Last year, Corey Feldman’s childhood friend Michael Jackson died. In March, his old friend Corey Haim died. In between funerals, his wife filed for divorce.
"It’s been a rough year," Feldman, 39, says.
But Feldman is forging ahead, performing Saturday with his band, Truth Movement, in the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. There will be lasers, videos, a costume contest, women dancing with LED hula hoops, and a screening of his vampire-slayer sequel, "Lost Boys: The Thirst."
Since he calls Vegas "my home away from home," he’s excited to perform on a stage here for the first time.
He’s even in good enough spirits to joke about vampires he’s met in Los Angeles.
"Roaming the streets at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, I’ve come across many a female that I might mistake for a vampire in one sense or another," he says.
But to get serious for a moment, Feldman says it would be nice if Haim were alive and well to join him here.
I asked Feldman how much he hates drugs, since Feldman kicked drugs two decades ago, and since then, MJ and Haim have died after using copious prescription drugs.
"You have to realize my drug issues were many, many years ago," Feldman responds. "We’re talking 20-plus years ago.
"With Corey (Haim), the big message is: He didn’t die of a drug overdose. That got swallowed up in the press."
Feldman points out Haim’s autopsy said he died of pneumonia while suffering severe heart and lung damage.
"At the point he died, he was probably doing better than he had in 20 years in his drug history," Feldman says.
"Now I’m not gonna say the damage he did to his body didn’t play a part it in it, because it certainly did."
Feldman says it’s incredibly easy to get hooked on meds.
"I can’t blame the people who are addicted to prescription drugs," he says, "because to be honest with you, there have been several points in my life as an adult where I’ve had to take those types of medications for one reason or another."
He thinks society should focus more attention on doctors.
"They give these things out quite freely," he says. "Then at a certain point, they decide … ‘I’m cutting you off.’
"That’s like teaching somebody how to swim, putting them out in the middle of the ocean and saying, ‘OK, now swim back.’
"I know how to swim, (but that) doesn’t mean I’ll make it back alive."
And he makes another case: that the Food and Drug Administration regulates drugs and chemicals in foods — but also regulates medications that resolve problems caused by those chemicals.
"They’ve got us by the balls, so to speak. We’re pawns in their game," Feldman says.
As for Jackson, Feldman and Jackson had a very public split as friends over Jackson’s 30th anniversary special, filmed Sept. 7 and Sept. 10, 2001, at Madison Square Garden. Feldman doesn’t detail the cause of the rift.
Then in 2005, when MJ was facing molestation charges he beat, Feldman told the press MJ never did anything to him as a boy, but he did say:
"If you consider it inappropriate for a man to look at a book of naked pictures with a child that’s 13 or 14 years old — then your answer would be yes."
Feldman went on to say if he found out a 35-year-old man was showing his 13-year-old son such pictures, "I would probably beat his ass."
But when MJ died last year, Feldman went onstage with his band and, emotionally raw, asked fans for a moment of silence for MJ.
So I asked him: Was he upset with MJ, or not?
"It’s a very sordid tale. You have to realize Michael and I were very close friends for about 18 years," Feldman says. "He was also like a big brother. He would sit and listen and give me advice."
Feldman and Jackson talked "for hours and hours" while relating over "the fact we both came from very, very destructive, abusive childhoods," he says.
"We grew up in a very similar way. We grew up estranged from the greater world because of our careers, which in both regards were not really our choice, but we were thrown into them."
After their falling out, MJ tried to bridge the gap.
"He made a few efforts to try and reach out and reconnect. I disregarded those efforts, because I was very upset and bitter because of the things that had gone down between us in New York."
So Feldman was shocked when Jackson died in 2009, and it taught him not to hold grudges, he says.
"When somebody makes an effort to reach out, it doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them again. But it certainly means you don’t want to leave things on a bitter resolve, because you never know if that moment to make things right will be gone, and swept away from you, and it’s too late.
"I think forgiveness is the key to everything."
Doug Elfman’s column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@ reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.Preview
Corey Feldman’s "Lost Boys" Ball with Truth Movement
6:30 p.m. Saturday
House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South