ZZ Top’s Frank Beard Details ’70s Heroin Addiction: ‘A Regret’
ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard recalled how he’d spent his first major paycheck, totaling $72,000, on drugs.
He said he enjoyed the experience of indulging in LSD and heroin after reaching the big time in 1977, though he admitted it had taken a toll on his life and sent him to rehab in the early ‘80s.
“I spent it on drugs – every bit of it,” Beard said in the documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas, which will be released on DVD on Feb. 28. “I never had enough money to be a proper addict until, you know, ’77, and then I accomplished that. The first time I ever did any drug at all was I injected LSD. And, boy, I liked it. It was looking for God and that whole thing, you know. I really became a seeker of truth and all of that."
He added that "the pills thing came about just from the workload. And the heroin thing came about because I just liked it. I mean, you ever done heroin? It’s great. It’s a fucking vacation for the mind, and I liked it. I liked it a lot.”
Referring to Eric Clapton’s notorious addiction issues of the early ‘70s, Beard noted that the guitarist "just snorted heroin, which is like so fucking not cost-efficient … like, you have to do five times as much to get the same buzz. But he was making more money.”
Beard said spending all that money was now “a regret” and reflected that losses included his original drum kit, which he sold to buy drugs, and collapsed relationships.
“At the back of my mind I knew that I needed to kick heroin, I needed to stop doing cocaine,” he recalled. “I had done it all and I couldn’t go any further. So I told [band manager Bill] Ham, ‘I’m going into a 30-day program.’ And [he] said, ‘All right, take as long as you need.’ So I went to a 12-step program; I just wanted to get sober. I wanted to be like people I admired that could sit home and watch TV and go to bed, and that was okay [for them].”
“Frank goes all out on what he does and that includes the bad things," bandmate Dusty Hill added. "He was sick. If you’re a very good friend, you love a guy, you don’t want to see him die. You just want to see your brother get well.”
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