Legendary Bands And Musicians Who Never Did Drugs

Legendary Bands And Musicians Who Never Did Drugs

Somehow the other day, while listening to crowd neutral satellite radio on a business trip, a Frank Zappa song came on.

I love Frank Zappa, it was a normal song and I knew only one person in the escort would know him. So I burst out my love for the man singing the song.

My friend responds about how he was weird and a druggy. I confidently announced that despite all odds, Zappa was no druggy. I know, the 60's, LSD... most of his music, if you've heard it. Sounds like a bold faced lie. He was actually a great composer who studied classical music and crafted mathematically complex compositions framed into musical stylings of the time.

Yet anyone familiar with this man now or then would insist he was so high on drugs he must have thought he was on another planet at first glance. His kids have weird names. He had a weird sense of humor and his music is 'different' with odd timing and themes. and not always even 'music'.

Well there's a reason he still, to this day, is referenced as an influence by most serious musicians.

----Music and drugs often do not go together. Music and success in the industry often do not go together. ----

So many examples can be named but here are a few successful, and maybe surprising, examples of those who made it clean and made it big:

1. Gene Simmons

2. Angus Young of AC/DC

3. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

4. Bruce Springsteen

5. Jennifer Hudson

6. Frank Zappa

7. Morrissey of The Smiths

8. Henry Rollins of Black Flag

9. Rage against the Machine

NOTE these aren't guys that sobered up and got clean. These are peeps that got their genius clean as a whistle. MUSIC WAS ENOUGH!!

This site trend youthful so I really thought I might take a moment to point out that music and drugs really don't even correlate.

Pain and drugs correlate and maybe that gives some artists easy subject matter. Fiona Apple, Kurt Cobain, Trent Reznor, Tool. They have pain and that's visceral, it shares a comorbidity with substance abuse. Talented people with a story that would have been just as talented with a story in absence of use.

Most musicians I know perform sober for recordings and with only a few beers live when it's an important show. Their lives are together.

Alcohol or drugs only hamper the writing and creative process in most cases. LSD and the sort does make for some interesting lyrics as we saw expressed in the 70's and that's fine. Nonaddictive substance.

I see kids and grown adults sometimes indulging in risky behaviors such as overdrinking or just pissing off the production company for crowd appeal and it isn't worth it.

Persona and brand only go so far and wear thin without substance. So build on the substance of who you are and not the ones that will ultimately eat you away.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • It's actually pretty well known about Frank Zappa. At least it is with us old farts. I think I knew that about Ian Anderson also. <- I've seen Jethro Tull three times.

    I recently saw an interview of someone who wasn't completely drug free, but was straight compared to his band mates. Roger Daltrey of The Who. He was the clear head who kept the others from going too far overboard.

    They were all into drugs, but I heard George Harrison say something interesting. A lot of people thought much of the later Beatles was done while high on drugs, especially stuff like Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt Peppers, etc. George said they tried writing and recording while on acid, and it just turned out horribly, so they didn't do it.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Ian MacKaye, of Fugazi and Minor Threat. Even wrote the song that started the "straight edge" movement.

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    • Ah, Minor Threat. That brings back memories. My brother and his friends always had punk rock playing on the stereo when they would hang out. I mean real punk, not this pop nonsense that claims to be punk. I grew up hearing Minor Threat, Misfits, Angry Samoans, and all kinds of other punk. It’s nice to know someone else recognizes Ian MacKaye.

    • @Elliegirl yeah reminds me of being angry, angsty and 15

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What Guys Said 15

  • are you sure about Bruce Springstein? or perhaps you are only talking harder drugs. i read an interview with Tom Petty who said that he and bruce hung out in the mid to late 70s in LA and talked about how they drove down sunset strip listening to The Rolling Stones AFtermath smoking a join

    It is crazy about Zappa I've heard too that he never used any drugs which seems so hard to believe considering how avant garde the music is

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  • the most influential band ever never did drugs... kraftwerk

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    • I don't think that can be argued. Some did and some didn't. Talking heads are a very influential band and they did. The Beatles eventually did... bit pot and LSD.

      The important thing to know is that most drug riddled bands or artists lost their career and life to the drugs and didn't get it t because of. Alcohol, Heroin, meth, cocaine... these aren't career makers they are career killers.

      Amy Winehouse being the best example as Kurt Cobain was addicted throughout his career but she wasn't.

    • hmmm... pop bands aside and just as a side point, many found their inner talent through the use of drugs. lets face it the beatles were just another pop band before they went to india.

    • Absolutely right. India changed their world and the world rightly thanks India for having done so. George did his best to learn the Sitar. I had a professor who quit Med school to play the Sitar and appreciate the study he learned though it’s a hard instrument white people are challenged by.

  • You sure henry Rollins, I'm not aware that he was straight edge

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    • Yeah he kinda sux though.

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    • Henry Rollins can really act

  • Good Take. I always remember Frank named his kids weird stuff, yeah. Ahmet Zappa and Moon Unit. Really crazy. I LOVE Rage Against the Machine so I'm glad to know they were clean. U2 is also drug free I think, another one of my favorite groups. But Zeppelin was deep in it in the 70s, so was Black Sabbath, and Scott Weiland in STP, probably my favorite band. And I know Chester used drugs in Linkin Park. Bad sides but these were all still really great groups.

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  • Right. I'm sure they also never had sex with slutty fans waiting by the stage gates either!

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  • Besides rage against the machine, I wouldn't say those are some of the best musicians though. Heroin and alcohol never hurt my album collection 😂

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    • Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse are chief examples of how these drugs crippled creativity and production.

      Though Frank Zappa still comes off as weird I think you had to be a musician and around back then to understand exactly how ground moving his work was. The Beatles were fans of his.

      It's hard to find a serious musician who doesn't respect Zappa simply because of his complicated melodic compositions. He could write symphonies. And they were good.

    • Hendrix, Keith Richards, Phil anselmo from pantera, nickie six from Motley Crue, and countless others used heroin, im not endorsing it but soberness isn't arbitrarily better for music as a whole

    • Of course not. I’m not here to say let’s all be straight edge. I’m just voicing that some people are mathematical geniuses when it comes to composition and that music doesn’t have to be classical.

      Mainly I’m saying HELLO FRANK ZAPPA!

      It’s been 50 years since he made his stylings and continued to innovate. People think he was weird or on drugs and that his music is garbage.

      His music isn’t garbage and it’s time that people start admitting he was an influence because I hear it in music but not in words.

  • Skillet would be a more modern band that is quite famous and well loved who also does no do drugs.

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  • It's difficult to control yourself when you're the best

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  • Rick Wakeman did his best work back in the 1970's when he was a raging alcoholic. Go figure?

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  • Paul stanley of kiss an David Lee Roth were also always solber

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  • Wow... really good to know!!!

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  • I don't think Billy Corgan's done drugs either.

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    • He is bipolar and open about drug abuse but not addiction. He dated Courtney Love before and after Kurt. God love Billy Corgan though I think he's clean these days.

  • What about smoking pot?

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  • Roy Orbison?

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  • Interesting. Most musicians do drugs

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What Girls Said 4

  • Okay, that's great for them. Personally, I don't really care if a musician is on drugs or not as long as the music is good

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  • awesome take! angus young is my spirit animal lol

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  • good.

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  • I like cocaine.

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