Musicians and their crew used to be notorious for their booze and drug consumption on tour. Now, however – partly thanks to the pandemic – there’s support for those who would rather try to stay sober

Randy Blythe, frontman of the US metal band Lamb of God, remembers the first time he performed live sober. It was 18 October 2010, and the band were opening for Metallica in Brisbane, Australia. “I was thrown into the lion’s den,” he says. “On stage in front of 14,000 people, weeping uncontrollably – thank God I had long hair so it covered my face. I got sober on tour, surrounded by free drugs and alcohol. I felt if I could do it out there, I’d be able to maintain it anywhere.”

Substance abuse and addiction can affect anyone. But with its tendency towards hedonism, the music industry can be dangerous for those who struggle with alcohol and drugs. We have watched many stars succumb to addiction, not to mention those who work behind the scenes. My own alcohol problem started before I became a music journalist, but I took full advantage of the late nights and heavy-drinking culture that came with the territory before I finally stopped. Now, as Covid-19 has forced a pause, change is afoot to help those who need it.

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