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Rock drummer Dallas Taylor beat addiction and encouraged others; dies at 66

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/22/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Sideman for Crosby, Stills and Nash and Jimi Hendrix credited his triumph over drugs his biggest triumph

Imagine a lifestyle so reckless that Who drummer Keith Moon would advise you at one point to slow it down! Such was the case of rock drumming great Dallas Taylor, who pounded the skins for such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Taylor has died at the age of 66, but not before he redeemed himself from a life of addiction and encouraged countless others to follow his lead. 

'I understand what it is like to be an angry, depressed addict who needs so badly to be liked that he gets on stage and sweats and bleeds and hopes that people will somehow connect,' Dallas Taylor wrote, following the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

"I understand what it is like to be an angry, depressed addict who needs so badly to be liked that he gets on stage and sweats and bleeds and hopes that people will somehow connect," Dallas Taylor wrote, following the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
1/22/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in Music

Keywords: Dalloas Taylor, rock musician, addiction, counseling, redemption


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A low point in his life came when he tried to commit suicide in 1984 by stabbing himself in the stomach with a butcher knife.

"My wife came in, and I remember her looking at me like she was just plain fed up," he recalled. "I said, 'Listen, if I'm still alive in the morning, take me to the hospital.'" Missing his vital organs, Taylor lived to see another day - but major changes were necessary.

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Rock drumming great Dallas Taylor pounded the skins for such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix and Crosby,

Rock drumming great Dallas Taylor pounded the skins for such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills and Nash.


"I was more famous as a junkie than a drummer," Taylor admitted. Born in Denver, Colorado in 1948, his parents divorced when he was four. Suffering from stress-related ulcers, his mother treated him with drugs laced with opium. "I can remember taking that stuff and thinking 'Wow, this is how I'm supposed to feel," he remembered.

Considering himself "doomed" after drinking his first beer at the age 13, the year his mother died of a heart attack, he dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles with his psychedelic band Clear Light, signed to Elektra Records right after The Doors.

Taylor also met Stephen Stills around this time, whose band Buffalo Springfield had just dissolved. Asked to join Crosby, Stills and Nash, Taylor was eventually fired from the group because of his drug abuse. He then began a long slide of divorce, addiction and homelessness.

After surviving his suicide attempt, Taylor was transferred to a rehab hospital and began a new life of sobriety in 1984. Diagnosed with a terminal liver disease five years later, his friends David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young, along with rock luminaries Don Henley and Eddie Van Halen, performed a benefit concert for him in 1990, raising enough money for a liver transplant.

Saved once again, Taylor embarked on a second career as an addiction counselor, providing assessments, interventions and sober companionship. 

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"I understand what it is like to be an angry, depressed addict who needs so badly to be liked that he gets on stage and sweats and bleeds and hopes that people will somehow connect," Taylor wrote, following the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

"But as addicts whose only real happiness is being high - whether it's on dope or music, writing, acting or painting - success becomes our worst enemy. When self-hatred runs so deep, it is never alleviated by fame or wealth."

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