Leif Garrett was a busy little one actor within the early ’70s when he was given the prospect to make a file — an expertise that led to extraordinary highs and lows.
Garrett not solely turned a teen idol in a single day with jet-setting excursions and quite a few Tiger Beat covers, he was additionally uncovered to medicine and alcohol. And simply as rapidly as he achieved fame, Garrett endured a devastating downfall and finally battled habit for years.
Garrett is now 58 and sober and sharing his story within the memoir “Idol Truth,” which particulars his journey to Hollywood and the way it all went improper. Garrett spoke to Fox Information concerning the misconceptions he needed to deal with, why he resorted to medicine and what his life is like at present.
Fox Information: What impressed you to jot down this guide now?
Leif Garrett: Sufficient time has handed. I really feel folks don’t actually know who I’m. There have been so many misconceptions about me. For years, there are specific issues about my life that simply didn’t sit properly with me. I went by a lot as a teen idol. I wanted to share these truths.
Fox Information: What had been a few of these truths you needed to deal with?
Garrett: For starters, after I was a teen idol, my managers would lie and say I used to be sick from exhaustion when, in actuality, they needed to verify my exhibits had been sold-out. So right here I used to be, pretending to be sick, dwelling this lie, simply in order that I can embody this good picture of what they needed me to be. It was improper.
These had been issues I wasn’t allowed to confess… After I was a younger man, I used to be provided this opportunity to have a music profession. However as a substitute of doing it the precise means – coaching with a singing coach – my voice was processed to the purpose the place it barely even gave the impression of me. You hear me singing on the data, but it surely wasn’t simply me alone.
[The production team] introduced on this background singer and his voice was very outstanding. At occasions, it felt like we had been making his file as a substitute of mine. That’s simply fraud. It’s a misrepresentation. It didn’t sit properly with me then and it doesn’t sit properly with me now. I felt like I used to be being taken benefit of for my appears to be like after I actually simply needed the prospect to behave. Listening to this background singer dominate these periods, I simply felt like this wasn’t my file in any respect regardless that I used to be singing too.
It didn’t make sense to me. As a matter of truth, there are a few songs that in the event you pay attention rigorously, it’s simply not me in any respect. My vocals are blended in there but it surely’s simply not me. You’ll be able to inform the variations within the voices. However lastly with the ability to share this meant I can now have a transparent conscience… The singer, Jim Haas, has since handed away, sadly.
Fox Information: In accordance with your guide, you had been compelled to sing these oldies with plenty of technical assist and you then needed to lip-sync on stage. As a real fan of music, this will need to have been a irritating expertise for you.
Garrett: Completely. It was regular for each artist again within the day to lip-sync for sure occasions the place you needed issues to be good. However not a live performance – not a full live performance. That’s straight-up mendacity. It’s horrible. I don’t assume somebody buying a ticket deserved that… I assumed I was a good performer. I seemed as much as performers like Mick Jagger and, like many individuals, I used to be impressed by his vitality. The efficiency was me. However the singing wasn’t 100 p.c me. I feel I turned a good singer. I don’t assume I used to be a natural-born singer like lots of people are. However I needed to do it correctly.
Fox Information: How tough was it so that you can dwell as much as this teen idol picture?
Garrett: , I most likely have the best fan base that I may ever think about for myself. They’ve caught with me by thick and skinny. And as you understand, I’ve gotten myself in loads of dangerous conditions. There was plenty of dangerous decision-making. However on the similar time, I didn’t have the parental steering that I ought to have at the moment.
Fox Information: The place had been your dad and mom?
Garrett: My mom was a really trusting individual. I’m on the street at 15,16 through the peak of my teen idol years. And I used to be doing all of it and not using a dad or mum. I used to be barely at dwelling. As a substitute, [my management] insisted they might deal with me like their very own son.
Wanting again at it now, you shouldn’t enable your little one to try this, particularly if you haven’t identified these folks for very lengthy. I don’t maintain any ailing emotions in the direction of my mom. But it surely’s simply frequent sense and logic. You shouldn’t be so trusting as a dad or mum. It screwed me over financially for one factor… As for my father, I actually didn’t get to know my dad till I used to be in my 40s.
Fox Information: Why do you imagine your administration was enabling your dangerous habits?
Garrett: I don’t assume I used to be a really mature 16-year-old. I turned mature in a short time as a result of I used to be at all times surrounded by adults who had been ingesting and doing coke. I used to be a baby, however being handled as an grownup… And all of this was popping out of my pocket.
Fox Information: Wanting again at your drug use, what had been you attempting to flee from?
Garrett: Clearly, perpetuating this lie of me being this musical artist. I sang, but it surely wasn’t me 100 p.c…. And I didn’t really feel like I used to be being heard. Nobody needed to listen to what I needed to say. So long as folks had been shopping for my data, it didn’t matter. And the music was altering — it by no means stayed the identical. I needed to be an grownup artist with longevity. And but I used to be made to file these oldies. Disco was on its means out. There have been so many different issues I needed to do, however they simply needed me to be this California surfer boy, the Tiger Beat cowl star.
I wasn’t even into surf music. I needed to do extra authentic issues. I simply wasn’t given the prospect… I feel I used to be attempting to masks plenty of emotions of not being true to myself. I wasn’t allowed to have any say in what I used to be doing, in my very own profession. So I needed to masks that feeling… However narcotics wasn’t my whole life. I do know I’ve had bother with it. I made some dangerous selections. However there has at all times been extra to my story.
Fox Information: When was the final time you reconnected along with your pal Roland Winkler? It’s well-documented you had been excessive and ingesting over 20 years in the past if you drove off the Hollywood Freeway, rolling down an 80-foot embankment that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Garrett: Roland has handed away. I noticed him once we did “Behind the Music,” which was a bizarre state of affairs as a result of they sprung it on me. And it was an emotional factor for me… It’s ironic, Roland was alleged to drive however I finished him. I knew how he drove — he was into racing — and I used to be scared… That accident was only a good storm of bulls—t. It was a horrible lesson.
Fox Information: What’s life like for you at present?
Garrett: I look again at my life and there are a lot of issues I obtained to expertise that different folks by no means get to do. And I’m grateful for that. I simply want it may have been a greater state of affairs. I want I had made higher selections… My father simply handed a number of months in the past. I’m nonetheless beat up from that as a result of I actually needed to get to know him. I needed to grasp so many issues I by no means obtained solutions to.
Fox Information: How do you’re feeling about your father?
Garrett: , there simply aren’t plenty of good recollections with dad. He left after I was 5, I noticed him for a half-hour after I was 16 after which I didn’t see him once more till my 40s. Then I turned his caretaker and it was all about that. He wasn’t capable of give me what I needed. And I get it. There simply wasn’t sufficient time, I suppose.
However proper now, I’m simply taking issues in the future at a time. I’m not in jail and I’m not in rehab. It took a very long time to get to a degree the place I don’t must self-medicate myself to flee the ache. That feels good. Exhausting medicine are a tough factor, particularly in the event you’ve achieved it for some time. I play music as a result of I find it irresistible. I’ll at all times find it irresistible. However I’m not in a rush to do extra with it except it’s completely proper. It needs to be as actual as attainable.