Are wellness and workouts responsible for the death of the rockstar?
Why are today’s musicians shunning a life of debauchery in favour of healthy riders and backstage workouts? We investigate the rise of metal’s most sensible generation
Kiss wanted to Rock And Roll All Nite. Guns N’ Roses were on the Nightrain, and Black Sabbath kept it simple and got Trashed. Ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes embodied – some might say parodied – the perma-boozing rock star in The Decline Of Western Civilisation Part II: The Metal Years as he bobbed around his pool on a lilo, guzzling neat vodka and disappointing his poor old mum. Fast forward almost three decades, and Chris, along with some of metal’s other notorious hellraisers, are now sober. James Hetfield calls himself ‘reborn straight edge’ and even has the X tattoo to prove it, while countless others including Slash and Steven Tyler have also decided enough’s enough. It’s hardly surprising that they became fed up of constant partying; anything can become routine if you do it too many times, and some have sadly had health problems or lost friends to the excess.
But some of rock’s younger stars are skipping the hedonistic stage entirely in favour of living a clean and sensible lifestyle, and even those who do like to indulge in a few beers balance it out with healthy diets or exercise. Whether it’s bands completing the Insanity workout on tour, Matt Heafy tweeting about weightlifting and martial arts, or Sam Carter posting up vegetarian protein charts, there’s a visible commitment to good living.
“Bands used to ask where the rider and the weed was, now they ask about the WiFi code and the nearest gym,” a rock publicist tells us. “I remember going out to see Asking Alexandria on tour once, and they’d brought a personal trainer with them. I expected them to be sitting around drinking beers before the show, but they were all on the floor doing press-ups!”