'Bucketloads of Soul…'

27 Jun 201713

Memorable evening in New York City last night as Adam received the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award recognising his support of the MusiCares MAP Fund and commitment to helping others with addiction recovery.

Report in Variety.

Michael Franti, Chronixx, The Lumineers, Jack Garratt and Macy Gray performed their own tracks and covered some of U2’s while the evening closed with Adam, Larry, Edge and Bono taking the stage for Stuck In A Moment (You Can’t Get out Of), Vertigo and I Will Follow.

'His charisma has come in many different packages,’ said Chris Blackwell, paying tribute to Adam, before presenting his award. ‘From a mad, blond, afro-sporting, skirt-wearing young man to an earth-scorching young rock star to a gifted artist with an artful eye and bucketloads of soul.’

Adam responded with a moving and honest speech. Here’s the full text.

'Thank you, Chris Blackwell, celebrated his 80th birthday last week, coolest man in the music business. I’ve known this man a long time, apart from U2 and Paul McGuiness, he’s my longest relationship in the music business. He turned me onto Chronixx, who played here tonight.

This is really great, thank you. I’m not used to achieving anything on my own… This is very unusual… An award for not doing something. This is big place for a solo act, nowhere to hide.

I’m Adam and it has taken me a long time to be able to own that. I always thought I had someone else’s name, it wasn’t mine, I didn’t know any Adam’s apart from the first one and I was far too self-conscious to explain that to anyone. Where I grew up there were John’s, David’s and Paul’s… Sean’s, Kevin’s and Rory’s. I always felt different and unable to fit in.

I am an alcoholic / addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have. It’s just I couldn’t take my friend alcohol with me, at some point I had to leave it behind to claim my full potential.

My disease is one that requires me to self diagnose, I spent many years feeling different, trying to fit in, being restless, irritable and generally discontent. I sought out many philosophies, activities and disciplines. I tried a lot of different things to calm my inner self. I compared my actions to others; I judged the behavior of others to see where I fitted in. I trod the well-worn path of every abnormal drinker to try to drink like normal people. I was filled with fear and unable to objectively examine what was going on or see how these negative traits were holding me back.

I didn’t think you could be in a band and not drink, it is so much part of our culture, because we work at night, we want to go out at night, we live at night, do business at night,

I thought my life would be over, but 2 heroes of mine were there for me and it meant a great deal that they would try to convince me otherwise. After 2 particularly destructive benders, Eric Clapton was there on the end of the phone, he didn’t’ sugar coat it and told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn’t regret it. He gave me the name of a treatment center and the power to make the call to them and whilst I was going though my 5-week program, Pete Townshend visited me and again put steel on my back.

These 2 talents were enough to get me started and convince me my life wasn’t over, but that I was at the start of a long journey, to learn to love myself. At first it was hard examining the evidence, of recovery, but I have never met an alcoholic in recovery that doesn’t believe that this is the best thing they have ever done.

I was lucky because I had 3 friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failings. Bono, The Edge and Larry truly supported me before and after I entered recovery and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support. I am in awe of the extraordinary work; we have done together, not just the music but also our relationships with Red, Music Rising and Music Generation. We have a pact with each other, in our band no one will be a casualty… We all come home or none of us come home, no one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise and letting me be in your band.

I was in Brazil and I met a lawyer, who was smart and beautiful. We started dating. I got married in sobriety to Mariana, I didn’t think that would happen. She’s never known me drinking, but she does know me crazy. Thank you Mariana for the wonderful life we have together and making every day more meaningful.

I’d like to thank Neil Portnow and the MusiCares team for organizing this evening and I’d like to thank the recording academy for their support.

Thank you Hal Wilner and Rachel Fox for arranging the wonderful music that we’ve heard.

Cat Deeley thank you for being so generous and graceful and returning to your old gig in the music world.

I’d like to thank the artist’s that performed tonight, Michael Franti, Macy Gray, The Lumineers, Jack Garratt, Chronixx and of course the wonderful musicians that have come together to support us all in the house band tonight.

Thank you also to the stage crew that have made things run so smoothly, our guys came down from Boston last night and I’m sure they are looking forward to their beds.

I’d also like to thank Guy Oseary and Maverick Management, Arthur Fogel and LiveNation and Jesse Peters, Jennifer Pitcher and Natasha Isaacs for making sure everything ran without a hitch.

Thanks to my brother Sebastian who’s here tonight, he’s seen me at my best and at my very worst.

Gavin Friday is here tonight, thank you Gavin.

And finally this is not really about me, I’d like to thank everyone that has supported tonight’s event by buying tables and tickets, without your support none of this would be possible. You bring hope and a second chance to so many people struggling with addiction.

I would like to end on a quote of a lyric written by Bono when we were 18,
‘if you walk away, walk away, I will follow’.

Thank you for a wonderful night.

You must be a logged-in member to add comments.
Thank You, Adam
Adam, it is, and always has been an absolute pleasure watching you perform and listening to your countless contributions to what I consider to be the soundtrack of my life: U2's music. Having the moment in time on this planet to actively witness your contributions to music has been an honor. For those of us who have struggled along our own journeys, or are currently struggling, your words and your life magnificently reinforce the message that we should never close the book after reading only the early chapters... For the protagonist still has plenty of time to make the most wonderful of comebacks; and in the process, learn to embrace his or her gifts to this world. Thank you for your gifts, Adam.
Good man Adam
Moving speech Adam, as you say with any trial or difficulty we go through we need mates and those closest to us to run with us..
I have a cousin who was an addict. Sadly, his elder brother, a truly sweet, simple, and clean-living man, was mugged and murdered by a drug addict. I've seen and felt what addiction can do to a person and what kind of long-lasting grief and pain it can cause a person, a family. Thank you, Adam, for again reminding me there is hope and that it is understanding not really forgiveness that allows incidental victims like myself to move on and see the inherent goodness in everyone.
28 Years of One Day at a Time
Adam, you hit the hammer on the heads of the nails. I gave myself the gift of sobriety for my 30th birthday and I never looked back. Great relationships; great career and a great life one day at a time.
...for sure. Bucketloads of love and respect back to you Adam.
Miriam Jonker
Im in awe
Beautiful words, very moving. Keep up the good work.
Wonderful Night
What a great night. Wonderful music and a very humble and passionate speech. Glad to have been a part of this. (and it was my birthday and I met Adam afterwards for a brief second)
Mr. Clayton
I'm mostly proud of and have the highest respect for this band and everyone of its members for so many different reasons, but even more so for someone like Mr. Adam Clayton for standing up tall.
Adam, I raised a glass to you in the red zone crowd at the O2 arena, you smiled, (at least it seemed like you did?!) so very well done, with dealing with your situation. It's good to have good people around you and always having something to fight for. Your speech is so emotional, but also simply to the point. Keep up the good work!
Dream out loud at high volume
Your speech brought a tear to my eyes. Love and peace above all keep rockin
Good for adam!
Feeling for Adam and the entire U2 family !!! Thank you for supporting your bandmate. Addiction could be an awful thing to deal with by yourself. Peace.
To a great man
Thank you Adam, this was inspiring.
Waves of Joy
Dear Adam, What a joy it's been today to read the words you spoke last night. "I am an alcoholic / addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have". These words of yours are so true for so many of us, or at least, they are so true for me. Isn't it funny, how this disease tears us apart from our families, and when in its grasp, how we tear ourselves in two... then in recovery, we find the greatest unity with ourselves, with each other. In the 18 months since I began my process of recovery, U2's music from decades ago has revealed itself to me again. What a thrill it is to be a U2 fan in recovery today. Next item on the agenda: recovering U2 fans group. We will have some amazing meetings. Also open to members of U2.
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