Musicians That Defy Medical Science

Sometimes the public forgets that celebrities are humans just like the rest of us. We seem to fall in to the belief that our idols live in another world, one full of lavish luxuries and vast supplies of money; while the rest of us struggle to get by in our comparatively dull lives. One myth that is attributed to many excessive musicians is the myth of immortality. However, there are some people out there who almost make it seem like it might be possible!

Iggy Pop

Punk music is known for its excessive and often violent behaviour. The ‘godfather of punk’ is no stranger to this lifestyle. Fans of The Stooges know the stories about Iggy Pop’s wild stage behaviour. He would perform acts of self-mutilation like rolling around in glass, stage-diving, and diving down stairs. During the era when he was a known heroin addict, Iggy would often remove his clothing and taunt the crowd with insults. It almost seems like he was immune to pain during his heroin days. Just take a look at the photos of him in positions which resemble those assumed by yoga masters.


Bushwick Bill

This legendary ‘gangsta’ rapper from the Getto Boys not only sings about violent situations; he has been involved in many himself. The documented story of how he lost his right eye in a shooting accident is immortalized in the song “Ever So Clear” which makes reference to the grain alcohol, Everclear, which he had been drinking that night. The story unfolds with a drunk and depressed Bushwick arriving at his girlfriend’s house. In a suicidal rage he demanded that she shoot him; when she refused, a fight broke out and the gun discharged hitting Bill in the right eye.


Shane MacGowan

The former toothless front man for The Pogues is known for his poetic songs and frequent drunken behaviour. MacGowan’s constant battle with alcoholism caused him to miss numerous shows during the eighties and eventually got him fired from the band. His alcoholism only worsened from that point and many of his friends became concerned for his life. He became secluded, only making sporadic drunken performances. A longtime friend Sinead O’Connor once contacted the police to inform them that he had been taking heroin. This event, Shane has stated, is an isolated incident and he claims not to be addicted to any drugs; but he willingly admits to his addiction alcohol. This has led to numerous aborted attempts at rehabilitation for the troubled musician.


George Jones

Most people don’t associate country music with ‘rock & roll’ behavior but there have been quite a few people within the country music scene who took the rock & roll lifestyle and ran with it. Hank Williams is one of the most notable examples but there’s also the man who seemed to be following Hank down the same self-destructive path, George Jones. Unlike Williams, Jones has survived many years of excessive substance abuse. Born in 1931 George Jones finally sobered up after a severe car crash in 1998 which forced him to take his alcoholism seriously. At the peak of his addictions Jones would go days without eating, ingesting only cocaine and quarts of whiskey. These severe problems would see him committed to a mental institution for treatment of his cocaine habit. As bad as his cocaine habit was, it could not compare with his life long problems with alcoholism. In Jones’ autobiography he recalls a time where he was forced to drive a lawnmower in to town for more booze after his wife had taken away his car keys. Now, well in to his seventies, this country outlaw has finally settled down.


Coutney Love

Most people know Courtney Love as the ex-wife of Kurt Cobain, or from the many instances where she has been in the media due to her erratic and at times violent, drug-induced behaviour. This has led Love to be arrested on several occasions and attempt substance-abuse treatment repeatedly. One well known example of this behaviour took place in 2004 when she pled guilty to striking a fan in the head with a microphone during a concert. She was forced to pay his medical expenses, attend a drug rehabilitation program, stay clean and commit no crimes for one year.


Ozzy Osbourne

The ‘grandfather of heavy metal’ and former lead singer for Black Sabbath has been labelled a maniac and satanic worshipper all of his career. Many from this generation will know him as the bumbling fool in the Osbournes television show; but this old man was once one of the craziest acts in music. Ozzy’s severe problems with drugs and alcohol have troubled him since he hit the ‘big time’ with Sabbath; and it would eventually lead to his being fired from the band in 1978. Ozzy went on to have a successful solo career but did not leave his issues behind. The most talked about incident involving Ozzy took place when he bit the head off a bat during a concert; Ozzy stated that he had believed that the bat was a toy. More shocking than this was the incident where a drunken Ozzy entered an Epic Records meeting and knowingly bit the head off of a dove. Another incident worthy of mention involved an intoxicated Ozzy, wearing his wife’s dress, being arrested for urinating on The Alamo. Although still battling these flaws today, Ozzy has claimed to have reached some level of sobriety. Climb aboard the Crazy Train by taking part in some online karaoke!


Nikki Sixx

Motley Crue is infamous for their well publicized excessive behaviour during the eighties; one just has to pick up a copy of The Dirt to read about this truly motley crew. Nikki Sixx, the band’s chief lyricist and bassist, is also known for his recent outreach work for kids living in the streets and drug addiction. Sixx published his Heroin Diaries in the hopes that the stories about his destructive and despicable behaviour could help lessen drug addiction amongst kids. Sixx’s most infamous experience with heroin has been preserved in the hit song Kickstart My Heart. In this song Nixx recounts the time he overdosed on heroin and was pronounced dead by paramedics. Lucky for him they were able to revive him with adrenaline shots.


Vince Neil

Another band member from Motley Crue who should be mentioned is the lead singer Vince Neal. Neal has battled alcohol and drug addiction for much of his life. His severe addictions, coupled with those of his fellow band members, often led to feuding and self destructive behaviour. One incident after the Ozzy Osbourne support tour changed Neil’s life forever. Neil had been drinking heavily one day and decided to drive over to the store with Hanoi Rocks’ drummer, Nicolas Dingley, when he lost control of the vehicle. The resulting carnage saw Dingley lose his life. Neil was able to avoid prison by attending a drug and alcohol treatment clinic and paying for the damages. This incident may have changed Neil but it would take more time before he was able to fully fight off demons.



Next to Motley Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses was known as one of the most dangerous bands in heavy metal; and the band’s lead guitarist was the most extreme. When one thinks of Slash the image of a shirtless man wearing a top hat and smoking a cigarette, who looks dangerously close to igniting his long shaggy hair, often comes to mind. For anyone who followed GnR they will know all about Slash’s excessive abuse of drugs and alcohol. Like others on this list Slash was an alcoholic as well as a heroine and cocaine addict. Like Nikki Sixx, Slash had an incident where adrenaline shots were required to restart his heart. This type of heavy abuse forced a 35 year old Slash to have a pacemaker surgically implanted so as to keep his heartbeat regular. Slash’s problems were so serious that his band mates forced him to carry a note with him that gave directions on what to do if he was found somewhere unconscious.


50 Cent

Popular hip-hop artist 50 Cent has come close to death due to a narcotics related incident; however, unlike his associates on this list his ‘close call’ was due to selling drugs on the street and not ingesting them. Like many other rappers, 50 Cent grew up in a rough neighbourhood where he eventually took part in the drug underworld. While attempting to start a career in the rap music industry he was shot by a gunman outside his grandmother’s house in 2000. He was supposedly hit nine times. One of the bullets penetrating his left cheek leaving him with a permanent slur. 50 Cent somehow survived the attempt on his life and went on to become a rising star in the hip-hop scene.


Scott Weiland

The former lead singer for Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots appears to have been in and out of jail, rehabilitation centres and bands more often than most. Some instances of note include his 1995 arrest for purchasing crack where he received one year of probation; Weiland was then busted two years later for purchasing heroin. In 1999 Weiland was forced to spend one year in a county-jail recovery centre due to a violation of his probation. More recently Weiland was back in rehab after a car accident in 2007 in which he was driving under the influence. Former Velvet Revolver members cite this never ending problem with drugs as the reason for Weiland’s removal from the band last year.


Amy Winehouse

In recent years, this jazzy lady of song has found herself in the media more for her chronic drug and alcohol abuse than her astounding singing voice. Winehouse admittedly has issues with drugs, alcohol, self-harm (it has been reported that she cuts herself), depression and eating disorders. This is a considerable amount of baggage for someone as young as she is. Winehouse appeared in the media during 2006 when it was noticed that she had lost a large amount of weight in a short period of time; she claims that this was due to her cutting down on smoking marijuana (no more munchies?). The following year she was again featured in the news after being rushed to the hospital for a supposed drug overdose. This destructive behaviour has resulted in many trips to and from rehab.


Keith Richards

The world famous guitarist for the Rolling Stones deserves to be on this list more than anyone else. Richards’ himself has stated that he should donate his body to medical science so that they could study his immune system to learn how his body has withstood dangerously high amounts of chemical pollutants. Richards has been tried with drug related charges many times during his long career; one incident in Toronto almost resulted in a hefty prison sentence for the charge of possession with intent to traffic. However, the myth surrounding the amount of chemicals is the main reason for his inclusion in this article. During 1973 Richards underwent blood cleansing treatment in Switzerland to clean up before a large European tour kicked off; many claim that he had a full blood transfusion, but this is not likely. It is undeniable that he enjoys the wild rock and roll way of life; recently in 2006 Richards injured himself by falling out of a palm tree. Imagine your grandfather acting that way in public!


Perhaps there are medical marvels amongst us; and a large portion of them appear to have a talent for music. This is the only explanation that this author can offer


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[…] former lead singer for Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots appears to have been in and out of jail, rehabilitation centres and bands more often than most. Some instances of note include his 1995 arrest for purchasing crack where … […]

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Posted by terence yap singapore 20. September 2009 at 4:58 pm :

I take my hat off to Nikki Sixx. It takes a lot to get off addiction and, a heck of a lot more to go public about it.

Respect, Nikki!

Posted by asdasd 27. September 2011 at 1:47 am :

poor amy

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