Ailing bluesman Walter Trout has accepted he'll never be the same again if he survives his battle with liver failure.
He remains under 24-hour care in hospital while he waits for an organ to become available to save his life. But he’s insisted his album The Blues Came Callin’ is released as planned on June 2, alongside his biography, Rescued From Reality: The Life And Times Of Walter Trout.
In an exclusive interview with The Blues Magazine, on sale now (opens in new tab), he says: “I should have been dead when I was running around shooting heroin in the 70s with Jesse Ed Davis. I came so close to OD’ing on heroin and cocaine, many times. There were many times I’d take so much cocaine I was close to a heart attack.
“I feel like I was given a second chance back then. Then, with the drinking, a third chance. Just chance after chance. Now I gotta fight, and maybe I’ll be given the next chance.”
Trout gave up drink and drugs in 1987 – but he reveals he never enjoyed alcohol. “All these ads about how good this or that liquor tastes? I think it all tastes like lighter fluid, and the reason you drink it is to get a buzz. I mean, who actually thinks whisky tastes good? It’s like drinking rancid piss, even when it’s the expensive kind.
“So I was not into it to savour the bouquet and all that bullshit. I wanted to get high, and I wanted to get high real quick. My alcohol consumption, I think, probably would have killed a horse.”
Asked if he liked himself during that period, he admits: “Hell, no. Not at all. I didn’t like myself for years.”
The Blues Came Callin’ documents his struggle as his health issues brought him closer and closer to intensive care – and it wasn’t an easy album for him to make. “There were a few times I had to cancel sessions because I went in the hospital,” he says. “One time, I almost died because I had incredibly high potassium levels and incredibly low sodium levels. They figured out that my brain was swelling and I was hours away from having a seizure – I ended up spending five days in the hospital with IVs pumping shit into me.
“I had sessions booked, but I had to say, ‘No, sorry, I can’t come up and play the guitar or I’m gonna die.‘”
In the rest of the interview (opens in new tab), which took place just days before his current hospital stay began, Trout discusses the physical exertion of trying to sing through his illness, the difficulty of facing the truth of his situation through his lyrics, and how his violent father set him on the road to alcoholism.
He says of the album’s title track: “That’s is about me laying in bed, having this realisation that my whole life is changed and it won’t ever be the same. I could get my health back, get a transplant and be doing good. Even if I get optimum health, I’ll never be the same guy.”
Trout’s YouGiving page remains open for donations. Meanwhile, his wife Marie has released a video detailing his story, in the hope it will encourage people to consider organ donation.