October 2, 2007

Time for a bib...

by Chris Randall

Sorry for not posting yesterday, but I went to the dentist in the morning, and he provided me with, among other things, a nice big bottle of Vicodin, ostensibly to numb the blinding pain that is taking over the left side of my face, but I think in reality to Take Me To A Higher Plane Of Understanding. Or something like that. Needless to say I spent most of the day drooling on myself, and if I did post, it would look something like this:

I like kittens. They're fuzzy. And rainbows. And corn dogs. Blue!

So luckily I managed to abstain. From the posting, not the Vicodin. I'm currently listening to the track I was working on for the majority of yesterday, and it really isn't very good. Despite what all the kids are saying, drugs usually don't help you write better music. I have quite a bit of experience in this matter, so I can speak with a bit of authority here. What they do is enable you to stand (and perhaps even enjoy) music that is, in fact, not very good.

Of course, there are certain things to consider. First, when you're creating music and using a little substance action to help that process along, they do allow you to get over the tedium of the process and get deep in to the "why" of it. Ministry was (is?) a good example of this. When I started recording my first record for Wax Trax!, they were working on the hi-hat part for Scarecrow in the same studio. When I finished recording my first album for Wax Trax!, they were still working on the hi-hat part for Scarecrow. Listening to the track now, I don't think that the hi-hat is terribly special, at least not special enough to warrant three weeks of lock-out.

Second, most drugs (at least the ones that don't make you incredibly paranoid) allow you to get by your normal reticence to do anything that would be unacceptable to your customers, at least in your own mind. Yes, "Strawberry Fields" is the obvious example of this, and that song has been used as the justification for more excessive drug use than probably any other. But there's one key point to consider. The four guys (five if you count Sir George) that wrote that track were exceptional musicians and songwriters to begin with.

So, whatever. I'm the last person to give any advice in this matter, and I could literally give no fuck whatsoever with what you do with your time. But when I think of all the gear I could have bought, and all the shit songs I've written and released... Ugh.



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Oct.02.2007 @ 1:44 PM
" What they do is enable you to stand (and perhaps even enjoy) music that is, in fact, not very good."


so true, it hurts. And how 'bout alcohol? I think it makes people way too happy to dance to pretty average dance music.



Oct.02.2007 @ 1:48 PM
Chris Randall
The only alcohol I consume on a regular basis is a glass of good Oregon Pinot with dinner, and we have a sit-down dinner about 3 times a week. And I've been known to have a mojito when we're hanging with friends. But otherwise, I eschew alcohol, and I personally can not abide drunk people. Made for some interesting confrontations when I was still touring.



Oct.02.2007 @ 2:09 PM
Well if it weren't for drugs, we wouldn't even be talking about that high hat today, so there is that.

Oct.02.2007 @ 2:16 PM
There should be some equation to figure out how the various vices [n] x consumption x number of folks involved divided by inherent talent affect the time to complete a project vs. quality of said project.

Oct.02.2007 @ 2:17 PM
Chris Randall
That's easy math. A fantastic musician can smoke a lot of weed and still make good music. A mediocre musician needs to fucking concentrate to rise above his station.



Oct.02.2007 @ 4:35 PM
"A fantastic musician can smoke a lot of weed and still make good music."

Well, the verdict about me is in.


Oct.02.2007 @ 6:58 PM
Everything in its place, right? I like the way that various mind-altering substances do just that - alter your mind a bit, and sometimes give you a way to slip around the blockages of your own preconceptions, help you lose that otherwise rock-solid and often unhelpful image (however unconscious) you have of yourself and your music - help you to get a new perspective, a different approach to a creative work. Sometimes it's a tiny change in attitude that lets slip some weirdass restriction you'd imposed on yourself. Sometimes it's listening back later to a take you did when you wandered into the studio high as a kite, with no real intention of being creative but happening to track your fun and spacy jam, and wondering how the hell you came up with that - ala Keith Richards.

Also good for easing the tedium of some of the more drab parts of the production process - perhaps this would be applicable to watching frames render.

Once those new ideas have solidified and you're hard at work on the details and execution of your newly inspired approach, those very same substances can get in the way.

People make such a damn big deal about drugs, pro or con. You'd think that after 40 years or so of popular drug culture, we'd have a solid body of people who know how to enjoy/employ them to their best effect, and we'd be done with the overexcitable and undereducated people who are so frequently the outspoken ones on this subject. Straightedge people irritate me every bit as much as wasteoids.

Mmmm, those lovely shades of grey...


Oct.02.2007 @ 11:44 PM
Why is it my doctors only care about health and not mind expansion and finding nirvana, is it a west coast thing? Anyways, while still on this plain, I'm with you on kittens and corn dogs (nitrates and HFCS, oven baked with ketchup, what is there to not like) but since college physics demystified the rainbow, I can go either way.

Oct.03.2007 @ 2:40 AM
What did the deadhead say when the drugs wore off?

Oct.03.2007 @ 3:37 AM
Chris Randall
"Christ, this band fucking sucks."

In principle, I agree with Aahzekiel, as I think my post more or less demonstrated. Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with most drugs, and I don't mind being around someone that's on them, and imbibing or not as the situation dictates.

What I _don't_ like is people that get so fucking high they can't function, or people that can't afford their drug of choice and rely on others. And I really can't fucking stand junkies, of any stripe, but especially dope. If you need to do a little downtown brown to get you in your headspace so you can play your parts, so be it, but that's a drug that most people can't control, in my experience.



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