GREAT White guitarist Mark Kendall says most surviving hair metal bands have forsaken hedonism to such an extent he’s hardly seen cocaine on the road in decades.
“I’ve always said ‘don’t do blow in your 50s’. Give me a break. It’s too dangerous,” Kendall told the White Line Fever podcast.
“It’s way too dangerous. If you ever see blow out there, it’s funny. Usually, you say ‘they still have that stuff? Whoa. I haven’t seen that stuff since, like, ’89!”
Kendall, whose band last year released the album Full Circle, says eighties bands who are still partying on tour are like the great white whale among their contemporaries.
“I think, in general, most of the bands we’ve run into are doing pretty good. The conversations backstage are a lot different than the old days,” he observed.
“You might run into an occasional band where, ‘wow, they’re still drinking Jack Daniels and all this stuff? Wow, this is pretty cool!’ You know, pretty crazy…
“But for the most part, it seems like the bands are taking care of themselves and playing better than they ever have. At least 90 per cent of them, that we run into, everybody’s playing great, they’re not getting hammered…”
Kendall himself is now sober and runs a support group for others who are battling alcohol addiction.
Asked to explain how he came to be a mentor, he told the podcast: “I was just a big time beer drinker, since probably I was late teenager.
“It was my vehicle for cruising through life, I guess.
“I noticed it start to be a problem in ’91 so I quit but the way I quit was pretty much what we call white-knuckling it.
“In other words, I wasn’t doing anything to change my alcoholic character. I was just excluding beer out of my life, alcohol out of my life.
“Everything else pretty much remained the same and I would go two years without drinking and then try it again and try to drink like a normal person. That didn’t work so I’d maybe not drink for a year and a half – and then try it again.
The analogy is: you hit yourself in the head with a hammer, you get a lump, and then two years roll by and you try it again hoping for a different result.
“You keep getting the lump.”
A decade ago, the 60-year-old decided to change his approach.
He continued: “So in 2008, I just decided to start listening more than trying to do everything myself.
“Part of my program is to help others. So I decided, instead of using Facebook to tell everybody how great I am, I thought ‘I wonder what would happen if I just reached out and offered my support and sober friendship to anybody out there struggling.
“It started with one person. Now I have 94 people in my sober support online group and we celebrate time, milestones, we support each other, welcome newcomers and all that kind of stuff.
“Some might be fans, you know, and some don’t really care.
“This is part of what keeps me grounded in my own sobriety, to see somebody do well.
“I just kind of share what helped me. I’m not telling anybody. I’m not preaching. I’m telling them what helped me.”
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