‘Cocaine made me a monster’ – Elton John talks about his drug addiction
Music legend, Elton John, has revealed sordid details of his past life of drug addiction and how it affected his outlook to life and even his relationship.
Elton John, a multiple Grammy award winning artiste with over 30 albums to his credit selling more than 300 million records, is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, and in his soon to be released book, “ME: Elton John”, being serialized by the Daily Mail UK the singer revealed how he will engage in fights and physical meltdowns and then forget his actions the next morning.
Read excepts of the book below
One morning in June 1983 I was awoken by the sound of someone hammering on the door of my hotel suite. I couldn’t think who it was, because I couldn’t think at all.
The moment I opened my eyes, I realised I had the kind of hangover that makes you think it’s not a hangover: you can’t possibly feel this ill just through overindulgence — there has to be something more serious wrong with you.
It wasn’t just my head. My whole body hurt. Especially my hands. Since when did hang-overs make your hands hurt?
The hammering continued, accompanied by a voice calling my name.
It was my PA, Bob Halley. I got out of bed. God, this hangover was astonishing. I felt worse than I did after Ringo Starr’s 1974 New Year’s Eve party, and that had started at 8pm and ended around 3.30 the following afternoon.
I opened the door and Bob gave me a searching look, like he was expecting me to say something. When I didn’t, he said: ‘I think you should come and see this.’
I followed him into his own room. He opened the door to reveal a scene of total devastation. There wasn’t a single piece of furniture left intact, except the bed.
Everything else was on its side, or upside down, or in pieces. Sitting among the splinters was a cowboy hat that Bob liked to wear. It was completely flat, like Yosemite Sam’s after Bugs Bunny drops an anvil on his head.
F***ing hell,’ I said. ‘What happened?’
There was a long pause.
‘Elton,’ he said eventually. ‘You happened.’
What did he mean, I happened? I couldn’t see how this had anything to do with me. The last thing I remembered, I was having an absolutely marvellous time. So why would I smash anything up?
‘I was in the bar,’ I said indignantly. ‘With Duran Duran.’
Bob sighed. ‘Yes, you were,’ he said. ‘At first.’
It was June 1983 and we were in Cannes, shooting a video for I’m Still Standing, which was planned as the first single off my forthcoming album, Too Low for Zero.
Filming started at 4am and went on all day. As the sun went down, a break was called and I went back to my hotel, the Negresco, to freshen up before the night shoot.
I was in the lobby when I bumped into Simon Le Bon. He was in town with Duran Duran, and they were just heading to the bar. Did I want to come along?
I didn’t know him that well, but I thought a quick drink might liven me up. I was dithering over what to order, when Simon asked if I’d ever had a vodka martini. I had not. Perhaps I should try one.
Reports vary about precisely what happened next. I’m afraid I can’t confirm or deny them because I don’t really remember anything beyond thinking Duran Duran were enormously jolly company and noticing that the vodka martini had slipped down remarkably easily.
Depending on who you believe, I had either six or eight more of them in the space of an hour, and a couple of lines of coke.
I then apparently returned to the video set, demanded they begin running the cameras, took all my clothes off and started rolling around on the floor naked.
My then manager John Reid was there, performing as an extra in the video, dressed as a clown. He remonstrated with me, an intervention I took very badly.
So badly, in fact, that I punched him in the face. Some observers said it looked like I’d broken his nose. That explained why my hands hurt, but I was quite shocked. I had never hit anyone in my adult life before, and I never have since. I hate physical violence to the point that I can’t even watch a rugby match.
Then again, if I was going to break the habit of a lifetime and punch someone in the face, it might as well be John Reid: he could take it as payback for thumping me when we were a couple.
Someone else managed to get my clothes back on — this, I was told, took several attempts — and Bob Halley hustled me upstairs. I expressed my displeasure about his intervention by smashing up his hotel room.
As a finale, I’d stamped on his hat, then staggered back to my own room and passed out.
Bob and I sat on the bed in hysterics. There was nothing to do other than howl with laughter at the awfulness of it all, and then make some apologetic phone calls.
It was a day that should have made me think long and hard about how I was behaving.
But, and you might be ahead of me here, it didn’t work out that way at all.
The main impact the events in Nice had on my life was that — wait for it — I decided to drink more vodka martinis.
Most of the time, no one dared say anything because of who I was. That’s the thing about success.
It gives you a licence to misbehave; a licence that doesn’t get revoked until your success dries up completely.
I had started taking cocaine in 1974. I liked how it made me feel. That jolt of confidence and euphoria, the sense that I could suddenly open up, that I didn’t feel shy or intimidated, that I could talk to anybody.
That was all bull***t, of course. I was full of energy, I was inquisitive, I had a sense of humour and a thirst for knowledge: I didn’t need a drug to make me talk to people.
If anything, cocaine gave me too much confidence for my own good. If I hadn’t been coked out of my head when the Rolling Stones turned up in Colorado and asked me to come onstage with them, I might have just performed Honky Tonk Women, waved to the crowd and made my exit.
Instead, I decided it was going so well, I’d stay on and jam along to the rest of their set, without first taking the precaution of asking the Stones if they wanted an auxiliary keyboard player. For a while, I thought Keith Richards kept staring at me because he was awestruck by the brilliance of my improvised contributions to their oeuvre. After a few songs, it finally penetrated my brain that the expression on his face wasn’t really suggestive of profound musical appreciation.
I quickly scuttled off, noting as I went that Keith was still staring at me in a manner that suggested we’d be discussing this later, and decided it might be best if I didn’t hang around for the after-show party.
But there was something more to cocaine than the way it made me feel. Cocaine had a certain cachet about it. It was fashionable and exclusive. Doing it was like becoming a member of an elite little clique, that secretly indulged in something edgy, dangerous and illicit. Pathetically enough, that really appealed to me. I’d become successful and popular, but I never felt cool.
Even back in my first band, Bluesology, I was the nerdy one, the one who didn’t look like a pop star, who never quite carried off the hip clothes, who spent all his time in record shops while the rest of the band were out getting laid and taking drugs.
When it finally arrived, my success had happened so fast that, despite the warm welcome I had from other stars, I couldn’t help but still feel slightly out of place, as if I didn’t quite belong.
As it turned out, doing a line of coke, then immediately going back for another one, was very me. I was never the kind of drug addict who couldn’t get out of bed without a line, or who needed to take it every day. But once I started, I couldn’t stop, until I was absolutely certain there was no cocaine anywhere in the vicinity.
My appetite for the stuff was unbelievable — enough to attract comment in the circles I was moving in. Given that I was a rock star spending a lot of time in Seventies L.A., this was a not inconsiderable feat.
Once again, you might think this would have given me pause for thought, but I’m afraid the next 16 years were full of incidents that would have given any rational human being pause concerning their drug consumption.
That was the problem. Because I was doing coke, I wasn’t a rational human being any more. You become unreasonable and irresponsible, self-obsessed, a law unto yourself.
It’s your way or the highway. It’s a horrible drug.
Excerpts credit : Daily Mail UK
Written by Kartia Velino