I won’t lie, staying healthy as a musician is a tough gig, no pun intended. Touring is often associated with reckless abandon and abuse. Especially when society hails musicians who flirt with disaster and immortalises the risk takers. The ‘Saturday Night Swindle’ is all well and good but it’s often just a pipe dream.
Excessive drugs, alcohol, and sleepless nights on tour has led countless musicians to pits of anxiety, depression, and worst of all, writers block, the depths of which some never resurface. The 27 Club is reserved exclusively for those who befell the Saturday Night Swindle, those old kozmic blues. But what about those who master the art healthy touring.
Here are 6 all-time greats who have shared tips on keeping their health in check.
Touring can be a long, strange trip. It can also take a toll on the body. Here’s how 6 of music’s greatest keep their health fine tuned.
1. Anthony Kiedis
While the most outrageous frontman to ever embrace funk hasn’t always been a primary mascot for health, the 57 year old is now a beacon of hope for surviving rock gods. ‘Anton The Swan’ is now fitter than ever and has said he loves defying the way society conventionally sees men in their fifties and sixties:
“Discovering surfing at this stage of my life is definitely going to keep me alive till the day i die. So, yeah, I accept the challenge.”
This is far cry from an interview in the ’80s where Kiedis said the only exercise he gets is sex. Though it is arguably quite good exercise, Anthony is now a strict vegan (though he sometimes eats sustainable fish).
“I spent most of my life looking for the quick fix and the deep kick. I shot drugs under freeway off-ramps with Mexican gang bangers and in thousand-dollar-a-day hotel suites. Now I sip vitamin infused water and seek out wild, as opposed to farm-raised, salmon.”
Though following the news that Frusciante is back and the original RHCP line up will be cutting another album, who knows what might happen!
2. Lenny Kravitz
Interestingly, Lenny Kravitz never gets drunk. After drinking a bottle of wine when he was 7 and falling disastrously ill for a week, the rock torch holder enjoys “champagne, wine, or tequila” but never drinks it to get drunk, he “knows when to stop”.
So while Lenny’s leather pants may split his health habits surely won’t.
“To stay fit, I always carry a jump rope with me. And I run. I like to be outdoors doing things that you can do with your body – pull ups, sit ups, push ups, squats. Gyms are cool, but i find them boring. I prefer to run outside in nature – it’s far more inspiring.”
As for nutrition, Kravitz keeps a Champion Juicer on him at all times. He now lives on a Brazilian Farm Compound where he grows all his own produce, and as you can see he is not a man of modesty.
3. Mick Jagger
The 76 year old immortal that is Mick Jagger frequently takes exercise into consideration when touring. How else do you think me moves like that on stage?
Unlike Keith Richards who continues to drink heavily, Jagger recently told the Daily Mail that he runs up to 8 miles a day plus swimming, kickboxing, and cycling thanks to his personal trainer Torje Eike.
“I training five or six days a week, but I don’t go crazy. I alternate between gym working and dancing, then I do sprints, things like that. I’m training for stamina.”
Of course, if anyone is going to substitute hard exercise for dancing it’s Mick. By The Rolling Stones standards their stages are 100ft wide by 50ft deep. This means Jagger runs 12 miles a show while on tour. He has also grown quite fond of organic avocados for their regenerative health qualities.
4. Joan Jett
Joan Jett once blazed the trail for female rockers with her smash hit I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. She is now 61 and a devout vegetarian who doesn’t smoke or drink, saying “most days I feel 25”.
While she does work out frequently, Jett credits most of her physique to her gruelling touring schedule – roughly 200 concerts a year. She has had eight other Top-40 singles and eight platinum and gold LPs and still shows no signs of letting up with her latest album being 2013s Unvarnished. Nonetheless Joan Jett frequently works out between tours to maintain her magnificent health. She also believes, “no animal deserve to be eaten”.
5. Bruce Spingsteen
Of all the people in rock history Bruce Springsteen is certainly an anomaly. Bruce’s bandmates have said he never lived hard and was most likely the only person they have ever known that’s never tried drugs. Despite this, The Boss has undergone extensive therapy to treat his crippling, suicidal depression brought on by his abusive father.
Springsteen saw how his alcoholic father’s life was ruined by drugs, who, in drunken bouts, would beat Bruce as a kid. Nonetheless Bruce has committed to the same strict exercise routine since his thirties which is how he maintains his age-defying physique, even at 70. He is also a vegetarian who loves to read and spend time with his family with balances a healthy lifestyle.
The Police frontman is now 68 and is a leading example of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. Sting eats macrobiotics which consist lots of grains combined with vegetables. He also avoids processed foods that contain preservatives, as well as reducing the consumption of meat, dairy, and sugar. Furthermore, he is deeply into yoga:
“Is like music, yoga is a long journey that will continue to grow and to learn, and very influential in the creative process.”
Sting also brings a personal chef along with him on tour to maintain a healthy diet on the road. While he’s not kicking up dust on the trail Sting grows over 50 different types of organic fruits and vegetables, raises chooks and turkeys, and even has a small lake where he can catch his own trout.
While we don’t all have the financial stability to practice some of the more flamboyant methods of the stars, absolutely anyone can exercise and lay off the booze, hopefully making the road ahead a whole lot longer.
Still sings like a champ too!