Skip to content

Creative Tragedy and the Tortured Mind

  • by

It’s no secret that many creative and brilliant minds seem to do some of their best work under the influence of drugs and alcohol.. or both. Whether it be creating music, painting, writing scripts – or all three at the same time – the creative mind seems to flourish under the influence. 

This is by no means true for everyone but I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the brilliant creative minds that did some of their best work whilst under the influence.. and some who paid the ultimate price.



It starts with one

Let’s talk about the music 1st. This is a huge list so I’ve really had to cut it down in the interest of length. A lot of artists, bands and creatives will be missed out here but lets talk about some songs, bands and artists that have shaped not only culture, but history itself in many ways.

The Beatles – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds … enough said.

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust himself. According to multiple sources, the bulk of Bowie’s songs were written in the 70’s while high on cocaine.

I have to mention the 27 Club. Some of the members of this club include:

Brian Jones 

Amy Winehouse 

Kurt Cobain

Jim Morrison 

Janis Joplin

Jimi Hendrix


“Believe it or not, the main man behind animated group Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, openly admits that he relied on heroin to help him get creative enough. He claims that he’s “controlled with it,” and that he only did it at the studio.

It’s hard to believe that songs like Clint Eastwood were written while high, but the fact is that both partners in the animated band were pretty open about it. Both Albarn and his partner in the Gorillaz project say that their first album wouldn’t have been possible without them each being “in their own worlds.”

Looking back at the album’s lyrics, there may have been a hint of his usage hidden in there. It’s interesting that some of “Clint Eastwood”‘s lyrics included him talking about having “sunshine in a bag.” Take that as you will”  – Ossiana Tepfenhart.


All ears

It wouldn’t be proper of me not to mention one of the most famous painters in history. Vincent Van Gogh is regarded as one of the most influential  artists of all time. He is known not only for his paintings but also for mutilating his own earlobe with a knife. A heavy alcohol drinker with severe mental issues,

Van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive. 

Some other famous artist who were heavy drinkers and/or drug users include:

Andy Warhol and 

Jackson Pollock.

Before Primitive – when I was in active addiction – I used to get stoned, sit down to write and if I managed to get anything down on the pad, I would analyse it so intensely that I wouldn’t be able to write anymore. I would then fantasise about spitting rhymes on stage but my reality was sitting on my exes couch smoking bongs and rapping to myself. And only having one line to rap.

Or I would write some utter shit when I was drunk and think it was genius and that someone would discover me. 

It was only when I got clean and sober that the writing really started to emerge. I’m grateful that I will always have that pain to draw from. Like my friend Gordon said to me one day:

“The best music comes from pain Pete.”

It’s been interesting to read about these famous musicians and artists that impacted pop culture so heavily and that were so heavily impacted themselves by drugs and alcohol. 

Many of the above mentioned artists died from drug overdoses, suicide or alcohol related deaths. One thing is for sure: The world missed out on some amazing art.

If you are struggling with your drinking or drug use, please reach out and remember: You are not alone. 

As always thanks for rocking with ya boi Prim.

Until next time, peace fam!

2 thoughts on “Creative Tragedy and the Tortured Mind”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.