Years of playing music to audiences in smoke filled bars, eating cheap fast food, lack of sleep, and drinking alcohol (among other vices) is doing serious damage to musicians’ health. It is also taking a hit on their wallets. As digital streaming music emerged as the top platform to consume music, musicians’ royalties dramatically decreased to pennies on the dollar. Costly medical treatments and procedures are forcing aging musicians to go back on the road.
Arrowhead Health Centers’ Medical Director, Dr. Johnston, Talks to the Washington Post About Musicians’ Health
Our own Dr. Johnston was recently interviewed by the Washington Post. They ask her why musicians, more than most professions, are suffering from poor health and lack of care as they age.
“Musicians tend to live gig to gig, which is more the mentality when you’re in your prime. But when you’re doing well, there’s not a lot of foresight to plan for the future,” said Johnston. “They work these crazy, crazy hours, not eating well and not getting exercise, because it’s hard to get into a routine when you’re traveling,”
According to Dr. Johnston, the most common issues musicians face as they get older are diabetes, heart issues, hepatitis C, and liver and kidney failure. As an advocate for struggling musicians, she serves on the board of directors for the Blues Foundation in Memphis, where she helps the foundation raise funds to assist musicians with their medical and funeral expenses. ‘
To read the full Washington Post article with Dr. Johnston, click here.