On Friday, November 10th Unison was thrilled to be a part of Indie Week’s Health & Wellness Day with a whole afternoon of panels, workshops and conversations focused on combating addiction and mental illness and staying healthy in the music industry. Greatly expanded from a single hour-long panel in 2016, Indie Week assembled a line up of panellists and speakers who brought incredible frankness about their personal struggles, successes and advice on staying physically and mentally healthy while touring, performing and building a career in music.
The day’s highlight was the feature panel with Chuck Randall (tour manager for Alice in Chains / The Cult) and Martin Atkins (Nine Inch Nails, Public Image Ltd.) two experts on making it through a life on the road. Randall addressed his own sobriety — which he called the greatest gift of his life — and the insight it’s given him to connect with others who are struggling. “It’s easy for me to see it when I see the indications,” Randall said. “Why? Because I was there. The 80’s almost killed me with copious amounts of cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs… It’s not difficult to spot another addict down the hallway if you are one.”
“What do I do? I knock on the window. When a window opens, crawl through it. When I get that moment, to have a one-on-one to talk to them, I share what happened to me, not what is happening to them. I share what happened to me in maybe a way they can relate too.”
Both Randall and Atkins took time to reiterate advice that was heard throughout the day, and focus on the importance of self-care and having a routine you can turn too to keep yourself balanced. “The most dangerous days are the days off.” Akin’s observed when asked how to deal with the downtime on the bus, or at the airport, when tensions and anxieties can rise between bandmates or in your own mind. “There is a rhythm to the show day, and there is adrenaline… Then you come to a non-show day, you’ve got the alcohol, but there is no adrenaline. People start bouncing off the walls. So, I like to keep everyone busy, but that can have it’s own exhaustive element… You’ve got to find the line.”
In the end, Randall reminded everyone that when their tank is empty, it needs to be filled: “I have to take care of me. I am not effective for my artists or anyone else on the road if I am not spiritually, emotionally and physically fit.”
“It’s an inside job guys. Take care of yourself.”