Saturday, November 28, 2009

Featured Video: Deadly Bipolar Disorder - Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius was probably the most important and talented bass player of that generation, and perhaps since. My point of view is different from most, I lost a son as a result of bipolar mania. The disorder is more dangerous than anyone can imagine.

On this video he's playing bass guitar with Weather Report in 1978, you can't miss his flamboyancy. Check out the harmonics he's playing. I chose this song, as it's Weather Report's biggest hit, even though it's not Jaco's best song.

From Wikipedia:
In his early career, Jaco avoided both alcohol and drugs, but he became increasingly involved in alcohol and other substance abuses during his time with Weather Report. Bipolar disorder and psychoactive substance abuse disorders have a highly prevalent comorbidity, with a mutually detrimental inter-relationship. Alcohol abuse ultimately exacerbated Jaco's illness, leading to increasingly erratic and sometimes anti-social behavior.

He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in late 1982 following the Word of Mouth tour of Japan in which his erratic behavior became an increasing source of concern for his band members. Drummer Peter Erskine's father, Dr Fred Erskine, suggested that Jaco was showing signs of the illness and, on his return from the tour, Jaco's wife, Ingrid, had Jaco committed to hospital under the Florida Mental Health Act, where he received the diagnosis and was prescribed lithium to stabilize his moods.

By 1986, Jaco's health had further deteriorated. He had been evicted from his New York apartment and had begun living on the streets. In July 1986, following intervention by his brother Gregory and ex-wife Ingrid, Jaco was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York, where he was prescribed Tegretol in preference to Lithium. He moved back to Fort Lauderdale in December of that year, again living on the streets for weeks at a time.

After sneaking onstage at a Carlos Santana concert September 11, 1987, he was ejected from the premises, and he made his way to the Midnight Bottle Club in Wilton Manors, Florida. After reportedly kicking in a glass door after being refused entrance to the club, he was engaged in a violent confrontation with the club bouncer, Luc Havan. Pastorius was hospitalized for multiple facial fractures and damage to his right eye and right arm, and had sustained irreversible brain damage. He fell into a coma and was put on life support.

There were initially encouraging signs that he would come out of his coma and recover, but a massive brain hemorrhage a few days later pointed to brain death. Pastorius died on September 21, 1987, aged 35, at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

In the wake of Pastorius' death, Havan, a karate expert, was charged with manslaughter but later pled guilty to second degree murder. Because of having no priors and with time served while waiting for the verdict, he was sentenced to 22 months in jail and five years probation. He was released after four months in jail for good behavior. Pastorius was buried at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery in North Lauderdale.

Jaco, we miss you man. There are SO many ways bipolar disorder can kill you.

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