U2 bassist Adam Clayton is proof positive that depression and alcoholism can strike no matter how rich and successful you are. Clayton was happy to share his story last week in support of St. Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin which just launched a mental health campaign called 'Walk in My Shoes.'
Clayton revealed that a low level of depression started to become a problem in his teen years, but being in the world’s most successful band helped mask the issue. Alcohol abuse also helped conceal what was going on, but eventually it all came to the fore.
“When I was working and on tour I was fine. My drinking increased and increased and increased and because I was successful it was covered up and taken care of,” Clayton recalled during a Friday appearance on RTE’S "Late Late Show."
“But when I got home after a tour I didn’t know what to do. My drinking increased.”
The reality of addiction hit home for Clayton back in the 1990s after a night in Dublin gone bad. “The worst morning of my life was when I woke up to newspaper headlines of ‘U2 star drags Garda (cop) 45 feet, and it was like, ugh, that’s me,” he said.
Clayton’s three U2 colleagues talked to him about his escalating problem, which really hit rock bottom after he missed a U2 performance in Australia.
“I’d been controlling my drinking for three or four months. I thought I’d have one. I don’t know what happened then,” Clayton shared.
“That was the end of my world. The only thing I wanted to do was be in a band and perform great songs.”
After Bono, Edge and Larry Mullen warned him about his destructive behavior, Clayton reached out to Eric Clapton, who battled his own addiction issues in the past.
“He told me, the only thing you can do is go to rehab,” Clayton said. “And if he told me to do that, then that’s what I was going to do.”
Clayton, 54, has been living the good life since. He married his wife Mariana Teixeira de Carvalho, a Brazilian supermodel, last year. “If I’d known it would be this great and this easy I would have done it years ago,” Clayton said.
As regards the next U2 album, the bassist says the songs are coming together and hopefully the new work will be revealed by the end of this year.
"We’re working quite hard on it and we want to get it finished before the summer," he said at last week’s launch of "Walk in My Shoes." "But I don’t want to pre-empt speculation about when we put it out. Hopefully, before the end of the year."