Frank Turner opens up about struggle with drug addiction: ”It was appalling”

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Frank Turner has opened up about his battle with cocaine addiction in a strikingly honest new interview with The Independent.

The singer/songwriter says that an overdose on day six of a cocaine bender prompted him to re-assess his relationship with the drug and address his behaviour.

“It went from partying at the weekends to physical necessity,” he admits. “It definitely wasn’t fun anymore, it was haunted. It would always start fun, you’re in a pub, ‘let’s get a line in!’, but literally I would go out for a beer and come home five days later. It was appalling. There’s no logical end point if you can afford to buy more.”

“A lot of it started out with that FOMO… what could happen? The night’s this great mystery - well, it’s not a fucking mystery because sooner or later you’re gonna end up in some prick’s kitchen with everybody going through all the numbers they’ve got for dealers to see if anyone’s still delivering. That’s where the night’s going.

“And you end up hanging out with people who want to do drugs, not people you like. The vivid memories that come to me are hanging out on a corner waiting for somebody to drop something off or to meet up with me, or just staggering around on my fourth straight day awake with not much purpose, or gruellingly travelling from my flat to a certain bar and back again, based on their opening times, but never sleeping in between.”

The subject is addressed on a new song on Turner’s forthcoming ninth album FTHC.

“I sure do miss cocaine,” the lyrics of Untainted Love begin, “the bravado and bloodstains, crushing highs and creeping shame and it nearly killed me… I went up to the wire but it turns out I didn’t want to die.”

Recalling the overdose, Turner tells the newspaper, “I fell over and threw up and couldn’t see straight and everything was completely fucked. I didn’t call an ambulance, but I went to a walk-in. They basically just went ‘You’re a fucking idiot’ and put me on a drip to restore fluids.”

The singer reveals that, at the suggestion of his wife, musician and actress Jess Guise, he turned to cognitive behavioural therapy to address his habit.

Meanwhile, Turner has shared another single from his forthcoming FTHC album: The Resurrectionists features a guest appearance from Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil.

FTHC is out on February 11 via Xtra Mile Recordings.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.