Janis Joplin: "Lady of Raw Blues"ÃÂ Janis Joplin's early death was the result of multiple causes in her life. In the book Love, Janis, a friend of Janis's, Linda Gottfried stated, "Janis called herself a candle, burning on both ends. Janis would ask, "When am I going to burn out?"ÃÂ(125) Joplin knew she would die at an early age due to her lifestyle and habits that took over her life.
First, Janis's life away from home started early and contributed to her early death. She left home and attended the University of Texas. Her wild and raw attitude landed her into a group of people that partied and often had many conflicts with fraternities. Without the guidance of her parents or any authority figures, her wild times began here.
Only after a short time in school, her new found friend, Chet Helms, convinced her to go to San Francisco with him to work on her singing career.
Here they entered the artistic scene of California which was at its peak at that time (118). Together they stayed with all sorts of different people and ate whenever they could. Janis began singing in coffee shops but her favorite was the Coffee Gallery. This is where she met her long time friend Linda Gottfried. They lived together off and on and Janis continued singing in the little coffee shops. Even though more and more people started to become fans of hers, she made a sporadic decision to go to New York to get away from the scene in California.
Next, in New York, her main purpose for going was to earn and save money. She got a job as a keypunch operator but she also continued to sing. She only lived in New York for a short while when she decided to hit the road again and head back to San Francisco.
On her way back to California, she stopped to visit her family. They were very excited to see her after so long. She stayed briefly and headed back to the artistic scene that she had left behind. Once back in town, she meet up again with her dear friend Linda and continued her singing. Both Janis and Linda began to use speed, feeling it would help their creativity (127). About the same time Janis met a man who she fell in love with but who also aided in her speed addiction. He later had to be put in a mental hospital. This made Janis and Linda quit and by then, the man Janis fell in love with, got better and asked for her hand in marriage.
Then, Janis returned home to prepare for the wedding. By this time she was very skinny only weighing eighty-eight pounds from her addiction to speed (131). She started to change her life around once again and she enrolled into the graduate school at Lamar. Here she studied very hard and tried to pile on more challenges but Janis's life was music. She once again packed up and headed back to San Francisco.
Even though Janis knew drugs might become a problem again, she made the move anyway. Music was her life. That's all there was to it. She then joined the band Big Brother & The Holding Company. With this band she became popular and they all began traveling around performing in all sorts of places. She often sent letters home describing her experiences. Even her raw and wild personality was shown in her letters. From this point on, her life took off in a whirlwind of performing and several different bands. Even though music was her passion, drugs and alcohol played an equal role in her life.
Last, Janis's heath began to go downhill due to drugs and alcohol. She got through her first addiction to speed but after she became popular, she got into more drugs. She began to use heroin and drank excessively. She wasn't into psychedelics because they didn't make her feel "up"ÃÂ as did heroin and alcohol. Her favorite thing to drink was Southern Comfort which she consumed daily. Her heroin use escalated to beyond her control. On October 4, 1970 Janis shot up her last dose of heroin. Instead of shooting it directly into her vein, she skin-popped it which killed her. She had also drank a lot on top of the heroin. Her death was devastating to lots of people that loved her and her music.
Therefore, the multiple causes of not being home, her music, and her drug and alcohol abuse led to her early death. Janis Joplin was becoming so famous but after only four short years in the spotlight, it all had come to an abrupt end. Today she is among the many names that drugs and alcohol abuse have claimed. Her music will live on in the hearts of those who were young during that time and in many young people's lives today.