The West

Rob Walker and Sam Childers both know all too well about the fragility of life.

Despite the almost 20 year age difference between them, they carry a similar story - a struggle with the dance of death that is drug addiction.

In fact, it was Childers' story, known as the Machine Gun Preacher, that helped the 31-year-old Perth musician through the dark and lonely days of kicking his methamphetamine habit.

“Mentally it’s something I craved daily. I’d freak out during my sleep and rip my hair out. My fiancée left me. Life was pretty screwed up and I had hit rock bottom. Seeing Sam’s story made me feel not so alone anymore," he said.

Childers turned his back on a life of violence, crime and drug addiction as a former Outlaws Motorcycle Club member.

A trip to Southern Sudan in 1998 inspired the 52-year-old American to create the charity Angels of East Africa – a not for profit organisation which aims to help children orphaned by civil war.

To show his gratitude, Rob Walker held a fundraising campaign for AOEA late last year, eating nothing but two cups of rice a day for 30 days.

In that time he says he battled a mixture of starvation and withdrawal. His efforts raised $10,000 towards the charity.

“With Sam’s cause it’s a way for me to fight injustice and it’s way to offset the imbalance in my head and win,” he said.

And yesterday, Rob got to meet the man who helped turn his life around, with Sam Childers arriving in Perth to host a series of free talks about his journey and inspirations.


Since Rob turned his back on meth, his musical career has taken off. With Jeff Martin, the lead singer and guitarist of Canadian band The Tea Party, taking Rob under his wing, producing his latest single.

He is now touring as the support act for Sarah McLeod, formally the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Australian band The Superjesus.

But despite his newfound success, Rob says the battle with methamphetamine never ceases completely.

“People will often, on a weekly basis, inbox me and ask how I got off it… They want me to say there’s a magic pill you can buy over the counter but you’re never cured. It’s a daily struggle.”

Read more of their story in The Weekend West.

The West Australian

Popular videos