Jason Bonham On How Pete Townshend’s John Bonham Stories Saved His Life

John Bonham‘s son Jason Bonham recently joined an interview with the Scars and Guitars podcast and reflected on his struggle with alcohol addiction. Jason recalled Pete Townshend‘s support and telling stories about his late father during that period, which really helped him get sober.

Like his father, John, Jason Bonham also battled alcohol addiction from a very young age. Knowing that his father died of alcohol poisoning, Jason stopped drinking gradually and has been sober for 22 years now. Of course, he had some supporters during this challenging period, including the Who guitarist Pete Townshend.

Jason discussed his rehab process when he was in a facility with some other musicians in the UK. When he arrived there, they asked him if he wanted to see Eric Clapton or Townshend. The drummer had Townshend, who really helped him to get sober. The guitarist would tell Jason stories about his father and also drive him to the meetings.

So, it was kind of a starting point for Jason on his way to sobriety. He feels grateful to Townshend for giving him a different perspective on his addiction issues. Jason could relate to almost everything the guitarist would tell him. He has been sober since then, thanks to Pete’s endless support.

Here is how Jason Bonham recalled his rehab process:

“I went, ‘Where do you send like musicians?’ and they went, ‘Oh, that’s the other place, that’s in London.’ They called them up, made an appointment, and my wife drove me from Manchester all the way down to London, and I checked in. And they went, ‘Oh, who you wanna see? Eric or Pete?‘ I’m, like, ‘What? What do you mean, Eric or Pete? Oh! Clapton or Townshend.’

So, I had Pete; Pete was my go-to guy when I got sober. So I had the best sober guy in the world, and he would tell me stories about my old man, and he used to pick me up and take me to meetings. And he gave me my start. And I thank him to this day that I had somebody like him to explain it in a very different way.

It wasn’t, like, the taxi driver from down the road. And there’s no disrespect from going and listening to one of those guys talk, but I couldn’t relate to the taxi driver… But somebody like [Pete], I could relate to… And I managed to stay sober from that moment on. So, I’m very grateful.”

It seems like what Townshend had told Jason about his father was really helpful to him in getting sober in the end. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the stories about John Bonham saved Jason’s life, and luckily, he didn’t end up like his father, who died suddenly following a night of heavy drinking.