Edited by Dr Paul Saintilan
Music Australia, eBook, 366pp
ISBN 9780648688303
Buy online

Whilst this book and the research contained therein relates primarily to musicians working in the popular music environment, the problems which face them also face musicians and their pressures in other musical genres such as jazz (which does have along and documented history of drug abuse and dependence) and classical music, for the pressures are the same.

Musicians and Addiction

In his introduction, Dr Saintilan gives a long list of popular musicians who have fallen prey to addiction and those famous fatal cases, including members of the infamous ‘27 club’ – including the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin through to Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. There is a series of interviews included (mainly Australian musicians here), though he does manage to get the great jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock and Eminem as interviewees.

Musicians and Addiction focuses on several areas, which influence the vulnerability of musicians to a dependence on alcohol and drugs including the pressure to be creative, performance anxiety, the attempt to overcome fears and challenges, pressures from others within the industry and the need to deal with fame. Saintilan achieves this by bringing together academic and medical research and personal involvement with these issues via the generous variety of interviews provided in the study.

There are interviews with Jimmy Barnes, Eminem, Paul Kelly, Archie Roach and Hancock amongst others. And then there is an equally diverse list of recovery stories from musicians who are only identified by their first names. By publishing such histories and academic information, the book can be useful as a tool for researchers, clinicians and all of those who work within the artistic fields – not only within music but in other artistic areas, including writers and artists as well.

Areas explored within the book include genetics and personalities which appear to be more drawn to addiction, anxiety regarding live performance, the pressures of the workplace and personal and societal expectations. In summing up, Musicians and Addiction looks at the all of these issues and the implications that they hold for the individual and the industry of which they are a part.