Former SKID ROW Drummer PHIL VARONE Talks About Drug Addiction

Debby Rao of recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW/SAIGON KICK drummer Phil Varone. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow: Would you say your addiction was glamorized because you were caught up in the rock and roll lifestyle?

Varone: "There was definitely some glamor to it. The glamor side to it is always hanging out with rock stars and supermodels and partying and having a good time. That is the glamor side to it. The problem is, it is not fuckin' glamorous for me because I ended up by myself in my house for three days with the curtains drawn and tin foil on the windows doing tons of cocaine by myself. There is nothing glamorous about that. It started out as a glamorous thing; you are hanging out with all of these celebrities, then all of a sudden you are just bottom of the barrel now. You are just an addict in a corner; no one gives a shit who you are." Would you say the Hollywood/rock-star scene kind of has the fleeing friend syndrome? Once you are on top of the world everyone wants to be your friend, then when you lose your star appeal and money they forget about you?

Varone: "I don't think that is true, because there are a lot of addicts that are sober now that are doing great. I think if you are still partying hard and you are out of control and you can't do your job, I think you are going to be frowned upon. But then again, I think that holds true for any job you are in. I listen to many great people in meetings, because I am in the program and I hear them. These are great people. They are not only celebrities, important people in high jobs. And then there are people in everyday regular jobs. Bottom line is that when you let drugs run your life, or alcohol, it is going to be bad — eventually it is all going to be bad. That is exactly what happened. I think that some important situations and certain professions fuel the addiction and allow you to really get away with a lot more because you don't have to be so responsible. I worked a half hour a night, or 45 minutes a night, then I just had to pose with pictures and sign autographs. What kind of fuckin job is that? (Laughs) So I could do tons of cocaine and drink a bottle of Crown Royal. I am a functioning addict. But there is many people that go to jobs stoned and drunk and all of that stuff too. So I just don't want to glamorize the fact that being a rock star makes you a drug addict because that is not the case. All that did was allow me to explore and experience a lot more things than if I was an architect. Which I originally wanted to be. There is no prejudice to the drugs and the alcohol. It doesn't matter, who you are. It is just a disease that we have." Was the turning point in your life that made you want to become clean and turn everything around?

Varone: "I think it is hard to say. For me it was just like every day I was going to kill myself. That's really what it boils down to. I know it is hard for people to understand that it goes a lot deeper. A lot of us that are drugs addicts and alcoholics, we self-medicate and we cover our problems. What I am taught to do now is break down my problems and really analyze them and use the tools to get past the problems. I didn't have these tools to do that. So my initial reactions were if something bad happens, I want a lot of cocaine. Or if something bad happens, I am drinking. That is what we used to do. The turning point is, basically, you are sitting there, and I just get a call from a very close friend and they let me talk and listen and immediately got me helped."

Read the entire interview at


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