Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs

Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs features intimate discussions with some of Australia’s best musicians – including Paul Kelly, Tina Arena, Gotye, Steve Kilbey, Phil Jamieson and Holly Throsby – about an uncomfortable topic: drug use.

'Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs' book cover by Andrew McMillen, UQP, 2014

Of all the creative industries, the most distinct link between drug use and creativity lies within music. The two elements seem to be intertwined, inseparable; that mythical phrase “sex, drugs and rock and roll” has been bandied about with a wink and a grin for decades. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or does that cliché ring true for some of our best-known performers?

In this fascinating book, journalist Andrew McMillen talks with Australian musicians about their thoughts on – and experiences with – illicit, prescription and legal drugs. Through a series of in-depth and intimate interviews, he tells the stories of those who have bitten into the forbidden fruit and avoided choking.

This isn’t to say that stories of ruin and redemption are avoided – they’re not. These celebrated performers have walked the straight-and-narrow path of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and prescription medication, as well as the supposedly dark-and-crooked road of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine.

By having conversations about something that’s rarely discussed in public, and much less often dealt with honestly, McMillen explores the truths and realities of a contentious topic that isn’t going away.

Talking Smack is a timely, thought-provoking must-read that takes you inside the highs and lows of some of our most successful and creative musicians, including Paul Kelly, Tina Arena, Gotye, Steve Kilbey (The Church), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) and Holly Throsby.



Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs was published on 23 July 2014 by University of Queensland Press. The book is available in paperback (RRP $29.95) at bookstores throughout Australia, and as an ebook throughout the world – click here to buy.


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