Musicians & Addiction: Research and Recovery Stories, published on June 12, 2020, presents a unique and multi-faceted overview of this perennially discussed topic. The book comprises: a summary of research on musicians and addiction; 12 excerpts from published artist autobiographies/interviews; 12 specially commissioned recovery stories; a range of professional perspectives; and tips and advice for musicians and music organisations. The book examines both celebrities and normal working musicians, across multiple genres. It looks at the full spectrum of substance abuse, dependency, alcoholism, addiction and recovery. There is a growing international consensus that we are facing a mental health crisis among musicians. This book brings the challenge vividly to life. CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER BELOW OR CLICK ON 'SHOP' TO ORDER A COPY.
The project has received media coverage in publications such as: The New York Journal of Books; Artshub; The Music Network; The Age; Sydney Morning Herald; Renew EveryDay magazine; The Tattooed Buddha ; Limelight magazine; Mirage News; and the National Tribune. See below for kind words about our (non-profit) project.
“Industry professionals and clinicians who work with musicians should immediately order this book”… “Musicians and Addiction: Research and Recovery Stories is an excellent resource.”…. “Get this book if you’re in the industry. With better understanding, we may be able to help more of our musicians heal.” - New York Journal of Books
Book Review in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers (July 11/12, 2020):
“A combination of psychological report into the high incidence of drug and alcohol addiction among musicians – and a study of why this is the case – may not sound like lively reading, but it’s absorbing. Using case studies of famous and not so well-known musicians (popular and classical), interviews and a general rundown of causes long and short term, this compendium takes you back stage after the gig to encounter the often insecure reality behind the performance. It distinguishes between pre-existing factors – addictive genes, traumatic childhood – and factors specific to the life, such as performance anxiety. It could be a study of the artist in general, especially the myth of the Romantic artist that peddles the notion of the tormented soul suffering for art and revelling in a sub-cultural, outsider status. Very human tales.”
“This book will resonate with artists and music workers worldwide. It is direct and to the point and easy to read. It does more than thoroughly identify the problem and risk factors - it provides excellent case studies from artists at the coalface and practical advice from clinicians with experience of working with addiction and recovery. The industry checklist is a great roadmap for all those who are looking to create environments that inspire music workers to make healthy choices.” - Clive Miller, CEO, Support Act
“The creative industries tend to attract people who are looking to work through their demons - then sometimes the nature of those industries actually makes things even worse for them. This book casts aside the ridiculous and dangerous mythology surrounding drugs, alcohol and rock’n’roll. It replaces those myths with a thoughtful consideration of the complex factors that lead many musicians into the trap of addiction and then make it so hard for them to escape.” - John Watson (Manager of artists including Cold Chisel, Missy Higgins, Midnight Oil & Silverchair)
“This is a poignant, timely and important book. Through its unique design, it delves deeper into the issue of substance addiction within the field of popular music than previous research books. It unravels numerous myths relating to addiction, creativity and inspiration. Whilst it is gut wrenchingly sad at times, ultimately its message is one of hope; it provides concrete examples of musicians who have recovered from addiction and who now lead healthy lives. I anticipate that this book will have a significant impact on music education curricula and it will prove to be very useful for advocacy purposes.” - Dr Guy Morrow, Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management, Director of Graduate Studies, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, and author of Artist Management: Agility in the Creative and Cultural Industries
“Musicians and addiction have a long and sordid history. Bird, Jimi, Janis—how many have we lost? How many are gone that we never even got to know? Why the persistence of this connection? In Musicians & Addiction, Paul Saintilan approaches this final question in a broad, deep, and immensely thoughtful way. Bringing together illuminating research on addiction with profoundly moving stories of recovering musician/addicts, he creates a striking picture of the personal toll taken on those caught in the throes of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.” Not satisfied to simply describe the problem from the scientific and personal angles, his most vital contribution might be the third piece: the solution. Here he addresses the broad palette of tools available for recovery, even offering guidance to the music industry itself. This book is a hugely valuable contribution to a field in great need of study.” - Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
“We are all addicts escaping ourselves …Paul Saintilan and his brilliant research team have artfully placed a mirror in front of us binge-pandering-fanatics of the famous; we co-dependents of those we intoxicatedly deify…till their drug wears off, replaced by our next celebrated temporary high! Maybe it’s time we took co-ownership of self-consuming our idols?” - Phil Towle, M.A., Performance Coach
“Musicians are vulnerable to dependency problems, and any initiative which seeks to help them and other creative individuals is worthy of support. It is great to see Cristi Williams’ work at Belmont being acknowledged. She is dedicated to preparing our students with the skills needed for their emotional well-being and to specifically handle the psychological pressures that come from working in the music industry. For researchers, the companion website www.musicianaddiction.org should be a great free resource, providing links to 230 articles, research papers and books.” – Dr David Schreiber, Chair & Assistant Professor, Creative & Entertainment Industries, Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, Belmont University, Nashville, USA
“The book Musicians & Addiction: Research and Recovery Stories gathers local and international experiences and scholarship that provide insight into contributing factors, as well as practical solutions, related to addiction in this population.”…. “ASPAH welcomes this initiative by Paul as a true labour of love and is delighted to be acknowledged as a stakeholder in addiction research, education, intervention and treatment as it relates to those participating in the performing arts.” – Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH)
“Music Australia has done a terrific job giving a voice to the musicians who have suffered from alcohol and drug harm in an industry that is particularly high risk. The voices in this book speak with authenticity and power, of the harm from alcoholic products not only to the drinker but also the people around them. We hope it will be used as a support and educational tool, and as a means to advocate for change to address the underlying social, political and economic factors that cause alcohol and drug harm in our communities.” – The Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education
"On behalf of the City of Sydney, I would like to congratulate Dr Paul Saintilan on the publication of his important and timely book, Musicians & Addiction: Research and Recovery Stories. I would also like to acknowledge the many brave musicians who have made this book possible by sharing their stories, and the professional and academic contributors who have co-authored it. The scope of this book - to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship of addiction to the lives of musicians, dispel myths about that relationship, and demonstrate that recovery is possible, alongside its calls for action - is significant. With a style that is both academic and accessible, I expect this book will find a wide and diverse readership. This research will benefit musicians directly by providing a valuable resource to help understand their lives, and the challenges they face. The health and welfare of people in the creative industries is vital to a vibrant city, and many of the findings in this book are applicable to all those working in the creative industries. The City of Sydney is proud to support Music Australia through seed-funding of their Contemporary Music Roundtable conference and through subsidised office space in Erskineville Town Hall. It’s exciting to see the City’s support leading to a significant international project such as this, one that will have substantial value to our creative community. I wish everyone involved with Musicians & Addiction all the best with the publication of this important work." - Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney