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POP EYE

POP MUSIC : Heroin's on the Comeback, but Happy Mondays' Ryder Is on the Road Back

August 23, 1992|Steve Hochman and Dennis Hunt

HEROIN II: The return of heroin to rock took many by surprise, but Blair said the trend was predictable in some ways.

"Up through the first half of the '80s, cocaine was the popular drug to use to get up," he says. "But people got burned out on cocaine and realized the negative consequences. If cocaine were still popular, I don't think you'd be seeing as much heroin use.

"But people started looking for a new drug. Some of them turned to heroin. It had become a fairly accepted way to medicate oneself. It was tolerated by a lot of people in the industry until the horrible effects of the drug started showing up. Initially, performers think it benefits their performance, but ultimately everything falls apart. Their performing ability and their songwriting ability start to go downhill."

One music industry executive, an ex-heroin addict who has worked with many addicted artists, offers a personal perspective, assessing what the performers are trying to achieve by using the drug.

"People who are using heroin are generally people who are trying to shut down," says the executive. "These people are under tremendous pressure to be creative, to stay on top. They are looking for release from the pressure. Heroin puts a wall around you and slams the door on everything. There's a quiet place that people go to and heroin allows you to get there."

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