Alexander O’neal is an R&B singer who had a couple of hit songs from the late 80’s to the 90’s. Some of his hits were “Criticize” and my personal favorite “Fake.” In a recent interview, O’neal admitted that he has been a drug abuser for the last 30 years (Most people in the industry, including me, already knew this). He admitted that he had been in an out of rehab several times, and he accepts full responsibility for the demons that plague him. He also said that there are many other music celebs who also have major drug issues, but for them the “musical powers that be” readily accepted it rather than try to get them help. Here is his article for you to check out for yourself:
Years ago I had the pleasure to perform with Alexander O’neal and Cherelle onstage. I had heard about his addiction beforehand (We all had) so I was waiting to see if I could read his “state of mind” during sound check. He was dressed immaculately in a suit and tie, but his eyes were “red as a beat.” He didn’t say much, and stood there as though he didn’t quite recognize the world around him. Cherelle seemed much more coherent than him but at least he was in good enough condition to sing. Even though he seemed to forget some of the lyrics to his own songs we got through the gig safely. The music industry only cares about how much money you can make for them. If you have outlived your usefulness they will just find a new artist to promote and place you on the shelf. If you have a major drug habit, they will only continue to exploit you until you have “fizzled out.” A perfect example of that is legendary songbird Whitney Houston. As awesome a talent as she was, she was still a drug addict whose demons conquered her. Instead of placing her in rehab or forcing her to get help, her people shrugged their shoulders and just allowed her to do herself in. There are many other examples over the years, from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Rick James to Michael Jackson. When you think about it, it really isn’t the responsibility of the industry leaders to make an artist go to rehab, but we all know they have enough influence and power to make it happen. At least Alexander O’Neal is someone that is still alive to tell his story. The question here is “Will the industry care enough to listen?” Maybe one day the industry will clean up its act, but until then we need to continue to brace for the next Alexander O’neal to come along. Music is expression, and maybe through an artist’s songs you can hear that “cry for help.” Just check out the tunes of Amy Winehouse. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
A very distant shot of Chaka Khan and Brett Jolly in concert