Many of the great jazz musicians are known as much for their hard living as they are for their great music, but Herbie Hancock always seemed to be the exception to that rule. His work was always reliably excellent, but Hancock also presented a clean-cut image that stood in contrast to contemporaries like Miles Davis. As it turns out, though, there were darker undercurrents lurking beneath that facade. Hancock just released his memoirs, and in an excerpt released on Vulture this morning, he revealed his struggles with crack addiction.
In the excerpt, Hancock detailed his first experiences with the habit-forming drug, noting his apprehensiveness after doing any drug after watching John Coltrane and Charlie Parker succumb to heroin. After trying crack once, though, Hancock found it difficult to get himself off cold turkey. ” I just could not stop doing it, even though months would go by between sessions [smoking crack],” Hancock writes. “I was sure I’d be able to quit at some point, but I had no idea how far in the future that might be.”
You can read the whole excerpt from Hancock’s memoirs here. Hancock’s book, titled Herbie Hancock: Memories, is out now.