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Zayn Malik's Out: Longevity and Drugs Don't Mix in Music

Zayn Malik and One Direction have parted ways. Some say he quit, others say he was fired for alcohol and drug use. The band’s management wants him to handle his alcohol and drug issues, and has plans to replace him. There’s no question that he’s got a problem – let’s hope he takes this opportunity to get into an alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation program so he doesn’t just fall off the map as a musician. Another lesson musicians and wanna-be-musicians should learn about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable if you want to really make it as a musician.

Someone commenting on one of the many newspaper articles on the subject said it’s more likely that Zayn quit, rather than getting fired, because people in the music business don’t get fired for doing drugs.

But that’s just not true. Alcohol and drugs just don’t cut it if you want to be a professional and have success, and longevity, in the music business.

True – there are many musicians who have had drug or alcohol problems who made it. But a lot of them wound up having to take a break for rehab. And some died – cutting their lives, and their promising careers, very short.

Many of those who have taken a break for rehab, sometimes more than once, are back on the scene, some as strong or stronger than ever. Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, Keith Urban, Neil Young, Elton John, Slash, Anthony Kiedes, Nikki Sixx, Trey Anastasio, and plenty more.

Then there are those who lost the battle. The spooky 27 Club included. The list of rock musicians who died at age 27 is long (50 are on the list) and includes Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Ron McKernan, Pete Ham, Kurt Cobain, Kristen Pfaff, Amy Winehouse.  And many others.

And of course there’s the list of those whose drug and alcohol problems ruined their careers when they got them fired from bands that made it:

  • Dave Mustaine fired from Metallica for alcohol
  • Ozzy Osbourne fired from Black Sabbath drugs and alcohol – got back with them 18 years later.
  • Dave Navarro fired from Red Hot Chili Peppers for drugs
  • Steve Adler found himself out of Guns N’ Roses for drugs and alcohol
  • Pete Willis’s alcohol problems lost him the Def Leppard spot

And, now, Zayn Malik.

All that talent down the drain.

Save this list. Show it to musicians you might know who don’t have the message that real pros need to treat their jobs like pros – just like those in other businesses – if they want a good future. Then get them into drug rehab if they’ve already got a problem.

A lot of musicians think drugs are part of the scene. Some even think they can’t create good stuff without drugs. Another falsehood. Help them and they’ll thank you later.

Who would they rather emulate – someone who’s career is lasting for decades, or someone who had a few shining moments then, one way or another, disappeared?







Photo: “Zayn Malik November 2014” by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia – One Direction. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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