July 7, 2024

In his just-released memoir "Desolation: A Heavy Metal Memoir", LAMB OF GOD's Mark Morton credits Slash for making "sobriety look cool" and helping him along his recovery journey. Speaking to the GUNS N' ROSES-centric podcast "Appetite For Distortion" about how the GN'R guitarist was instrumental in getting Morton to stay sober, Mark said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I didn't actually check with Slash before I wrote that part of the book, so I hope he doesn't mind me sharing that story. Maybe I should have reached out, but I don't think it's anything…

"Slash has been pretty open about his experience with some of these things," Morton, who celebrated five years of sobriety last December, continued. "And so when I was trying to get sober and well before I was able to accomplish any kind of sustained sobriety or recovery, Slash was very helpful. He was very compassionate, very kind and made himself available to me with some insight and perspective that he shared.

"Let me add to that, that I think Slash and some other people who have been open about their experience with addiction… I'm the kind of person that has to think something's cool to wanna pursue it, because, see, I have a low self-esteem, so I want you to think I'm cool," Mark explained. "'Cause I'm not sure that I am. So when something's cool, I'm gonna chase it 'cause I wanna be that. And people like Slash, who's cool and people that put themselves out there and shared their story and shared their experience made it look cool, made sobriety look cool to me. And I'm grateful for that. 'Cause that's part of what it took. I'm just being genuine.

"It's not an intellectual decision," Morton added. "Addiction's not an intellectual issue. Some of the smartest people I know are addicts and alcoholics. People that aren't addicts and alcoholics tend to overlook that. It's not a matter of reason or, in my experience, rational thinking or intellect. It's something deeper than that. And so, for me, having an example of people that I admired that I said, 'Hey, there's something on the other side of this that can still be cool.' Because, see, I thought being a drug addict and an alcoholic was what rock and roll was [and was] part of what it was supposed to be. And it turns out it's not."

"Desolation: A Heavy Metal Memoir" was released in June via Hachette Books. Co-written with Ben Opipari, the book explores both Mark's life in music and his tumultuous path through addiction and into recovery.

Morton addressed his sobriety in the lyrics to the song "All I Had To Lose", which appeared on his "Ether" solo EP, released in 2020.

"When I was in that kind of mindset of drinking and drugs and all that, I tended to have this sort of negative filter," Morton told ABC Audio about the track, which he described as among the "most personal" songs he's ever written. "I could make anything 'woe is me,' or 'it should be this way,' just entitled, very addict sort of viewpoint on things."

He continued: "You get a little bit of clarity and you get a little bit of gratitude, and you start seeing, like, 'Wow, I still have so much going on. It's amazing that I didn't mess this up.'"

"Desolation" was described by the publisher as "the story of Morton's lifelong quest for clarity and self-acceptance, and shows how the pressures of career success and personal battles eventually came into conflict with Morton's dedication to the creative process. Intertwined with addiction, self-destruction, and the path to eventual surrender and recovery, Morton also reveals the greatest personal tragedy of his life: the death of his two-day old daughter, plunging Morton further into hopelessness. Surrounded by bandmates living their wildest dreams, Morton wanted nothing more than to disappear, ingesting potentially lethal cocktails of drugs and alcohol into his system on a daily basis.

"And yet, amidst the harrowing heartbreak, there were moments of triumph, hope, and incredible personal connection. Morton developed close relationships with his bandmates and crew members, sharing experiences that have made for some strange and hilarious tales. He's also gained a greater sense of purpose through interactions with his fans, who remind him that his work reaches people on a deeply personal level. Through the highs and the lows, Morton learns how to find presence and gratitude where he once found fear and resentment, a process that he considers a gift of spiritual awakening.

"'Desolation' is, at its core, about Morton's journey as a musician navigating self-doubt, anxiety and the progressive disease of addiction, and ultimately finding relative serenity. Perfect for fans, new and old, as well as anyone who has ever been tested and brought to their limits, "Desolation" is a highly satisfying, full-throttle investigation of the human experience."

When the book was first announced, Morton commented: "Initially, I started writing this book just to see if I could do it. But as the writing process unfolded, it quickly took on much more meaning. Unpacking my story, I was able to observe events in my life with an objectivity that I hadn't experienced while I'd lived them in real time.

"Through a lens of hindsight and recovery, I made friends with my past and found value in my most difficult days," he continued. "I hope that by offering my experiences, I can create a point of connection and commonality. There are a lot of fun stories in here and a few really sad ones. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share them."

Morton co-founded LAMB OF GOD, which was initially called BURN THE PRIEST, in 1994.

In 2019, Morton released his debut solo album, "Anesthetic".

LAMB OF GOD's latest LP, "Omens", came out in 2022.

Morton and the rest of LAMB OF GOD will embark on the "Ashes Of Leviathan" tour with MASTODON this summer.

Slash photo credit: Gene Kirkland

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