May 09, 2011 18:08:00 GMT
Singer Michael Stipe quit drugs and cleaned himself up after his lover died in a car crash in the 1980s - as a tribute to her.
The R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe became addicted to narcotics as he rose to fame, but he beat his demons in 1983 and has since turned his back on substances.
Stipe was so high when he found out about the death of his lover he was unable to show any emotions - and it forced him to want to change.
He tells Interview magazine, "(In 1983) I stopped taking drugs. There were a lot of things that led up to it. One thing was that a lover died. An ex of mine died in a car wreck and I was really trashed when I found out about it and I couldn't cry. I woke up the next morning and I said, 'That's it,' so I quit then. It was horrible. A bunch of people died around that time and she was one of them."
And Stipe also decided to clean up his act due to the rising AIDS epidemic occurring at the same time, which "terrified" him: "Also, AIDS had landed and I was terrified. I was very scared, just as everyone was in the 80s. It was really hard to be sexually active and to sleep with men and with women and not feel you had a responsibility in terms of having safe sex. And this was the (Ronald) Reagan years, where they were talking about internment camps for HIV-positive people and people with AIDS."
"The straight community was freaking out because, in their minds, this was a 'gay' disease, and bisexual people were passing AIDS from the gay community to the straight community."