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Creativity and Addiction

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Steve Killingsworth, Jan 24, 2005.


  1. I have been thinking about some comments I read in another thread regarding drug addiction. Last fall I read the companion book to a certain documentary (which I shall not name). It really stuck me how many fantastically creative people became trapped in addiction of some type or another. Clearly, this is not limited to the jazz world as you could include people from Jimi Hendrix to Hank Williams in the list.

    This ultimately leads me to the why question. Why do people who have so much ability choose a road that only leads to misery? Is it a question of not realizing where they are headed until it is too late? Is it a case of not really caring? Perhaps I am thinking too deeply this morning.
     
  2. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    I think it may be to do with how people we perceive as being creative get to the point where we see them as being creative. To become a musician of that calibre, you have to be obsessive about music. I think that may spill over into other areas, an obsessive personality rarely fixes on a single thing. Self medication gives some relief from that.
     
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I was a junkie for years.

    If I had to put it in a few words, I was a junkie because I hated myself. I became clean because I wanted to play music again. And I don't believe that junk about heroin making you play better - witness Trane after he kicked in '57 for example.....

    In my experience, creative people are no more junkies than anyone else. The media just likes to make it seem so.

    I wonder how much better PC, Wilbur Ware, Jimmy Garrison, and others would have played if they were off "junk".
     
  4. So much has been written and said about this. I feel I can put my two cents in because i'm a recovering alcoholic and drugger. I wasn't a junkie per se, I guess, because I never shot up and really never got to the total addiction stage with drugs, but I came damn close.
    Rather than going through the whole nine yards about addiction...you know, causes, reasons and excuses and i've heard them all, I'd like to pass on something that a very close friend and musical colleague of Bill Evans and I were talking about one time regarding Bill's penchant for drugs.
    This person had a kind of original, at least to me, concept about Bill and drugs. This person is a firm believer in the idea that all humans have different sensitivities to life and living in general, and in Bill's case, he felt that Bill percieved everything from relationships with other people to the perceptions of the senses like color, sound, and even smell, to a greater degree than other folks. This does sound a bit OUT, but I thought i'd mention it because it is, at least original. In a nutshell this guy felt that Bill's senses were SO finely tuned that the basic attraction, at least in terms of opiates, was the dulling effect or the ability of the drug bring things down a notch or two.....or, to kind of mute things down so they weren't as intense!
    On the other hand, some people believe that Bill was on a long, long road to suicide. One author in particular said Bills life was the longest suicide attempt in history!
     
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    just like me. that I was so sensitive and therefore I let everything hurt me. Not having mature coping mechanisms (or good examples to follow), I became a junkie. Your friend seems to have just described the same old cause in a different way IMO.

    I would agree that heightened sensitivity brings about higher creativity + higher chances of being hurt easily, etc., to go back to the original topic of this post. And if you don't know how to deal with it, an addictive behavior forms to cover it all up. be it, alcohol, heroin, gambling, wife-beating, you name it.

    here's to your health, Paul :)
     

  6. By no means is this out. The same idea is behind medicating kids who have ADD or ADHD. During my time teaching high school, I dealt with dozens of kids who were completely incapable of learning unless they were on medication. The SLIGHTEST distraction would send to off on a tangent.
     
  7. What simplistic crap. Lemme guess, you've never raised a child with a handicap, right? So what experience leads you to this conclusion?

    My older son has a form of autism. Autistic people process information differently from 'normal' people. They live in their own world, and need help rationalising and integrating their world with the greater world around them. For about five years daily medication allowed my son to function amongst his peers and attend a regular elementary school, with some small accomodations for his disability. When he entered secondary school his doctor took him off the medication and he's coped pretty well as he's matured.

    No, medication shouldn't be used indiscriminately or without monitoring. But to suggest all kids need is "discipline or a slap", or that "parents and the system are failing the children who are supposedly our future", only displays your ignorance.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yes let's all consider those tortured and twisted personalities like Clifford Brown and Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman and Dizzy Gillespie and Lennie Tristano and ... oh wait a minute. Maybe for every crash and burn junkie there are ten to a hundred "creative" musicians who aren't self destructive junkies. And maybe for every "creative" junkie there are literally thousands of "uncreative" junkies who work regular square 9 to 5 jobs.

    Hey here's an idea, maybe there's not a correlation between creativity and addiction at all.
     
  9. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    Memphis
    My son is ADD diagnosed by his 5th grade teacher in a
    private school and confirmed by psychologists. The
    medication focuses his brain much like a blurry picture
    can be focused with adjustments. It's not a
    behavioral problem but a learning disability (not a
    Ritalin situation).
    Because it was recognized I'm proud to say he's on
    his high school's Honor Roll as well as playing varsity
    football, basketball and baseball. Oh, he also plays
    guitar, sings and leads praise/worship bands at
    school and church.
    I'm not sure all cases of ADD/ADHD are legitimate but
    the experience with my son has changed my opinion
    about this issue.
     
  10. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Yep, prepare for the flames.

    This is Bull**** spouted by someone who doesn't have a clue. I used to think the same way - until my son was beginning to fall behind in school. We waited until third grade to seek help. No amout of paddling, slapping, grounding, pleading and sitting for hours at the kitchen table - trying to keep him from being distracted long enough - doing 30 minutes worth of homework. I went to school for a couple of days to observe and found that he was no different at school than at home.

    Now that he is taking Meds, his grades have improved dramatically and his behavior is much better. He is even in some gifted classes.

    I believe that his temperment wouldn't allow him to function in the environment he was thrust into. Maybe in a few years he would be mature enough to go to school and sit quietly and absorb what is being taught, but our society places demands based on age and not maturity. I as a parent would have failed him by NOT getting help.

    I believe drug addiction is caused by a failing support system. Everyone is looking for Something larger than ourselves. Some find the gospel, some find drugs or alcohol. Kids are going to learn somehow to cope. I choose to teach mine to turn to God. They may find an addiction, but the support system to get off it will always be here.
     
  11. swampash

    swampash

    Dec 13, 2004
    +1 I agree 100% medication solves in only some cases of ADD. most kids just need to re-direct/harness the enrgy to something else, all people learn differently, and some kids with ADD i'm sure have trouble learning when their parents get'em all doped up to go to school and learn:rollno: good ol fasion discipline and good parenting does work
     
  12. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    If you are raising children, I'll respect your opinion. If not, then, I suggest that's your butt talking.
     
  13. swampash

    swampash

    Dec 13, 2004
    another way to look at is - would you rather learn how to communicate with your own child, or blame the fact that you can't on something else, and let the drugs do the communication for you? Negative reinforcement is not going to help either. first of all if they are ADD – they haven’t done anything wrong, they have more energy than most kids.
    Have to also take in to consideration there are some people that will never develop the skills necessary to communicate with their children, doesn't mean you have nothing else to learn yourself....i.e. take a class and learn something more… psychology /human development/sociology it’s all there, or just pray to ‘God’ the knowledge will seep into your head via osmosis … whatever
     
  14. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Not raising children and just as i suspected, that's your butt talking.
     
  15. swampash

    swampash

    Dec 13, 2004
    yeah don't learn anymore, stay just the way you are and let the world revolve around you LMAO
     
  16. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I apologize for derailing this thread.

    Swampash, you're the backseat driver here. You're criticizing a skill gained by countless numbers of people that you yourself have never attempted. Looks to me that you want the world to revolve around you. Sorry, but you don't bring anything to the table.

    You're the first to be in my ignore list.
     
  17. swampash

    swampash

    Dec 13, 2004

    I’m so glad, and I somehow knew you would not be able to accept anyone else’s opinion with out knowing they are raising children themselves, Your assumption is the lowest form of knowledge - I’ve got twins Dad- a girl and a boy 2yr 5mo old
     
  18. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Ray Charles has always been a bit against the grain on this. Working from what's said in his auto-bio and the recent "Brother Ray" bio, Ray kicked when it became a serious legal problem to him, a threat to career and family. He didn't necessarily consider it a problem -- or anybody's business -- otherwise.

    Maybe the focus on the tie to addiction is where the case goes wrong. Perhaps the correlation is with an earlier step -- creativity linked with a kind of independence, a willingness to cast aside norms. Hence maybe the "creative" are a little more likely than the average bear to check out various substances. And then probably they are no more likely to suffer addiction and its scars than anybody else.
     
  19. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    oops. didn't get you added quick enough.

    Not anyone else's opinion, just yours.
     
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Just checking in...let's keep it civil. And for those in this thread who haven't filled in their profiles, please do so in the interest of honesty, and because your friendly neighborhood moderator is much more likely to take things seriously from those who choose not to remain anonymous.