Guitarist Bill Kelliher of Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON revealed to Democrat & Chronicle that he used to drink so hard he had to be hospitalized because his liver was shutting down.
"Today's been one year of sobriety for me," he said last week. "It's been a struggle for many years. Everyone tells me the first year is the most difficult, when you've been an alcoholic most of your life."
He continued: "Being sober, I could hold it together when I saw my mom [after she developed a brain tumor, which revealed itself when she had a seizure], in a kind of vegetative state. My brother was losing it and I just told myself, 'I've gotta stay strong.' We're only here for so long. For me it was a choice when I gave up the booze. I didn't have to be that guy who needs a depressant to cope with life."
In an August 2014 interview with AXS, Kelliher said that his refreshed interest in composing music has been a lifesaving experience for him.
"Oh. yeah. Definitely," he said. "When I was drinking all the time, I didn't really care about writing. I mean I thought I did. I thought I cared about writing. But I really didn't care about anything but drinking, and that's what it does to you. You don't realize it until you've stopped and figured it out on your own because no one can tell you. It took my life over and almost killed me."
He continued: "I would never wake up early and start writing or actually exercise or do anything that was good for me. I was just chugging along in life. And once you stop drinking or putting down the drugs and start living life on life's terms, it's a totally different experience when you write a song. You feel good about it and it really comes from the heart, comes from that special place. It's not some hung over feeling, like, 'I just don't feel like putting any effort into anything anymore.' That's how it was getting for me and that's why I had to stop."
Jeza Sanders, the wife of MASTODON's Troy Sanders, was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, which is also when the band canceled its summer tour due to a "personal family matter." After treatment, she's in remission.
MASTODON is currently on tour supporting JUDAS PRIEST across the U.S.
MASTODON's latest album, "Once More 'Round The Sun", sold around 34,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart. The record arrived in stores on June 24, 2014 via Reprise Records.