It was an odd dichotomy -- cocktail-sipping guests gathered at a bar to toast an organization, the Musicians' Assistance Program, that helps drug users and alcoholics beat their addictions. Clearly, the most famous recovering addicts in the room -- Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and actor Robert Downey Jr. -- weren't bothered by the imbibing at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.
They had their hands full with the press. Weiland fielded questions about how group co-founder and fellow recovering addict Buddy Arnold helped him battle heroin addiction: "One time, he said, 'I don't think you're ready to stop shooting dope.' It took a few months behind bars to settle that for me." Next, Weiland was asked about Winona Ryder's chances of a comeback. "Hollywood is very forgiving," he replied.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday November 22, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 18 inches; 658 words Type of Material: Correction
Misspelled name -- A photo caption on the Sunday Calendar Social Climes page listed the Musicians Assistance Program co-founder as Carole Field. Her last name is Fields.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 01, 2002 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 0 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Misspelled name -- A photo caption on the Nov. 17 Sunday Calendar Social Climes page listed the Musicians Assistance Program co-founder as Carole Field. Her last name is actually Fields.
The cocktail hour notwithstanding, the Nov. 7 benefit was a sober evening of food and music and moments of humor, held to celebrate the program's 10th anniversary.
Before the dinner and musical performances, Downey, the evening's emcee, pushed his way through the crowd of photographers and past an event coordinator, who gushed, "We got so many calls [from guests] saying you're so inspirational!" Downey brushed off the compliment, choosing instead to ham it up. "Steal my soul!" he shouted to the photographers. "Go ahead! Take my picture!"
Later, as he furiously smoked a cigarette, Downey admitted that he was anxious about taking the stage. "I just don't want to do too much," he said. "I'm afraid I just might blow it."
He had a rough start but soon warmed to the spotlight, willingly lampooning his recent ups and downs. He introduced his estranged wife, singer-actress Deborah Falconer, as "a girl who is still wondering why I won't sign the divorce papers." (They've been separated for years.) While praising the musicians' program, Downey explained that he discovered the organization just after "my annual stint at some rehab but before my annual awakening."
After a particularly soulful rendition of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" by Weiland and Bob Forrest of the 1980s band Thelonious Monster, Downey told the modest crowd that the song reminded him of his early release from Corcoran State Prison after serving a year.
After a hat was passed around for cash donations, he promised: "We can assure you that none of that money will be spent in MacArthur Park."