I just drink a small glass of white wine and am now drinking a beer. I know it’s only a small amount of alcohol but. I feel a little buzz because I’m very tired and my stomach is somewhat empty (just had to mention that so that you folks won’t think I’m a wussy ).
Anyway, I’ve sometimes contemplated writing, recording, mixing while under the influence of different kinds of drugs in order to see what may result. I’ve probably written and recorded while being highly caffeinated. There’s been only a few times that I’ve been mildly inebriated from alcohol while recording, writing. I don’t often use marijuana but it would be interesting to attempt writing a song and recording it while stoned. I may have done that before but I can’t say for certain. I rarely use marijuana and these days, on the rare occasion when I do, it would be in edibles (gummies).
The Beatles used LSD to create some of their music. I only tried LSD once …,and it didn’t go well. It made me hyper and panicky. I’m not the most relaxed person, so any uppers tend to be a bit risky for my overactive mind. Even coffee makes my mind race…., sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. If I’m focused on one single task, I find coffee can amplify my concentration but if there’s too many things going on I get chaotic and irritable. I find caffeine to be a very powerful drug. It’s interesting to see how widely used and accepted by mainstream society throughout the world. Even though I use it regularly to boost my workouts (weight lifting), I find it’s a drug that needs to be respected….Maybe it’s just my propensity for being overly “unrelaxed”.
So have any of you ever intentionally used a drug of any sort to alter your consciousness, mood, perspective to create, record and/or produce music? Have you ever used drugs to alter/ enhance your practice or live performances?
I don’t think it’s a good idea for anyone to be talking about illegal or controversial activities on a public forum. You’d be surprised at the organizations out there hoovering up this kind of information.
I use a bit of alcohol from time to time to relax while I’m singing a track so I don’t get stuck in my own head about how perfect everything should be especially since I’m not capable of anything near perfection. I may need to go back later and improve the execution, but more ideas seem to arise when I relax. I won’t discuss previous smoky habits, other than to say I can’t focus well anymore if I was to use hippie lettuce, which I will neither confirm nor deny on a public forum.
Even caffeine can give you a little false sense of what you’re doing, but lots of great recordings have been made by people who shouldn’t have been standing, much less playing. I personally don’t condone it by the way, but people work differently.
Alcohol, marijuana and caffeine are legal here in Canada. There’s also some places in the USA where marijuana is legal. Caffeine and alcohol are pretty much legal throughout the world, I think. I would bet that at least 90% of us have ingested coffee, tea and alcohol at some point in our lives. There’s probably more adults that ingest some kind of caffeinated beverage than those who abstain. There’s enough caffeine in soda pop, tea and coffee to feel the effects of it.
haha as our home business is coffee roasting, I have a biased viewpoint re caffeine… There are some fascinating contradictory studies about its benefits/perils. Moderation is boring but the older I get, the more useful the mantra!
I made a rule quite early on in my music ‘career’ not to mix alcohol with performance. The heightened state of adrenaline plays hell with stop buttons! Having said that, the actual creative process itself, is surely open to all experimentation… within whatever boundaries you choose to exert.
There are a number of obvious perils such as totally forgetting the genius riff/tune/whatever…
I would never try recording or mixing while my mind was more altered than usual. I like my gear too much to risk wrecking things.
I don’t think they used LSD specifically for this purpose. Using LSD opened their minds in general, which probably had some consequences on their songwriting but in the vast majority of real testimonials by artists who used psychedelics, they all say the same thing: it’s recreational and can have some influence, but it’s pretty rare to do drugs specifically for this purpose.
Actually I know a counter-example: Eric Valentine wrote a song for his wife Grace and they used mushrooms specifically with the intention of writing this song. He tells the story in one of his YT videos.
Many times. At least in my younger days, that seemed to be the whole point. My early discoveries with songwriting and recording with my Fostex X-15 tape machine were almost always adventures with alcohol. I found that I could successfully write and record a song around a formula: consume about 5 beers in 5 hours, 1 beer per hour, while writing and experimenting + recording ideas. That’s about how long the process took, for whatever reason. It’s all about “riding the tiger” and only being inebriated at the very end. Sometimes mix-down occurred at the end, sometimes the next day sans chemical assistance. There may have been other substances involved in certain instances.
Alcohol (and more) were present at live performances when appropriate. I think it can fuel Rock music quite well. It’s probably not great for Opera. At family-friendly events there was no alcohol. My one caveat is that it’s not wise to drive home from those particular gigs. I’ll save those stories for another day.
While it could be helpful at times, I found that generally it diminishes focus and motivation. The one exception was some years ago learning riffs from the Black Sabbath “Master of Reality” album, tuned down to C# as required. It’s almost like the music was composed “under the influence”, if you will.
From what I have heard, and I was never a “Dead Head” but I knew someone who was, the Grateful Dead almost always performed under the influence of psychedelics, with much of their audience doing the same.
My one attempt at playing while psychotropically altered in that way devolved quickly into tuning the guitar for hours while marveling at the shifting tones and string bending antics. It was a magical adventure while accomplishing nothing tangible, but pure euphoria in a sense. Kind of like staring at how amazing your fingers are. Like … Wow man.
Yes, there’s already discussion about the government and Big Tech corporations showing interest in monitoring your (private) text messages to arrest “misinformation”. So I say, share your ‘sideways’ stories now before the fascists decide to start locking people up just for talking about it! BTW, if there’s anything we need right now it’s less censorship - not more. If you don’t fight for your freedoms you’re going to lose them.
Yeah, I’d imagine it would be better and more effective to drink slowly and in moderation. The problem with alcohol is that it can deplete your energy if you drink too much, too quickly. On the other hand it seems to have an energizing effect on many people too.
Back in the 80’s I was in a band with 3 other much older guys and another guy my age. All the band members except me drank moderately at gigs. I usually didn’t drink much because back then I found alcohol could increase my nervousness sometimes. So I’d sometimes have a beer or 2 at most. All the guys in the band also smoked marijuana, hash, hash oil, etc, but they were never wasted during the gigs. I wouldn’t smoke that stuff during a gig because it made me more nervous back in those days, but the problem was that I was always uncomfortable and I had to put on an act. In the midst of a performance I could get loose but as soon as the music stopped I felt like a fish out of water. In the mid 90’s my 2 brothers and I started gigging a lot throughout the region/ province. People often showed their appreciation for our performances by buying us drinks, even though we were getting paid and sometimes the clubs would give us a few free drinks per night, and sometimes meals. So we were usually buzzed to some degree. There were a few times when I was really drunk and it was fun. Some nights were wild and crazy but then there were other laid back gigs. Every club and every place we played seemed to have a different spirit. We gigged regularly for almost 10 years and I found that being a little ‘high’ on alcohol loosened us up and allowed us to be open and entertaining. Most of the time the audience was drunker than the band, so that also helped create a party atmosphere (though there was also the negative consequences of using alcohol). Luckily we were given hotel rooms after out-of-town gigs, so we didn’t drive. We were very aware that that was a bad idea!
There were a few times instead of being offered beer, I was offered cocaine but I wasn’t interested in trying it because as I said, I’m too hyper already….and who knows what you’re actually putting in your body when it’s offered from a stranger. But people were using it quite a bit at some of those gigs. It’s just not something I’d want to try.
Yeah, the hippie lettuce seems to kill motivation and some people become a bit zombie-like if they do it often enough. Everyone seems to have a different tolerance. I think in general most recreational drugs/ alcohol have negative effects on most of us, even if they appear to be only subtle. On the other hand I’m always curious hearing the stories of people who’ve used psychedelics to alter their perceptions. Wether they used mushrooms, LSD, peyote ….it’s common to hear stories of deep insights and life changing experiences through drugs. I won’t do psychedelics because I just don’t think my chaotic mind can handle them, but I could see how they could produce a positive experience for those of us that are more serene, those of us with less internal chaos. I like the idea of ‘seeing’ and “learning” about ourselves and life through meditation and potentially drugs, though.
I can envision that
I suspect that all kind of drugs can throw us off course. Alcohol, marijuana and coffee can even do that to me. I have to be careful that I don’t start playing Facebook word games when I’m drinking coffee because I’ll find myself furiously playing them for a few hours at a time, when I had been planning on doing a long recording session or a hard physical workout.
Yes, there’s nothing incriminating here. Nothing that can be considered illegal. I figured that the subject of the thread is interesting and pertains to music, so it really doesn’t feel out of place. This is not a topic that requires censorship.
Yes, coffee and caffeine in the morning helps me “wake up” but that’s about it. Anything more makes me jittery and nervous. But give me some alcohol, and it’s “hello boys, time to get rollin!” Alcohol seems to bring me Alive for some reason. Genetic reasons possibly. That may not be healthy, but it’s the chemical truth.
Ah, Peruvian Marching Powder, as Robin Williams proclaimed. Yikes, that’s a whole other conversation! Never mind the socio-political ramifications, that’s quite a loaded argument. Robin Williams proclaimed that “using cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too goddamn much money”! But for even us plebiscites that was a pretty golden experience. Jeez, those prohibited chemical journeys were quite interesting, if I must say so. You must have some significant constitution to resist it. It was difficult back in the day, to do so.
I do think they can help us be “on course” sometimes, but that’s a fraught argument. I have seen many people helped by Ayahuasca ceremonies and DMT/psilocybin therapy so there’s definitly something to it.
Yeah, nothing requires censorship, other than blatant hate speech. I wish people would wake up to that reality.
completely the wrong person to add a comment here (strict vegetarian who doesn’t smoke, drink alcohol or take any kind of stimulant if I can help it). For years I’ve done something weird when trying to write music and it seems to work (at least for me).
I’ll sit with a keyboard or a guitar, and play a chord, and then try to work out a progression from that chord. If I hear something I like, I pretend I’m somebody else. It sounds corny, but it’s amazing what happens to me when I do this. So I’ll play a chord or two on the guitar, and suddenly I’m a washed up metal head who never got his “big break” and from there I get loads of ideas of what “this person” would play. Or I might be somebody who wakes up and finds that everybody else in the world has disappeared and so on. It’s not something I’ve consciously thought about, I think I’ve been doing this since I was very young.
Cool! About the closest I came was a visit to Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco) where they used to live. It was a few years later and all the hippies were gone, so not much to see, but it was a pretty legendary place for musicians that later became famous.
no coffee no workee! If coffee was a banned drug I would be doing time for life
If transcendental chakra meditation was a drug, then yes.
I may have tried it at a time I didnt know what it was. I did it for my SAT preparation in high school, on suggestion by someone in my study group. Pretty sure it was that lol, and I was simply young and naive (maybe I still am) . My mind already runs a thousand miles a second, but for some reason, it opened up pathways I didnt know existed. I scored a perfect 100% (1600/1600) (though I was already averaging 1500s in practices but who knows…). I never did it again because I felt like neurotic mad scientist.
Now when I want an active mind, I simply do a bit of guided sungazing and crown chakra meditation and doze myself on some good ol coffee. Even though chakra meditations dont recommend coffee but I dont care lol. Cheers to the coffee growers out there!
I was quite young when I tried it, also. Seemed like most everyone experimented with drugs of some sort back in high school. Marijuana, hash, and alcohol were the most common but a lot of kids were taking LSD, bennies, and magic mushrooms also. I stayed away from the hallucinogens except for the one time I tried “Sid”. I didn’t like the feeling I got from it. Like you said, if you already have an overactive mind it can make your thoughts even more active. I think it’ amplifies your inner world. For instance, if you tend to look at the world with distrust and fear, that will be amplified quite a bit, but if you’re positive-minded and very mentally stable you’re more likely to have a good “trip”. As you mentioned, it seems to open us up to different pathways. We’ve all heard the stories of people having deep, insightful experiences while under the influence of hallucinogens. Some people open the pathway to nirvana while others, like me, tend to open the gateway to hell.
I’ve always been interested in meditation, yoga and mind control. I go through occasional phases where I meditate, but I just can’t seem to quiet my mind and relax my body. However I did once manage to relax myself and still my mind during a long yoga session. It was great. I felt like I was floating in outer space, just watching the vast, immense universe, but the universe seemed to be INSIDE me, not outside me. I sometimes think that it was primarily the deep breathing that I did for such an extended time that altered my perception more than the yoga exercises.
Coffee is a helluva drug! It’s addictive but it’s a sociably acceptable drug. For awhile now I been thinking about attempting meditation after drinking a strong cup or 2 of coffee. I almost expect coffee to be counterproductive for meditating because it raises blood pressure and cortisol levels but it also can give you very strong focus. I want to try a coffee meditation to find out what it’s like.