Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Craig Nicholls of The Vines copes with autism.

Craig Nicholls (Courtesy: / Sophie Howarth) In the Spring of 2004, an Australian group known as The Vines quickly became one of the hottest bands in the world, topping charts and mentioned in the same breath as bands such as Nirvana. Lead singer/songwriter Craig Nicholls was well-known for his unpredictable behavior and marijuana smoking, as well as his unhealthy burger-only diet. Rude and uncommunicative in interviews, Nicholls was prone to messing up photographs with goofy faces and his wild-eyed, guitar-smashing antics, enthralling a new generation of young music fans. In support of a new album release, The Vines launched a grueling US tour followed by gigs in Japan. Nicholls’ onstage antics grew more out-of-control and dangerous as the tour wore on. He verbally abused the crowd, even kicking at a photographer, smashing her camera. Assault charges followed.Thrown off both Jay Leno and David Letterman for tearing up their sets, no one would book Nicholls. By May 2004, it was all over for The Vines and their great promise was laid to ruins by the seemingly inexcusable behavior of their twenty-seven-year-old frontman.Then fate and a perceptive friend intervened. Having seen his share of crazy rock n´ rollers, the band’s guitar technician felt that Nicholls had an actual neurological problem and hypothesized it was Asperger’s Syndrome. Dr. Tony Attwood, the pre-eminent authority on the subject, was brought in and confirmed the layman’s diagnosis.Nicholls expressed relief at finally being able to make sense of his life. While growing up, his obsessive and reclusive behavior concerned his parents enough that they took him to see a psychologist at age fifteen, but no mention of autism had ever been made.

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