The 1975's Matty Healy Negotiates With The World The 1975 frontman's lifestyle sent him to rehab. David Greene speaks with Healy about giving up his "love affair" with drugs and the band's latest album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships.
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The 1975's Matty Healy Negotiates With The World

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The 1975's Matty Healy Negotiates With The World

The 1975's Matty Healy Negotiates With The World

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Matty Healy is the frontman in The 1975. Now, despite their name, they are one of the biggest rock bands of this decade. When Healy announced that they were going to break up after just three albums, his fans gasped. They are releasing their third album tomorrow, but Healy is now saying that he has no plans to call it quits.

MATTY HEALY: One of the reasons that I wanted to end it after the third album is it's coming at the end of a decade, and I suppose I was just being a bit of a drama queen, I suppose.

(LAUGHTER)

HEALY: Every writer wants a great ending, right?

GREENE: That ending could have come a lot sooner for Matty Healy. His embrace of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle included a heroin habit, one that forced him into rehab. He drew on that experience in some of the new songs on this album. Just consider the line, collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes - on this deceptively lighthearted single "It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT'S NOT LIVING (IF IT'S NOT WITH YOU)")

THE 1975: (Singing) And all I do is sit and think about you if I knew what you'd do. Collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes. It's not living if it's not with you.

HEALY: That's how it feels when you've given up drugs. It's like a - it's a love affair. Do you know what I mean? That's what most addictions are. Like, that's what toxic relationships are. It's like, stop going over to his house if he's a nightmare. It's like, well, I can't stop myself because there's something there that keeps taking me back. It's a very similar relationship with drugs, especially heavy drugs like heroin. It's also a good hook (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT'S NOT LIVING (IF IT'S NOT WITH YOU)")

THE 1975: (Singing) And all I do is sit and drink without you. If I choose, then I lose.

HEALY: The words kind of just happened. And I was like, OK, right. Well, I like that, and I'm not going to get rid of it. And I'm also not going to lie, so here we go (laughter).

GREENE: We should say this is - you were going through rehab and recovery last year as you were working on this album.

HEALY: That's right. Yeah, yeah.

GREENE: I mean, is there a low point you look back to during the heroin addiction when you thought that you were losing it all?

HEALY: Very lucky, I was. Most people who end up going into rehab, it's a place where they start to rebuild all of the stuff they'd lost. I haven't lost that much. I just disappointed myself. I got to a point where I wouldn't accept any of my behavior from anybody else. And I managed to just beat the guys to sending me to rehab.

GREENE: I know you volunteered to take drug tests in front of your bandmates. Is there a trust issue there? Like, do you worry that they might doubt whether you...

HEALY: It's not a trust issue. No, it's not a trust issue - boy who cried wolf. I know that I've lied about using a certain amount of times - right? So I have to take the burden off other people. The dynamic of the band is that I'm one of the creative leaders. Do you know what I mean? The guys don't want to say to me - Matty, it would be really good just for my sense of self if, like, you know, you did a drug test. It's my responsibility to not make somebody do that.

GREENE: Yeah. I wondered if we could play just a few seconds of your song "Surrounded By Heads And Bodies."

HEALY: Sure.

GREENE: It's about a woman you call Angela. Let's listen to a little bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SURROUNDED BY HEADS AND BODIES")

THE 1975: (Singing) And don't sleep. It hurts to be awake. The things they make her take - Angela.

GREENE: So who's Angela?

HEALY: Angela - Angela's a lot of people. But Angela's really - in the rehab that I was in, I was in a place on my own - completely on my own, which was weird. I mean, I had my nurses, and I had my doctors and stuff like that. But it was kind of just me. And a lot of my therapy was with horses - did a lot of equine therapy, which at first, an Englishman trying to talk to a horse was just me rolling my eyes in a field. But it eventually became amazing.

Yeah. There was this one woman who was in the facility that I never saw, and we met on occasions. And it's so funny how, like, seeing somebody in a facility like, somebody who's, like, depressed - I mean, my mom dealt with clinical depression. It's been something that has been a big presence in my life. And the line in that is - Angela, she wears it like a dress - because there's this real physical wearing of depression that really goes through me when I see it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SURROUNDED BY HEADS AND BODIES")

THE 1975: (Singing) She wears it like a dress, a post-traumatic mess.

HEALY: And I just spent time with this woman at rehab, and we helped each other out. And you know, it was just - it was strange. I don't know how to talk about that situation that well because it was very personal. I think that when you're away from everything, you really connect with individuals - you know? - on a deeply human level because there was nothing - there was no records or cultural ideas floating around. It was just us and a couple of horses. It was really beautiful.

GREENE: Is there even a way to stay in touch with each other? If you're in a program like that, I guess it's...

HEALY: Yeah, you can. We've got each other's email and stuff like that. I think it's important that we kind of go off, though. And one of the difficult things is, like, it becomes a bit like holiday. You don't want to leave holiday, do you know what I mean? It feels strange when you get back. You have to get back into the routine of being you. I'd shaved my head. I wore, like, shorts - like, workout gear for six weeks straight. I didn't wear anything that I normally wear. I didn't do anything that was normal to me.

GREENE: This is when you were in rehab.

HEALY: This is when I was in rehab, yeah. And then - I remember, the day I left, I opened the wardrobe to put on the clothes that I came in. And it felt like a fancy dress costume. It was really strange.

I got over that, though - got a lovely pair of cowboy boots when I got to the airport.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Just stepping back here - I mean, you have packed a whole lot of life into your 29 years.

HEALY: I have (laughter).

GREENE: Do you think about the future of The 1975 and how this group is going to age gracefully as the years move on?

HEALY: You know what, man? It's just about being bold and being true. And those things are the two things that happen when we try and avoid being bored. So as long as we stay with each other, avoid being bored of our own music and put as much love into the world as we seem to get back, then we should be all right.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE 1975 SONG, "TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME")

GREENE: Matty Healy, I really enjoyed talking to you. Best of luck with this album.

HEALY: It's always lovely to come on. Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME")

THE 1975: (Singing) You wet my eyes. But I don't mind it.

GREENE: Matty Healy from the band The 1975 - their new album comes out tomorrow. It's called "A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships."

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