Dave Stewart


Dear Dave,

Congratulations on your record deal with Elton and a publishing deal with Island Music! I hope you manage to hold onto your hat and keep your wits about you as I for one certainly didn’t at your age. Here are some words of advice from someone you may get to know in the future but as for now let’s just say I’m an older Dave.

For a start it’s ok investigating or experimenting with Purple Microdots, California Sunshine, Windowpane or Blotter Acid (Mescaline or Psilocybin are a lot smoother) but maybe only try it once or twice (even then it’s a crap shoot whether you come out the other side sane or not).

We’ll discuss sanity later.

But having completely gone over the top with my first recording and publishing advances spending most of it on these highly hallucinogenic substances I can say it didn’t do me any favours.

I ended up talking to the statues in parks , reading the carpet out loud in record label meetings whilst wearing layers of carpet and making friends with a girl called Circles (she may or may not have existed). During this period I was meant to be songwriting or recording with the band neither of which was high on my agenda and therefore two or three years later I wasn’t on Elton’s or Island’s agenda either. This malarkey which started at around 17 years old escalated and carried on well into my twenties until I had a minor epiphany.

It was after an onstage performance at a Paris University and for the whole show I was facing away from the crowd whilst on Mescaline.

For the whole set I thought the roadies waving at me was the actual crowd having a good time when in fact the crowd had wandered out in disbelief. Unfortunately, I was still happy and excited in the dressing room when I noticed the others were not so happy. Having learned the lesson that psychedelics onstage are a no-no I carried on fearlessly exploring another form of pharmaceutical madness which by now was prevalent throughout the country, I was broke and “speed” was cheap.

Now this my young man was the drug that brought around my major epiphany  ending up with me being hospitalised, criminalised and crosseyed. Nowadays all chemical drugs unless prescribed (even those can make you crazy) should be avoided at all costs as they all fuck you up and as you know pharmaceutical addiction is an epidemic all around the world, when I was first experimenting back in 1969 it was more about exploration of the soul, these new drugs seem to be more about exploration of your pockets by some greedy bastards along with a tag on your toe or ticket to rehab if anyone can afford it.

So my advice clearly is about avoiding the void of doom by just saying no!

But what to do if you are a sensitive artist with an addictive personality dealing with  the pain of being human, the pain of having the chaotic self-awareness of human consciousness at the same time dealing with everyday life?

Well, after nearly dying in hospital for the third time and surviving I had my massive epiphany which was Music duh that’s what I loved in the first place, get high on music, get drunk on art! It sounds so ridiculously elementary but this was the huge turning point in my life,  the gift that keeps on giving.

As Frida Kahlo said “I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim”. Swimming in the blue ocean of creativity felt so much better than the blood red sea I had been swimming in and so yes I became addicted to music and still am which leads me to another well known quote this time from the great Bob Marley “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”.

So just know that I’ve been there where you are now and this comes from the heart: I love you, stay strong, stay high and don’t let the bastards bring you down.


Older Dave x

Dear Young Me is whynow’s new editorial series where twice a month you will gain a uniquely personal insight into the retrospective thoughts and feelings of some of the UK’s most well known and influential figures including Pete Townshend, Michael Caine, and Stephen Fry.

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