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Drugs and Creativity

Crowhugger 02 May 00 - 09:14 AM
GUEST, Threadie 29 Apr 00 - 08:13 PM
wysiwyg 29 Apr 00 - 03:13 PM
Amos 29 Apr 00 - 02:29 PM
Mbo 28 Apr 00 - 11:36 PM
sophocleese 28 Apr 00 - 11:08 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 00 - 01:57 PM
Little Neophyte 28 Apr 00 - 01:18 PM
Clinton Hammond2 28 Apr 00 - 01:02 PM
Mbo 28 Apr 00 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Kelida at school 28 Apr 00 - 12:28 PM
Mbo 28 Apr 00 - 10:21 AM
Crowhugger 28 Apr 00 - 03:16 AM
Mbo 28 Apr 00 - 12:57 AM
Kelida 28 Apr 00 - 12:44 AM
thosp 28 Apr 00 - 12:41 AM
Kelida 28 Apr 00 - 12:13 AM
Amos 27 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM
Hyperabid 27 Apr 00 - 10:48 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Jan 00 - 05:30 PM
lamarca 14 Jan 00 - 04:53 PM
Michael K. 14 Jan 00 - 02:29 PM
Matt 13 Jan 00 - 08:04 PM
InOBU 13 Jan 00 - 07:25 PM
stupidbodhranplayer 13 Jan 00 - 07:10 PM
Steve Latimer 13 Jan 00 - 11:00 AM
Mike Billo 13 Jan 00 - 10:36 AM
Art Thieme 13 Jan 00 - 01:35 AM
WyoWoman 13 Jan 00 - 01:09 AM
WyoWoman 13 Jan 00 - 01:08 AM
reggie miles 13 Jan 00 - 12:07 AM
WyoWoman 12 Jan 00 - 11:55 PM
Remi from paris 12 Jan 00 - 10:38 PM
Mudjack 12 Jan 00 - 09:53 PM
reggie miles 12 Jan 00 - 09:52 PM
Terry Allan Hall 12 Jan 00 - 08:46 PM
Lonesome EJ 12 Jan 00 - 01:54 PM
peg 12 Jan 00 - 12:50 PM
WyoWoman 12 Jan 00 - 11:13 AM
catspaw49 12 Jan 00 - 10:54 AM
Allan C. 12 Jan 00 - 10:48 AM
Pelrad 12 Jan 00 - 10:40 AM
Pete Peterson 12 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM
GeorgeH 12 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM
Escamillo 12 Jan 00 - 05:41 AM
Barry Finn 12 Jan 00 - 12:20 AM
katlaughing 11 Jan 00 - 09:41 PM
Little Neophyte 11 Jan 00 - 08:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 11 Jan 00 - 07:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Crowhugger
Date: 02 May 00 - 09:14 AM


It isn't often I see a site that leaves me none the wise about what they do. Do you know what they do?


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: GUEST, Threadie
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 08:13 PM

"Past distress experiences"?

Do tell.

Well, perhaps on second thoughts, don't bother.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 03:13 PM

For alternative tools that enhance creativity, Click to See This.

See me for details.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Amos
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 02:29 PM

Mbo, you are very much on track here IMHO. The problem is not the "different experience" as such -- I can sympathize with K's hunger to experience life, absolutely. But there is no such thing as an LSD trip with no consequences. The assessment of creativity as good or bad is so highly problematical and openinion-centered that I really don't see how it could be a criterion.

The measure of a created work in any medium is how it communicates; the one time somebody on ecstasy tried to communicate to me (making repeate dlong-distance phone calls in the middle of the night) they were incoherent, babbling, incapable.

THose I know who stayed on a storng diet of grass, although they seemed very calm about things also always struck me as a couple of cycles out of phase with reality -- which is fine unless you have to think fast or make important decisions. These are electrifying experiences in one way or another, but I am convinced that every one of them has the effect of reducing ability, not augmenting it, in the long run, no matter how delightful the short=term experience seems.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 11:36 PM

Whatever blows yer hair back, as Clinton says. Frankly I'm quite happy with who I am. I stopped experimenting when I finished my Biology II class.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: sophocleese
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 11:08 PM

Mbo, think of it like make-up. Some women wear lots, some less, and some don't wear any. Everybody has different faces and different appreciations for the amount of acceptable makeup, generally those who like to see lots of make-up also wear lots of makeup. Anybody who puts make-up on to look good, not for theatrical special effects, tries to emphasize their best points. Drugs don't completely alter people but they do emphasize different aspects of their personalities, while hiding or suppressing other sides. For some people this frees their creativity and for others it cramps it. The skin does need to breathe though so you need times when you aren't wearing makeup, addiction is a burden and its better not to become addicted, but trying it out does not always mean a one way ticket to the gutter, just make the do it in a controlled environment. Experimenting with make-up, drugs or other people's bodies should be done with care and concern not idolatry or condemnation.

PS, I'm writing this on two glasses of champagne, two glasses of red wine and one black russian , a relative's birthday, not a regular evening at home.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:57 PM

I smoke and drink way too much and my music sucks.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:18 PM

Now this is really> I am sitting here reading through this entire thread when I come across my posting (January 11th). I didn't look at the date. All I was thinking was, who took my moniker! I had completely forgotten I had written that posting.

Little Neo

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:02 PM

My favorite example against drugs use for 'creativity' are 1)The Beatles... their 'dope' music certainly isn't in the modern sence of the word...

2)Jethro Tull... Ian Anderson even gave up beer quite some time ago, and contrairy to popular opinion, they were never drug users... o.k... Glenn Cornick used to get drunk and chase women before leaving the band in 1970... But Ian sober at his worse is better than 98% of anything I have yet to hear int he music world...

On the other side, I'll quote Stan Rogers... "When sampling life, take big bites... Moderation is for monks!"


Whatever blows yer hair back!


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:39 PM

Sorry K, no offense intended, just those early-Friday-morning-week-before-finals-rainy-day-angry-boy moods. You'll all get to see what art this kinda closed mind has new art website will be up next Tuesday. I guess the ol' "taking a trip but never left the house" thing works for some...I learned to see things different after living 3 years in Japan, and spending 20 years moving around every 3 years. Talk about experience!


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: GUEST,Kelida at school
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:28 PM

I never said it was a good thing. It was a statement of fact, and I'm a "waiting-until-marriage" kind of girl, so nothing happened. Please don't think I'm dying to do drugs or anything, but I have this "problem" where I want to experience EVERYTHING. I have to try new things all the time or I get really bored. I would never become some crazy drug addict or anything, because I've seen too many people fuck themselves up on drugs. I'm sorry if I came across as glorifying drug use--I wasn't--I just wanted to show that some people aren't as affected by drugs than others.

As for drugs not helping people create art, I really think that they do, but I think that it isn't because it makes people more creative. I think it's because it helps people see things in a different way or think differently. It gives people more freedom (in their mind). It doesn't make anyone more creative than they really are, but I think drugs can give them different ideas.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:21 AM

This makes me sick. TRUE creativity comes from YOU, from YOUR mind, from YOUR intelligence, from YOUR body. It is NOT something that can be "heightened" with drugs. Altering your mind with dangerous chemicals CHANGES you...this supposed new found "creativity" from the effects of drug is NOT from you. It is just a cold chemical reaction produced by them---you are no longer using your own abilities to create anymore, you are relying on a chemical that is altering you, so what you create become more of the drug talking than your own voice. You must have to be a pretty sorry artist to use drugs to make you better, or have pretty low faith in your own abilites to blow your mind for art's sake. Who bloody cares about creativity? I can say I'd rather cut my hands off that use drugs. I'd rather live a happy life without the ability to create than to wack myself out on ecstasy...and what do you get out of it? A quick rise to fame and fortune? Everybody loving your trippy creations? How about a trip to an early grave, where WE all have to cry at your funeral wondering WHY in bloody hell you threw EVERYTHING that you were away all for the sake of some insignificant art project. Look at someone like Janis Joplin---straight A student in high school, even president of the calculus club. So what happens to an intelligent promising young girl? She throws it all away for a life of drug addiction and death. Was it worth it? I would trade her annoying screaming songs in if she could have led a happy and full life. Your life is not worth giving up over something so petty. My advice? Keep your nose clean, stay off the garbage, live and be creative to your own natural potential. Oh yeah, and being "horny as hell" might be a good thing, but I'd rather feel that way OF MY OWN ACCORD about someone I cared about, instead of some cold scientific chemical reaction. Work on self-actualization, it's a far better goal.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 03:16 AM

Like piles of people said, it's a matter of personal threshold.

Mine for pot is zero or I'm asleep in nothing flat. Losing intonation & co-ordination on alcohol, that's me after the first draught (draft but bigger) so there are 2 rules about booze: no performing after more than one pint at most and no more than one pint at most if I'm performing. Not a problem since I don't like warm beer.

Nicotine I'm thoroughly addicted to, but on stage? While busking? Only on breaks.

Other things I've tried would never make it to stage: caffeine, cocaine, LSD, each for different reasons. Caffeine carriers make me thirsty, not good for singing. Cocaine is WAY out of my price range. LSD was fun 25 years ago but I tired of using a whole weekend that way and I can't begin to imagine being on it in a crowd, it was always a rural thing for me.

No one has mentioned outright that ubiquitous Rx self-medicator: codeine. Screws up my co-ordination pretty much like alcohol, intonation and tone are worse. So it's subject to the same limits. Once I get going with anything creative, back/leg pain disappears, emotional pain is forgotten.

Don't spend all this two cents in one place.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:57 AM

Sorry, ain't touching the stuff! I'm going out what I came in with! Nothing chemically altered!


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Kelida
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:44 AM

Why else would anyone create the human race as we know it??? Who/Whatever did HAD to be messed up. . .

just kidding


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: thosp
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:41 AM

Ahhhhhh DRUGS! that explains CREATION!

peace )Y( thosp

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Kelida
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 12:13 AM

I don't drink, only occasionally smoke cigarettes, and have only smoked pot about two or three times in my entire life. Personally, the only thing pot did for me was make me horny as hell, and the only other drugs I would do would be psychadelics--not very practical for any music that isn't rave music (techno, jungle, hardcore, etc.). I did, however, create quite a nice drawing for my computer graphics class two years ago while I was completely stoned out of my mind. The pot didn't seem to have much of an effect one way or the other on my artistic ability. However, I know a boy who goes to the CIncinnati Art Academy (where I will probably go after I graduate high school) and he created wonderful stuff while on acid. I know a computer genius who can hack on anything and a writer who writes best while on ecstasy. I know plenty of good musicians who play while high or drunk. Some are better than when straight, some aren't. It seems that it really just depends on the person as to what effect drugs have. The posts above all seem to reinforce that way of thinking, as everyone here has had very different experiences with drugs. I say, do what you want to do. I think that if drugs help your creative process, then go for it--art is art, no matter what condition the artist is in when creating. I only have problems with people who become addicted and ruin their lives.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Amos
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM

Aside from the drug aspect, I am very leery of the proposition that neurosis and creativity are somehow necessary to each other. Sure, you see them appearing side by side in some great creative minds. Maybe for some, internal pain and confusion is a stimulating challenge.

But there is no (to my mind) inherent natural law that being creative requires being neurotic.

I think two things that contribute to this insidious notion are that creativity generates new views ofthings, and new views often get branded as being mad when they are not. And second, it is a pretty well known pattern that creativity can trigger past suppression, just like returning to the site of a major injury can trigger memories of the emotion and pain experienced there.

Since most people have their share of suppressed confusions and times of heavy emotion and embattlement (or whatever) it is understandable that in many cases these could become associated with times of creativity, but this happens in totally different dgrees and ways from individual to individual and there are plenty of highly creative people who aren't hit in the head by old baggage and neurosis everytimne they get creative, quite the contrary -- it engenders higher states of well-being and rationality and clear insight.

The assertion that great art or creativity and madness are somehow necessarily linked is really a toxic meme, in my view.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Hyperabid
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:48 AM

I tried an experiment with a friend who remains an inspirational and very penetrating poet a few years ago. Using a stereo mike and a video on long play I sound recorded his musings and ramblings whilst he experimented with certain substances of his choice over an 8-hour period.

Most of what was produced both written and spoken beyond the first hour was pretty much nonsense... However the experiment did yield one very fine stanza and the tape was then used to try and find inspiration for future efforts - I believe with some limited success.

This is hardly empirical evidence one way or another... partly because I could not think of effective way of coming up with a control model. 8 hours sat in a darkened room without the aid of some relaxants would hardly be condusive to good writing.

Anyway... there it is...


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 05:30 PM

Having seen alcohol mentioned, I will pass my comments. I have never had any problem playing with anybody who has had a couple of pints (unlike those who have smoked a joint).

Personally, I do find that I play better after a couple of pints that I do when completely sober but from then on, my playing does go down hill. I am quite a hardened drinker and have been know to play after 10+ pints and seem to be OK (I have listened to recordings) provided I carry on playing while drinking - if I stop and try to get back in after that quantity, I fail dismally.

I would not advocate drinking in the way that I do but I would suggest that depending on the person, 1/2 a pint to perhaps 2 pints can be helpful as it can help overcome and doubts, nerves etc. Please don't get me wrong though - if these person can overcome these problems without the use of alcohol, they are better off.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: lamarca
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 04:53 PM

A few years ago, National Institute of Mental Health (that's NIMH, as in "Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of...", my esteemed employer) sponsored a symphony concert called "Music and Mental Health", featuring work of great composers who most probably suffered from profound mental illnesses, mostly bipolar disorder (manic-depression). Works by Mahler, Chopin, Shubert, R. Strauss and others were included. Most of their works of genius were done during "manic" phases, followed by periods of deep depression. There are also large numbers of "troubled geniuses" in the visual arts, like Van Gogh.

It seems that an element of true creativity is the ability to steer your mind in directions that are outside the "norm" for whatever era you live in, but that is usually a two-edged sword. The very spirit and mental imagery that lets one create something truly new and beautiful also can make one's life painful when trying to cope with the world around you.

Creative people who turn to drugs may be using the drugs not to promote the creativity, but to deal with a world they don't fit into because of the creativity.

That said, "just being misunderstood doesn't make you an artist..." - too many musicians fall into the trap of thinking adopting the "tortured artist" role excuses their own abuses.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Michael K.
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 02:29 PM

Well I'm not much of a drinker. Never have been. I always figured anything you had to acquire a taste for, just wasn't worth the trouble. Rye and Scotch always tasted like gasoline to me --not that I would know from 1st hand experience, but you know what I mean. 8^)

I will confess to a total indulgance of drug use and experimentation from the time I was a teenager until my mid to late 20s, with varying degrees of intensity and binging.

It also didn't help that many of the bands that I played in at that time, also used and encouraged drug use - both recreationally on the road, as well as frequently performing on stage in an altered state of mind and body. Mind you, I was always in the company of excellent musicians and we too, had our arrangements down cold.

Eventually I grew tired and weary of most of it --saw the toll it took on a number of friends--some of whom died, some of whom were forever ''changed'', and some who ''just never made it back'' mentally speaking. I was fortunate that I recognised I had a problem and sought treatment, and managed to completely dry out.

These days (20 years later) the only thing I do partake of is the occassional joint of weed. Usually late at night when all have gone to bed.....but really just to relax as opposed to getting totally zoned out.

I find sometimes that it is helpful when working on recording projects, to smoke half a joint.....not talking about getting blitzed here, just enough of a glow to RELAX and lighten myself up a bit. I tend to get very intense when recording, and sometimes the intensity drives me to try and achieve a level of perfection that I can't quite nail --due to the nervousness of recording -- and the subliminal thought that nothing I do is ever good enough -- In any event when I get into this frame of mind after multiple takes on a given track, I'll take a break, do the doob, settle down for a few minutes, and then return, and nail whatever it was within 2 or 3 takes. I'll check it the next day (totally straight) and make sure it still sounds good and is faithful to what I originally wanted to do.....and it usually is.

Please understand, I am not advocating drug use to anyone here, as a vehicle for creativity or for any other purpose. I am simply commenting on the title of this thread. The method I've mentioned just happens to work for me, and I am quite comfortable with it, and I enjoy a nice glow from it, as opposed to a glass of wine or a couple of beers, whether at the end of a long day of working, or during a private, home recording session.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Matt
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 08:04 PM

Look at what heroin did to Jerry Garcia. Ditto acid and Skip Spence. How about Judy Garland and her horrible habit of uppers and downers? Freddy King used to get so wired that all he could babble between song was " Things go better with Coke. Right on." I think I was 18 the last time I tried to bong and play. That was 26 years ago. Thee truth is self evident.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 07:25 PM

For my views on Drugs and music... see the hot link in the post titled InOBUs Band... The guy in the forground sums it all up... (The big fellow, just in front of me)

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: stupidbodhranplayer
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 07:10 PM

I fooled around with a number of things when I was young and resilient. I ended up 23 years old, living at home, with no prospects of going anywhere. I was creative at coming up with excuses, scams, empty promises and 911 prayers(OK God, if you get me out of this one...). The only people that ever genuinely wanted to see me were as pathetic as I was. I made several failed attempts at learning different instruments for all the wrong reasons. So I could drink for free.So people would think I was someone worthwile so that maybe they could convince me of the same. I've been in recovery for 6 years. I've managed to learn to play something finally(even if it's only a drum), I'm learning to play mandolin. I'm more creative now than I ever was under the influence of the wonderful things modern science and mother nature have provided us. They may have worked for some people but they didn't for me. Even the people who did succeed while in addiction, have paid a terrible price. Jerry didn't look all that happy at my last shows. Also, we often reach out and express ourselves to fill a void. If we find a quick fix to temporarily alleviate that pain inside, how likely are we to ever reach our creative potential? What of the brilliant people out there who have made their contributions without help? We don't think about the fact that they did it without drugs. It is only in the case of an artist who does drink or use that we bring it up and then nobody bothers to think that Jimi might have had another ten years to create a lot more music otherwise! I'm sure I'd be dead by now and I'm just starting. Sorry if I've offended anyone. God bless you.

All the best, Rich

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 11:00 AM

In no particular order and a very condensed list, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Hank Williams, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Jim Morrison, Rory Gallager, Janis Joplin, all extremely creative talented people, all eextermely dead due to Drug use, both legal and illegal. This is not news, but Drugs kill.

Thank gooodness that many others saw the learned from these people and are still alive and well.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mike Billo
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 10:36 AM

What were very old people doing at a Baby gramps show if they weren't fans??? I go to see him whenever he comes to the San Francisco Bay Area, and I'm always far and away the oldest guy there (I just turned 50). Anyway, back to the thread. I quit doing drugs 20 years ago. Did 'em all, including lots of hard drugs. The end result was that I ended up like a car that you put 500,000 miles on in the first two years, and then wondered why all the parts were crapping out the third year. I did drugs until I just couldn't do any more. Drugs were a great teacher in both a positive and negative way( you can learn from bad experiences). They helped free up a lot of inhibitions, and helped me get in get in touch with myself. They also got me in a hell of a lot of trouble, which is why I quit. They aren't for everybody. Once you cross the line into major drug use, the process of natural selection goes into overdrive. You either get very good at it ( various urban survival skills)and come out alive, or you fail at it completely (death). Darwinism at warp speed. As far as the connection to creativity, I think they did unlock some creativity in me, but they didn'y produce a creativity that wasn't there already. Just brought it to the surface sooner. Who knows? There may be some folks who watch me perform saying "He's showing us what it's like to be on drugs". As to which drug created the most problems for me, and I advise most strongly against, it was the only one that was legal. Alcohol. Bad stuff. I quit all drugs two decades ago, and won't go back. I think I'm lucky I came out alive, and besides, I'm wacky enough as is.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 01:35 AM

Alcohol always made my forehead go to sleep.

I hardly ever drank or used anything when I had a gig. Afterwards was a different story; I loved Scotch. Got to using a bit too much I thought---just to relax & mellow out-- but physical problems have dictated that I leave the booze alone now.
Caffeine, too, is a thing of the past except for maybe 2 cups a week. I was REALLY addicted to caffeine. ALWAYS had a cup of coffee (black) before every set. That'd put me where I wanted to be to do the best job I could do. (That was still pretty laid back.) If I could still pick & do gigs I'd be right back with the caffeine I'm sure.
Weed just made me ineffective musically so I didn't touch that after maybe 1969.
For the most part I always figured that I owed it to my family and to myself not to lose my drivers license or injure anyone by being less than an aware driver. Just a personal standard. After having a few close calls coming home after a at 5:00 A.M. gig night, I quit drinking until I got home.
Now I can't find the brake or the accelerator with my feet & my hands are too numb for hand controls ------ so I gave my last car to my son. Me Studs Terkel just take cabs.

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 01:09 AM

Just kiddink...

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 01:08 AM

I do.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Jan 00 - 12:07 AM

Attention: This a thread drift alert. Attention: Thread drift in progress.

I was fortunate enough to have witnessed a perfectly wonderful moment while watching a friend perform at a local festival here in the Pacific Northwest a few years back. The performer, Baby Gramps, is an lover of everything old and vintage. He likes old cars and wears old clothes. He plays an old guitar and his interpretations of old blues and novelty songs is a testament to his love of all those who have recorded on 78 rpm records. Even his stage persona is no exception, drawn from the antics of all those great crown princes of clowning that have now mostly faded into obscurity and are probably horsin' around in heaven. He combines his own writing talents with his healthy respect for what has come before to delight everyone who is fortunate enough to catch one of his performances, well, almost everyone. It seems that on that day while vying for a good vantage point to watch his performance I ended up beside an elderly couple who were observing the show and I overheard this woman comment to her male companion, "He's trying to show us what it's like to be on drugs." These folks were about twice Gramp's age and certainly from the generation that spawned all that Gramps loves and emulates but did not make the conection at all. They merely thought it was some sort of drug induced experience being reenacted for the benefit of those in attendance. Not to say that drugs were not a factor in much the same way they are today in much of the entertainment scene and old drug songs are certainly some of the novelties that Gramps has performed.

Well now that I think about it, the recording industry being so much smaller than it is today. I guess it's fairly easy to see that not all were connected to the wealth of talent being recorded during those years and much of that talent, like today, was being buried and or ignored, lost in the shuffle for one reason or another. Only the "popular" forms of music were deemed worthy of being presented by the music industry with few exceptions. It's a money thing same as now. It's only due to the efforts of collectors, archivists and preservationists that we have what we do of all that has gone before. I'm glad for that but sad for the short sightedness of the indusrty. Alas it was a different time but some things don't change.

The thing about it is I enjoy the same musical forms as Gramps. I don't have the same stage persona but I wonder how many think my various musings on stage are drug induced ramblings. ?

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: WyoWoman
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 11:55 PM

Well, having known some brilliant folks, and some brilliant folks ripped off their asses 24/7 on various substances, I can say without qualification that the more productive are the ones operating sans chemicals. But I have seen some utter brilliance from folks under various influences. It may be a matter of constitution and chemistry. As I said, I start getting stupid and/or sleepy pretty fast even on a nice white wine, so I think I'm just a complete lightweight.

But, I;ve often wondered with the chemical and brilliant people I've known personally or heard perform, if they were so abundantly creative and brimming over with art that you'd have had to kill them to keep it from coming up with great music or art or whatever, or if the chemicals actually were any kind of source for them.

"Whom the gods love, they also make mad..." is a phrase I understand completely. I've always been ridiculously creative, and staying sane and together-in-the-head-and-heart has sometimes been a real challenge to me. I always knew that if I relied on a chemical, I'd go right over the edge, and I didn't have any confidence in my ability to find my way back.

But I wonder what some of our best artists would have gone on to create if they'd oulived their youths and become mature artists instead of tragically dead rock makes me angry to consider the waste.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Remi from paris
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 10:38 PM

If a Frenchman may quote Baudelaire, one of the greatest French poets, and author of the "Artificial Paradises"

"Butchers have only butchers dreams..."

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Mudjack
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 09:53 PM

Janice Joplin, Jimmy Hendricks seemed to set an example of maybe drugs ain't so good. Maybe I should'nt judge but did they really have talent? or just to much garbage in their veins?
Creativeness for wording a new song always escapes me, maybe drugs is what I need.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: reggie miles
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 09:52 PM

I've never been able to afford a drug habit. Though I'm not so sure I'd want one after trying to combine my talents over the years with those who were too involved with various herbal and chemical substances. Believe me it was no picnic. I think the challenge of performing well, without being under the influence, is enough of a hurdle for me to leap. Mind you I've been totally in awe of some of the things I've seen people accompish while strung out on one substance or another. It's just more than I've ever cared to get involved with to any degree and in my experience much too costly. Life's too short. Okay, does enjoying sugar and salt count as a drug experience? I have tended to drift into the sweet or salty zones a bit but it's something that has lessened with age.

Don't need no munchie attacks to cause my middle to grow anymore. Gravity's doin' just fine on its' own. Reggie

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 08:46 PM

My $.02 worth:

I don't "indulge" before or during rehearsels and performances. After I get through loading up my assorted instruments and electronic stuff, then it's time for the ganja.

I'm paid to entertain the audience, and I take this as a sacred obligation.

I've composed music and/or song lyrics both "straight" and under the influence of various "trendy chemical amusements"...some turned out great, some sucked.

I find song-writing "stoned" is best done with a tape recorder.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 01:54 PM

I believe that weed shifts your mental focus from the logical realm to the emotional/intuitive realm. As such, it often enhances creativity. In music this may mean that instrumental improvisation is exquisite, but nobody remembers how the song is supposed to end.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: peg
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 12:50 PM

interesting thread...

in my experience, performing under the influence is very relative and idiosyncratic according to the individual's own tolerance, talent and ability to improvise...

as a singer, I find one beer or glass of wine before going on stage helps relax me enough that I do not get, say, nervous hiccups or brain jitters that make me scared I am gonna flub lyrics (which rarely if ever happens to me).

I also like having a beer on stage with me but only if it is my first one; otherwise, water...or hot herb tea if I am sick...

I perform at lots of pagan gatherings and there are often times when performing while stoned is not only acceptable but desirable; depends on the audience and the rest of the band etc...I did once take part in a midnight gig at Starwood and nearly all of the band took mushrooms beforehand; it was an incredibly magical performance and much of the audience was under the influence, too; but this is an exceptional choice under exceptinal circumstances and I do not generally recommend it.

I once had to get up and sing after having smoked a lot of pot; it happened because my band's concert was moved up to 5 pm, from the original scheduled time of 8 pm; again this was in a pagan gathering setting and so pretty low-key; but I found it difficult to sing as well as I might have if I had had three hours to come down a bit...the problems were not mental, merely vocal. I think the throat and lungs need some time after smoking weed to readjust...and too much of it is gonna have a negative effect on some individuals. For me, though, when I am on vacation at a gathering and smoking a fair amount throughout the day (two or three times, say), I notice a delightful side effect: the lower register of my range increases by several I can hit lower notes than usual; and with no damage to my upper range, usually...

as for creativity? well, yes, for the most part, pot enhances it for me in terms of writing songs or arrangements or finding new insights into a song's meaning. But just before performing, this is a case-by-case decision dependent upon the venue...


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: WyoWoman
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 11:13 AM

An utterly terrifying thought, Spaw.

Well, I did just about everything once, years ago when I was at the appropriate age for 'sperimenting. No needle drugs, but if you could chew it, smoke it, snort it or swallow it whole, I tried it once. A couple of things I tried twice. And I'm not sorry that I did, but I'm also glad I stopped when I did and only had that limited experience. I certainly learned a thing or two about the doors of perception, and that our experience of reality is highly subjective and subject to change at a moment's notice.

I did somoke a bit of pot, but again, never developed a habit. I'm the same way with cigarettes -- every now and then I'll smoke one or two when I have a beer and then not smoke again for a year. I've certainly seen lots of friends, and one to whom I was married, destroy their lives and lose absolutely everything to drugs. Which I never understood because I never had one single experience that I thought was worth losing any significant part of my life over. And now, it just doesn't work for me to break the law. I think drugs should be completely legalized and taken out of the criminal realm and if someone has a problem with them, he or she should have access to treatment and rehab. Period. And the gangstas should go find some other area in which to express their entrepreneurial bent.

However, I do think that some of the best experiences I've had as a singer came when I was a little stoned -- mainly because I'm pretty tightly strung and often lacking in confidence about the things that matter most to me -- music and writing -- and being just a little altered shuts up that cranky critical voice in my psyche enough that I can actually do some creating. But ... the line is so quickly crossed over into sloppiness or stupidity that it just isn't worth it to me to "go there." Even a little alcohol makes me start getting sloppy with intonation, so I try to keep wine and separate, unless it's just a big ol' jam and no actual artistry is required. But I certainly don't drink and perform at the same time. I simply can't imagine it. Two drinks and I'm sliding down the mic stand. Others must have much stronger constitutions than I do....

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 10:54 AM

Well I used to enjoy a few, but I haven't done any recreational stuff in 25 years. Got any idea what I'd be like on drugs?


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Allan C.
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 10:48 AM

Long ago there was a cartoon on the editorial page of my local newspaper. It showed a laboratory and a man in a lab coat who was writing notes on a clipboard. Strapped to a table was a huge rat. The reason the rat was so huge was because it had a hose (which was attached to a water fawcet) taped to it's mouth. The rat was made to look as if it would certainly explode at any moment. The man in the lab coat is writing this note: "We have observed that too much of anything is likely to be unhealthy".

This is not a new observation. But my belief is that there are some substances which are unhealthy even in the smallest of quantities. Sadly, for me, this is true of pot. It makes me faint.

It didn't always, though. The fainting thing has only been a problem within the past twenty years. There was one night long ago when I smoked a goodly bit of it and then put on one hell of a good performance. This was not just my own impression - my audience really enjoyed the show.

The problem came when I tried to duplicate the experience. Before the next few performances, I tried to smoke about the same amount but nothing came out anywhere near as good as it did on that other ocassion. My conclusion was that I probably would have been as good without the pot. But that was my own truth.

I used to play with someone who smoked pot regularly during practices. It truly seemed to help them find some great licks. But usually when I tried to do the same, I would get lost in the music but would forget that I was supposed to be one of the ones who was playing it!

I think we each have a truth to discover in this regard.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Pelrad
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 10:40 AM

I have noticed that creativity peaks when one is teetering on the edge of madness. I think historically, many people we consider to have been brilliant visual artists, writers and musicians, had some mental instabilities such as depression, etc., and tended to use drugs of various kinds to dull their psychic pain. Masterpieces were probably achieved during those periods between total drugged oblivion and functional normalcy. In the modern age, even prescription drugs can knock out that level of creativity...

Those who are just drugging for fun, if they get hooked, tend to obliterate what talents they have over time.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM

I believe everybody looks at the line
(those will do for a start) and draws the line somehow to say Well I'm a Good Guy, but you're over the line. They're all drugs. I could tell you the choice I have made for myself, but it may not be the choice others make. Two of my friends are good songwriters, and both have told me that their best creativity was achieved when stoned. Well maybe it works for them, but I didn't see any controlled experiments here.
I have been interested for many years on what constitutes "creativity" and like Douglas Hofstadter's idea that "making variations on a theme is the heart of creativity". . . it might be that a substance that removes inhibitions would allow somebody to see connections not normally perceived. The first law of toxicology is "dose determines poison"-- for any drug, there will be a level with no effect, a higher level where the maximum good effects are achieved, and a still higher level where the toxic side effects overwhelm the theraputic effects. . . might the same be true for alcohol and pot? Personally I am afraid to find out, and equally unwilling to make rules for other people.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: GeorgeH
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM

Roger wrote "Different drugs have different effects" and I thank him sincerely for that . . 'cause any discussion which talks about "drugs" as a single entity is over-simplified to the point of meaninglessness. Sadly - but rather predictably - too many posts here use "Drugs" to mean "drugs with the exception of Alcohol and tobacco", which (in any but a legal context) is even more silly.

But to return to the actual question, in general (and except in extreme moderation) clare s's post at the top of this thread says it all.


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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Escamillo
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 05:41 AM

This may be a little off-topic. In the recent days, we almost lost Maradona, the famous Argentine soccer player. He arrived at the hospital almost dead, was two days under intensive care, and the news are mixed: good because he is still alive, and bad because his heart is irreversibly damaged and neurological damage is still undetermined. Although his career was not music, he suffered the same addiction (cocaine) as many artists and sportsmen, and it was clear that the drug arrived to his life AFTER he touched the top, and not as an aid to his performance as sportsman. I wish all young artists considering drugs would think about the risks to their careers and their lives. (let's get the extasis of music!)
Yours, Andrés (an addict to tobacco, until now)

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Barry Finn
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 12:20 AM

I can say from much experence that while a little may not have an uncreative affect alot will stop dead an idea never mind a creation. IMHO those that used & were creative could've been so much the better with a clearer head. Much of the drug use from the 60's was rebellion, self medication, the desire to get down to the gutter where it was thought that our heros resided, expermination to see if we could see clearer or get to know answers(?), & that's only the short of it, but I believe it only drove a wedge into a very creative, questioning, idealizing generation, killing alot of it. My father & his childhood friends (4 that I know of) smoked for well over 60 years (I think it must've acted like fermelderhide (sp?) they all lived into their 70's & 80's) & they never seemed the worst for it but they REALLY never seemed the better for it either. When Billy Holiday came around (NY or Boston) my father used to get wacked with her. He told me once that her greatness came from her pain & compassion & the drugs they did was killing it. There is something about that life style that has an attraction, like a moth to fire, musicains & drugs have had are an air of mystery for at least the last century, maybe they feel they need to creative to excape the pain or passion they feel & when that's not enough well then the drugs can take over? It wasn't cool it just didn't hurt as much, sad. Barry

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Jan 00 - 09:41 PM

I know three really brilliant musicians who have relied on alcohol all of their lives to just cope, much as Bonnie pointed out. One did not use it while creating, the other two had it in their systems pretty much all of the time. One of them died an old and used up drunk with no recognition for his brilliant work, including a song that becamse famous which he'd sold for $50, for his next drinking bout; the other kept it under tight ocntrol, BUT did loosen up beause of it when jamming and performing, so used it to get rid of inhibitions he'd been raised with about jazz not being an acceptable type of music to play. He tried to dry out many times. He blew his brains oout a few years ago.

The one who didn't use it for creativity, still uses it sometimes, in social situations where he feels uptight, but seems to have conquered the constant need.

So, I guess it depends on the person whether they use it to let go some inhiitions and really get down, depending on ability, or use it for coping.

Either way, I agree wiht BigRiB. As far as I am concerned, a natural high and natural creativity is much better and there's no hangover!

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 11 Jan 00 - 08:23 PM

Mandy's original post also poses the question about the manifestation of drug use as a result of intense personal problems of the artists.
Being a creator, can mean not being part of the norm. Some artist may carry personal issues and at the same time are an authentic individual, who feel they are not part of the norm. This may lead them to lean on drugs for support.
For some people, just getting out of bed and having to deal with life period, can require leaning on drugs for support.

It can be that simple.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM

I reckon the Mudcat Cafe is about as addictive as you can get. Can be creative too.

I agree with what various souls said about grass being more helpful to punters than performers. Concentrates the attention on what is going on, all the little details and suchlike. But of course they may not be the kind of details that help make good music, and some of the things going on may not actually be going on.

But it's like anything, too much is too much. And too much may not be be very much at all. I've known great performers who are notorious for getting out of their heads - beer or dope - and in fact when you check they aren't drinking (or whatever) very much at all.But too much for them.

But I'm pleased that the thread here hasn't talked as if "drugs" just meant the illegal stuff.

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Subject: RE: Drugs and ''Creativity''
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 11 Jan 00 - 07:24 PM

I only regret the loss of so many decent musicians to drugs; who might still be entertaining us if it were not for their abusive lifestyles. Creativity is dependant on being alive, and to experience life in all aspects. No drug induced creativity is worth the kind of losses we have seen in the music industry. In stating the above I see I am echoing Caitrin's eloquent sentiments. Yours, Aye. Dave

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