Jazz Musician Freddy C: “The Alcohol Problem Explained…”

TJ Johnson recently posted on Facebook very openly and honestly about
his problems with alcohol. 

This brought back memories of another very close jazz friend, Freddie Clayton. 

The tales he had to tell  were intriguing, especially his spell as trumpeter with
The Ray Ellington Quartet on The Goon Show. But of far great relevance was his wisdom.
I valued his advice on a good many issues back then. After my spell as a freelance journalist
I launched a PR Consultancy, Oracle Creative, and Freddie asked if I could help promote his book
“The Alcohol Problem Explained”.

Courtesy of National Jazz Archive

 Freddy’s honesty about his fight and victory against alcoholism was stunning. He wrote and published his book under the pseudonym “Freddy C”.

Freddie C is no longer with us but I will always treasure his memory – made all the more pertinent by T.J. Johnson’s current heartfelt and honest plea for help.

T.J. posted: “This is a very hard thing for me to do but I need help. I am an alcoholic. I have a very serious problem with alcohol and depression and it is totally ruining my life. I have tried so many ways to sort this out and nothing has worked. I know some members of my family, friends and fans will be shocked and maybe embarrassed about this post and I’m truly sorry for that but I just don’t know what to do. I have to ask all of you, my friends, to help me. I never would normally put up a post like this unless I was totally desperate. I feel very ill. Yesterday was the final straw. I played a gig in soho and ended up drinking in a late night club until about 3am in the morning. I staggered out in to the night with no way of knowing how I would get home to the countryside near Hemel Hempstead where I live now. I can’t remember leaving the bar but I woke up in a shop door way at 5am on Oxford St, I had been robbed and all my money was gone and my phone. I still had my bank card so ended up getting a cab to Euston and the 6am train back to Berkhamsted. This is not a one of incident, many many very bad things have happened because of my drinking. I thought by moving to the countryside it would help but it hasn’t. Unless I stop I know I’m not going to be able to carry on much longer. I’ve spent all day today in bed feeling like im going to die. I think by just telling you all is the only way I can get over this. I would also like to be honest about this incase it helps someone else who is going through the same total nightmare. I’m so sorry if this post upsets anyone. I don’t have phone so no point texing or calling me. Please share this post so as many people know as possible. I need help. Lots and lots of Love to all of you. XXX”

So, T.J. through my friendship with our fellow musician Freddie Clayton, now sadly deceased, I can understand where you are coming from and wish you the very best help and counselling you can get. Stick with it T.J. and like Freddy C you can and will beat alcoholism.

I see you are already on the up and up having read your latest post: “Thanks everyone once again for all your very supportive messages. All my gigs are going ahead and I will be playing tonight at Martello Hall and Monday (28th January) at Off Broadway.”

Freddy C has his place with Ray Ellington in the Jazz Archives

Ray Ellington

My thoughts and sympathies are with all who are suffering from the scourge of alcoholism.

Peter M Butler
Moderator: Jazz&Jazz

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  1. norman gibson says:

    I hadn’t read that distressing admission of ‘TJ’s’ alcoholism. I spent some time in conversation with Tim, back at Jan Atherton’s house in Abersoch, at one of the last festivals there, and he is such a decent guy. It hurts to read his story, and I truly wish him the help he needs and a full recovery. It can be a achieved, as I know of a couple of top musicians who have gone through the same suffering. You can do it Tim, but keep playing, your many jazz fans are behind you, and we do not want to lose you. Norm888

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