Madchild: not so mad after all 

Now sober, the Swollen Member tackles his music with renewed creativity and determination


WHO: Madchild

WHERE: Pemberton Hotel

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 8, 9 p.m.

Madchild's back, but not back just putting out records. He's, like, back. Now sober, he's the creative and disciplined artist he was 10 years ago, before the fame, the gangs and the drugs.

He's making up for the time he lost addicted to painkillers, devoting each day to writing and recording new material. He's released one EP , Banned From America , and a mixtape M.A.D.E, which he is currently supporting on tour, with more new music on the way.

"I feel like I kind of wasted four years of my life - not kind of, I did - and now I'm trying to make every day count for four days," he says.

Madchild, born Shane Bunting, rose to prominence in Swollen Members. They were Canadian mainstays for the first third of the 2000s, perhaps best known for Madchild's nasal delivery.

After a string of successful singles and cross-Canada tours, Madchild's well-documented affiliation with the Hell's Angels (and the inclusion of patched members appearing in Swollen Members music videos) lead to Nettwerk Management dropping the group from their roster.

That incident, paired with the commercial flop of 2006's Black Magic , led Madchild into a depression he masked with painkillers. His creativity floundered. His career stalled. He lost everything - his cars, his 11 properties. All told, he says the addiction cost him $3 million.

He's been sober for just over a year but the first few months were anything but sunshine and rainbows.

"Coming out of your addiction, instead of being like 'Woo-hoo! I'm sober this is great,' you're like, 'Oh, this is the reality that I've created for myself,'" he says. "It took me to a very, very dark place. I was straight up suicidal a year and a half ago."

He threw himself into writing new material. The music became his therapy. Each verse from his recent releases is a heaving of troubling emotions, expelling every awful feeling that he had pent up throughout his drug addiction.

Paired together, Banned From America and M.A.D.E. (an acronym for Misguided Angel Destroys Everything ), are like two chapters of a book documenting the life of a battered Shane Bunting, who was once riding the crest of success, and now bleeding before a world that is forcing him to confront the pain he'd been masking with pills and cocaine.

In real life, though, Madchild has found the perspective he's needed to put the past behind him and move on. He's happy to have been given another chance - not just at music, but at life.

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