Dave Rowntree: I was an angsty young man. I was English. I drank

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We were students to start with, and we were living the student lifestyle, so we would have been drunk even if we weren't in Blur.

Suddenly when we joined the band all the drinks were free and all the things to stop you - like bars closing or running out of money - weren't there. This was why drinking became such a big problem for me, to the point where I had to stop.

For years I was a heavy drinker. Blur were going for about five years before I quit, around 1993.

It's not very funny being totally out of it. I've been arrested in every major European city; woken up in cells more times than I care to remember.

I was never a good drinker.

In the early days of Blur we would play extremely drunk, often we were completely off our tits, and that's a very hit-and-miss approach: sometimes it gives you the best energy, the insanity works to your advantage, and sometimes things go horribly wrong.

The longer you do it the less control you have. In the early days the large part of the stage show was just craziness. Someone would jump into my drum kit, I'd hit them, they'd fall over and a guitar would break. People would stand there open-mouthed wondering what the fuck was going on; all the time music was still playing.

That was the early Blur - once we'd drunk the entire "rider" - the drinks and food they give you in the contract - we'd refuse to go on until they gave us exactly the same again.

Despite the drink, there's something about the adrenalin you get when you go on stage, it still happens.

You can say what you actually do or you can go the bad boy route. We were always honest about the fact we liked to get pissed, but we never made an issue out of that or said "that's the great thing about Blur - getting pissed".

There are bands who've been lads but pretended to be thugs. Some have said they were teetotal when they weren't and others have said they were big drinkers when they weren't.

We never said "our records are great because we drink so much". No one's ever come to a Blur concert to see us drink.

But the fact we were so drunk so early on did change the music. It's hard to find any positives out of it - just a lot of hangovers.

Being drunk perpetually is a miserable existence; I don't recommend it to anyone.

Nowhere else in the world do you get drunk so you don't know where you are. You say that to a French person, they think you're mad.

It's part of being English - getting extremely pissed. I wish it wasn't but it is, and it's part of being an angsty young man, getting pissed and getting into fights.

I'm a little less angry now.

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