U2 bassist thanks band for help­ing him through ad­dic­tion

Khaleej Times - City Times - - TOP TUNES AND MORE -

In a frank and heart­felt speech, U2 bassist Adam Clay­ton thanked his band­mates of four decades for their sup­port dur­ing his treat­ment and re­cov­ery for al­co­hol abuse years ago, and then joined them for a rol­lick­ing ren­di­tion of a few hits.

“We have a pact with each other,” said Clay­ton, 57, who was re­ceiv­ing an award from MusiCares, the char­ity arm of the Na­tional Academy of Record­ing Arts and Sciences. “In our band, no one will be a ca­su­alty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for hon­our­ing that prom­ise, and let­ting me be in your band.”

He ended by quot­ing lyrics that Bono, U2’s front­man, had writ­ten when the band was start­ing out: “If you walk away, walk away, I will fol­low.” At that, his band­mates came out to join him, per­form­ing

Stuck in a Mo­ment You Can’t Get Out Of, Ver­tigo and, fit­tingly, I Will Fol­low.

The evening at the PlayS­ta­tion Theater in Times Square also fea­tured per­for­mances by rap­per Michael Franti, Jack Gar­ratt, reg­gae singer Chronixx, Macy Gray, and The Lumineers, who are cur­rently ap­pear­ing with U2 on their “Joshua Tree” tour.

Clay­ton was in­tro­duced by Bri­tish record pro­ducer Chris Black­well as some­one who “lived through ad­dic­tion and came out the other side, and has been coura­geous enough to admit it.”

Tak­ing the stage, the bassist quipped: “I’m not used to achiev­ing any­thing on my own.”

Leav­ing ad­dic­tion behind

Turn­ing se­ri­ous, he said: “I’m an al­co­holic, addict, but in some ways that dev­as­tat­ing disease is what drove me to­wards this won­der­ful life I now have. It’s just that I couldn’t take my friend al­co­hol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full po­ten­tial.”

He said part of the rea­son he had a hard time quit­ting drink­ing was that, “I didn’t think you could be in a band and not drink. It is so much a part of our cul­ture.”

It was Eric Clap­ton, he said, who fi­nally told him he needed help. “He didn’t sug­ar­coat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn’t re­gret it,” Clay­ton said. He cred­ited another friend, The Who’s Pete Town­shend, for vis­it­ing him in re­hab, where he “put steel on my back.”

As for his band­mates, Clay­ton said, “I was lucky be­cause I had three friends who could see what was go­ing on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my fail­ing. Bono, The Edge, and Larry (Mullen) truly sup­ported me be­fore and af­ter I en­tered re­cov­ery, and I am un­re­servedly grate­ful for their friend­ship, un­der­stand­ing and sup­port.”

Clay­ton re­ceived the Ste­vie Ray Vaughan Award for his sup­port of the MusiCares MAP Fund, which of­fers mu­si­cians ac­cess to ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery treat­ment. Ar­riv­ing at the theater ear­lier, he told re­porters the fund was es­pe­cially im­por­tant given the cur­rent epi­demic of opi­oid ad­dic­tion. “MusiCares ... re­ally pro­vides funding for a lot of peo­ple to look into those things and find help,” he said.

He added that his band­mates had been sup­port­ing him for 40 years. “You know, I guess they loved me be­fore I knew how to love my­self,” he said. “So it’s re­ally im­por­tant that they share this with me.”

I was lucky be­cause I had three friends who could see what was go­ing on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my fail­ing.” Adam Clay­ton

U2 - Adam Clay­ton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Bono, and The Edge

U2 were formed in Dublin way back in 1976 at Mount Tem­ple Com­pre­hen­sive School when the mem­bers were teenagers. They re­leased their de­but al­bum, Boy, in 1980. Later work like their first UK num­ber-one al­bum, War (1983), and the sin­gles

Sun­day Bloody Sun­day and Pride (In the Name of Love) helped es­tab­lish the band’s rep­u­ta­tion as a po­lit­i­cally and so­cially con­scious group. Our per­sonal favourite is 1987’s The Joshua Tree, which spawned hits like Where the Streets Have No Name and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Look­ing For.

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