This International Overdose Awareness Day, think of Jeff Porcaro…

Betcha didn’t know today was a holiday, but it is in fact International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual event started in Australia in 2001.  That being said, this day is more Remembrance, less St. Patrick’s.  At the urging of Jason Flom, president of Lava Records, you should play music “created by bands who have lost a member to a drug overdose” — particularly if you’re a radio station.  Flom recommends Sublime, Blind Melon, Hole, Alice in Chains, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Ramones.  Pretty good choices, though I wasn’t aware that Courtney Love had OD’ed yet.

However, I think I will take today to honour a true music legend, one whose drumming provided the backbeat of the 80′s while performing with such artists as Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, and as a founding member of TOTO, a band whose number-one hit single “Africa” I would hear every time I was placed on hold by one of our vendors at my previous place of employment.  I can still hear those drums, echoing in the nite, to this very day.

Jeff Porcaro, one of the 20 greatest drummers of the last 25 years (according to musicradar.com), died tragically on August 5, 1992, of a bizarre gardening accident.  As his wife tells us in this poor-quality, black-and-white video with an annoying white bar across the middle, he had sprayed two full containers of pesticide on their bug-infested lawn, which led to his untimely demise due to pesticide poisoning.  Had he been able to contain himself to just one container, he might still be alive today.

Some folks say that Porcaro died of hardening of the arteries caused by cocaine use, but that’s just a nasty rumour that “persists in spite of repeated statements by those who knew him well that he had not used the drug for many years,” isn’t that right, drummerworld.com?  Besides, medical experts have told Susan that no one can get hardening of the arteries from using cocaine.  And they should know, after all, they’re experts.  Besides, I wouldn’t listen to any Autopsy that wasn’t performed by Chris Reifert.

In their press release, the DPA points out that more than 26,000 Americans die every year from accidental overdoses.  And while they do not provide specific statistics on pesticide deaths, the numbers are probably higher than you think.  After all, if it kills bugs, it can kill you, too.

Stay safe, kids.

Peace,

Greg

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