U2’s Adam Clayton: Band ‘Truly Supported Me’ Through Recovery

By Victoria Kim 06/28/17

The legendary bassist thanked his bandmates of 40 years and fellow musicians for staying by his side during his battle with alcohol use disorder.

Adam Clayton
Photo via flickr-user elicrisko (Eliane Kobayakawa)

U2 bassist Adam Clayton took the stage at a benefit concert on Monday (June 26) to thank fellow band members Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr, for their unconditional friendship as he struggled with, and ultimately recovered from, alcohol use disorder.

“I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failing,” said Clayton. “Bono, The Edge, and Larry truly supported me before and after I entered recovery, and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support.”

Clayton was receiving the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the MusiCares Foundation 13th Annual Benefit Concert in New York City for his commitment to helping others navigate addiction recovery and supporting the foundation’s MAP (Musicians Assistance Program) Fund.

Founded in 1989, MusiCares’ mission is to support people in the music business in need of financial assistance through its MAP Fund for everything from rent, utilities, car payments, medical bills, and treatment for substance use disorder.

“I’m an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have,” said Clayton. “It’s just that I couldn’t take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential.”

The bassist recalled other fellow musicians who didn’t give up on him during trying times. “After two particularly destructive benders, Eric Clapton was there on the end of the phone,” said Clayton, according to Variety. “He didn’t sugarcoat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn’t regret it, and he gave me the name of a treatment center. And while there, Pete Townshend visited me and put steel in my back.”

Bono, The Edge, and Mullen—Clayton’s bandmates of 40 years—were his support system. “I’m not used to achieving anything on my own,” said Clayton. “You know, I guess they loved me before I knew how to love myself. So it’s really important that they share this with me.”

The rest of the band joined Clayton on stage for a performance of "Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of," "Vertigo," and "I Will Follow" to round out the night.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr