On Friday, April 20th EDM fans across the world were shocked and heartbroken to hear that internationally known DJ Avicii had passed away at the incredibly young age of 28. Well-known for genre-mixing singles in the electronic dance music (EDM) world, this Grammy-nominated artist has been producing music since as young as 16 years old. By 18 he was already going on tours. So it tragic for many to see someone who had come up so quickly in his scene to be lost so soon.
DJ Avicii, born Tim Bergling of Sweden, was actually on vacation in Muscat, Oman at the time of his death, according to early reports. While the cause of death had not been confirmed, Oman police have officially ruled out “criminal suspicion”. UPDATE: A recent statement from the family has many wondering if suicide could be the cause of death.
However, many point to a number of health issues DJ Avicii was battling, including acute pancreatitis. Some sources report that this was in part due to his history of excessive drinking.
Avicii Faced His Health Issues
At only 26 years old, Avicii had announced he would be retiring from performing to focus on his health. During an interview with Rolling Stone just last year he had talked about how his lifestyle of hard partying had quickly begun to catch up to him. He told the magazine,
“It’s very easy to become too attached to partying. You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic.”
In 2013, Avicii further explained his motivations for giving up drinking with TIME magazine, saying,
“Yeah I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much… Then I got a pancreatitis attack [at 21], which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking.”
But just because Avicii gave up drinking did not mean he gave up the party. He told TIME,
“I can be sober and party. It’s all a learning experience. I’ve gone out partying sober and I’ve met my new girlfriend from day one sober, and I’ve done everything sober. And I see how drunk everyone else is and I feel like, I kind of like not being hungover tomorrow.”
While Avicii also admitted it was stressful and brought on anxiety to face his fame and continue a demanding tour schedule, the artist was still optimistic about his sobriety. During an interview in the middle of his last worldwide tour, after announcing his retirement, he said,
“I just feel happy. I feel free at this point. Like I have my private life back and focusing on myself for the first time in a long time,”
However, Avicii did not condemn his fame. He still greatly enjoyed his career, stating:
“It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price—a lot of stress [and] a lot of anxiety for me—but it was the best journey of my life.”
The documentary Avicii: True Stories was one of the first public ways that the artist had opened up about the specific health issues he was facing with acute pancreatitis. According to reports, he was first diagnosed with the condition in 2012 after a hospitalization. In 2014 there were reports that the artist even had to undergo surgery as a result of further health complications.
While there is no way of knowing if his health issues were directly responsible for his death, we may never know.
UPDATE: Statement From Avicii’s Family
Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.
An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.
When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.
He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.
He could not go on any longer.
He wanted to find peace.
Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.
Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed.
The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.
While Avicii may have suffered at some point due to his drinking, what we can be inspired by in his life is that he was not afraid to keep doing what he loved even after giving up alcohol. He was not afraid to party sober, and when he retired he did so with the desire to live free.
Have you experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you’ve tried to quit drinking? Has alcohol started creating other physical, mental or emotional problems for you? If so, you might want to consider getting help for alcohol dependence. Substance dependence and addiction are medical conditions for which treatment is available. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits is a celebrated American singer-songwriter with a distinctive voice so growly with grit it’s strangely smooth and somehow conceptually classic. He is also a composer who has worked on several movies and musicals, not to mention an awesome actor. Born in December of 1949 Waits has even been nominated for various awards including an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart, and has even been awarded Grammy Awards for two albums, all while being listed in 2010 by Rolling Stone magazines 100 Greatest Singers.
While his name may not be as known as it should, you probably would know his face. What might not be common knowledge is Mr. Waits is also sober, and has openly discussed his sobriety, as well as the struggles it took him to get there. While we honor this multi-talented and noteworthy artist, let us take a closer look at the living legend and his path to recovery.
One thing consistent in his conversation is the fact his experience has shown his creative can survive in sobriety, which means the world to a lot of us more obscure folks.
Back in 2006 Tom Waits did an interview talking about his life, his loving wife, and the trials and turmoil leading to his recovery. That year he was 14 years sober, so if you’re doing the math that means he would be 23 years sober this year! Over 2 decades of a dramatic life shift has taken place, and he is more than willing to talk tactics and relationships.
During his 2006 interview Waits stated,
“Oh you know, it was tough. I went to AA. I’m in the program. I’m clean and sober. Hooray. But, it was a struggle.”
When asked if he missed the drinking days, Tom Wait’s honesty was in no short supply either.
“Nah. Not the way I was drinking. No, I’m happy to be sober. Happy to be alive. I found myself in some places I can’t believe I made it out alive.”
And then of course there was the question of how taking drugs and alcohol out of the equation might have hindered his creative process, and what it meant to work as a genuinely irregular genius. If you’re an alcoholic like me, you might get a warm fuzzy feeling or familiarity at his response.
“No. I don’t think so. I mean, one is never completely certain when you drink and do drugs whether the spirits that are moving through you are the spirits from the bottle or your own. And, at a certain point, you become afraid of the answer. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps people from getting sober, they’re afraid to find out it was the liquor talking all along.”
“I was trying to prove something to myself, too. It was like, ‘Am I genuinely eccentric? Or am I just wearing a funny hat? What am I made of? What’s left when you drain the pool?”
Waits even gave some credit of his sobriety to the wonders of the intimate relationship he built with Kathleen Brennan, a scriptwriter he met in 1978. Kathleen has become his companion and collaborator for over two decades now,, with the two of them sharing three children, Casey, Kelly and Sullivan.
When Tom Waits was once asked what his wife brought to the table, he replied, ‘Blood and liquor and guilt, ‘ so when he says that Kathleen saved his life, he means it quite literally. When asked about if she inspired his recovery Tom said,
“Oh yeah, for sure. But I had something in me, too. I knew I would not go down the drain, I would not light my hair on fire, I would not put a gun in my mouth. I had something abiding in me that was moving me forward. I was probably drawn to her because I saw that there was a lot of hope there.”
For a man who built a life around a brand of music with the feel of bad news, bourbon, bullets and bar-stools reaching back to a time of blues and rock and roll in its rawest form, it seems it can feel out of place and obscure in modern age. But Tom Waits for no man to validate his victory ballads for the broken and beautiful.
When asked again about his sobriety and his comments on the contribution it made to his music in 2011, Tom Waits stated,
“I think maybe when you drink, you’re probably robbing yourself of that genuine experience, even though it appears what you’re doing is getting more of it. You’re getting less of it.”
It’s pretty awesome to hear this kind of conscientious chatter from a guy infamous for a crude image of the old school drunk. To get an honest and open feel for a man who has done all he can to beat to his own booze-free good-old-boy style drum. The opinion of sobriety being an essential element to his most real expression of being eccentric and creative is inspiring, especially to someone who has also feared losing touch with a more talented or unique self without substances.
Rock on Tom… you amazing weirdo!
Celebrating recovery isn’t just a famous people thing. Every day people all over the country celebrate their renewed life through recovering from drugs and alcohol thanks to a program of action that often begins with the commitment to make a change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The music industry is well known for a population consisting mostly of young people who thrive off the evolution of pop culture, and often the fame and fortune is coupled with temptation. The life of a rock-star or music icon is typically associated with drugs, and marijuana seems to be the most common of all. So here we will take a look at some of these bright stars who stopped smoking pot, and at the reasons they had for giving it up. Be it for their career, their children, or their future, here are 10 music stars who gave up marijuana.
1. Mark Foster
The front-man of Foster the People credited the most unlikely person in music with helping him to quit marijuana for good. Foster actually said he gave up using marijuana only 3 days prior to meeting Snoop Dogg at a festival, and that in a July 2012 interview with Q magazine that the rapper discouraged him from sharing a blunt together. Snoop had once declined the opportunity to smoke up with Foster, telling him sometimes you need to “slow down and focus on your sh**”.
2. George Michael
George Michael has numerous arrests on his record regard marijuana charges, including a drug possession charge in 2008 and a 2010 conviction of driving under the influence of cannabis, which resulted in a jail sentence. After substance abuse counseling Michael declared in August 2011 that he had given up marijuana, but it was his battle with pneumonia and subsequent three-week coma in late 2011 that convinced him go on the wagon for keeps.
3. Neil Young
Many rock legends slip plenty of marijuana references into their classic songs, and Neil Young is no exception! He put weed references into “Roll Another Number (For the Road),” and other hits, but now has been sober for over two years after giving up booze and marijuana. Young got clean initially to write his 2012 memoir Waging Heavy Peace. “I did it for 40 years. Now I want to see what it’s like to not do it. It’s just a different perspective,” he said during an interview last year.
4. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga had a long standing reputation as a marijuana enthusiast and has even been known to smoke a joint on stage. However as her hip injury grew worse on her Born This Way Ball tour, the singer admitted that she was smoking more and more marijuana throughout the day to help numb the pain. Gaga underwent hip surgery, but found herself unable to kick her habit. She credits performance artist Marina Abramovic with inspiring her to get off marijuana last summer on a bizarre retreat. But this sobriety was short lived, as Lady Gaga now admits to smoking “a little bit”.
5. Cee Lo Green
This six-time Grammy award winner and current judge of The Voice was inspired to give up his weed habit after marijuana back in the late ‘90s with his former band Goodie Mob and “never got comfortable with [marijuana] again.” However, he was allegedly caught smoking weed last month while on The Voice, and in a cover-up NBC removed the footage of him blowing smoke out of his nose from all re-runs of the episode.one bad trip. In November 2010 Cee Lo Green expressed that he had suffered an anxiety attack he says was induced by smoking
6. Travis Barker
Mr. Blink 182 Travis Barker, who also has made a name for himself with the Famous Stars and Straps clothing line, gave up marijuana in the spring of 2012 after being diagnosed with six ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus, which was attributed to his habitual pot smoking and unhealthy lifestyle. Barkers esophagus lining become pre-cancerous, and after undergoing an emergency tonsillectomy, he completely altered his way of living.
7. Andre 3000
Singer Andre 3000 of the hip-hop duo Outkast “always kept an ounce” at the peak of his fame”. But in a 2003 interview, he revealed that he had at the time sworn off smoking pot and drinking (in addition to becoming a vegan) in 1998 after realizing that the drug had taken control of his life. “I was kind of abusing it. I wasn’t looking my best. I had a platinum album out and I would do stuff like go to [the] projects to buy weed,”. Impressively after over a decade it appears that Andre 3000 is still both drug and meat-free!
8. Kid Cudi
Cleveland, Ohio’s own Kid Cudi was the self-proclaimed “lonely stoner” rapper who got his momentum toward fame from songs about smoking weed on his 2009 and 2010 Man on the Moon albums. This all changed as of April 2011 when Kid Cudi wrote a confessional post on his Tumblr page and announced he had quit smoking weed, expressing frustration about his constant association with the drug and stoner culture. “I’m 27 with a business to run and I need to be alert and focused with my mind strong,”. It seemed that after growing as an artist and a business man, Kid Cudi no longer desired to feel limited to influencing the pot-smoking counter culture.
9. Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney, former Beatles member and celebrated artist has been a shameless marijuana advocate since the ‘60s and was infamously arrested in Japan for possession of pot back in 1980. Then just months before his 70th birthday, McCartney revealed in a February 2012 interview that he was giving up using marijuana for the sake of his eight-year-old daughter, Beatrice, proving that you are never too old to make a change.
10. Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion)
Last but most certainly not least is the artists formerly known as Snoop Dogg, now known as Snoop Lion, and always known as a pot poster boy. This rapper’s long-standing love of weed has even led to him doing anti-drug ads while completely under the influence, but he vowed to stop smoking pot over a decade ago. “Drugs cloud your vision. I was having fun when I was getting high … [but] I’m 30 years old now,” he said in January 2003. Despite this conviction, less than two years later Snoop (whatever) admitted to smoking weed regularly again, and was even arrested for possession of marijuana in January 2012. Snoop has since turned his love of marijuana into a business, endorsing his own rolling papers and exclusive strains of cannabis, in addition to writing the theme song for Discovery Channel show Weed Wars. So while it was a very short lived run, some would still count him in given his extensive qualifications.
Artists, musicians, celebrities of all kinds face the same temptations, and sometimes the same circumstances when it comes to substance abuse and addiction, and many of them experience at some point the devastation that can be caused when drugs take hold of their lives, and when control is lost, what else an addict can lose in the process. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Singer Simone Battle was a beautiful and talented young woman, a finalist who made it through to the top 17 talented musicians in the United States popular 2011 series The X Factor, and this past Friday she tragically took her own life. The heart-wrenching news was initially reported on after a post on Twitter by producer Derek Butler, who shared a picture of the star, writing:
“I’m still in shock and in disbelief to have confirmed the death of my childhood friend @SimoneBattle,”
Simone Battle was 25 years old, and leaves behind a touching story of a quick rise to star status that was abruptly cut short for reasons that at this point can only be subject to speculation. Was it a history of depression, or maybe a sudden life change that overwhelmed her? Or could there be some link to any external factors? Whatever the cause, the music world will be deprived another beautiful voice matched with a dazzling smile.
Details on Battles Tragic Death
Simone Battle was found hanged in her home in Los Angeles according to US reports from American gossip site TMZ. The press is currently claiming police sources informed them the G.R.L singer committed suicide in her West Hollywood apartment, information on the 25-year-old singer’s tragic death that was later confirmed in a statement on Saturday. According to the reports, Simone was found hanging on a rod in the closet of her bedroom around 8:30 AM on Friday morning.
Reign Deer Entertainment, Robin Antin, Kemosabe Records, and RCA Records released a statement expressing deep sympathies for the family of the up and coming star, and mourning the loss of this talented young woman, stating:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the loss of Simone Battle of G.R.L., Simone was an exceptional young talent and human being, and we are all devastated to learn of her passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones at this time.”
The Life of Simone Battles
Battle grew up in Los Angeles, where she did some part time modeling and work in television and movies before ending up on tour with the Black Eyed Peas after high school, according to RCA records. Battle had told RCA records during her time with the company that she knew she wanted to be a singer after her dad had played a tape of Whitney Houston singing her blockbuster song ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a child. Simone said to RCA Records,
“After that I played the tape over and over till it unwound. I love Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Dorothy Dandridge, but Whitney definitely inspired my dream to be a singer.”
Battle attended the University of Southern California before her original audition for the first season of The X Factor. After being kicked off the show, she released her song ‘He Likes Boys’ before joining the music group G.R.L. and working toward the super-groups big musical debut.
She was one of the incredibly musical girls in Simon Cowell’s category, and following her success on the show she was named as one of the members of G.R.L. which is commonly referred to as the second generation reboot of the popular female super-group Pussycat Dolls by original creator Robin Antin.
The group, which is made up of Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Natasha Slayton, Paula van Oppen and Simone opted for a different name than the original Pussycat Dolls, donning the title G.R.L., and very quickly those ladies were on the verge of becoming household names. Their single ‘Wild Wild Love’ with hip-hop artist Pitbull reached number six in the UK charts. The G.R.L. newest single ‘Ugly Heart’ was released in the UK just this week.
Suicide and Substance Abuse
Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year. Unknown to most, substance abuse is the second most common cause that factors into substantial suicide risk, directly after major depression and bipolar disorder. Both chronic substance abuse and addiction, as well as acute intoxication are closely connected with suicide. In combination with personal emotional strain such as mourning, the risk of suicide is easily amplified. Additionally substance abuse is associated with mental health disorders.
So it should come as no surprise a vast majority of people who commit suicide are under the influence of sedative type depressive substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines .
- Alcoholism is actually present in between 15% and 61% of cases of suicide.
- Countries that have higher rates of alcohol use and a greater density of bars generally also have higher rates of suicide.
- About 2.2–3.4% of those who have been treated for alcoholism at some point in their life die by suicide.
- Alcoholics who attempt suicide are usually males, have tried to commit suicide in the past, and are often older, although it is clear that these are not the only people at risk.
- Between 3 and 35% of deaths among those who use heroin are due to suicide.
Just these few statistics on suicide and substance abuse make it absolutely clear that addicts and alcoholics, especially those who abuse substances that are typically referred to as depressants, put themselves at an extreme risk of suicide.
While it is not yet determined whether drugs or alcohol are at all related to Simone Battles sudden and saddening death as no additional information has been released, it is very clear the relation to the desperation and despair that people experience who find no other answer than to take their own life. Suicide is common among addicts and alcoholics, and I myself as an addict and alcoholic have survived suicide attempts of my own in the past, which I clearly can connect to my drinking and drug use. The death of Simone Battles also closely follows the death of celebrated actor and comedian Robin Williams, which was also determined to be a suicide.
Any time I see a story like this it hits close to home, because I have lived in a similar mind-state. On average 1 person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes, and this statistic is especially disturbing and devastating due to the fact that an astounding 80% of those who seek treatment for depression closely related to suicide recover successfully.
I have pushed off the edge as many addicts and alcoholics do, only to be brought back. So when I see someone who was experienced enough pain to put themselves in that position, and not make it back, it breaks my heart. My sympathy and my prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Simone Battles, and to the addicts and alcoholics out there who will take their own lives today.
Rest In Peace
June 17th, 1989 – September 5th 2014
Substance abuse and suicide go hand in hand in more ways than most people care to see, and both are created by treatable circumstances but too often lead to avoidable tragedies. Whether the cause is mental health and mood disorders, or an unhealthy life-style, suicide is a permanent escape from a temporary problem. Quite often the problem is not worth nearly as much as the people who lose their lives for it, and there are real solutions out there to not only find peace, but happiness and a life worth living for. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Covered in Blood: the author with some friends after a Gwar show
Looking back, I realize that I’m pretty lucky I got to go see GWAR (also written “Gwar”) perform back in November of of last year. It was to become one of their last shows before front man, David Brockie – aka Oderus Urungus – was found dead in his Richmond, VA home in March.
The Virginia medical examiner’s office has since found that the cause of death was due to an accidental heroin overdose. Brockie, the front man for the heavy metal band, was 50 years old at the time of his death.
It was one of Brockie’s bandmates who found him dead in his home on a Sunday evening.
“It is with a saddened heart that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician and lead singer of Gwar passed away,” the band’s manager, Jack Flanagan said in a statement released the next day.
At the time of the discovery, evidence found in Brock’s house pointed to a possible drug-related cause of death. A toxicology report, a procedure that can take up to six weeks, was ordered to be performed by the Virginia Medical Examiner in order to determine the exact cause of death.
Arkuie Williams, administrator at the state’s chief medical examiner’s office, said Tuesday that Brockie’s official cause of death was acute heroin toxicity.
Brockie was one of the founding members and remained a constant in the Grammy-nominated “shock rock” band, which was founded back in 1984. In fact, Brockie was the last original member. Prior to his passing, GWAR lost another member suddenly back in 2011 when 34-year-old lead guitarist Cory Smoot – aka – Flattus Maximus, was found dead on the band’s tour bus. His death was caused by heart failure.
Along with some fellow students at Virginia Commonwealth University, Brockie formed the outrageous thrash metal act which also incorporated social and political satire and is known for its comically grotesque costumes, stage antics and vulgar lyrics.
When I attended the show in November, I was prepared to be sprayed with copious amounts of fake blood, which Gwar had become notorious for doing (pictured above). I was even one of the few lucky concert-goers who were “sacrificed” to the “meat grinder” – another part of the show that had become a GWAR tradition.
Brockie told Style in a 2012 feature story “We were and still are provocateurs. We’re just a bunch of guys with warped senses of humor spit balling the most evil ideas that we could think of, to hold up a twisted mirror to the culture.”
Former Gwar bassist Mike Bishop had this to say about his fallen bandmate: “[Brockie was] one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I’ve known. He was brash sometimes, always crass, irreverent, he was hilarious in every way. But he was also deeply intelligent and interested in life, history, politics and art.”
GWAR released its latest album in 2013 and had recently toured Australia and Japan.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.