I always knew that music would be my life since I was a young child. Listening to other peoples’ music, going to shows, dancing, creating music and rocking shows myself. If it weren’t for music I’d have removed myself from this galactic rock a long time ago.
I played my first show in 1988 at the Cubby Bear kitty corner from Wrigley Field singing in hardcore punk band Not-Us. At the time I was into a lot of “straight edge” hardcore music. I had a distaste for drugs and alcohol because my mother was a cocaine addict and would lock me out of the house so I wanted nothing to do with that lifestyle. Well that didn’t last long. I began drinking and drugging shortly after that.
I drank, smoked weed, did psychedelics, various music projects and ranted about smashing “Da Man” for years. It was all fine and dandy until a friend convinced me to try sniffing a line of China White (heroin) in 1995. I fell in love with the way it made me feel that first time and chased it for years although I could never recapture the original feeling. I gave up everything for it. My musical gear went to pawn shops, my friends one by one had to step away because they couldn’t watch me kill myself anymore and they got tired of me stealing their stuff. I ended up living in a dirty, needle strewn alley on the West Side of Chicago. My nightly lullaby was cacophony of gunshots and the insanity of my mind through the filter of a deadly addiction. I was what they call a “Cook County All-Star”…in and out of the Cook County Jail. I had overdosed 9 times. Real overdoses. Not the slap him out of it “od” but the “hit him with Narcon…..hit him again” overdose. My life had become jail cells, hospital beds, homelessness WITHOUT MUSIC.
I would sober up a bit in a jail cell or another rehab attempt and Ibogaine (which was definitely part of my path to eventual sobriety) only to return to active addiction. Finally my last attempt to get sober has stuck for over 3 years. I was blessed to get help from HAAM (Health Alliance For Austin Musicians) and SIMMS which paid for my detox, 28 days at Austin Recovery and 3 months at Austin Turning Point sober homes.
At 4 months sober I did an East Coast Tour. I realized touring sober was so much better for an addict like me. I can give my art and self the deserved respect like when a club wants to “pay” me with booze I’m like “nah money fool”. Sobriety allows me to be more respectful to others around me as well. The venues, the other artists and the supporters of my music.
There’s a myth that good music and good times have to include alcohol and drugs. This is a complete falsehood. I have so much fun doing the thang now and I can remember it! Things get done instead of statements of grandiosity that never get completed. I have shot 6 music videos in the last year. One in Puerto Rico, two in Austin,TX, two in Chicago and one in Memphis. Two years ago I shot one in Portland and one in Chicago. I’ve helped to start the record label No Trend Records with my brother where I’m Operations Manager as well as an artist. I have a new vinyl full length hip hop folk punk album out with songs in English and Spanish. I have toured coast to coast including Puerto Rico. I also sing in the Spanglish hardcore band Shots Fired! Shots Fired!
If you’re struggling with staying sober and clean in the music industry feel free to contact me.
Peace and Love
Hip hop/punk folk artist Paulie Think’s latest, Dunny’s Tamales, is out now. Keep up with Paulie Think here.