Elton John admitted he’s still working to control the “erratic” and “unpredictable” behavior that made him infamous in the ’70s.
The singer was once notorious for outbursts and incidents, often fueled by drugs and alcohol, which he was able to start dealing with after attending rehab — as depicted in 2020 biopic Rocketman.
“I wasn’t unkind to anybody … I’m not horrible to people,” he told the Guardian in a recent interview. “I’m not proud of that stuff, no, it makes me shudder. My behavior was so erratic and so unpredictable. And it’s still in me, to explode at any moment. I’ve been trying to work on that for a long time and I’ve got a wonderful husband who knows how to get me out of that stuff.”
He added: “I think it’s an artistic thing — artists can be so self-destructive sometimes, for no reason. I can have a day when everything in my whole life is going so well, and I get up and I feel like the world is against me. Why, I do not know.” Pressed to continued, John accepted that he did know: “The self-loathing, not having any self-esteem, that all comes from when I was a kid,” he said. “[T]he way it was in the [’50s], you got slapped round the face, you got a good hiding. ‘It was bloody good for you’ — it wasn’t good for me. It left me walking on eggshells.”
As a result, he went on, he remained “afraid of talking to anybody” until he became sober. “They asked me when I went to treatment how I felt and I said: ‘I don’t know, I don’t feel anything.’ I came to defrost, as it were, and discovered I did have feelings, and they went back a long time. And I think it stays with you for the whole of your life … I just have terrible feelings about myself; I feel bad about myself sometimes.”
Despite that, John noted that discovering new music kept him positive. “I’ve got the enthusiasm of an 18-year-old, and enthusiasm keeps me going,” he said.
The songwriter recently issued a collaborative LP, The Lockdown Sessions, featuring appearances by Eddie Vedder, Lil Nas X, Dua Lipa, Rina Sawayama, Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder.
Elton John Albums Ranked
Ultimate Classic Rock counts down every Elton John album, from worst to best.
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