Five Rock Bands That Have Lost Members to the Disease of Addiction

Mike Starr, former bassist for Alice In Chains, passed away on March 8, 2011. Some media outlets reported that it related to his struggles with the disease of addiction. While the cause of death has not yet been determined, it is clear that Starr endured a long battle with the disease of addiction, attempting several times to get addiction treatment help. Despite appearances on the reality shows Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, Starr’s alleged struggles with addiction continued with an arrest in February 2011 for felony possession of a controlled substance. Our thoughts go out to Starr’s family during this time. Below is a list of bands that have lost members due to complications related to struggles with the disease of addiction. Alice In Chains – Formed in 1987 by Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley, this band from Seattle, Washington rose to international fame during the ‘90s and sold over 25 million albums worldwide. Bassist Starr left the band in 1992, reportedly due to his battle with a substance abuse problem.  Staley, lead vocalist and founding member, also battled a substance abuse problem for many years. He passed away on April 4, 2002 due to an apparent drug overdose. Starr would later recount that he had spent time with Staley the day before his death. Then Starr passed away in March of 2011. Alice In Chains officially disbanded after Staley’s death, but later regrouped. They continue to perform and release new music to this day. Slipknot – Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, Slipknot, a 9-member heavy metal act, has sold over 14 million units worldwide since debuting in 1996.  Slipknot was formed in 1995 by bassist Paul Gray and percussionist Shawn Crahan. Slipknot gained notoriety for the members’ identity-concealing aliases and their costumes, which included masks and matching outfits. Gray was found dead in his hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa on May 24, 2010. Autopsy results showed that Gray died from an overdose of morphine and fentanyl. Slipknot has confirmed that the band will start touring again in the summer of 2011, headlining the Sonisphere Festival and taking part in the Rock In Rio Music Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Def Leppard – This band found success in the early ‘80’s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Formed in Sheffield, England in 1977, Def Leppard is widely known for radio-friendly hard rock songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Def Leppard has sold over 64 million albums worldwide. Steve Clark, co-lead and rhythm guitarist, helped shape the band’s sound. Clark had a long-running problem with alcoholism. While taking a 6-month break from the band, Clark was found dead at his home in 1991. Autopsy reports indicated that he died as a result of an overdose of codeine, Valium®, and morphine. He also had a blood alcohol level that was 3 times the legal driving limit in England. Since Clark’s death, he band has gone on to release 8 more albums and will go on a 2-month tour in the U.S. in the summer of 2011. Marilyn Manson – Originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids, this band was formed in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by Brian Warner and Scott Putesky. The group gained popularity in the early ‘90’s for its theatrical shows.  The band’s lineup changed with every album release. One member that got caught up in the lineup change was the group’s bassist, Bradley Stewart, a.k.a. Gidget Gein.  In 1993, Stewart awoke in a hospital bed after a heroin overdose. He would later receive word that his contributions to the group were no longer needed. Years later, after several successful music endeavors and sobriety, Stewart relapsed and died of a heroin overdose in 2008. He was working on a new album at the time of his death. Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold started out in 1999 as a metal-core act with a hard-driving sound and screaming vocals. Two albums later, the band would alter its sound to a hard-rock style. A key component of this sound was the effort of drummer, vocalist and pianist James “The Rev” Sullivan.  Sullivan’s body was discovered in his home in 2009. Autopsy reports revealed that his death was due to acute polydrug intoxication. Oxycodone®, oxymorphone, diazepam, nordiazepam, and alcohol were found in his system. He was 28 at the time. The band is still touring and is a notable leader in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal with 5 studio albums and 15 released singles. About The Right Step The Right Step is a group of caring, experienced professionals with proven expertise in the field of addiction treatment. CEO George Joseph, LCDC, was recognized as a “2009 Behavioral Healthcare Champion” and “National Counselor of the Year” in 2000. Joseph has been in the recovery field for over 27 years and has successfully led the organization for the past 17 years. Chief Medical Officer Jason Powers, M.D., was voted one of Houston’s “Best Doctors” and is recognized as a leader in the emerging field of addictionology, both as a physician and author. The Right Step and Spirit Lodge’s team of executive directors, doctors, program coordinators, counselors, nurses, and recovery advocates knows that every day they have the opportunity to improve the lives of others. The Right Step and Spirit Lodge are known for effective, affordable, proven methods of substance abuse treatment, and they are committed to helping alcohol and drug abusers every step of the way on the path to a more meaningful, rewarding life.

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