The Influence Of Drugs On Music by Matthew Slater

We've all gotten drunk and had that Zen moment. Everything clicks, moves as one and there's a general feeling of wellbeing, of consonance, of rightness. It can make shit TV great and crap music brilliant. It can make the person you took back to yours seem like a good idea until you see them in the morning. It has an effect over how we see people, ideas and the world around us. In the same way that there is a difference in perception between suburbanites in a good neighbourhood, with a great education and after school activities; to that of a family in the ghetto with gang-culture, knife crime and an education that mirrors a prison more than a school. Now that's a gross generalisation with some stereotyped, if racist assumptions but my point stands true. We each have a different perspective on issues and ideas because of how we've been affected by the world. Drugs and alcohol, in my mind, is one way of expanding and broadening your mind – of gaining another perspective. You may say that drugs are bad, but that's someone else’s opinion you're giving me if you've never tried them. Get the idea? We can only see the whole picture by going to the other side. The good guy is only the hero with the majority of the crowd, get what I mean? I'm not advocating that every musician out there should go take handfuls of drugs and jam for hours. A lot of it would just be a frazzled mess no doubt. What I'm saying is that it allows you to take a different mind-set – let a chlorine injection to cleanse the system, to see the issue again from a different angle. This could be anything from dropping a few tabs of acid each and writing and seeing what happens; or trying a new method in composing your tunes (like lyrics before music or vice-versa). Sadly there's a general consensus with the general public, that many of the major musicians of the past have had drugs greatly influence their music, artwork and stage shows. This is based on the same romantic notion of the great novelists of the past drinking woodworm-infused absinthe and cranking out their notable works. As well as this, you have scenes like the rave culture where drugs are an integral part of the experience – and don't get me started on The Grateful Dead! Musicians can get away with drug use though – they're not forcing it on you whether it inspired or wholly created their music. There are those that believe that alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy or whatever makes this music better, that film funnier. To me, that's a personal choice. Drugs are chemicals that can make you happy, sad, angry, sleepy and funny – they change your mood, change your perspective and open you up to things that you may not have been open to before.