When it comes to a health-conscious lifestyle, metal isn’t the first thing you’d immediately think of. The image most of us have of musicians is one that revolves around, well… sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – drinking, smoking and hard partying. Throughout their careers, icons like Lemmy were hardly ever photographed without a cigarette, nor Slash and countless others, from AC/DC’s Angus Young to Ozzy Osbourne. All have been committed smokers.
It seems though, that the tide is turning. Twenty or thirty years ago, it would have been unthinkable for Slash to come out and say that he was quitting smoking because of health concerns, but he quit after his mother passed from lung cancer. Today, musicians are starting to ditch smoking, and are looking at ways to give up altogether or to switch to a healthier alternative. More and more musicians are taking to vaping, and this trend is set to continue.
The ban on smoking in public spaces has probably influenced many musicians too, as smoking is no longer permitted in any public space, including venues. Vaping has provided a genuine solution to what could have been a major problem. Already, some big names in the music industry have switched to e-cigarettes. Tom Petty, Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller and Courtney Love have all become vapers in recent years, along with aging crooner Barry Manilow. Proving that vaping is no less rock n’ roll than smoking, Sixx A.M.’s DJ Ashba even got into a fight over it, when a fellow concert-goer asked him to stop blowing e-cig smoke at them! Testament’s Chuck Billy even has his own line of pens.
Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction has spoken about how he used vaping to give up smoking, claiming that it literally saved his life. Navarro went from being a committed cigarette smoker to giving up entirely, in just four months. According to Public Health England, vaping is considered to be 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes, so for those who don’t particularly want to give up smoking, vaping makes a lot of sense.
Taking it to the next level, some bands have embraced vaping culture and turned it into a tidy business (far more lucrative than selling music!). Over in Sweden, Gothenburg’s metal band Despite has created its own eliquid flavour, called ‘Cog One’. To kickstart the launch of their eliquid, Despite offered a free track download with the first 1000 purchases of Cog One.
Another band that has tapped into metal fans’ love of vaping is Gwar. Flavors offered in the Gwar range have hilarious names like KeySlyme Pie, Immortal Corruptor and Bloodbath! As revenues from music sales continue to challenge the most hardened of musician , it’s perhaps no big surprise that bands are looking for new and inventive ways to monetize. Whether it’s the ban on smoking in public places that has triggered a switch to vaping, or a sudden and unexpected interest in personal well-being, or even just that making bad-ass vape-clouds is pretty fun… it’s clear that vaping has taken the music industry by storm.