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Drugs in music

recreational drugs - music

Waiting for the Man: The Story of Drugs and Popular Music (1988)- Harry Shapiro
[FR] [DE] [UK]

A central axiom of rock criticism is that when the drugs change, so does the music. Each musical revolution has been characterised by the use of particular drugs: Rock'n'Roll ignited by the post-War abundance of amphetamines; the languorous Summer of Love hallucinated by LSD; Punk Rockers' nihilism expressed by Sniffin' Glue; the Eighties' Acid House upheaval loved up on MDMA, a.k.a. Ecstasy. In conjunction with their drug of choice, however, each successive generation has also consumed cannabis. As Harry Shapiro tells, in his seminal Story of Drugs and Popular Music, Waiting For The Man, 'The drug (cannabis) features throughout the history of popular music, experienced differently by divergent sub-cultural groups: jazz age swingers, cool beboppers, cosmic hippies and Trench Town roots rockers from Jamaica.' --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/80/crack.html [Feb 2005]

Drugs and popular music

Drugs and popular music have gone hand-in-hand since the earliest days of jazz at the turn of the century. For much of this time, even those most hostile to drug use would have to admit, this relationship led to the creation of some remarkable music.

Reggae drugs

The difference between reggae and punk was drugs. Cannabis for the former and amphetamines for the latter. --Paul Marko via http://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/punkthepart2.htm [Feb 2005]

Disco drugs

The grandfather of all disco drugs is Poppers. These chemicals, Amyl or Butyl Nitrate, provide an instant, profound euphoria and sexual arousal. Music sounds great, and sex is enhanced. The rush is short lived and frequent doses are normal. Tolerance builds with use, so the doses get larger. The first side effect is usually a skull-splitting headache, then nausea and depression. Mixed with alcohol, these effects become more potent. Long term use can lead to dependence for sexual arousal, recurrent headaches and diminished sense of smell. If you are older, or have medical conditions, poppers can cause palpitations, or even heart attack. Poppers do not mix well with other drugs. --http://www.outuk.com/index.html?http://www.outuk.com/content/features/drugs/ [Feb 2005]

House drugs

1985: UK youth/fashion magazine The Face runs the first in-depth article on MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which is the basis for the party drug Ecstasy.

It was first synthesised and patented before World War I by German company Merck as a diet aid. In the 60s it was rediscovered by Alexander Shulgin, a US biochemist, who used it for therapeutic purposes. It was banned in the USA in 1985. --http://www2.abc.net.au/arts/soundsliketechno/html/timeline.htm [Feb 2005]

Stoner rock

Stoner rock emerged as a distinct genre in the late 1980s with bands such as The Miracle Workers, Kyuss, and Monster Magnet, based on early heavy metal and proto-punk acts of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its most well known exponent is Queens of the Stone Age. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner [Mar 2005]

Stoner music
Stoner music is an informal or slang term for any of several types of music listened to, or perceived to be listened to, by "stoners," or people under the influence of drugs, typically marijuana. The genres of music this can include, can vary quite widely, depending on the listener's drug of choice and mood.

Stoners seem to show a preference for music that is stimulating, trance inducing, euphoric, calming, grating, strange, comfortable... in short, any music which might produce the same effect as, or enhance the effect of, using one's drug of choice.

Some listeners consider Stoner music to be their 'drug of choice', in fact, some stoners have gone so far as to discontinue use of drugs, preferring their 'music of choice' to drugs. A Prime example would be the Wharf Rats, a subset of deadheads, who gather in groups at Grateful Dead, The Dead, and Phish concerts, as an affinity group to support each other in their sobriety. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner_music [Mar 2005]

Stoner Metal
Stoner Metal and Sludge Metal are often used interchangeably, but some fans make distinctions: Sludge metal has more similarities with grindcore and hardcore punk. There also are similarities to doom metal, but most aficionados consider the two genres distinct.

The moniker 'Stoner' is obviously derived from the notion that the artists and audience for this kind of music are stoners, users of cannabis.

Other terms, which also indicate slightly different, but frequently overlapping genres are 'stoner rock', 'desert rock' and the very abstract 'desert music', which usually has only very little 'metal' content as such.

Stoner metal bands play a mix of jam-heavy psychedelic rock laced with some doom metal like riffs and are generally more closely linked to the heavy psychedelic bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Monster Magnet and Kyuss were among the most popular practitioners. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner_metal [Mar 2005]

Marihuana [...]

Let it grow, Mister Gardener!

In Jazz

The first recorded use of 'marihuana' in the United States, in 1909, was in Storyville, the red light district of the port of New Orleans that is universally regarded as the birthplace of Jazz. According to Ernest L.Abel: 'It was in these bordellos, where music provided the background and not the primary focus of attention, that marihuana became an integral part of the jazz era. Unlike booze, which dulled and incapacitated, marihuana enabled musicians whose job required them to play long into the night to forget their exhaustion. Moreover, the drug seemed to make their music sound more imaginative and unique, at least to those who played and listened while under its sensorial influence.' --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/20/madness.html [Feb 2005]

In Reggae

Herbal cannabis had always played a part in the medicinal and mystical rituals of ancient Africa and was probably well known to the slaves who worked the West Indian sugar plantations, but anthropologists contend that the herb didn't arrive in Jamaica until after slavery was abolished there in 1838, when it was brought by contract workers from the Indian sub-continent who were drafted in to fill the subsequent labour shortage. Certainly, the Jamaican term for herbal cannabis, 'ganja', is a Hindi word meaning 'sweet smelling', but also 'noisy'. Which is not a bad description of roots reggae. --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/72/skank.html

In Dub

The deep rhythmic bass of reggae, combined with the tendency of ganja to enhance ones' appreciation of tonal resonance and to distort ones' perception of time, when mixed together in primitive recording studios, begat Dub. It was the custom within the Jamaican music industry to fill out the flip-sides of 45rpm singles with instrumental versions of the song featured on the A side. Under the creative influence of sacramental herb, record producers began twiddling their knobs idiosyncratically, dropping out the treble and pumping up the bass, cutting up the vocal track and adding masses of reverb to haunting phrases that echo through the mix. No other music sounds more like the way it feels to be stoned. --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/72/skank.html

Speed [...]

The smug and self congratulatory coterie of coke heads who ruled the music biz in the mid-Seventies were abruptly elbowed aside by a bunch of spikey-haired iconoclasts who also liked powders, but preferred the more accessible rush of amphetamine sulphate. Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons, the 'hip young gun slingers' hired by the New Musical Express to give the rag some punk cred., ranted about the virtues of speed - "the only drug that makes you sit up and ask questions rather than lie down and lap up answers" - and contemptuously declared: "Smoking dope causes dulling of attention, sluggishness, silliness, a mouth that tastes like a Turk's turd, and increases the appetite to such proportions that prolonged smoking leads to gross obesity". --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/77/punks.html [Feb 2005]

Heroin house [...]

Tech-house, minimal house, micro-house, dad house - in a cheap bit of alliteration, ubiquitous music writer Simon Reynolds even tried to label it "heroin house." Whatever you call it, though, the subtle, experimental side of the global house scene has been chugging along for nearly a decade now, always just underneath the mainstream radar. --Brian Dillard


When the drugs change, the music changes, too. Throughout the late seventies and into the eighties, as club culture spread globally, cocaine use became correspondingly widespread and this was reflected in music made for the dance floor [...]. Gradually, the disc jockeys who spun the records in the clubs began to become more important than the musicians who made them. --Russell Cronin via http://www.ukcia.org/potculture/80/crack.html [Feb 2005]

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