Ben Johnston’s alcohol addiction almost split Biffy Clyro apart

Singer and drummer Ben Johnston had to check himself into Alcoholics Anonymous to get help

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Posted 6th January 2013 in News, Biffy Clyro | By Clickmusic News Desk
Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro drummer Ben Johnston has revealed how his drinking almost split the band apart.

Ben admitted his problems during an interview with The Scotsman, when he revealed just how far his drinking binges had gone.

"I had no stop button," he said. "I would just keep going and black out. Me and Simon massively drifted apart. It was me that was going to fuck it all up."

When Ben, James Johnston and Simon Neil were recording 'Opposites', he began to drink pints of wine to compensate for his growing tolerance to alcohol. He soon found himself blacking out, missing flights and messing up rehearsals. Things came to a head when he blacked out in his hotel room and slashed his ear open, only waking up when Simon hammered on the door.

"I was half-thinking, ‘We might go home with no record here. And no band,’" he admitted.

"I have no idea what happened. For some folk in Scotland, that’s an average ­Saturday night."

It was this incident that prompted Ben to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Los Angeles. He has been sober ever since, including on his wedding day.

"It was a Scottish wedding and I didn’t have a sip of champagne. It’s not that much of a challenge because my life is so much better."

James has had the Robert Burns poem 'John Anderson, My Jo' tattooed down his side as dedication to his brother's new sobriety.

James admitted: "It’s about two old codgers looking back at their life together – a reminder to Ben of what he means to me. And a reminder that when somebody loves you, there’s a responsibility: ‘Look, I care about you, so you’ve got to look after yourself for me.’

"Ben could have potentially ended up a lonely old person who one day stopped drinking and suddenly realised he’d got no one. I’m so proud of him. We’re back to three pals in a room."

Biffy Clyro suffered a year of hardships in 2012. Lead singer Simon Neil found his own life in turmoil when his wife suffered three miscarriages.

"That happened at exactly the same time as Ben was ­going off the rails. Life had been going great.

"My wife had the roughest time. Devastating. I didn’t know how to make her feel better. I see so much sadness in life.

"Perhaps that’s what comes through in my music. People have so much hurt and loss ­inside them, below the surface. I just feel for people. That’s such a ridiculous thing to say... but people have such a tough time in life. It’s hardcore.

"I felt so bad for James. Half of himself is Ben and vice versa. He felt responsible."

'Opposites' will be released on January 28, 2013, four years on from 'Only Revolutions'.