Thursday's Geoff Rickly Opens Up About Heroin Addiction
Published Jun 09, 2017Post-hardcore vets Thursday announced their plans for hiatus in 2011, but it's now been revealed that frontman Geoff Rickly soon became addicted to heroin after the band's initial demise. The revelation was made by Rickly himself, who has now opened up about his battles with addiction in a new interview.
Speaking with Spin, Rickly says that the chance to perform with Thursday again for the band's reunion in 2016 was a major factor in getting clean.
"I didn't want to never remember any of this stuff; it wasn't what Thursday was about," he told the publication. "I was a sensitive person, but I wasn't a tortured artist. I wanted to be there and be present."
Rickly also spoke about how getting clean changed the way he performs:
The people that truly know me, like my girlfriend, they're like, "You make so much eye contact with the fans, you're there, you're present, you're not just kind of in the music." At the best moments of the band, I always felt like we could be the best band in the world, or the worst band in the world. That was something that I loved about us. Our booking agent hated it, because we could play Coachella and be terrible. The biggest show of the year and I'd just be spitting up blood and not be great. But that said something about us, you know. We weren't a machine; we had this connection, this chemistry.
Rickly said that in moving towards Thursday's hiatus, he became "so sick of seeing people who weren't that into the new songs or opening for bands that I know probably wouldn't like us, but somebody convinced us to do the tour."
He explained, "I do think that was a big reason that I gravitated toward a drug like heroin. It was protecting; the pain would diminish. When a lot of people are very passionate with you and share their pain with you and tell you what's going on, it can be really tough. I've always been very empathic to the point where I've had many therapists tell me, 'You've gotta put some space between you and other people. You gotta not be so forthcoming and learn to say no.'"
Rickly continued: "I also looked for a meeting every day of tour. That was sometimes very hard — to get to meetings, sound checks, meetings. The first night was terrible. I was so scared to not have anything in me, even just the shot of whiskey to loosen up my voice. But once I got past that, it was so nice. I felt like I had a purpose. There was such a natural high that came from it, which I had lost when I was just too high to notice any high. It was really different."
In the interview, Rickly also speaks about the band's future plans and his ties to loathed pharmaceutical figure Martin Shkreli.
Martin, when I met him, he was super shy. He never looked me in the eye, he was very fidgety — he was a kid, really. But every so often, he would tell me about something science-related, and the way that he would get an idea and think it was so interesting. Even when we would talk money, I would say, "This is what we're doing, this is how much we're making" and he would quickly put together a graph showing me how I could get that to become millions of dollars of profit, and what I could do to help these bands become even more self-sustaining. He even wanted us to become a non-profit as a label and give all the money away.
I found him difficult at times and I found him very arrogant, but shy, weirdly. Super shy and awkward, but super arrogant. He was this very conflicting character, but all the stuff that you see in public now, I never saw any of that until the day it came out. I remember telling him, "I'm not sure how you fucked up this bad." The day that it happened, I was about to get on a plane to Germany. Collect hadn't been tied at all, but it had come out that he had made this drug hike. I was like, "One, you gotta change the policy. Two, you gotta get a really good PR agent to help you to apologize because you know this isn't right. I don't know who pressured you into this, but…" This is me thinking, "This guy helped turn my life around, helped me out so much," I was really thinking the best for him. His sister worked for us at Collect and she was a really humble, nice person—his parents were janitors. I remember just telling him X, Y, and Z, and he was like, "No, no, this isn't music, Geoff. Nobody cares what I'm doing here. I'm gonna get the cover of a magazine for figuring out how to make money off of this." And I was like, "I'm not talking about the business world, I'm talking about you knowing that this is the wrong thing to do. You gotta change it."
By the time I landed, Collect had been tied to it and it became this whole thing where all the other labels and all the other bands that we've been in business with were like, "I knew it was too good to be true. I knew it couldn't be that good, fuck you. I'm glad this is happening to you." And that was really tough. But to watch the evolution of his villainy? That was super confusing. His sister would call me and ask me what was going on. "Do you know what he's doing or why he's doing this? Can you talk to him and change his mind?" And I would be like, "Of course I tried to talk to him, he's not listening. You're his sister, try harder."
At first, it didn't make sense to me. I couldn't get how you could just flip that way. I remember that the one thing that he took his whole company to and took me to was Monday Night RAW at the Barclays Center, the wrestling thing. I'm not into it at all, but he's explaining to me how, "Oh, this guy's great because the bad guys in wrestling are way more interesting than the good guys." He explained to me a heel [bad guy] and a face [good guy]. He told me that there's a thing called a heel turn, and there's a thing called a face turn, and that the best way to gain the public's attention is to be a colorful bad guy doing everything you can, and then become good. There was a point last year when I started thinking about that and was like, "Oh my god, does he think that this is what he's doing? That he's going to become the most famous villain in America and then turn it around and become like the biggest philanthropist or something? If that is, what a crazy diluted idea that would be because this isn't a game. This is people's lives!"
You can read the full interview here.