Could this be interpreted as a recovery song? I think so, I said many prayers the morning after, probably not the kind he is singing about here though…but who knows.
In a great interview at Salon, fellow eighties music star Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith interviews John about his new book in which he says he wanted to give a testament to his recovery. Some excerpts
God, getting into recovery. Going to meetings and getting on that whole recovery scene in L.A. My God, I couldn’t believe the amount of musicians. The amount of bands that were just up-and-coming bands that were in the studio recording their first album, and the singers been sent to rehab. It just became, by the 21st century, it became … it was nothing like that then. It wouldn’t have even been considered.
I think that’s because that’s what I really wanted to write about. I wanted to memorialize my parents, and I wanted to give testament to my recovery. But in order to write that, in order to get that published, I had to—
When you actually ended up going to rehab, it seemed like you really needed to be smacked around the head with a two-by-four to actually get you there. You went on a bender — and you had Amanda and a child at home — and didn’t get back until 10 a.m.
That was my bottoming out. I came to. I booked a flight to L.A. on Friday night. I went out with [artist] Nick Egan and Michael Hutchence [of INXS]. We went to the Sunset Marquis, and I got completely fucked up.
Oh, really? That’s not in the book.
Mike went to bed way before me. And, there but for the grace of God go I.
Later, you go to a Buddakan gig with Duran, and you went through a particularly difficult night and you couldn’t find anyone. There’s no AA in Osaka, of course.
I was driven to my knees!
And there was no one you could find, and you decided to rediscover God. And you’re probably of the same belief as I am —accepting that there’s a higher power. That things happen for a reason. The power that gave you to do it on your own that one night, was that a big, big deal for you? Because it seemed like it. It was the first time where you did it on your own.
It was approaching the universe with humility and genuine authenticity. And I’ve just gotten enough conditioning. The education that I got in that 30-day program was as good as any four-year university course anywhere. It was the most mind-expanding: Leaps of faith are required every step of the way.
No judgment, that’s a big thing.
The first thing is: It wasn’t your fault. It’s like, “What do you mean? It wasn’t because I’m an idiot?”
Because you went through the self—
But we do think that. That’s a stereotype isn’t it? The guy who’s, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I still up?” I always think of the John Lennon song, “I’m So Tired”: “I’m such a stupid git.” Everybody else has gone to bed and he’s still having one more drink. Just, “What’s wrong with me?” He was a bit of the alcoholic, too. But that was tremendous. Like, “OK, put that self-judgment aside.” Like being diagnosed with diabetes or something. It’s like, “OK, actually, the reason why is because—” And you know what? Whether it’s true or not is unimportant. It’s whether you believe it or not is what’s important. That’s true of faith healing, isn’t it? Because I thought, all right, I’m going to go with this. “Fake it until you make it.” It’s one of the great recovery phases. If you want to sit there and go, “This is bullshit.” They’ll say, “You’re welcome to have your misery back.” And all that kind of thing. The timing was just perfect for me. And the fourth circle of it is, I find myself, just like my mother, dragging my own ass to church almost every day. Not to church, but to my program. Meetings in my program. And I don’t have to justify it to anybody. I don’t have to explain my concept of my higher power to anybody, which my mother never would do. I remember getting very frustrated with my mother as a teenager. “What do you mean? What is God, Mom?” And she was like, “I don’t have to explain myself.”
I’m very happy for you, that you’ve found that. It was incredibly poignant, the amount of thankfulness you had expressed, that you were sober and completely together when your mother passed. That you could experience it.
Debts were paid, and one was entirely present. It’s such a delicate procedure, isn’t it? Losing one’s parents. I know so many people that go on to have regret because things weren’t quite the way they’d like them to have been. And it just came in time. When something as profound as that happens to you, I really feel like I was dragged from a burning building. When you’ve had a near-death experience like that. If you can’t have faith after that? You know, faith in like, “The universe is on my side. The universe wants me here. Wants me sitting here right now.” Why wouldn’t it, really? But we go through a lot of shit over the years, don’t we? I don’t know how much you’ve been down the road of guilt and self-doubt and whatever, but I’ve been down that.