Buddy Arnold and Musician's Assistance Program


Brad Nowell

Brad Nowell of Sublime was not the first person in my life that I felt i was losing to hard drug abuse.

I had spent around ten years on the fringes of the record industry, in bands and in the nightclub promotion business.

A lot of people I knew were prone to do stupid, reckless things. It was part of their personality, it separated them from the "normal people".

Some of my friends, were capable of pulling out before they got in too deep. Others were willing to test their boundary's more, disregard the advice of people around them and plunge into the abyss. Brad was just one of those people.


I was captivated by his talent, but also scared of his propensity to ignore the risks he was taking. His music was undoubtedly soulful and special, but his habit made this genius more vulnerable to trouble, and a halo of flies and stupidity surrounded him.

I tried at one point to have him come up and stay with me and my girlfriend in rural Sonoma County. A place far away from the temptations of Long Beach and the cess pool of idiots he was used to scoring skag with.

I promised to help set up a little recording equipment and give him space to dry out. I think he feared the quiet time, and I never really heard back from him regarding my offer.

Several months later, shortly after the devastating news of Brad's Death ,I heard his wife of only two weeks and the mother of his child ,Troy Nowell, began training and working as a counselor for The Musician's Assistance Program in LA.

A big benefit concert at The Hollywood Palladium took place and raised money and awareness for the MAP program. I looked into this unique program and here's some info I found...


A cat named Buddy Arnold knew he had a problem, he was a jazz musician, and like so many in his chosen profession, his problem was drug addiction. After many attempts, he was finally well , and he wanted to help others in similar situations. He started organizing gatherings, beginning in 1985 with some inauspicious meetings at a church in a seedier part of North Hollywood. The Los Angeles Musicians' 12-step meeting started at St. Matthews Church on Camarillo Street ( Meetings still occur there). Eventually Buddy Arnold established MAP as a non-profit organization, under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, on April 1, 1992. MAP has one simple purpose: To help music industry professionals recover from drug and alcohol problems

Since then the organization has grown and expanded. The MAP Representatives in the six cities outside of Los Angeles are all doing what they can.

Jack Freckman, in Nashville, is probably the busiest these days. Maybe it's because he does such good work or maybe it's because there are so many strung-out musicians in that town, or both. MAP is concentrating on spreading the word in places like New York City which certainly has its share of alcoholics and addicts. Michael Fayne and Sari Eckler Cooper in New York City are handling affairs in the city that never sleeps. Mike Kinder is working hard in Seattle--a town not unfamiliar to the problems addressed by MAP. Scott Washburn is working closely with Hazelden clinic in Minneapolis. John Mehlhorn is the representative in New Orleans. To date, sixty percent (60%) of the musicians and other music industry professionals that have participated since MAP's inception, are still clean and sober. This is a startling and wonderful figure, far above the national average.

Maybe you're a part of the music community -- or know someone in trouble with substance abuse -- call 888/MAP-MAP1 (888/627-6271).
They have different locations around the country and do "Peer Network" counseling.

The direct LA Hollywood main office number is (213) 993-3197 or write 817 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90038

In December of 98 MAP opened up their first "Roadhouse", a recovery waystation where musician's can remain in a supportive setting. Buddy believes the expression, "An addict, by himself, is in very bad company," is absolutely true. The addict or alcholic, under stress, will naturally turn to the coping tools he knows best--drugs and alcohol. The Roadhouse will attempt to provide the type of environment that keeps a musician from having a "relapse". Brad Nowell's death could be considered due to a relapse.


about hard drug abuse...

Unfortunately, there are plenty who dabble in substances far beyond the reasonable definition of "recreational use". They lose control of their minds, actions and eventually their lives. I have had the misfortune by the age of 30 to watch this on more than one unpleasant and avoidable occasion. I've attended too many unecessary funerals and seen the painful results mount as the users inevitably fail to control the results of their activities.

While I am not a profesional counselor, nor a right wing moralizer I can tell the difference between a good time and a living hell. I would like to eventually share some links here with more info on drugs and recovery to those interested.

I have known several musicians , some more famous than others , that have all lost the heroin battle, some lost and went on to live with brain damage and health problems, some in painful regret for their wasted time. Others were not even so lucky, and merely lost their lives at great expense to those around them.

It is not my job to tell others what to do with their lives, but if someone has enough free time, cash and ingenuity to score dope, they have enough ability to be accomplishing a lot more than that.

Here are a few links that shed some light on the current heroin/methadone treatment problems

The Official Musician's Assistance Program website

Musician/MAPS drug Counselor Paul Williams reflects on his life and things he does to help others coming out of addiction.

Live Long and Prosper