Sep. 05, 2012 - Issue #881: Sex 2012
Mon, Sep 10 (8 pm)
With Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko
Edmonton Event Centre, $35.78
'I was 55 pounds overweight with a numb left arm and my lips were purple. My skin was white," Shane Bunting, better known by his rap name of Madchild, says. "I looked in the mirror and I was like, 'I'm gonna either die or I'm gonna quit and get my life back.' It was that serious."
For his own sake, he picked the latter; now that rock-bottom state Bunting found himself in is just a bad memory, of a few years of life wasted under the glare of a pill addiction (Percocet, in particular). Known best for his work with the millennial can-rap group Swollen Members, Bunting had fallen with "the wrong people," who were immersed in the same sloping spiral he was (he still can't tour down in the US, due to alleged ties to the Hell's Angels bikers, though he's working on fixing that). Bunting's one of the lucky ones who managed to detach from the lifestyle, but he didn't do it alone.
"I gave myself six weeks to mentally prepare for it—and then I just felt I was living in a trap every day—and then when it was time, I quit cold turkey," Bunting explains, at home in Vancouver. "I spent 11 days at my parents house—I have the best family in the world, the best parents in the world, so supportive, my whole family is amazing. So is my group—and after 11 days I was still feeling terrible, and I started taking the doctor-prescribed [withdrawl drug] Seboxin and [that] was able to help me get up and start moving around."
Recalling his downward spiral forms the backbone of Dope Sick, Bunting's debut solo album, setting his tale of the perils of addiction over shimmering, frantic beats and shifting production. The album pivots on its discussion of those troubled years—mostly. There's also the curious inclusion of a graphic ode to womanizing called "Dick Head," which you can Google the lyrics to at your own peril. When asked about its presence on an album that's otherwise about overcoming bad habits, not praising them, Bunting notes that it's there because it's his most popular song, even if doesn't reflect the person he is today.
"I haven't been that guy in a long time. I'm safe with my girlfriend, I've been with her two years now, she's amazing. ... She knows I did it at a different point in my life, and I always make a joke after I perform this song that this was the old me."
Bunting's found that his open-book discussion of addiction on Dope Sick has proven invaluable—not just for himself, but for the many who've struggled to overcome similar addiction. Or those still struggling.
"I realized early on that speaking about it in interviews, or sharing my story through music, ... has been helpful to a lot of people," Bunting says. "I'm not talking just a few, I'm talking a lot of people have shared their thanks and shared their gratitude of how my story, and being open about my story, has either [helped them] make the right decision, or get on the right track or stay on the right track or [be] about to make the right decision and get clean and get normal again. I feel like I realized that it was not only just me talking about what happened to me, it was the responsibility of sharing my story and being a role model for people that it just became like second nature talking about it. I don't really hold anything back."
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