My names Matt and I’ve been a roadie until my Jemmy – honey child – got me to settle down. You ask me about drugs – and I could tell you some stories, about drugs out there on the road. Alcohol, booze – it gives you the energy to keep going – knock down, pack up and re-assemble in another town, another night – knock down, pack up and keep it going.

I was a roadie because there was no other place for me – since I was a child no one cared if I lived or died, and my step-dad was abusive. The road and the band – it was my life – life on the road was good for me, it was my family.

Richard was convinced beyond doubt that he was losing his mind – too much cocaine – too much alcohol – too much pressure on him. He lived in mortal fear of the boss – he knew no other way.

Richard was nervous, uncertain leading up to a gig – wanted to get away, – kick back – get out of it all, but Ricko had reached the top – high on the rungs of a star spangled ladder that others sought to climb. All he felt was vertigo and feelings of extreme anxiety – but he wouldn’t let the fans down. They are here to see me, he said – he wanted to perform. They needed him – he needed them. He took the drugs, did the gig and then didn’t want to come down.

Ricko used cocaine to fire himself up, to let it loose for the fans. Metal’s got like a life of it’s own, it takes over, surrounds you. It was full of anger, hate and rage – it was loud, it was heavy, it spoke for me, to me and – it was like a religion. Metal was my life, metal was part of me.

People blamed the boss when Ricko overdosed – died. I remember the night. It was a shock, an empty feeling to hear that Ricko had been taken to hospital by an ambo that didn’t bother to raise a siren, or run the traffic lights. It wasn’t just the o/d – Jacko fell from a five floor balcony at the hotel where we were staying, while we were all some place else getting ready for the show.

Four years on the road, a job that was demanding, dealing with a boss who was unrelenting, but it was more than that as drove Ricko to o/d – that pushed him over that balcony. He was a willing sacrifice, wouldn’t couldn’t be anywhere else – his fans needed him, he needed them – it was as simple as that.

When all’s said and done – no one’s to blame if the drugs got on top of him – it drove us all, we all did drugs, wanted to be a part of a big night out that would go on forever. We felt like the masters of the universe to get those people to come out, pay for tickets to see the show, you got no idea how it feels to be part of a crowd that is just so high on that energy – it takes you out of yourself – and you never really come down from it the whole time you’re on the road.

It was like we were all something special, apart – like we’ve brought into town something that it needs – we are it and all part of it – like we were on a mission.

I felt privileged – special when I was part of Ricko’s band, we delivered a message, for the true followers – those who understood. Participation, initiation – speaking out about our suffering in a way that made us feel in control and empowered over it.

But now I’ve settled down, with my Jemmy baby, its a different world – I don’t have that connection – that same drive, I’m still into metal yes but it doesn’t feed my soul like it did when I was part of the band and we were on the road. Yeah. somewhere along the way, it got like I needed some new experience – something had to change.

Metal was like people crying in pain from a place that they could not escape – but somewhere on the road, I met Jemmy and she was like from another place – less heavy, where pain and love were not intertwined – with Jemmy I learned to leave the pain of living behind me, out there on the road.

With Jemmy I found love, and understanding – she helped me to learn to let it go, and yeah, it’s still part of me – but it doesn’t drive me, feed me anymore – I miss the intensity, I miss the pressure, but no, – it’s a life I’ve left behind. The drugs, the drive, the journey – where pain and salvation is the same thing – always moving on – setting up in the same old way.

One day I knew things had to change – I had to get out of that dark place, find the light outside the door and I was lucky, I met Jemmy. Came out from that dark and relentless place, got into some proper rehab, that put things into perspective. Now I feel like I’m home free, and really loved for the first time in my life


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