Meet Eamon McGrath: DIY Musician, Songwriter & Author, living the "California Sober" Lifestyle
Eamon McGrath is a Toronto-based musician with a 15+ year touring history of Canada, the UK, the USA, Europe, Mexico and Japan. He has released over 25 albums, written two books, scored two feature films, and has toured the world relentlessly since 2007, cultivating an international audience and committed, loyal network of fans. His fiercely DIY approach has garnered him respect and admiration in both the punk rock and folk communities, as he effortlessly bridges a gap between both genres, composing heartbreakingly beautiful songs that are performed with an honest, intense energy on stages worldwide. His upcoming album, A Dizzying Lust, is due for release on March 31 via Cassettes Records and Saved By Vinyl.
Are you sober, a mindful drinker or sober curious?
I am what people laughingly refer to as “California sober”: I still smoke hash and eat edibles, but I gave up drinking and hard drugs full-tilt in September 2021 after about 15 years of nonstop, infamous, legendary partying. As someone who plays about 150-200 shows a year, I got sick of being drunk every night and was fed up with the bad situations it got me into. The shine and veneer had long worn off, and I probably let it go longer than I should. I started touring when I was 17, living pretty hard and leading the stereotypical and true-to-form rock and roll lifestyle to the age of 33. I would drink more on a weekend than some people would in their entire lives.
What’s your favourite thing about being sober?
To be honest, my life has changed exponentially for the better. I’ve learned to enjoy the morning coffee more than the midnight beer, I meet friends during the day now, and the conversations tend to be more memorable and meaningful, I’ve lost a ton of weight, so I look better in pictures from the photo pit, and the worst thing that happens to me at night these days is I go to bed. I know it sounds cliched and stereotypical (and this is by no means me trying to convince people to quit drinking, I think you only live once, so party hard if you want to), but it rings pretty consistently true for a reason, and I’m happy with the choice I made. I’m also pretty relieved I was able to live the way I did for so long and feel fortunate that I was able to stop when I did: if I said that it didn’t do a single positive thing in my life, I’d be a liar, and I learned a lot about the world and met a ton of amazing people through partying hard with them. I can’t deny that. But it just stopped working, and it was getting out of control, so the best thing you can do is just identify it when it starts not being fun anymore and quit before it stops getting harder and harder the more and more you do it.
Onstage I require orange static lighting. The goal is to make the show look and feel like a psychedelic living room. In my day-to-day life, I’d probably say red.
- Al pastor tacos in Mexico City
- Pork schnitzel in Munich
- Miso ramen in Sapporo
- Poutine in Quebec City
- Fish and chips in St John’s
Favourite way to unwind?
Smoking a hash spliff and enjoying a Harmon’s non-alc after a show or after a recording session feels like a really great well-earned way to disconnect and take the edge off these days.
Favourite Harmon’s Product?
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