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Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

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"Kids, don't buy drugs. Become a rock star and they give 'em to ya for free!"
Billy Mack, Love Actually

The Power of Rock is awesome! Why? Well, what problem do you have that wouldn't be solved by an awesome guitar solo, an elaborate dance routine, and a heartfelt song with kickass drums? Whose life can't be saved by "Stairway To Heaven"? Rock solves all, right?


On the cynical end of the scale, rock is actually pretty screwed up. Drugs are prevalent throughout the culture, rock musicians themselves use their inflated stardom to become real-life Karma Houdinis, and the whole scene is decadent on the top and seedy on the bottom. The consequences are emphasized more than the fun in this view.

Portrayals can be broadly divided into two types of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. The hedonist sees all that is available with their fame and money, taking advantage of it until they wake up with a hangover. The escapist has a Dark and Troubled Past, uses drugs to escape their pain, sex as a replacement for intimacy, and music as an outlet for their anger. There's also a related type that falls into illicit substances or encounters seeking Artistic Stimulation.


Media portrayals often cross this trope with the Eccentric Artist, Addled Addict, or the British Rock Star for maximum craziness.

Not so much a response to The Power of Rock as an exposition of Real Life. Certainly Truth in Television, but often exaggerated in media for added effect, and mostly averted in Real Life. Also Older Than Dirt, being well documented at least as far back as Ancient Egypt; the similar phrase "wine, women, and song",note  attributed to Martin Luther, dates back to at least the 16th century.

Hookers and Blow is the Super-Trope. Often goes hand in hand with Three Chords and the Truth.

Compare A Party, Also Known as an Orgy. Compare and contrast Rotten Rock & Roll and Rock Me, Asmodeus!, where rock musicians are the outright villains of the piece, but which has more of a tendency to overlap with Evil Is Cool.


Also compare to tropes about Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Detroit Metal City makes fun of this quite a bit... what with the protagonist being a fan of Euro-pop who joins a death metal band for the money. Needless to say, he ends up rather over his head...
  • In the Heat Guy J episode "Brother," there is a young man named Kia, who is trying to get into the music industry. It is revealed that his father used to be a famous musician, who let fame go to his head, and started drinking heavily and cheating on (and beating) his wife. Eventually, the man left his wife when he found out his mistress was pregnant, and he married her and started a new life with her and the son he had with her. Kia resents his father and decides to kill his half-brother as revenge. His brother gives him a Cool Down Hug, and he can't bring himself to shoot the boy.
  • K-On! is about a school rock band where instead of sex and drugs, they have hugs and cake.
  • The opening sequence of The Legend of Black Heaven implies that Oji did drugs when he was in the band, and as for sex, he got one of his groupies pregnant and married her.

    Comic Books 
  • While not a full example of this trope, Alpha, Peter Parker's unwilling sidekick, became this due to obtaining his powers. He lived the lifestyle of a rock star, going so far as to abandon his parents and his first crush. It took watching him nearly kill people in the air with his recklessness for Alpha to get his powers taken away. Coming back to normal wasn't easy. At all.

    Fan Works 
  • Codex Equus: Deconstructed with Moon Ray Vaughoof. Like Stevie Ray Vaughan, he took drugs and alcohol during his career thanks to factors like stress and lack of inspiration, and his vices would be enabled by toxic people like his wife, Crystal Light. When he started receiving prophetic visions of himself drowning in water, he tried suppressing them with more alcohol. His professional and personal life deteriorated to the point where he collapsed from a gangplank during the Live Alive tour, and a hospital tour revealed that he severely damaged himself with his habits. Fortunately, he wised up, cut off all the bad influences in his life, and made a full recovery in rehab, after which he revived his career. He still died relatively young, but it was due to a fatal helicopter crash and not the drugs. Now he spends his (after)life helping addicts overcome their vices like he did so they could clean up and make amends for their mistakes while preventing others who are at risk from falling into addiction.
    • In-Universe, Moon Ray also believes that this is why many Trimortidae members tend to be musicians and/or Music deities. While a music career looks glamorous, it's also very stressful and precarious, making it very easy to die from. Many music celebrities don't realize this until it's too late, and after they die, most of them try to make amends for their mistakes by doing good deeds as psychopomps.
  • Downplayed in Coping. When Flash Sentry was in a high school rock band, he dabbled with weed and beer. He's mostly quit them and sticks to cigarettes now.
  • The Jem Dark Fic Mary Phillips Story starts with the '80s musician Stormer being sent to rehab for cocaine addiction. Her manager was the one who got her hooked in the first place.
  • Being a 1980s rock star, Riot gave into this in Starlight Is For Always. He ended up dying of an overdose alongside his bandmate Minx.
  • The fanvid POP Culture revolves around Cassie (using Mio from K-On as her basis), a young musician who is forced into drug addiction by executives who routinely overwork and sexually abuse her. When she comes out about it, she's scorned on the internet. This leads to her being Driven to Suicide.
  • Unlike their source material, the The Takotsuboya K-On Trilogy are Dark Fics that put the sex and drugs back in.

    Film — Animation 
  • Rock & Rule plays this trope and The Power of Rock straight. The Big Bad is this trope personified: he's a burned-out decadent rocker who wants to summon a demon using the heroine's voice. He is defeated when the male and female leads sing a duet that destroys his evil.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Rock of Ages's Stacee Jaxx provides the page image. Dude is high as balls and knee-deep in screaming groupies, partly his sleazy manager's doing and partly Jaxx attempting to drown his sorrows.
  • Velvet Goldmine. And yet, it has some rather positive messages.
  • Almost Famous.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap plays Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll for laughs. Discussed in one of the Talking Heads interviews with the drummer.
    Marty DiBergi: What would you do if you couldn't play music anymore?
    Mick Shrimpton: Well as long as there's, y'know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock & roll.
  • The Wrestler looks at the life of a wrestler once the glitz and glamour wear off.
  • Parodied to hell and back in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
  • Mostly played seriously in Rock Star, but a notable subversion is Steel Dragon's original lead singer, who notes that he's gay and never did drugs, so, so much for "sex drugs and rock n' roll."
  • The trope-naming song by Ian Dury (see below) was also the title of a 2010 biopic of Dury, with the profoundly awesome Andy Serkis in the main role.
  • Walk the Line - Johnny Cash gets deep into drugs. The love of June Carter brings him back.
  • In Get Him to the Greek, Aldous Snow is portrayed as being heavily into the sex, drugs, and rock & roll lifestyle. To the point where he even convinces his record company handler to smuggle a balloon of heroin for him during an airline flight.
  • The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years - A documentary featuring many of the most notorious hard partiers in rock at the zenith (or nadir, depending on your point of view) of their debauchery.
  • The members of the Chelsea and Millwall firms in The Football Factory live this lifestyle, even though they're only extreme fans of football. Every Saturday, they meet up to party hard in popular nightclubs, have their way with strippers and other female partygoers, and do recreational cocaine in the restrooms.
  • Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, a film adaption of the one-man play by Eric Bogosian.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody downplays this, mostly focusing on Freddie Mercury's rise to stardom. But it does have a few scenes showing how the lifestyle is slowly destroying him.

  • Perhaps some amount of sex and controlled substances are necessary to rocking out at all: Fitz, from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, plays guitar and wants to be a rock star someday. He also smokes thirty a day, gets quite drunk quite often, and occasionally gets extremely drunk, tried laudanum once or twice, and has an active love life.
  • Parodied in Soul Music: "We're doing this for sex and drugs and Music With Rocks In!" "I don't think you've ever taken drugs, and for that matter, I don't think you've ever had—" "Well one out of three ain't bad!" "Yes it is, it's only thirty-three percent..."
  • In Cold Iron, the first Rosie Lavine novel, by Melisa Michaels, elves who come from faerie to become elfrock stars usually indulge in the worst forms of this trope, at least according to Rosie. The trope is even mentioned almost by name by another character:
    Hilly: Sex, drugs, and elfrock ain't what their fans imagine it is.
  • Some of the Loads and Loads of Characters in Ghoul are in a rock band.
  • Espedair Street by Iain Banks is a story of a Scottish rock star, full of this trope.
  • In Star Island, Cherry Pye is hardly the only young pop singer signed to Maury Lykes' record label whose stardom has fueled a life of sex orgies and drug abuse. As for why Maury tolerates this high rate of burnout, there's a personal reason he named his label Jailbait Records.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charlie's backstory on Lost is all about how he went from altar boy to this. His brother Liam went through the same cycle of vice but was able to get clean after his daughter was born.
  • VH1's Behind the Music is built upon this trope. To the point that when they did "Weird Al" Yankovic, he expressed disbelief that he was the subject of a Behind The Music since he never had a huge angsty blowup with his band, and never had a struggle with heroin or alcohol. They ended up blowing a few of his less popular projects (such as UHF and the Polka Party album) into much bigger deals than they actually were; the only serious "struggle" they covered was his then-unsuccessful love life (which has become Hilarious in Hindsight with his subsequent marriage and birth of his daughter).
    ...AND THEN MY SEVENTH ALBUM ONLY WENT -GOLD- INSTEAD OF PLATINUM! I HAD TO GET THE MEDIUM-SIZED JACUZZI! *sob* [stops sobbing and retains professionalism] Will that work for you?"
    • It eventually did several bands popular at the time that did not have those things; the same tactics were used.
  • Played with in Flight of the Conchords. The Conchords don't like beer (it makes Bret "have to go to the toilet"), don't smoke, and Bret at least is rather inhibited about sex. Their manager, Murray, wants them to adopt a more rock and roll image, and two of their fans manage to persuade them to take some acid. They claim to have just eaten potato salad and have plans to go jogging in the morning, so they'd better only have half...or half of a the end, Bret accidentally takes a sixteenth of a hit, leading to the psychedelic "Prince of Parties" number, winding up with him perched on a toilet while the walls move around him.
  • The Osbournes could either be seen as subverting this trope or playing it straight. On one hand, Ozzy is clearly a little burnt from his years of drug abuse and wild ways, and cynics could claim that the sad after-effects of a rock and roll lifestyle are being played for laughs as a desperate and exploitative cash-grab. On the other hand, he has a luxury house, lots of money and though his family and home life certainly aren't conventional (or sane, given your point-of-view), there is certainly a lot of love and happy moments shown on camera.
    • The upcoming documentary "The Wreckage of My Past: The Story of Ozzy Osbourne," however, seems to be playing the trope straight judging from the trailer, which features images of Ozzy staring into space and sucking oxygen from a tank filmed with a shaky cam with sorrowful music playing over it.
  • Referenced in an episode of Frasier. Frasier's new neighbor is a rock star who plays his loud music at all hours of the day at unreasonable volumes. The psychiatrist shouts in annoyance, "Doesn't he ever stop for sex and drugs!?"

  • The Ian Dury song "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll", the Trope Namer (although variations on the phrase seem to have existed before he wrote the song in 1977)
  • Probably the Ur-Example is Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin (1958), the last album to be released during her lifetime, where she was only in her forties, yet due to years of abusive relationships, alcohol, morphine, heroin and racial abuse sounds far more world-wise, not to mention her voice, which is ravaged like a 70-year-old due to her lifelong addictions.
  • MGMT's Oracular Spectacular takes both ends of the scale to hell and back.
  • David Bowie:
    • The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is all about this trope, with the "Ziggy Stardust" track being the crown example. The final track, despite the ominous title of "Rock n' Roll Suicide", ultimately subverts it, however.
    • "Ashes to Ashes" from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) sees Bowie revisit his character Major Tom as a metaphor for his struggle with addiction.
    • Bowie's even played this for humor. In the Short Film/long-form video Jazzin' for Blue Jean, one of his two characters, Screamin' Lord Byron, is a rock star implied to be living the hedonistic version of this trope. His handlers literally carry him around, and when he's first seen in the flesh (being hustled into his dressing room, to be specific) he's hooked up to a portable oxygen tank!
  • Somewhat Bowie-inspired, Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals is a dual-layered odyssey that's half about this. The "Omega" songs are all Sex, Drugs, and Rock anthems of hollowness and empty glitter, while the "Alpha" songs are about overcoming pain and alienation.
  • Lust for Life by Iggy Pop covers this theme as well.
  • "Shooting Star" by Bad Company.
  • Sixx:AM draws a lot of inspiration from the horrible things Nikki Sixx did back in his Mötley Crüe days.
    • Mötley Crüe themselves spend a lot of time singing about getting high and/or laid because of their fame.
  • Many songs by Pink Floyd from Meddle onward; mostly because the guy who wrote their happier stuff had been the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope before passing on.
  • Metallica's "Some Kind of Monster" documentary covers this, though with the inversion of showing an older, wiser version of Metallica that had outgrown their wild hedonistic early years and now basically was all corporate-like (to the point of hiring a therapist to help the band co-exist) and largely being a bunch of middle-aged family men desperately trying to come up with a comeback album that would make the world love them again. They had to try twice for the comeback.
  • The Arrogant Worms have a song called 'Sex, Drugs, and Rrsps' which deals with the lead man of a band who decides to invest his money in the stock market instead of blowing it on hookers and drugs.
  • A lot of Velvet Underground, especially the first two albums, with the speed anthem White Light/White Heat the seventeen-minute tale of a drug orgy Gone Horribly Wrong "Sister Ray," and the heroin-inspired "I'm Waiting for the Man" and, well, "Heroin" from The Velvet Underground & Nico. Much of Lou Reed's solo work as well, especially Berlin.
  • The downfall of Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera's main character DT Jesus. A drug dealer turned rock star, the fame and eventual drug abuse are explicitly part of his story. The sex can only be assumed, but the man made millions and was a household name...
  • The phrase itself was referenced by the Propellerheads' Decksanddrumsandrockandroll.
  • The German national anthem is the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied. The first one was scrapped because it lays claim to areas of central Europe that all lie outside of the current German state, and the second one was scrapped as well because it's really just about Sex (German women), Drugs (German wine), and Rock and Roll (German song). The third one is about unity, justice, and freedom, which is much more suitable for a national anthem.
  • The Pantera home videos (Cowboys From Hell: The Videos, Vulgar Video, and 3 Watch It Go) contain interviews, music videos, and footage of the band performing. The videos also contain backstage footage of the band's wild partying, drunken shenanigans, pulling pranks on each other, and female fans flashing their breasts to the camera. Basically, it's a concert video/documentary combined with Jack Ass and a touch of Girls Gone Wild.
  • "Rockstar" by Nickelback is about a man who's aspiring to become a rockstar, just so he can lead this lifestyle.
  • "Gone Guru" by Lifeseeker. A famous rock star who believes Celebrity Is Overrated gives up his hedonistic lifestyle to become a hermit living in nature. Ironically, his new lifestyle choice causes him to end up becoming even more rich and famous as a self-help guru (and/or possible cult leader), and he falls back into his former party animal lifestyle, even going as far as spending his entire fortune in his old age to get his head cut off and put on a robot body so he can keep partying for eternity.
  • "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees is about someone who tries to distract himself from his empty life with drugs, partying, and empty sex. He knows it, too.
  • Parodied lovingly (as most things are) by Steel Panther.
  • Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz from Demon Days touches on this theme in its music video which according to the In Character Director's Commentary is about being entrapped in a hedonistic world of their own creation, trapped in the Feel Good tower. Noodle has managed to escape on her flying island (or never went into the tower in the first place), whilst Murdoc seems to be quite happy where he is.
  • A Pale Horse Named Death has the song "Devil Came with a Smile", whereupon a wannabe rocker makes a Deal with the Devil to live this kind of life. It doesn't end well, of course.
  • Grunge music as a whole tended towards the escapist side of this trope, and a very dark version thereof. Drugs were rarely glamorous; usually, their users were portrayed as taking drugs in order to dull the pain of the problems they faced and often wound up destroying themselves in the process. Many famous grunge stars were notorious heroin users and were writing from experience.
  • Deconstructed in "Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar, a song about the problems with trying to stay sober and not become an alcoholic (or lapse back into such) in a culture where alcohol consumption is glamorized. Ironically, it's also a really great song to get drunk to at a party.
  • The Weeknd takes a dark spin on this trope, especially so in his Trilogy series of mixtapes where he describes his drug-fueled escapades which he only does to mend his own broken heart and escape from his problems. Most of his early songs, in fact, can be described as an auditory drugged haze.
  • In addition to having been a Real Life example of this trope, Marc Almond has several songs which include drug references in his back catalogue. "The Idol" is of particular interest as the lyrics deal heavily with the negative consequences of the rock and roll lifestyle.

  • Disgraceland is all about this trope and when it goes wrong.

  • Hyeon from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues is a tamer version, being a rock & roll enthusiast in a tribute band who leads a life of high school hedonism, including drinking, doing weed, and plenty of dates.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fiasco has the Touring Rock Band playset, which is designed to produce this kind of result. The Needs categories include "To Get Fucked" and "To Get Wasted", and the Objects include a mountain of coke, bondage gear, a heroin works, and a bong made out of a skull. The Fiasco Companion goes so far as to mention a game one of the writers played, which involved a metal guru slash drug dealer, his assistant who handled the transactions and sold him out to the DEA, and a circus bear that ran over the assistant in a bus.

  • The One-man play Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, by Eric Bogosian, later adapted to film.

    Video Games 
  • In Disco Elysium, your hotel-room-trashing, disco-obsessed cop has an Electrochemistry stat, a representation of his mesolimbic reward pathway which begs him to seek out drugs and sex. If you choose to become a Superstar Cop, this will lead to you developing this kind of personality, through stat buffs which give you the ability to do more drugs, allow you to get sexually aroused more easily, and compare yourself to a rock star to all who listen.
  • The Bohemians faction of Fallen London is portrayed with gothic humour as licentious dilettantes, closely connected with prostitution and honey-smuggling - to use exotic pleasures as artistic inspiration, to pay the bills in between commissions, and just for fun.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City seems to hint this with the fictional band Love Fist, a parody of Hair Metal bands from the 80s. Your first mission for them consists in getting drugs and pimping out the Colonel's daughter, Mercedes, for them.
  • The Guitar Hero series has a few nods to this trope.

    Visual Novels 
  • A mostly offscreen example in Melody. Drugs are Dash's undoing, as a relapse causes his band to break up and his girlfriend to leave him.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in the Happy Tree Friends DVD with the story behind the creators' success. It plays like one of those E! biographies, with "jujubee and high sugar candy binges" as well as other amazingly harmless demonstrations of how the success went to their head. It even has them do a Power Walk down an alleyway! It mentions how the head animator got so hopped on sugar he animated an entire season in one night! However, it was a season they already had.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart Simpson did it with a fantasy sequence where Bart imagines himself as an alcoholic rocker, alienated from his friends, and insulting his fans in his songs. Note that this is his fantasy sequence!
    • Little sister Lisa meanwhile has her entire career as a jazz musician planned out as far as cliches go, though she remains undecided towards whether or not she'll die young to cement her legend.
    • One season finale, "Behind the Laughter", was a pitch-perfect parody of Behind The Music (complete with the actual show's narrator) chronicling how the family's hopes for stardom "began on a wing and a prayer, only to end with the wing on fire and the prayer being answered by Satan".
    • Although not a musician, Krusty the Clown is shown many times to be heavily dependent on drugs (legal and otherwise), a heavy drinker (complete with Drunken Montage), and has had a good number of one-night stands, while being a Depraved Kids' Show Host.
  • South Park: After Stan gets tired of ruining Guitar Hero, he starts playing "Heroin Hero", in which a person just plays a character who injects heroin into his body while chasing a dragon.
  • Metalocalypse:
    • The band themselves are so rich and famous that they literally get away with murder, in addition to having scores of groupies and massive amounts of binge drinking and drug abuse
    • Even more so for Dr. Rockzo, the Rock 'n' Roll Clown. He does cocaine! It's one of the main reasons he's one of the favorite characters (specifically he's an expy of David Lee Roth).
    • When Murderface and Toki try to start a record label, their first band runs into this problem before they even make a record.
      Murderface: Dammit, don't they know the order of things? You get famous, then you become a heroin addict!
    • When Pickles' old band goes clean, he becomes offended, claiming that this trope is all part of the lifestyle

    Real Life 
  • This is the Trope Maker of the 27 Club. Many talented musicians have died of various causes at the age of 27. If a rock star survives beyond this age, he or she is likely to avert this trope. Examples are:
    • Brian Jones from The Rolling Stones drowned in his swimming pool, probably while being high. His fellow band members had already the impression that he indulged too much in this sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
    • Jimi Hendrix died of an overdose, choking on his own vomit.
    • Janis Joplin died a week after Hendrix, also of a heroin overdose.
    • Jim Morrison from The Doors was considered a Sex God to many women, but apart from LSD and peyote, his drug abuse wasn't as extreme as many other musicians on this list. He suffered more from alcoholism and was often drunk on stage, growing more obese during his final years, eventually making it difficult for his fellow band members to continue touring and recording. He died in his bath of apparent heart failure (although it's also been speculated that it was a heroin overdose after Morrison snorted what he believed to be cocaine; no autopsy was performed, so we'll likely never know).
    • Despite technically fitting the description (he was a drug-addicted rock star who died at 27), Kurt Cobain could be considered a subversion of this trope. Not only was he an avowed feminist who showed disdain for rock music which glorified female objectification, but his heroin addiction wasn't part of any sort of decadent lifestyle so much as a byproduct of his depression caused by lifelong chronic stomach pain. He also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound rather than an overdose, though he did shoot up one last time before killing himself.
    • Amy Winehouse was a living example of this trope. She had numerous violent relationships, took about every drug in existence, and died because her body couldn't take her self-destruction anymore, even when she tried to kick her habit.
  • Drug abuse took its toll on Aerosmith; Steven Tyler and Joe Perry's nickname "The Toxic Twins" stems from their severe drug abuse, and Tyler infamously collapsed during several shows in the early '80s. All five members went through rehab in the '80s and have been clean and sober since. In the words of Steven Tyler: "Sex, drugs, and rock and roll: stop doing drugs, and you have more time for the other two."
  • Mötley Crüe is legendary for the debauchery and hedonism they engaged in during the 1980s. The members of the band gorged themselves on pretty much every vice imaginable: alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, groupies, strip clubs, etc. After Nikki Sixx nearly died of a heroin overdose (his heart stopped for a couple of minutes, but a paramedic managed to revive him with adrenaline shots to the heart), the band's managers canceled their European tour and convinced everyone in the band to enter rehab (Mick Mars refused, and instead cleaned up on his own). Although the band members are now more or less sober, they still have a reputation for being icons of the sex, drugs, and rock & roll lifestyle.
  • Elvis Presley became this trope from the late 1960s on. He had a constant supply of groupies, alcohol, fast food, amphetamines, and pills and grew obese. His manager Colonel Parker didn't care about his health and used all kinds of miracle cures to get him back on stage to perform. His close associates and friends didn't do enough to help him either. This eventually led to Elvis' death at the age of 42.
  • The Beatles were on just about every substance you could come up with. Contrary to popular belief, they didn't actually record any of their songs while high, since they didn't like the results when they tried it. And as George Harrison said: "After a while taking drugs just gets boring." John Lennon got hooked on heroin in 1968, but was smart enough to quit just two years later, inspiring his song "Cold Turkey". Ringo Starr had a mean bout with alcoholism in the '70s, later saying that, had he known psychedelic drugs like marijuana and LSD would give way to harder ones like heroin and cocaine, they'd never have taken part in it.
  • Ray Charles and James Brown were early examples, despite neither being considered actual "rock 'n roll." Both men heavily dabbled with groupies and mistresses, battled long-time drug addictions (Brown with cocaine, Ray with heroin), and were highly influential on rock music.
  • Visual Kei and Japanese Hard Rock / Heavy Metal + the Japanese underground club scene are all nigh-infamous for it... except it's not officially done, and it's a secret, because of the drug laws in Japan where even having pot can get you jailed for 10 years or more and your career ruined. Alcohol, tobacco, and lots and lots of often unsafe sex are the open parts of the iceberg, with everything else being known but not said. The first iteration of Visual Kei, Visual Shock, was infamous for it. It was primarily X Japan and the other Extasy Records bands that brought it to a true art form, though BUCK-TICK and Kuroyume could easily compete. Somewhat died out with the decline of Visual Shock in The '90s and a series of high-profile drug busts late in The '90s - but popped back up in, of all places, the Oshare subgenre - and is relatively common everywhere in modern Visual Kei, unless the band is Straight Edge, has a large amount of members that went sober - or the entire band did- or it is Oshare and actually abides by its "we are cute and clean" rules rather than violates them privately.
    • Taiji Sawada was probably one of the more infamous figures in Visual Kei for it. He struggled with mental illness and an addiction to alcohol and stimulant drugs throughout his life, which possibly figured into his relatively short tenures in bands that weren't his own projects. He would die soon after turning 45 from a suspicious death in custody (after a strange episode of disturbing the peace on a flight that seemed to be an epileptic seizure or being high on something), written off as a suicide, but that carried all of the hallmarks of a covered-up murder via Police Brutality.
  • Averted in Straight Edge hardcore.
  • This trope was probably most prevalent during the '80s. Once grunge hit the mainstream, it (or, at least, its glorification) cooled down significantly. Lemmy Kilmister has even complained about boring, clean-living attitudes of modern rock musicians.
    Lemmy: It kills me how bland this period is... You go backstage these days and you see 20 bottles of Perrier and a bag of nuts. What’s wrong with this fucking picture? Everything is so healthy today and it’s terrible. I don’t get it...
  • The Rolling Stones were known for this trope (especially Keith Richards), and it spawned a (false) rumor about Mick Jagger being caught eating a Mars Bar from Marianne Faithfull's vagina. They were caught in a drug raid, and while Ms. Faithfull was nude and covering herself only with a blanket, they were not doing that with a Mars Bar.
  • Marianne Faithfull also was a walking addict from the 1960s until the end of the 1970s.
  • This Cracked article, written by Mara Wilson (the girl who played the eponymous Matilda in The Film of the Book), explains why people who become famous during their formative years are particularly susceptible to this trope.
  • Ozzy Osbourne may be the best example of how this lifestyle eventually will take its toll on your health. He's still alive today, but barely able to stand on his feet.
    • Funnily enough, the reason he's still alive is that his DNA literally contains a genetic mutation that allowed him to metabolize drugs much faster than the average human being.
  • Courtney Love is another infamous example of someone who goes through life while being drunk, high, having sex, showing off her breasts, and playing rock.
  • Serge Gainsbourg was notorious for smoking several packs a day and often appearing drunk during public appearances. He also had a lot of affairs with many women, including Brigitte Bardot.
  • David Bowie smoked fifty cigarettes a day until 2004, snorted coke and injected heroin for most of his career and had sexual relationships with both men and women.
  • Iggy Pop was also a poster boy for this trope throughout most of his career.
  • Joann Castle Was a heavy drinker who got fired from her job as a pianist on The Lawrence Welk Show for drunkly assualting someone in a bar in Detroit, She had a illegitimate daughter born with celebral palsy who died at the age of 13, She then started abusing prescription opioids and benzodiazpines later in life.
  • Nico: Heroin abuser, smoker, wild love life, died from a heart attack at age 49.
  • Lou Reed was the embodiment of this trope during the 1970s, often appearing high and drunk on stage. He had to be put back on his feet a lot and during a few cases, roadies had to give him reanimation to breathe new life into him.
  • Christiane F, author of the autobiography Wir Kinder von Bahnhof Zoo, filmed as Christiane F. was a heroin prostitute during her teenage years. She is alive today, but never managed to kick her drug habit and has recently announced that she is at death's door.
  • Jazz musician Chet Baker was practically a broken shell of his former self during the last years of his life, destroyed by heroin and cocaine. He died from a fall through a window.
  • Miles Davis didn't shy away from drug abuse either.
  • Herman Brood, a Dutch rock 'n' roll musician was an attractive man whom many women fancied. At the same time, he took about every drug in existence. By 2001, at the age of 54, his doctor told him his body was so spent that he practically had only two more months to live. Brood decided not to wait that long and died of suicide by jumping from a hotel building.
  • Pete Doherty from The Libertines is perhaps the youngest most famous example of this trope, still alive today.
  • Billie Holiday had a tragic life. She was born in poverty, barely escaped being raped at age 11, worked as a teenage prostitute together with her mother, got arrested, and was put in a workhouse. Her vocal talent provided her with means to escape this world and she started performing in nightclubs, but her status as the most famous Jazz singer of her lifetime was tarnished by an endless spiral of abusive partners and addictions to morphine, alcohol, and heroin, which paid their toll on her health. She got arrested several times during her lifetime and eventually died at age 44 from liver cirrhosis.
  • Megadeth gained much notoriety for this during their early years. To begin with, Dave Mustaine created the band after he was kicked out of Metallica for his violent behavior when intoxicated — and given that Metallica (as noted above under "Film" with the documentary Some Kind of Monster) was itself known for this trope back then, to the point where they were nicknamed "Alcoholica", that's saying something. They spent 3/4 of the (quite meager) budget for their first album on drugs, alcohol, and food. Band members getting kicked out due to their drug problems has contributed to Megadeth's status as a Revolving Door Band.
    • Sadly, this continued long after Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson, who introduced and were the heaviest users of heroin were gone. Bassist Dave Ellefson quit relatively early, while Dave Mustaine physically died for a short while.
  • The Weeknd is one of the best-known living embodiments of this trope in modern times. Weed, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, codeine, heroin... and he proudly sings about it.
  • Soft Cell. According to Marc Almond, they basically treated pop stardom as their opportunity to abuse as many different substances as they could lay their hands on. Read Almond's autobiography Tainted Life and you'll wonder how on Earth they ever made it out alive. Indeed, a few years before the book was written, Almond spent time in rehab after he narrowly avoided becoming another of pop music's drug-related fatalities, though, in his case, the drugs were not directly responsible. Rather, he was nearly killed in a dispute with drug dealers.
  • The Who were also well-known for their drug-fueled antics, particularly those from drummer Keith Moon, who ended up dying at the very young age of 32 (ironically, from an overdose of a drug that was meant to curb his alcoholism). Bassist John Entwistle, who was straight-edged for most of the band's career, decided (rather foolishly) to try cocaine for the first time in 2002, dying the next day from a heart attack at the age of 57. And despite taking part in illicit substances themselves, surviving members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend managed to survive by abandoning the lifestyle early on, with Daltrey becoming a dedicated fitness and health nut and Townshend simply becoming bored with psychedelics, instead taking a more spiritual approach by following the teachings of Meher Baba.
  • Eric Clapton was famous enough for his substance abuse problems that even when his shows got cancelled due to technical problems, it was still often reported as him being in no condition to perform. It got so bad he ended up incapacitated and isolated for a few years, having to re-learn his craft and still didn't give it up for years to come.
  • Queen. While guitarist Brian May and bassist John Deacon were pretty straight edge, frontman Freddie Mercury enjoyed cocaine, booze, wild parties, seedy gay clubs, and sleeping around with handsome men. Drummer Roger Taylor admitted that he "felt it was his job to have a good time...and the problem was we just got better at having a good time," and while Taylor didn't have as much trouble with drugs that others had, he certainly enjoyed wild parties, booze, and beautiful women. The release party for their album, Jazz in New Orleans was infamously crazy with champagne, strippers, groupies, and according to legend, a woman smoking a cigarette in her vagina, dwarves, and mountains of cocaine. Roger Taylor claims that there were no dwarves or cocaine that he saw, but admitted that the rest of it wasn't that exaggerated.
  • Guns N' Fuckin' Roses. That all five members of the definitive lineup are still alive as of 2018 is nothing short of a miracle.
    • Axl Rose was definitely the most straight-edge of the group (he used to do heroin, but quit before they made it big), but he certainly fulfilled the 'sex' part. Even now, he doesn't seem to have trouble finding women who are attracted to him.
    • Slash slammed back Jack Daniels and did all sorts of drugs like it was going out of style. It wound up giving him heart problems by his mid-thirties and was given anywhere from six days to six weeks left to live in the early 2000s (he overcame it with a pacemaker and physical therapy).
    • Bassist Duff McKagan destroyed his pancreas from the sheer amount of alcohol he would drink. It swelled up to the size of a football and leaked digestive enzymes that gave him alkaline burns on his internal organs.
    • Izzy Stradlin definitely fits this trope but managed to get clean before it took a major toll on his health, unlike Slash and Duff. He left the band shortly after.
    • And Steven Adler. "What in the fuck do you have to do to get kicked out of Guns N Roses?" indeed.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan was addicted to alcohol and cocaine in the early years of his career, eventually building to the point where he collapsed onstage and was taken to a doctor, who told him he would likely die within a month if he didn't kick the habit. He then became a subversion, as the warning finally gave him the push he needed to go to rehab and get clean, and his rock-and-roll career ended up soaring to new heights now that he was no longer hampered by being intoxicated (which is saying something given that he was already considered one of the best of his era if not of all time). Vaughan would remain on the wagon until his untimely death in 1990 (in a freak accident completely unrelated to his past drug habit).
  • Bobby Brown is an R&B example of this lifestyle. The fact that he got his wife Whitney Houston in this lifestyle did not help.
  • Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys epitomized the "California Myth" lifestyle, especially when it came to his personal life. Guy surfs, drinks booze, and has numerous relationships.
  • In their heyday, Red Hot Chili Peppers led an extremely hedonistic lifestyle, playing wild, sexually charged funk rock, hooking up with groupies, and doing enough illicit substances between them to kill a herd of buffalo ("Under The Bridge" is about heroin use, while Flea came up with the bass for "Give It Away" completely strung out on pot). To date, the only fatality has been original guitarist Hillel Slovak. For comparison, their second, more famous guitarist John Frusciante OD'd on heroin twice, and lived. That said, they've all been straight-edge since the mid-'90s. Frusciante's heroin problem in particular caused all of his teeth to fall out, forcing him to get them replaced before rejoining the band in 1998.
  • Oasis practically made this trope their brand, not only playing ear-splittingly loud, up-tempo '60s-inspired rock music but also being strung out of cocaine while writing and performing it. Guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher is particularly infamous for his brash attitude and bad public behavior (including getting kicked off of a ferry in Manchester), which he would always say he was doing in the name of "rock n' roll," with some accusing him of being more interested in the lifestyle of a rock star than actually making good music. Their third album Be Here Now is considered by many to be the moment where their indulgence got the better of them: the music got too loud, the attitude got more unbearable and everyone was so high on cocaine that they didn't care. And while it didn't kill anyone, the toxic relationship their lifestyle caused eventually broke the band up in 2009.
  • As documented here, Korn's Follow the Leader was created in such an atmosphere, involving lots of cocaine, Jack Daniels, and porn stars. Frontman Jonathan Davis even decided to go sober after production!
  • Lemmy Kilmister: Did speed, drank tons of Jack Daniels, slept with more than 1200 women, and played Rock N Roll. His lifestyle finally caught up to him around 2012-2013, and he died of an aggressive form of cancer in late 2015 just after turning 70.