Wednesday, August 7, 2013

40 Year Itch : All the Way Down

Etta James was the only one to profit from her Grammy nominated 1973 comeback album. She very publicly donated a portion of the proceeds to the Dr Eugene Silberman Methadone Maintenance Treatment program in New York and the Center City "Kick" Program in Los Angeles. 

Chess/Janus label president Marvin Schlachter explained:

This decision was made after consultation with Etta and the doctors in charge of both of these institutions, in gratitude for the help they have given to Etta James in restoring her personal and professional life. These centers have aided her in going on methadone. As a result, she is now able to make a real comeback and achieve the recognition she merits as a great recording artist.

Etta would be an addict for the rest of her life.. Her husband Artis Mills served ten years in prison ( 1971-1981) when they were both arrested for heroin possession.

In her autobiography Rage to Survive, Etta writes

Heroin became my drug of choice. It took me where I wanted to go --far away, out of it--in a hurry. All pain, thought and confusion melted under its lazy hazy spell. I grooved on the zapped out sensation. I liked the nod, the hot rush of the dope speeding through my system. If I felt vulnerable and anxious when I was straight, I felt unapproachable and mellow when I was high. I was living in that place where junkies love to live, the never-never land of unreality, the place of spaced-out cool. I got hooked real quick.

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