Russell Brand used to be so obsessed with death he smashed up deceased animals on stage.

The 'Get Him to the Greek' actor - who has previously battled drug and alcohol addictions - has revealed he included the graphic scenes in his live stage shows because he wanted to "wake people up".

Speaking to writer Neil Strauss for his new book 'Everyone Loves You When You Are Dead', Russell said: "I was fixated with dead animals and death. The driving ideology behind what I was doing was pretty safe, right? And I felt that people were spellbound, like they'd been hypnotized, and I had to wake them up. So I would do things to wake them up. Like, I'd have a load of dead rats or dead chicks, like baby birds, on stage.

"And I'd smash them up with a hammer and then throw them into the audience and go, 'Why are you disgusted? I've just rearranged their atoms. They're dead already. Nothing's happened. You're being shocked by nothing.' "

Neil thinks there were two reasons for Russell's bizarre behaviour, drugs and his desire for fame.

He explained: "He was clearly on drugs when he smashed the animals on stage. Also, the whole show was about shock value, because at the time he was hungry for attention because he had just started out.

"He thought this was art, it was important to him - this was him trying to be a rock star, trying to make a point about what is really right from wrong since the animals were dead before he 'killed' them. Funnily enough, since then PETA has embraced him and called him the sexiest vegetarian."

The 36-year-old British star - who is now married to pop star Katy Perry - also admitted to Neil, he has always had destructive tendencies and found it hard to cope when he first became famous.

He said: "I was addicted to crack and heroin at that time ... I've always had some destructive tendencies and I was unstable. I had no off switch. I was unable to manage it. Up until then I'd never had money in my life and as soon as people gave me money, I just hit the f**k it button and blew up."