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Why Is Music So Blighted By Drugs?


Think of rock and roll, and three words come before that. Sex and drugs…

Booze and drugs have long had a close relationship with the music industry, and even today, when many artists are considering their health on tour more and more, it’s still a huge problem.

Over the years, we’ve lost some of the world’s biggest stars due to drug addiction and overdoses, with it even spawning ‘The 27 Club’ a significant number of artists that have tragically died to substance abuse over the years, from Hendrix to Amy Winehouse, perhaps the most notable recent victim.

But why is it that music is so associated with drugs, and why do so many artists end up in drug rehab?

The “cool” reputation and not bucking the trend

Throughout history, musicians and artists have long had an association with drugs, and for many today it’s just considered the done thing. No questions asked.

The likes of Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven all had their vices, while many have the impression that if they’re good enough for the likes of John Lennon, Keith Richards and the many other legendary acts from the 1960s, then they’re good enough for them. 

It’s what musicians do, so when offered, why wouldn’t they say no?

Accessibility to drugs is easy

Of course, late nights and life on the road makes drugs a lot more accessible with far fewer consequences outside their own personal health. There’s no going home to various responsibilities, it’s one venue to another.

What’s more, late nights combined with alcohol can be exhausting and intense, while the pressure of going on stage can lead to high levels of anxiety, with the effects of drugs being used to try and increase energy and cope with such stresses.

Of course, that can lead down a slippery slope to addiction and cause much more harm than good. 

The myth that drugs breed creativity

There’s a long running myth that drugs breed creativity, predominantly dating back to the psychedelics of the 60s. While it is true that the likes of LSD can unlock creative channels for some artists, it is still dangerous and drugs are not absolutely essential to unlocking that,

In fact, in most cases, they can slow musicians down and stunt creativity and productivity. You only have to look at the Happy Mondays’ ill thought out trip to the Caribbean to record an album to see that! 

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