Random Pop Culture Top Ten List
Top 10 Musicians Who Seem Impervious to Heroin
Ashley and Jordan
Random Pop Culture Top 10 List is a (fairly self-explanatory) weekly list in which the Review To Be Named gang take stock of the realm of pop culture, and come up with their Top Ten in a specific category.

There's an old cliché that says life in music is all sex, drugs, and rock and roll. While that saying is so over used at this point your grandma probably knows it's uncool, the reason it was popularized in the first place is because of all of the sex and drugs that musicians tend to get themselves involved in. Hell, Little Richard has spent half his life as an evangelical preacher and was still known to be involved in orgies and drugs in the "˜60s. Drug overdoses have claimed far too many amazing artists before their time. Yet while that is sort of to be expected with the amount of chemicals these people pump into their bodies, what is actually shocking is how many of them have survived in spite of extended use of the hardest drug of all: Heroin. The following are ten people who probably should have died a long time ago, but have somehow managed to stick around, quite possibly because they're just impervious to the stuff.

10. Eric Clapton

When people discuss the theory that drug addiction sometimes improves musical performance, one of the oft-cited examples of an artist losing their potency after getting clean is Eric Clapton. After his habit broke up Derek and the Dominos and he notoriously passed out on stage during the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, Clapton eventually dealt with the heroin addiction that dominated his life in the 1970s. But while his releases in the late 70s and early 80s were largely regarded as disappointments, audiences may have been misguided in blaming his sobriety for the creative lapse; Clapton had also reportedly conquered addiction by finding Jesus Christ, a life decision that has killed more careers than rehab.

9. Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe was just as debauched as everyone else in a band known far more for their partying than their music (which was pretty mediocre with occasional flashes of genius), but he was the only junkie. His addiction proved so influential that he titled his 2009 memoirs The Heroin Diaries, in which he recounts at least six overdoses, one of which resulted in his clinical death for two minutes before he was revived with adrenaline shots to the heart, and another in which his dealer left him in a London dumpster. Somehow, he managed to survive the 80s, and now claims to be clean.

8. David Gahan

Maybe not coincidentally, Depeche Mode frontman David Gahan pierced his taint around the same time he got started on a nasty heroin habit. He overdosed several times in the 90s, once pulling a Nikki Sixx and dying for a few minutes before a talented paramedic revived him. Perhaps more tragically, his addiction seems to be indicative of a lifelong struggle with depression: he notoriously slashed his wrists in 1995, which made 1984's "Blasphemous Rumors" sound like a strange self-fulfilling prophecy:

Miraculously, Gahan has survived to the present day, and continues to make music and tour with Depeche Mode.

7. Ozzy Osbourne

The "Prince of Darkness" rose to prominence as the lead singer for Black Sabbath but has also had a shockingly successful solo career in the decades since he left the band. While he's certainly famous for his contributions to heavy metal, at this point he's probably nearly as famous for being a drug addled mess for our entertainment on The Osbournes. The drugs have taken their obvious effects, to be sure, by Ozzy is still standing and still, for the most part, functioning as a human being. Considering he has admitted to imbibing LSD, cocaine, peyote, mushrooms, Quaaludes, glue, cough syrup, rohypol, klonopin, vicodin and heroin, it's a minor miracle he's managed to survive this long. So much of a miracle, in fact, that researchers at Cofactor Genetics in St. Louis recently conducted a study of Osbourne in an attempt to isolate a gene that makes him so resistant to drug use. Their results were inconclusive (though they did discover that he's a Neanderthal) and so it remains one of the greatest mysteries of our time why Osbourne has managed to punish his body for 40 straight years and walk out smelling like slightly mumble-y roses.


6. Anthony Kiedis

All of Red Hot Chili Peppers have been heroin users at one point or another and the band's first guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose in 1988. Kiedis has probably been using it the longest, though, claiming to have started in his early teens. After Slovak's death, Kiedis claimed he would never shoot up again, though he relapsed in 1994 and used on and off again until Christmas Eve 2000, which is reportedly the last time he shot up. Red Hot Chili Peppers' most famous and popular song, "Under the Bridge" is about heroin use, and many of the band's other songs reference drugs and drug use. Yet despite using heroin on and off for almost 20 years, Kiedis is still standing, and Red Hot Chili Peppers' next album is supposedly coming out later this year. Kiedis may have drew some blood under a bridge down town, but fortunately for us all it wasn't enough to fell this drug-resistant modern rock legend.

5. Pete Doherty

Pete Doherty has become so much of a tabloid sensation that his talent as a musician has been largely forgotten. Though his relationship with Kate Moss garnered the most press, he's become just as renown for his unrepentant love of heroin. Doherty arrived on the scene in the early 2000s, when he rose to prominence as a frontman of the English garage rock revival band The Libertines, a position he shared with best friend Carl Barat. By 2003, the relationship between Doherty and Barat had grown volatile due to the former's addiction, a dynamic they summed up in in the downright tragic second single off of Up the Bracket, "Can't Stand Me Now." The band inevitably broke up in 2004, and Doherty's addiction worsened to the point that that many wondered whether he would join the famed 27 Club by overdosing in 2006. But against all odds, he's survived to 31, with at least six drug-related arrests, two rehab stints, and countless appalling YouTube videos under his belt:

4. Lou Reed

Perhaps no one has extolled on the feeling of heroin as poetically or as awesomely as Lou Reed. His band The Velvet Underground were a huge part of the drug fueled atmosphere at Andy Warhol's the factory, and several of the songs on their stellar debut album (the old adage goes that few people bought the album, but every one that did formed a band) are about using or trying to score the drug. Reed didn't slow down when he went solo, writing the glam rock concept album Transformer, a bleak love story centered on two junkies. His career took some hits as the drugs started to take their toll in the late "˜70's, and like many people on this list, Reed finally kicked his heroin habit in the early "˜80's, continuing to be a rock god and an elder statesman for decades afterwards. If you laid money that the man who wrote the epic rock masterpiece that is "Heroin" would make it to old age, you've probably come into a windfall of cash by this point: Reed turned 69 this week and is still going strong. Maybe he really IS Jesus' Son"¦

3. Scott Weiland

If we lived in a rational universe, Scott Weiland would have died in 1995. But in a twist of fate that Weiland publicly attributes to yoga and meditation, he's survived to form that shitty supergroup Velvet Revolver. But back in his Stone Temple Pilot days, Weiland was the junkie to end all junkies, with numerous arrests and tour cancellations to his credit. To date, he's been to rehab over ten times, and has at least eight heroin-related arrests under his belt. But like many of the other musicians on this list, Weiland was really talented back in the day, especially at the height of his addiction:

Ahh, Sarah Michelle Gellar and creepy rabbit things. A simpler, better time, for Weiland and us all.

2. Iggy Pop

The name Iggy Pop is almost synonymous with heroin use at this point. His song "Lust for Life" became a users anthem and was even featured in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. His band The Stooges initially broke up in the early "˜70's because of the severity of his heroin addiction. When the band reunited, they were again driven apart by his heroin use and his own career stalled for several years. He checked himself into rehab, but had his friend David Bowie smuggle him in cocaine the whole time he was there. It wasn't until the mid-80's when Pop finally took a three year break and, with Bowie's actual support this time, finally kicked the addiction that had plagued and inspired him for over a decade. He went on to a recurring role on Nickelodeon's Pete and Pete and to what no long-term heroin addict should ever see coming: old age. Though, after a stage diving accident last year at the age of 62, he said he probably won't do that anymore. So maybe his decades of drug abuse have slowed him down a little.

1. Keith Richards

Keith Richards is a legend, not just for being a member of one of the greatest bands of all time, but for how unkillable he seems to be. The man has been arrested for drug possession five times, including the time in Toronto in 1977 that he was arrested for trafficking after being found in possession of 22 grams of heroin. He got that charge plead down to simple heroin possession because, come on: he's Keith fucking Richards. He was going to do every god damn gram of that stuff. He claimed in his recent biography that he kicked his heroin habit in 1979, and finally stopped doing cocaine in 2006, saying "I think it gave me up." It isn't just that Richards did mountains of drugs and has made it, only slightly worse for the ware, into his late 60s. There's also that persistent rumor (which, from the evidence we have here might very well be true) that he cannot be killed by conventional weapons.

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