Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr on normalising sobriety: “There could be more voices”

"It can be a very lonely experience because you can be the only one doing it, especially in our country where drinking is a part of our culture, you know?"

Royal Blood frontman Mike Kerr has spoken out about the need to normalise the idea of sobriety – especially in the UK and the music industry.

The duo were speaking to NME for the latest Big Read cover story, when Kerr opened up about how he got sober in 2019 after a period “destroying himself” through drink and drugs as a result of the heady lifestyle of touring.

As well as discussing in-depth about his decision to go sober, Kerr also talked about the support and information that was available to him and how it should be made available for others.

“There are people in my life now who have got sober, and now helping fucking crack addicts. It’s amazing,” Kerr told NME. “Someone reached out to me that way. I feel like I have a responsibility to myself through lyric-writing. It was important for me to be open about it, because I know I’m not alone in these experiences. I had the confidence to do that because I was clean and sober.

“I didn’t need to hide behind anything any more. When the album comes out I’ll probably feel like, ‘Oh my goodness! Here’s my diary!’ But I like to think it’s poetic enough to not be crass.”

NME Cover 2021 Royal Blood
Royal Blood on the cover of NME

Kerr explained how he felt that “a lot of people don’t even consider sobriety as an option”, and that the conversation around the idea needs to change.

“I wish I knew more about it as I was doing it though, that’s the only thing,” he said. “Having spoken to some people who haven’t been successful and relapse quite a lot, there are some things to avoid and bits of knowledge I wish I had from the beginning.”

He continued: “I had people around me that care about me. That’s lucky. I guess I had to realise that isn’t the same for everyone else. It can be a very lonely experience because you can be the only one doing it, especially in our country where drinking is a part of our culture, you know? It’s so engrained – especially with guys. There’s a macho thing to it.

“I think there could be more voices, because I know there are a lot of sober people in the music industry. Even just me talking about it, I’m sure if someone reads this then it’s enough to be considered.”

Read our full Big Read cover interview with Royal Blood here, as the duo give a full and frank account of Kerr’s journey to sobriety, as well discussing the state of UK rock music, working with Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, getting a haircut from Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, and their hopes for the future.

Royal Blood’s ‘Typhoons’ is out April 30. After teasing fans of the cities they’ll visit this week, details of a 2022 UK tour will be announced shortly.

For help, advice and information on addiction and sobriety, visit Smart Recovery.