Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Duff McKagan remembers Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse’s passing over the weekend has launched an outpouring of thoughts from friends, fans and family, as well as other musicians.

The troubled singer’s cause of death remains unknown as Monday’s initial autopsy proved inconclusive; further toxicology tests are in motion, with results expected in a few weeks.

Fellow musician Duff McKagan has written a stirring piece about Winehouse in his Seattle Weekly column, one he titled “Nobody Chooses Addiction; Not Even Amy Winehouse.” McKagan’s own experiences with substances, etc. and his turnaround may make him one of the more credible voices in the post-Winehouse world.

Here’s an excerpt:

“In my head I yelled at her, "C'mon, girl! It seemed as if you were pulling OUT of that drug s**t! It seemed as if you were on your way back! It seemed as if maybe, just maybe, you'd be putting that troubling time behind you..." But no. It wasn't to be after all. Alas, the Winehouses do not have their daughter Amy anymore.

In the late '80s into the '90s, there was a mess of drug-addled youth in their 20s in and around rock and roll music--buying into the "Live Fast, Die Young" mantra and all of that stupid and ignorant rot--that I found myself and my circle of friends a part of. I lost two of my very best friends to overdoses. And for a while it seemed that I'd most certainly go that same route.

But I had good people around me, a network of friends and family that some of my peers didn't have. It was those people, who when I saw a chance to get better, and get sober, it was they who called and stopped by, and showed me how to stay away from the bad stuff--taught me how to stay alive.

Amy lived her life for the last eight years in a fishbowl. We all peered in when she had her great and worldwide success. We all gawked at that same fishbowl as we watched her stumble again and again. Our view into the fishbowl changed as her life's trials changed. But her view OUT of the fishbowl never changed. I'm sure it was claustrophobic and terrifying in there. For those of you who may say "Yeah, but she had EVERYTHING! Why would she waste her time on drugs; she should have JUST GOTTEN SOBER!", let me just say a few things:

-- No one loves to be addicted.
-- No singer or musician I have ever known has dreamed of one day being successful AND strung out.
-- Do you think Amy's success changed HER more, or do you think it is possible that her success changed how other people treated her more?

The "specialists" and talking heads on cable news are criticizing Amy Winehouse's inner circle of "advisors." I know Amy's manager and accountant, and I also know that both of them are VERY stand-up people. It is a shame that people like this, people who have tried their best to help Ms. Winehouse in the past few years, get their names dragged through the mud. But in the end, it is just so sad to have lost this young woman to what will most likely be discovered to be, drugs. She was a talent. She was different. She railed against the norm. She was a musical trailblazer.

In the end, I cannot compare what I went through or experienced with what Amy Winehouse went through. I only know that addiction is a lonely and terrifying place to be. It's not glamorous, and addiction does not care if you are well-known and rich, or a loner-hermit with no dough.”

Check out Duff’s complete column here.

See also:

Velvet Revolver drummer says album with Corey Taylor is ready to go
Velvet Revolver top the hennemusic Hot 10
Velvet Revolver: Duff McKagan confirms Corey Taylor rumors
Velvet Revolver: Slash confirms Corey Taylor rumors
Velvet Revolver: more Corey Taylor rumors
Stone Sour's Corey Taylor addresses Velvet Revolver rumors
Velvet Revolver: Matt Sorum discusses plans for 2011
Velvet Revolver record demos with new singer
Matt Sorum: Velvet Revolver “real close” to finding new singer