C Notes

There's nothing hep about hepatitis C -- as too many friends can attest

Davis used to get high with Mike Corte, the Billy Clone and the Same front man who died after doing and being dumped in front of a hospital. In the early 1980s, Davies was in a group called, fittingly, the Shivers, which consisted of five guys all strung out on heroin. Davis says Shivers rehearsals were a nightmare, that "at least one guy would be nodding off at all times." Band members would often be too fucked up to make shows. Davis himself was in jail when the band opened for its hero, Johnny Thunders, so they did it without him.

Throughout the '80s, Davis was doing the typical nail-down-a-good-feeling-fuck-the-consequences junkie things. He wound up getting arrested twice for possession and robbery and suffered brutal withdrawals in jail. There's been homelessness, pawnshops, sickness, 12-step prayers and on and on. All told, he spent a total of three years of combined jail time and treatment.

By the 1990s, he got himself together enough to work with a couple of bands; first with a short stint in Hellfire, then as bass player in the Glass Heroes. He had a baby with his girlfriend and felt the tinges of duty, so he switched to methadone to get off the dope. A year and a half ago he got off methadone completely -- quite a feat, since most consider that harder to kick.

Steve Davis with bass guitar and hep C.
Steve Davis with bass guitar and hep C.

A 12-step program ensued. He's now engaged to be married. A happy end of sorts for someone who nearly cashed in the game. That is, until he got the news of his hep C virus.

"I was bummed," he says. "I just figured I was gonna die."

He learned more about the virus and started taking better care of himself. He has fibrosis of the liver, which has enlarged the organ, but he doesn't have cirrhosis.

"I'm grateful that I took the hep C test," he says, "and I'm grateful that I am still clean. I mean, talking about it will help others.

"Now I can take care of it."

He monitors his viral load and liver chemistry -- which fluctuate -- eats vegetables and takes vitamins. He has met others in the 12-step program with hep C, which he says has been a form of support.

He hasn't gone the interferon route because of its alarming side effects and small percentage of effectiveness in users. He's checking the naturopathic route.

"I was a like poseur all those years, trying be tough, I guess," Davis says. "But now I think I have a chance."

Contact Brian Smith at his online address: brian.smith@newtimes.com

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