In the rock music industry, we often hear about alcohol and drug addiction. Some of our favorite musicians have passed away untimely due to these addictions, leaving us wondering about all the good songs they could have offered. Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon and Janis Joplin are just a couple of examples of this tragic outcome. Fortunately, not every story ends this way.
Sometimes, people’s lives are positively affected by heartbreaking moments. They learn from bad experiences and use them as turning points. Billy Idol is an excellent example of this, as he recovered from his own overdose and changed his life. This time, the story belongs to Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan.
Gahan has faced numerous health issues, some of which were caused by drug use, and has had a few near-death experiences. These troubles included a mini heart attack due to drugs, attempted suicide, and cancer. Despite all of this, Depeche Mode’s lead singer overcame them like a champion and held onto life. But one experience that happened between these events affected him like no other.
In 1996, paramedics were called to the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles because Dave Gahan required immediate medical attention due to an overdose of cocaine and heroin. Overdose was not an unfamiliar concept to the musician, but death was. That’s why this incident greatly impacted him: Gahan’s heart stopped for two minutes that day, and learning that awakened him to the fact that he is mortal.
The people attending to his medical needs and trying to revive him saw his motionless body and focused on his non-beating heart, but Gahan’s experience was above his body. According to his interview with Bild in 2013, the lead vocalist of Depeche Mode watched the scene from afar as the paramedics were helping him and got locked in complete darkness afterward.
He recalled his situation as follows:
“The first thing I realized in the hospital was that I exited my body. I was floating underneath the ceiling and could observe exactly what was happening underneath me: Paramedics were running around my body and trying to save me. I screamed that I wasn’t actually lying down there but above them.
I believe it was my soul screaming, which had already left my body, and I became a witness to what had happened to my body. I was clinically dead; my heart wasn’t beating. These seconds seemed like hours to me. And suddenly, there was complete, frightening darkness around me. As if someone had turned off the light.”
With this, Gahan had to face the fact that he could not keep living his life like this and hurting himself more. As soon as he woke up, he realized he had been arrested and tied to the bed, but this was the beginning of his new life. Because with the court decision and permission, the vocalist received the help he needed and started recovering from the addiction that was consuming him. While part of the reason for this decision was the fear of going to jail, the bigger part was the desire to keep himself alive and healthy.
The rest of Dave’s statement in the previously mentioned interview was:
“When I woke up, I was tied to the bed with handcuffs. Policemen were standing in front of me and read my rights to me. I was arrested because of possession of cocaine and heroin.
The court let me do therapy. For about a year, I lived in a detoxification clinic with other drug addicts and alcoholics. I regularly had to do a urine test. If they had found a prohibited substance only once, I would have had to go to jail in Los Angeles for two years. I was really afraid of this. For the first time in my life, it became clear to me that I am not immortal.”
The lead singer of Depeche Mode faced many deadly hardships throughout his life and career but got over them successfully. However, one of these experiences had a life-changing effect on him. The musician thankfully recovered from the overdose that killed him for a short time and rearranged his life in a positive way. Thankfully, he has remained clean ever since and has kept thriving.