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Blur frontman Damon Albarn had some explaining to do after the band’s sudden departure from the Big Day Out 2014 roster, and he finally got to mending fences in a recent interview. But now the Britpop veteran has made comments about heroin that have left some with raised eyebrows.
“[Heroin] freed me up,” Albarn recently told Q, via the Guardian. “I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative… A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician.”
“I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice,” Albarn continued. Albarn explained that he began using the drug “at the height of Britpop,” after coming home from a tour and thinking “Why not?” when he found some “in the front room” of his home.
“I never imagined it would become a problem,” he said. Albarn revisits his addiction, which was largely unknown to the public, on his new solo album, Everyday Robots. On the track You And Me, the former Gorillaz leader sings, “Tin foil and a lighter, the ship across / Five days on, two days off“.
“I’m happy I found that poetry,” Albarn told Q. “I can move forward now without all the nudge nudge, wink wink innuendo I’ve had in the background for years.” In 2012, Albarn told the Guardian he was surprised more critics didn’t pick up on Blur’s explicit heroin references in their late-’90s albums, saying, “I thought everyone was just being really nice, and not making too much of a deal of it.”
Speaking at the time to Guardian journalist John Harris, Albarn did not have the same reverence for the notorious drug as now, calling it a “cruel, cruel thing,” and adding, “[Heroin] does turn you into a very isolated person and ultimately anything that you are truly dependent on is not good.”
Watch: Damon Albarn – Lonely Press Play