In a revealing interview with Britain’s The Sunday Mirror, R&B star Alexander O’Neal spoke in no uncertain terms about his three decades of cocaine dependency and the music industry that he feels dragged his career through the mud.
The American singer, who had major hits in the 80s (especially in the UK) like "If You Were Here Tonight" and "Criticize," commented on his struggles for the first time since his February relapse. O’Neal was caught binging on the drug in a hotel room shortly after finishing a stint on Britain’s "Celebrity Big Brother." During his time on the show, he landed back in the headlines and courted controversy when he used a homophobic slur against celebrity blogger and fellow housemate Perez Hilton.
He made candid statements about his addiction while saying that he wasn’t seeking out rehab:
I didn’t go to rehab because I am rehab. I’ve been to enough rehab to teach that s**t…When you fall, you just got to keep getting up and keep going.
He also attributed many of his career troubles to hypocrisy in the music industry, calling out Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Ozbourne as an example of someone who the industry supported, despite his public issues with drugs:
If I’m man enough to say this is one of my demons, surely that’s enough? I didn’t know the music industry was going to hold me hostage with it though for the rest of my career, the rest of my life… I think about other great artists who used drugs. Like Ozzy Osbourne. He can do anything in the world, and they’ll give him another £10million. It’s because he’s Ozzy Osbourne. But I’m held hostage and they put everything I do in jeopardy because of some scrutiny.
O’Neal rose to fame as part of the group Flyte Tyme, who eventually became Prince’s backing band. O’Neal, who split acrimoniously from Prince, also commented that the Minneapolis-born artist "is only black when it’s convenient to be black."
Alexander is now returning to music with a string of winter tour dates in the UK and an upcoming single with British electronica/house group Basement Jax.