Drugs and music are closely linked, but if you don’t want to dabble in one, do you need to abandon the other? No, says Eddy…
Early this summer I shared a bill with a couple of very nice young DJs. At the start of the night, one of them said something very flattering about getting into DJing because of The Remix on Xfm.
I never cease to get a massive kick out of that, I feel so inspired by others that when anyone says they are inspired by me, I’m quite mind blown by it. At the end of the night, I gave him a lift home and he confessed to me something that was worrying him, that he wanted my advice on. He said he was thinking about giving up DJing “because of the drugs involved”. He felt under so much pressure to take drugs that he was actually considering giving up what he loved in order to “save his sanity”.
I was incredulous, and reassured him that, firstly, it was entirely possible to have a wonderful career as a DJ without touching any chemicals, and that he was clearly giving up the wrong thing.
I guess if you love drugs more than you love music or DJing, then your career path is an obvious and potentially catastrophic one. But here’s the thing: the last line of cocaine that went up my nose was years ago, in Ibiza at Manumission, the year before I started hosting Ibiza Rocks there. Like this nice chap, I felt under peer pressure to do drugs there, because – I thought – it was part of the experience.
The ensuing panic attack certainly wasn’t part of any experience I’d ever wished for. Glistening with sweat, ashen faced and lost like an unaccompanied child in an airport, I had one of the worst nights of my life.
I ended up, to all intents and purposes, as a Manumission resident the following year, and managed an entire season there – as well as an entire DJ career afterwards – in a personal cocaine-free zone. To my young DJ pal, I say that it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all. In fact, I rather enjoyed NOT talking bollocks for hours and chewing my own lips off from the inside out.
I still hung out with some legendary imbibers. I stood next to Pete Doherty while he repeatedly filled his lungs with foul-smelling crack before forgetting the words to his own songs at the first Ibiza Rocks show, I took over the decks after friends had lost consciousness in the boothe, I partied ’til dawn, ’til lunchtime the next day, and OK, I was knackered, but I slept like a baby and didn’t feel like slitting my own throat with a rusty butter knife the next day.
What really helps in these situations is the fact I gave up caffeine in the 1990s. As a result, all I need is one Jack Daniels and Coke and I am flying until dawn
I’m not going to get all preachy and say “I gave up drugs, you should too”; drugs clearly work for some people, and it’s entirely possible to have a happy and healthy life while smoking, drinking and doing recreationals in moderation. The key to it is the ‘moderation’ part.
I’m thinking about all this right now because next weekend is Standon Calling, a lovely little festy which raises money for a charity that helps families affected by drugs.
It’s a cause close to my heart, as my son’s mum hit the downward spiral years ago and basically abandoned the poor little mite, leaving him alone with me for several years. In the last awful year she got to see her son in a church hall for one hour on a Saturday morning each week, along with other (mostly fathers) alcoholics and drug addicts guiltily catching up with their kids.
This was all presided over by volunteers and funded by charity. If they didn’t do that, these parents would never see their kids, and more importantly the kids would feel more abandoned than they already do. It was this sense of abandonment and hopelessness that hit my Tone the hardest in those years and he still has issues about it. I do Standon every year, for ‘mates rates’ and encourage my colleagues to do the same, in support of this worthy and underfunded cause.
But back to my young colleague who was actually entertaining the idea of giving up DJing because of drug pressure: don’t give up music, you clearly love it. It’s also obvious you loathe the habitual use of class As, so try this…
Never do it when you’re DJing, it’s such a poor look. I remember watching Fatboy Slim years ago, in the days when he was caning it, he could barely mix a gin and tonic and looked like a mess behind the decks, it’s deeply unprofessional and awful to watch.
Use drugs medicinally, not habitually. If it’s 4am, you’re in a different country than the one you woke up in, you’ve had a one hour disco nap and you’re going to fall asleep mid set, then that is the time to possibly say yes to a little picker-upper. I go for the fizzy pop option, but that works for me. I’m just trying to let you know there is a middle ground, that life doesn’t have to be black and white – there are some nice shades of grey which could work for you.
I used to smoke all the time, now I’m more of a social weekend puffer. I never take cocaine, ever, I hate the anxiety it gives me and I’ve seen too many friends and family lose their character, home, friends, partners or sanity because of it. I look forward to the one or two weekends per year, when my little boy is far away and in someone else’s care, that I relax my rules and go ‘nine sheets to the wind’. This works for me, and I hope you find your happy medium, your equilibrium… if you’re even half as happy as me, then you’ll have a wonderful life.
Lastly to everyone that couldn’t get a ticket to Secret Garden Party, or anyone looking to have a great weekend out, get one for Standon Calling, it’s a lovely little festival and your ticket money will do a whole world of good. I can personally guarantee that.
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