garbage, and cursed its author. Though as years fell off me like hairs from Devin Townsend’s head, I started growing out of the ‘angst ridden youth who knows everything’ phase. In return I’ve come to realize that I did in fact waste a lot of time, and I can relate to other bands/artists who have done the same. The only downfall now being that I cant go back and try again. What I can do is share what I know, and what I’ve observed over the years. By no means are my opinions the only approach to this subject, so I encourage you to share your own opinions in the comments below!