Aside from a brief flirt with mainstream popularity in the late '80s/early '90s, the Happy Mondays never made much of a splash on this side of "the Pond," as they say. The band, like most coming out of the Manchester scene, garnered more notoriety for their use of pharmaceuticals than anything else. The latest lineup (including dancer/percussionist/acid casualty "Bez" and founding member Shaun Ryder) plays the House of Blues this Saturday, and considering how many musicians "snuff it" due to drug use, we at Rocks Off would like to congratulate the Mondays for surviving this long. As you'll see, it puts them in some pretty select company.
Ozzy was fired from Black Sabbath for his drug use, which seems a bit harsh until you hear the stories about snorting ants and having conversations with horses...with the horses talking back, apparently. "Survival" in Ozzy's case is a dubious honor, considering he still has to live with Sharon, who never misses an opportunity to wring another dollar from the trembling, dessicated near-corpse of the former Prince of Darkness.
The self-styled "Toxic Twins" were close to pushing up daisies after the release ofRocks
in 1976, but both entered rehab and have gone on to greater success then they ever saw in the 70s, though Aerosmith is often cited as a prime example of how the quality of your art declines when you quit doing drugs.
Anyone who saw Jeff Feuerzeig's excellentThe Devil and Daniel Johnston
knows that drugs weren't the only thing to bring down the man Kurt Cobain called the "greatest living songwriter"...but they sure didn't help. Johnston's become more famous these days for his art, which is probably for the best since it frees him from having to live up to the expectations of his earlier work.
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yet, go hence and do so. More amazing than the fact anyone in Mötley Crüe is still alive is that they didn't take out more people than Razzle from Hanoi Rocks. And without Sixx's succession of overdoses and near-death episodes, the band would have about an album and a half's worth of material.
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Loath as we are to credit Denis Leary with saying anything funny, his ancient joke about Richards not having left any drugs for the rest of us still garners a chuckle. A punchline for decades due to his legendary excesses, Richards continues to perform, even though every new Stones tour has Rocks Off heading to the sports book to put $20 on the date he's most likely to spontaneously combusts onstage.