Former ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’ Star Seth “Shifty Shellshock” Binzer Dead at 49: Singer Is 12th Cast Member From the VH1 Show to Die

Seth “Shifty Shellshock” Binzer— best known as the singer of the band Crazy Town and for starring on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew— has died. He was 49.

Shifty reportedly passed away on Monday at his home in Los Angeles. 

Eight years after Shifty and his Crazy Town bandmates released their hit song “Butterfly,” Shifty appeared on the very first season of ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’ in hopes that the reality TV doc and his team could help him kick his addiction to cocaine. (Shifty admitted to using both the powder form of coke, as well as crack cocaine.)

At the end of the season, Shifty entered a sober living home but eventually relapsed. He appeared on the second season of ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,’ as well as the show’s spin-off Sober House, where he would go on to relapse again. He then appeared on Sober House 2 in 2009. 

In the years following his appearance on ‘Sober House 2,’ Shifty continued to struggle with addiction, in addition to legal issues, with arrests for cocaine possession and battery. His final arrest came in 2023 for DUI.

Eight weeks ago, however, Shifty posted to Instagram and used the hashtag #Sober

“I’m a lover than a fighter …but the one I need to love more Instead of fight with is myself .. mr shifty true Love # Sober alive and grateful,” he wrote.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SETH BINZER (@therealcrazytown)

In October 2023, Shifty went on the Perfectly Twisted podcast to discuss addiction.

“Through my journey, I’ve found that no one’s perfect, and now addiction touches so many families, so I work really hard on being transparent,” he said. “I’m not the ‘A’ student; I’m not someone who got sober and stayed sober all these years, and I beat myself up about that because I think I’m my biggest critic. But a lot of people have the same problem…. I’m learning my boundaries and how to deal with my emotions… I have been able to access rehabs and things that I know a lot of kids don’t have the access to. 

“So, I really want to use my experience to help other people because I think it’s taken me years to find peace,” he added.


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A post shared by SETH BINZER (@therealcrazytown)

During the same interview, Shifty stated that he was working on creating a non-profit organization to help kids with similar issues. 

Sadly, Shifty is the 12th cast member from ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’ to die after appearing on the show. While some of the deaths were not related to the cast members’ addictions, others— such as Season 1’s Joanie “Chyna” Laurer and Season 3’s Mike Starr —were drug-related.

In addition to Shifty, Joanie and Mike, the other deceased ‘Celebrity Rehab’ cast members include “Grease” star Jeff Conaway (whose doctor stated that drugs contributed to his death); Rodney King (who died by accidentally drowning with drugs in his system); Nikki McKibbin (who died from a brain aneurysm); actor Jason Davis (who overdosed); former star of The Real World Joey Kovar (whose death was caused by an opiate overdose); singer Mindy McCready (who committed suicide); actor Tom Sizemore (who died from a brain aneurysm); reality star  Frankie Lons (who overdosed); and Tawny Kitaen (whose death was caused by heart disease).

In 2013, Dr. Drew confirmed that he “was done” with ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and its spin-offs, mainly due to him being blamed whenever a cast member died or relapsed.

“I’m just the dude in the T-shirt and blazer combo. Don’t blame me!”

“I’m tired of taking all the heat. It’s just ridiculous,” Dr. Drew told the hosts of a radio program in 2013. “To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame? Rodney King has a heart attack and I take blame for that?

“These are really sick people, that’s why they die,” Dr. Drew stated. “These are people with life-threatening addiction.”

More-recently, though, Dr. Drew— who is both an internal medicine doctor and an addiction medicine specialist— seemed open to rebooting the show. During a 2022 appearance on Teen Mom 2 star Kail Lowry’s Barely Famous podcast, Dr. Drew– who has hosted the Teen Mom Reunions since the show premiered in 2010— stated that he’d like to see ‘Celebrity Rehab’ come back, especially if the new version of the show would also focus on the mental health issues of its famous participants.

“…which is something I experience every time I appear on a ‘Teen Mom’ show.”

“Not only would it be an important thing for the moment, because substance [abuse] is off the chain right now, but we have new modalities for treatment,” Dr. Drew told Kail. “We have new things we could show people, and new hope to give them to help them understand what’s available.”

Dr. Drew stated that VH1 still owns the rights to ‘Celebrity Rehab,’ so the network would either have to get on-board with the reboot or release the rights to the show so Drew could take it to another network.

Dr. Drew has yet to publicly comment on Shifty’s death.

UPDATE! On Friday, Crazy Town’s manager Howie  Hubberman revealed that Shifty died of an accidental overdose. 

“Seth Binzer, after struggling with addiction and Crazy Town’s rapid success with ‘Butterfly,’ never was able to reach out on a more-successful level to deal with his addictions. “We all tried, but ultimately we all failed, or Shifty would still be here,” he said in a statement to People.

 “The cause of death was a combination of prescription drugs and street purchased drugs,” he added. “Shifty was a friend and really wanted to get himself fixed — unfortunately no one had the exact tools to do this, myself included.”

RELATED STORY: Kail Lowry & Dr. Drew Pinsky Discuss Trying to Reboot ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’ To Address Reality TV Stars’ Mental Health Issues

(Photos: Instagram; MTV) 

8 Responses

  1. Rest in peace, Shifty Shellshock. Your struggles and transparency touched many lives. Condolences to your loved ones. Your legacy of helping others will be remembered.

  2. Don’t get be wrong, I think Dr. Drew is complete trash for a number of unrelated reasons but to blame him is ridiculous. It’s like blaming Dr. Now for the death on My 600-lbs Life; these people are already very sick by the time they get to him. These doctors and treatments are their last hope.

  3. I’m in recovery- I hit three years on 4/10/2024. What was my bottom? My own father dying of an accidental Fentanyl overdose after being an opiate addict for the majority of my life (I was 37 when he passed). The year before I had lost my best guy friend who relapsed after 5 years of sobriety. Since then, I have lost three friends- all women, to alcoholism. The most recent was on my birthday this year- My sweet friend Katie. It’s devastating. As a recovering alcoholic/addict, I can say that it’s beyond preposterous to blame Dr Drew for anyone’s death… We know the choices we are making. He’s not putting drugs/alcohol in anyone’s hands… It’s a sad road to take but so many do and I think with celebrities they have the issue of “connections” and/or the people around them being willing and able to get them whatever they want and they often (but not always) have the money to fund their drug of choice. I can tell you that while are “selfish and self centered” at our core, it’s rare we enjoy or even want to hurt others in our lives. It’s usually a battle within and the guilt we feel at the same time we are numbing ourselves and making bad choices, fuels it even more. I hope that Seth has found peace at last and my condolences go to his children, his family and friends.

  4. I hope Shifty has finally found peace.

    Sarah Becker from the Real World passed a way 2 days ago as well , she took her own life . Rip

  5. I always thought it was odd Dr Drew was blamed for their deaths. It’s not uncommon to relapse in addiction, and get help many times. Trauma and mental health seem to attribute to a problem.

    I did also see a couple seasons of the show, I could see where viewers thought Dr Drew was perhaps exposing them for profit by showing activd detox on TV. I don’t think being transparent about detox and rehab is a bad thing, it could help others. The celebrities also signed up to do this publicly.

    “Intervention” shows active usage though, but doesn’t show the rehab portion, just the addict afterward. Yet we don’t blame their addiction team on any relapse…

    1. I felt the same way. They blame Dr Drew for a lot when he isn’t to blame. These people made their decision long before Drew came around.

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