Leif Garrett, a former 1970s teen idol, offered some time-tested advice to today's pop star Justin Bieber as he balances fame and the media glare at the young age of 19 – don't trust your so-called friends.
In a recent interview with FOX411, the 51-year-old Garrett, who in his prime 35 years ago melted the heart of many an adolescent girl much like Bieber does today, warned the Canadian-born teen idol about the many pitfalls that come with attaining fame at such a young age.
Besides Leif Garrett's advice to Justin Bieber about trusting friends,
he told FOX411
"Do not believe your own publicity," when asked if had any advice to Bieber. "Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you."
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Garrett attempted to explain some of the Canadian heartthrob's recent bad behavior, which has been well documented by the press, as a product of unbridled hormones and extreme wealth.
"When you’ve got that sort of power at that young age, and everything at your doorstep, you put out that bad boy image," Garrett told FOX411. "At that age, testosterone, hormones, all of the money, you see what else you can get away with. . . You can’t stop. You want to continue to taste, and sometimes that’s crazy, stupid things."
Bieber has recently made headlines for a string of bad-boy acts.
In April, Bieber wrote an entry into a guestbook at the Anne Frank House museum
in Amsterdam, saying he hoped the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp "would have been a Belieber" — or fan of his — if history were different.
Then in July, Bieber was seen on a cell phone video urinating in a mop bucket in a New York City kitchen
before running out and f-bombing a photo of former President Bill Clinton.
Garrett also offered some advice with regards to controlling the content of his music.
"The hardest thing was the music I was doing. I had no control of the music," Garrett said. "They wanted me to continue doing teen idol stuff. . . The average lifespan of a teen idol is five years."
Garrett, who had well-documented substance abuse problems, seemed to blame his past drug addiction in part on the lack of control he had over his music.
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"You have to change musically. Bubble gum pop was good for the first time you have sex. They didn’t want to give the OK on some really good music," Garrett added. "It was the frustration of being signed to that label. I was depressed. My heroes and A&R guys on the bus were doing drugs so I was doing drugs."
As for where he is today in his life, Garrett told FOX411, "I’m never going to hit 'teen idol' again and I don’t want to. I’d rather be behind the scenes."
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