[Dixielandjazz] Re:Why Bix Drank

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 12 16:37:37 PDT 2003

> Butch Thompson <butcht at sihope.com> wrote"

About the following thesis:

> > I was told years
> > ago that one of the reasons Bix drank as much as he did was that he was
> > frustrated by the limitations of the music of his era.
> As I'm sure you know, the sad truth is that he was an alcoholic.  "Reasons"
> like this contribute to the myth of the tortured genius, a romantic notion
> that many of us (me, too) would like to maintain -- but, well . . . .

Perhaps people drink and/or do drugs because it induces a state that they find pleasurable. It is a "constant"

No matter what else is going on in their lives, they can always get to that "constant state of mind" by drinking or drugging.

Bix, like Charlie Parker, had much to live for. I don't think their music had any limitations. As I see it, (like Butch?) they were addicted, pure and simple. I was fortunate enough to talk with Parker a few times. When sober, he was one of the
smartest men you could ever talk with. Not educated, but very intelligent. Musically, the same way. But he was an addict from his early teen years on and try as he might, (and he did try many times) he could not stay clean for very long and it
consumed him. Perhaps Bix and Bird were similar in that regard, as well as in their love for jazz, and for classical music and theory.


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