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Local Musician Channels Drug Recovery into Music
WEST CARROLLTON-- A local musician is channeling his drug recovery into a successful career in the music industry.
"Three years, three months, and 11 days," Johnny Baxter sang into the microphone at a battle of the bands concert near Cincinnati. It was how long he had been clean of heroin at the time. He started using with he was 13 years old, and his addiction almost consumed him.
"That's all I thought about," said Baxter in an interview, "And so many people were hurt by me feeding that and that being the biggest presence in my life."
He says in order to feel the high of performing live, sober, he had to hit rock bottom. A drug fueled fight landed him in prison at the London Correctional Facility in 2010.
Now, Johnny credits his lyrics, to his time behind bars. "On the EP There's a song called "Hard to Swallow" that is about that day that I cried out to God to deliver me from my addiction," he said.
By random chance, Johnny's prison poetry turned lyrics have caught the ear of popular rock band Sevendust.
"Once Sevendust is done with this tour it looks like we're gunna be going to Jersey and finishing our record with Clint of Sevendust," Johnny said candidly.
Johnny's band "War of Change" got their first airtime on local radio on Wednesday.
"It was a little cool and a little humbling and I'm looking around like I wonder if everyone's jamming on this!"
Where music is taking him post-prison, Johnny says it wouldn't be possible to accomplish if he had returned to using drugs.
"The gift that I had in music and to turn around and use it for the betterment- that's what the human condition is all about," he said.
Johnny also said the high he gets being on stage, is better than any dose of heroin.
"It's the free-est I could ever feel in my life. There's nothing in this world that could compare to the high of that," he said with tears in his eyes.
Aside from his music, Baxter also teaches his drug-free message to kids through his church and outreach groups.
The "War of Change" EP will be released on June 21st.
For more information on the band, click HERE.
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