Damon Albarn enjoyed great success as frontman of Blur, the beloved British band who famously rivalled Oasis in the tightest chart battle of 1995, dubbed “The Battle of Britpop”.
It marks 25 years since the rivalry made national headlines, as Blur’s single Country House took on Roll With It for the UK Number 1 slot, catapulting the bands and their members to global stardom.
And detailing life “at the height of Britpop”, Damon revealed he began using heroin after returning home from tour and finding it “in the front room”.
Damon, who is now sober, previously opened up about his heroin use in an interview with Q Magazine in 2014, admitting he felt “incredibly productive” after taking the substance.
“I just thought, ‘Why not?’ I never imagined it would become a problem,” he said.
Speaking to the publication, he remarked: “[Heroin] freed me up.
“I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative.
“A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive s**t in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice.”
He started taking the illegal drug during his relationship with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann.
Blur’s track Beetlebum documented Damon’s heroin experiences. Besides the obvious title reference to the Britpop band, the term “chasing the beetle” is a variation on “chasing the dragon,” which describes inhaling the vapour from heroin or opium heated over tin foil.
Following the interview, he later spoke about his relationship with heroin in an interview with Time Out, explaining that he did not “totally see” his drug use as “a mistake”.
“I wanted to say it,” he said. “I wanted to explain something that was really profound for me and had a massive effect on my life 15 years ago. It was a long time ago.
“So, I’m left with two options: I either become really guarded and aloof, and return to this reputation I’ve had over the years of being a difficult b*****d, or I just don’t talk at all. It’s really frustrating… you must understand that?”
“But I don’t totally see it as a mistake,” he continued. “That’s the point. It was part of me growing up. Look, I didn’t go out and look for it.”
Discussing finding heroin in his house, Damon asked: “What should I have done?
“Leave my life and reject it or stay in my own house with my girlfriend and somehow assimilate it into my life?”