Robb Flynn recalls heroin overdose after friend’s drug death

Robb Flynn
Robb Flynn

Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has recalled surviving a heroin overdose, after a close friend died by the same drug.

Flynn read the eulogy at former roadie Jack’s funeral last month, which has left him thinking about all the companions he’s lost to addiction.

And he’s told of the moment he sat with Jack in a restaurant and tried to persuade him to change his ways, by sharing his own experiences.

Flynn says: “When his wife discovered heroin needles and threatened to divorce him, I sat him down at Red Robin burger joint and I laid into him.

“I wasn’t judging him. Because I was not better than him. I had done heroin at least 10 times. I tried to share with him where it had gotten me.

“The night we signed the contract with Roadrunner Records in 1993, a buddy and I decided to do some heroin at his dealer’s. They shot me up – I could never do it – and I ODd.

“I woke up six hours later on a filthy bathroom floor in a puddle of vomit, feeling like death. At a heroin dealer’s house they weren’t about to call an ambulance to save me. They just hoped I was alive.”

His wife picked him up, and he admitted what he’d done. She was furious because her father had died of heroin addiction.

Flynn continues: “While I was remorseful, what happened one week later is what hit me like a ton of bricks. Our friend Jimmy Lapin ODd on the same batch of bad heroin from the same dealer. But he didn’t live. I lived. And Jimmy died.”

After telling Jack his story, Flynn asked him: “What the fuck are you doing with your life?” But he accepts he may have been talking to himself.

The attempt to change his friend’s ways failed and they lost contact for years, only recently reconnecting in time for Jack to attend Flynn’s birthday party and play guitar on stage. “I never knew that would be the last time I saw him,” says the frontman.

“He would tell me he was clean, but I always had the feeling he wasn’t. Jack ODd on heroin in the bathroom stall of Celia’s Mexican restaurant. That’s a shitty way to go.

“The frightening thing is that there’s a heroin epidemic going on in America right now, but you’d never even know it was happening if you watched the news.

“Our drum tech just lost his sister to a heroin overdose. Even now I have people in my famlly who are struggling with heroin addiction.”

Flynn’s message to his late friend is: “Fuckin’ mad at you, Jack. Because I loved you. It fucking hurts a lot right now and I don’t know what else to do except type these stupid words.

“Hurts a lot to know that I’m never going to get to laugh with you. I still have your last voice message on my phone and I’m crying writing this down.”

The United Nations estimate that over 200,000 people die of drug addiction every year worldwide.

Thinking Out Loud: Machine Head’s Robb Flynn