U2's Adam Clayton Thanks Bandmates for Supporting Him Through His Addiction While Being Honored
By Liz Calvario
U2's Adam Clayton is opening up about his struggle with alcoholism.
The 57-year-old bassist was honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the MusiCares MAP Fund concert in New York City on Monday night for his work with the charity, which helps musicians with addiction recovery. During his passionate speech, Clayton thanked his bandmates, who have supported him through his battle with alcohol.
"I’m not used to achieving anything on my own," Clayton began. "I’m an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have. It’s just that I couldn’t take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential."
He added that he "didn’t think you could be in a band and not drink. It is so much a part of our culture. Because we work at night, we go out at night. We live at night, we do business at night. I thought my life would be over, but two heroes of mine were there for me and it meant a great deal to me that they tried to convince me otherwise."
Ultimately, it was Eric Clapton who told him to seek help, adding that, "He didn’t sugarcoat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn't regret it." He also credited his good friend, Pete Townshend, from The Who, who visited him during rehab, and his U2 bandmates.
"I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failing," Clayton continued. "Bono, the Edge, and Larry [Mullen] truly supported me before and after I entered recovery, and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support."
"We have a pact with each other. In our band, no one will be a casualty," he shared. "We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise, and letting me be in your band."
Clayton ended his speech by quoting a lyric that was "written by Bono when we were 18. 'If you walk away, walk aways, I will follow.'"
U2 later took the stage and performed "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out of," "Vertigo" and "I Will Follow."
After the event, the band enjoyed a late, celebratory dinner together with friends and loved ones at Japanese Izakaya restaurant Zuma New York, where they enjoyed sushi and robata grilled fare late into the night.