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PALM LATITUDES

STATE OF MIND : Turn On, Tune In, Dry Out

July 11, 1993|Mark Ehrman

Steve Madaio was in trouble. The 44-year-old former member of the Butterfield Blues Band, who has played trumpet with Bob Dylan, toured with the Rolling Stones and recorded tracks for Stevie Wonder, Don Henley, Prince and Madonna, was used to the high life. Colossal parties. Prescribing physicians on tour. By last August, however, Madaio was broke, strung out on cocaine, heroin and alcohol and bloated to 350 pounds.

"It was the end. I couldn't shave. I couldn't clean up. All my horns were in the pawn shop," he recalls. "I was dying."

And he had no medical insurance. So his wife and friends called Buddy Arnold, a jazz musician-turned-junkie-turned-rehab professional who specializes in helping musicians with monkeys on their backs. Last year, Arnold, who has worked in chemical dependency treatment for the past 10 years, founded the Musicians Assistance Program.

"I was always getting calls from somebody either about themselves or about their friend--another musician--who is strung out and wants to clean up but doesn't have insurance," says Arnold, a tenor and soprano saxophonist who has played with the likes of Buddy Rich and Glenn Miller. "So I got an idea of putting this together."

In its first year, the nonprofit program helped 30 musician-addicts and their families deal with the needles and bottles, and the emotional and physical damage done. Its services range from counseling and 12-step program referrals to interventions and full "scholarships" at various treatment facilities.

All of this costs money, so Arnold has had to become adept at financial finagling; MAP brings in money through musical fund-raisers and private donations.

"I've been in this field for some time," says Arnold, now community relations director for the drug and alcohol unit and dual diagnosis unit at Community Psychiatric Center Westwood hospital. "I know all the facilities. I know what can be done in terms of rates."

The indigent, uninsured, inebriated and reluctant Madaio, for example, was admitted to a 60-day program at a facility called Lost Heads Ranch in Hot Springs, Calif., for a price, Arnold says, "you'd expect to pay at Motel 6."

And now? Madaio reports that he's a svelte 185, dry and--yeah, that's right--working on a solo album.

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