Damon Albarn, frontman for Blur and Gorillaz, is set to release a new solo album, Everyday Robots. He’s now given a rare interview in which he discusses his past heroin use as a creative and productive experience, but he also admits it’s a cruel drug to be addicted to. He describes his habit in one of his new songs, You and Me:
“Tin foil and a lighter, the ship across … Five days on, two days off.”
So he was smoking heroin, not injecting, and he was not using daily. The technical term for this is moderation. Sure, five days a week could be considered more than moderate use depending on quantity. But what people refuse to understand is that moderate use of heroin can actually exist. There’s been so much demonization of the drug that it’s caused mass cognitive dissonance, even hysteria. Smoking heroin occasionally is not the same as lying in alley with a syringe stuck in your arm. People can’t seem to grasp that, yet they find it easy to understand that having a glass of wine five nights a week with dinner is not the same as drinking a quart of vodka a day.
I hope this turns into something instructive for someone out there, but I imagine Albarn will just be demonized for admitting there are benefits and harms associated with heroin.
As a former junky and as a guitarist, I have to add that to get any creative benefit from heroin (like any other drug), you better use it in strict moderation. Opiate addiction can really sap your creative drive and even deaden how music feels. Again, compare it alcohol: you might be inspired after an evening out with friends talking and having a few drinks. Whereas if you started drinking every day it might ruin you, and soon you could wind up with no friends to talk to and few new ideas to talk about. Then again, according to addiction experts, alcohol is much worse than heroin. And as with any drug, most people who try heroin do not get addicted. The statistics vary by study but tend not to rise above 30 percent.
Damon Albarn’s new album, Everyday Robots, is out April 29, 2014.
Excerpt from the Guardian:
Damon Albarn has given a rare interview about his past heroin use, describing it as an “incredibly productive” time in his musical career.
Although the singer is now sober, the singer addresses his drug use in a new song, which describes how he would regulate his heroin intake to “five days on and two days off”.
“[Heroin] freed me up,” Albarn said in this month’s Q cover story. “I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative … A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice.”
Albarn began using heroin “at the height of Britpop”, after returning home from tour and finding it “in the front room”. “I just thought, ‘Why not?’ I never imagined it would become a problem,” he said.
“I’m happy I found that poetry,” Albarn told Q. “I can move forward now without all the nudge nudge, wink wink innuendo I’ve had in the background for years.”