This weekend marked the death of another talented musician at the too young age of 27. [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Amy Winehouse[/lastfm], the multi-Grammy Award winning singer was found in her London home on July 24, allegedly succumbing to her long-standing drug and alcohol addictions.
Lately, Winehouse had become more of a punchline than a musical fixture, but looking back, her talent is undeniable.
Russell Brand is someone who had become familiar with Winehouse as a friend, musician, and fellow addict. Though Brand cleaned up his act in 2002, the struggle to stay sober is still there, and he saw it in Winehouse as well. He took to his website to address the late singer’s death, and how addicts should be treated as individuals in need of serious help, as opposed to criminals.
Brand’s tribute to Winehouse began like this:
[pullquote quote="When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call." credit="Russell Brand"]“When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.”
He continued by discussing how he’d first met the “sweet,” “peculiar,” and “vulnerable” singer prior to her worldwide success, and how he could see similarities to his own struggles of addiction through Winehouse’s behavior. Her talent and rise to fame was overshadowed by her public image, which consisted of cancelled gigs, physical altercations with lovers, and her creepy youtube video with baby mice.
Brand went onto say, “Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall… Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death.” Winehouse fell victim to the latter.
For many of us, we have known people who have struggled or are struggling with addiction. KROQ’s own Psycho Mike has almost ten years of sobriety under his belt, but acknowledges sobriety to be a constant struggle. Sometimes we can intervene with friends’ addictions, while other times all we can do is pray for them, and be there when they call.
[pullquote quote="We all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there."]Brand ends his touching tribute by addressing the way that addicts are dealt with by the government:
“We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.”
Read the full article here.