My opinion and why I agree with Brad.

by Laura Demilio

I don't need to provide evidence and documentation for voicing an opinion. It's just an opinion, after all.

And lots of famous people crumble under the pressure, whether they are shy and modest or extroverted and bold. Not only the spoiled young celebrity louts who are famous nowadays and are sunken in perpetual miasmas of chronic drug abuse, drunken driving, altercations, in and out of rehab while between times they're getting busted for shoplifting and ever more snarled lawbreaking situations (what is it Lindsey Lohan is supposed to be famous for? I have no idea. She just seems some ridiculous spoiled brat always before a judge, smirking and fidgeting in her provocative costumes and obscene tatoos on her fingers -- a no-talent with absolutely no self-control, apparently, with a penchant for beating up the nurses in drug rehab centers and stealing valuable necklaces from jewerly stores while she enough money to purchase the merchandise in those jewelry stores several times over.) Nope, not only them, but we've always been reading and hearing about people with fame who eventually cracked under it, turning to drink and substance abuse for solace, or having nervous breakdowns and health issues. The authors, musicians, opera performers, movie actors, stage personalities are just too numerous to mention, but obviously fame DOES do something to accelerate people's incipient problems.

I don't doubt Bix's was a physical addiction which he couldn't help, Albert; we certainly all agree on that. I have much more sympathy for people who truly struggle with a substance problem they are honestly trying to overcome -- TALENTED people, I might add -- then all the little celebrity snots of today's world who crash their cars and steal and get in fights with people who are just trying to help them.

But the more pressure Bix was under, the more he was "known", the more people around him -- I think the stress did provoke a result. We don't know if he would have stayed off the sauce for good once home from rehab and just hanging around Davenport for the rest of his life, working as a local musician on the side while he kept a mundane regular job and raised a family. In all probability there could have been relapses and struggles. But when he returned to New York both in 1930 and 1931, he did slip up under the stress of working, and being in the milieu of the jazz lifestyle. As a big name always on the go and under stress and pressure, would it not stand to reason the struggle to stay well and sober could have been all the more a grueling challenge? The direct parallel of a tremendously gifted person whom I always compare to Bix is my favorite opera singer, Swedish tenor Jussi Bojerling. He, too, was a kind, affable man, much loved by his family, friends, and colleagues as well as very respected by them,and extraordinarily talented with a beautiful singing voice. But Bjoerling fell into the awful abyss of drinking too much because of the pressures of fame -- always worried he would not please his worshipful audience who paid good money and traveled to see him; always dreading that he might upset someone and "let them down" for not being at his very best. This is why I infer what I have, and it's a story much repeated over the over in the lives of sensitive artists -- the fame grew to be an overwhelming pressure; the need to drink to relax, and not fret that one is not quite at their peak that evening. Because Bix was also a kind and sensitve man who wanted to please everyone, not let anyone down, make sure everyone was in on the sessions and sharing the accolades, I feel that fame would have been a difficult and inwieldy thing for him; a dragon waiting to turn around and bite .

Of course we don't know for sure -- even Bix himself could not have known what the result would have been down the road. But, stand by my opinion.


Posted on Feb 11, 2011, 11:39 AM

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