Recently there have been a number of organizations that are pointing out how musicians and artists can easily falter under addiction and mental illness, and the recent passing of rapper Lil Peep from an overdose has raised even more concerns.
As a recent story in Billboard relates, “Often sensitive by nature, surrounded by sycophants and isolated for long stretches on the road, musicians can have their mental health issues compounded by drinking and drug use that pervades their worlds. Their suicide rate is about three times the national average, according to research by Steve Stack, director of the Center for Suicide Research…”
Yet Billboard adds there are “encouraging trends” going on in the music business, including resources where musicians and get help and hopefully save their lives. There are organizations like MusiCares, which has reportedly raised nearly $10 million to help close to 3,000 people in the music business who need help, and Help Musicians UK, an organization that provides assistance to musicians, and is raising awareness that a lot of musicians are prone to depression and anxiety.
At a recent MusiCares benefit, Adam Clayton, bassist for U2, talked about how Eric Clapton convinced him to get help. “After two particularly heavy benders where I really thought I’d blown it, Eric Clapton reached out to me. He was on the end of a phone with some tough love. He said, ‘You have to get into a treatment center now. You’ve got to give up drink, and your life will change.’”
The cliché of sex, drugs, rock and roll is an old and hoary one, and in Billboard one music executive talked about how there is now a “sober mafia,” with a lot of musicians and music business executives leaving addiction behind them. One manager and addiction counselor loves the term “sober mafia,” and sees it as a good signal that “recovery has become part of the zeitgeist.”