Music and Drugs: A Bad Marriage

Over the past week I have had several conversations about musicians and drug use. I will not name any individuals or group and their involvement. But the conversations were interesting nonetheless. A few years ago I published a newsletter article submitted by a young lady who had first hand knowledge of musician friends of hers who really had tough times trying to shake drug addiction. It was one of the most informative editions in the newsletters existence.

But back to the group discussion about drug use. The conversation centered on the exploits of some of the groups of the sixties. One gentleman told us about the many musicians who used hash, cocaine, alcohol and definitely LSD. We talked not only about the physical effects on one taking the drugs, but also the problems that drug use brings upon the families of users. Oh yes, we all were speaking of the same family and their grave problems stemming from excessive drug use. When these conversations arise, it always takes me back to the discussions I had with my father about the many jazz musicians and their drug habits. As a teenager and budding musician I never could figure out how they got so involved with such a debilitating practice. I never got involved with drug use during my youth or even during my time in college and working in the music studios. It seemed like I was so busy being half musician and half businessman there was no time for drug use. A conversation some years later with a well-known jazz musician helped me really understand. He told me he got to the point where he couldn’t perform unless he was high. You see, he needed help to be creative, and that’s where he felt the drugs gave him a boost. The problem with that is with time, you form an addiction. Not good. We have lost far too many great musicians to drug addiction and we may lose more. If any musicians are reading this blog and feel you play better while high, think again.

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