You Me At Six: Why rock stars don't need to drink

By Will Chalk
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, Daniel Harris
Image caption,
Dan (l) with the rest of You Me At Six

"You walk into a dressing room and there's beers on ice and beers in the fridge. You're there to entertain people and there's a party atmosphere - so you end up drinking every day."

If you've ever dreamed of being a rock star, Dan Flint's description of touring life probably sounds pretty amazing.

But after more than a decade of drumming for You Me At Six, he's had enough.

Of the booze, that is.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Dan with one of his usual "stage beers"

"I started drinking quite heavily during the first lockdown in March," Dan tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"But when lockdown carried on and festivals and all our shows started getting cancelled, it was quite a daunting thing.

"My mental health started to take a little turn and I realised then that actually drinking wasn't the solution, it was adding to the problem."

Since then (with the exception of "a day or so" over Christmas) Dan's been teetotal.

It's quite the achievement - especially over a year when many of us ended up doing basically the opposite.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ah live music... remember when that was a thing?

Dan says it's been a massive shift.

"The whole thing is about kind of changing your relationship with alcohol," he explains.

"Whether you're completely stopping or just trying to cut down, it's about changing your mind frame and not just thinking, 'everything's going wrong so I'll get drunk.'"

His sobriety has come alongside a big fitness drive, and he says he's proud to have swapped "a negative addiction for a positive one".

You Me At Six formed in Surrey in 2004 and they've just released their seventh studio album, SUCKAPUNCH.

As you might expect, then, they've done a lot of touring.

"We first went out on the road when we were 17, and I'm about to be 32 - we would drink pretty much every day," Dan says.

"For most people they might have a drink on a Friday, for us we'd have to pick out the one day we wouldn't drink."

Tips for cutting back

Mark Chandler, from the charity Drinkaware, says make sure you tell your family and friends what you're trying to do. That'll make it easier when you're offered a drink and turn it down, but it will also give you someone to turn to if you find that things are getting a little bit difficult.

It's also really important that people congratulate themselves for any reduction that they're making, he says. Cutting out even one drink a day is a step in the right direction. So give yourself a pat on the back.

If you need inspiration, there are many sober bloggers and influencers out there. Sober Girl Society, Club Soda, and One Year No Beer are great places to start.

"Low-risk" drinking guidelines advise sticking to 14 units a week. That's six pints or six medium glasses of wine.

Dan's biggest worry is going out on tour again: "That'll be the real test, I think", he says.

"But it's about creating new routines - getting up early and walking around a city, or finding a local gym."

He also thinks there's something to be said for ignoring the stereotype that being in a band means you're all about partying.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Dan on stage with singer Josh Franceschi

"If you're touring across America or Europe, you might be playing your 30th or 40th show - but for the people in the crowd, that's their only one and they're paying good money.

"I've had shows where in the half an hour before you're thinking 'this hangover won't pass, how am I going to do it?'

"I think as you get older, you realise that's not the life you want to live.

"I want to go out there and enjoy these evenings and really put on a show for the crowd and make sure that everyone in the room has a great time."

You Me At Six's new album 'SUCKAPUNCH' is out now via Underdog Records/AWAL

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