SUPPORTING SOBRIETY IN MUSIC
A CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS TAIT OF ELECTRIC SIX
When one has a substance abuse issue, keeping clean and sober is difficult in the best of situations (support, home, and stability are just three components) but for a touring musician, staying clean and sober is made that nuch more difficult. Electric Six’s Chris Tait (who goes by the name Tait Nucleus? in the band) has had his own struggles and has succeeded in his recovery. However, maintaining his sobriety while on extensive tours with Electric Six has proven to be very difficult.
“I have been travelling for 15 years, and sober for six and a half now,” says Tait during a recent conversation. “You need a place to go to be sober. You need a sober green room, for people to be able to hang out and get out of the elements. I remember one tour, I was in Saskatoon where there was no green room. All the coffee shops were closed so my choice was to sit in a bar or sit in the van. But I have to say, the guys in Electric Six have been very kind and supportive of me in so many ways.”
Tait, along with others, set out to help fellow musicians. A couple of years ago he was involved in opening Passenger Recovery (https://www.passengerrecovery.com/) in the Detroit area.
“Passenger Recovery started basically from personal experience. So we bought this house in Detroit where travelling musicians can go to have a sober green room. There is recovery reading, chargers, coffee and most importantly peace and quiet.”
While this has been a welcome resource for touring musicians, Tait wanted to go one step further and that brings us to Compass.
“Compass is taking the Passenger Recovery out of Southeast Michigan. Basically it was to create an app that could be a meeting finder. When you come into a city, there is a limited window of time. People in recovery can get very anxious out of their community and do need the support of meetings, A.A. and N.A. meetings. The point of Compass is to have all that information available to the touring musician. You know, the A.A. and N.A. meetings may be strangers, at least it is a community familiar with the issues. Touring can be a lonely island. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and fortunate, but you do lose our anchor when you are touring in recovering.”
Although a great idea, an APP or a website costs money to set up and maintain.
“It is not so much costly as it is time consuming”, says Tait. “We have a lot of volunteers in Southeast Michigan willing to help, a web designer, and APP development team. We are going with the bare minimum, the true embodiment of non profit and of course we are doing crowd funding. This is the first time I or we have asked for money, so we have set up three ways to contribute. Tax deductible donation, or going to the crowd funding site through Patronicity or by helping populate the information for the map/APP.”
The crowdfunding page goes live on July 25th and Tait is quick to point out that he has had some friends provide some substantial items that will be available for purchase, with all the proceeds going to Compass. Further information will follow.
“We have some signed Flogging Molly items, some things from Patti Smith and The Patti Smith Band, Gary Numan, and more coming everyday. Not just music either, artists, art installations. A lot of artists who are not in recovery are helping out, it is really great!”
This project will help a great many artists who travel/tour and provide them with a safe place, to assist them in their recovery. It is a magnificent project from a talented artist. An artist who is aware of the struggles of touring and staying sober.
“I made the decision to go into recovery, and have been in recovery since April 4, 2011. I was six months of the road and I was worried I could not go back. I was terrified,” recalls Tait. “It is your passion, to play music. It is a great job, but it is a job. The stage is your job, the bar is none of my business. So I would go to the sound check and look for a coffee. It is a huge amount of self awareness, because I can bullshit myself. So I need to read the book, go to meetings, because human interaction is most important. And I get it when people struggle.”
This is a remarkable project, a very important one to assist artists. The funding site goes live in April and if there is one site music fans should visit, it is this one.
The site goes live on April 19, 2018 and more information will follow.