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Do you play your best music completely sober?


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Seems like the synth world incorporates a lot of different groups and personality types - from DJs to hip hop to avant garde to classical to church organ players...

So I figure there is a wide range of opinions on substance abuse among people here....

 

So thought it would be interesting to see if people think they are at their musical best completely sober, slightly buzzed off their substance of choice, or when their off in another world?

 

Personally, I've never been a huge fan of combining large amounts alcohol and music - always amazed me to see drunk-as-skunk people up on stage...

 

I am privy to a few puffs of high grade pot before playing or seriously listening to music, as it helps slow things down and lets me ocus on the music.... maybe a drink or two, but any more of either slows things down too much....

 

I've met some musicians who can make incredible things happen after eating large doses of psychedelics.... Hendrix, the Dead also come to mind as other folks who didn't seem ill effected by their guitars turning into snakes or whatnot....

 

So whose got some good stories or opinions on sobreity and music?

 

I think a *little* can go a long way, but its a fine line before the 'innovative' music in your head sounds starts sounding like crap to those listening (unless their zooted too....)

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Good thread. Having played lots of jazz gigs, I can assure you that I have witnessed an overdose (pun intended...) of drunk and stoned bandmates. I hated it every time, because it makes them play worse, breaks any communication between musicians, and in the end it just destroy people's lives and creativity.

Interestingly enough, when I played concerts of wild, experimental, highly improvised music, everyone was always completely sober! Go figure.

I have even known a couple of *classical* musicians getting a couple in order to overcome stagefright...

As for me, I like to enjoy myself when I play, and I know myself well enough to know that a couple of beers or a small amount of pot (if someone offers it to me) aren't going to hurt my playing. That's for jazz or rock gigs.

On the contrary, if I'm gonna play classical music or my own brand of fast and intricate electric jazz, I try to stay away from any psychoactive substance. Maybe one beer, no more.

 

Carlo

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I don't even eat before a gig.

 

I heard a story about some trumpet player that would only practice shit faced so that he could also perform under the influence at his best.

 

Don't recall who that was at this point in time.

 

As for my own experience, I've played with people that claim that smoking pot or getting drunk makes them play better. Either they all really suck to begin with or they're wrong.

 

However, I am of the opinion that lyrics can be improved by some personalities by taking drugs or drinking.

 

Zappa, never did drugs, but he would get much of his inspiration from drug users while they "tripped". Often the babbling of a strung out band mate would make it onto stage or album.

 

I guess the key is not to do drugs yourself, but to hang around other people while they kill their own brain cells.

:D

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If there's a cool audience it doesn't make much difference at all. Sometimes in the past when the crowd was uptight and wouldn't budge I used some sort of substance as a crutch...it worked. :)

 

I have two rooms full of music I've recorded (literally tons of music)...when I pick out a CD/cassette and listen to it I can't tell and really don't care if I was high/drunk when I recorded it.

 

The majority of my music was recorded sober but I really can't tell the difference in my playing.

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Aaah, this is a goood one! I remember a live recording I made years ago. We were drinking and smoking pot and we thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to music. Oooh, the deception when we heard it back...

For me, a few beers will do. It makes me feel more loose but not too many of 'em because then it's too loose. I never used coke on a gig. I can't stand playing with cats under the influence of that stuff, although some of my biggest heroes did great gigs on it. XTC and psychedelic stuff makes me dizzy already thinking about it. IMO, I don't care what people are taking, as long as they're in control of it, which is about the hardest thing to handle, and as long as they don't harm other people, which is also pretty hard when you're on dope. I wonder how Bird would have sounded if he never had used heroine.

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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The first time I played synth on stage I did not with the attitude that there is just too many knobs and keyboards to keep up with to cloud my mind with alcohol. My band mates knew I did not drink or do drugs and never pushed anything my way. In turn, I never preached to them. There was one night however...

 

The drummer had the flu and gave it to me. I ended up with a cough to bad that I had to play with one hand while holding the other over my mouth. (I was very polite and never coughed without covering my mouth.) After two songs the band stopped and the drummer went to his car to get the bottle of cough syrup his doctor prescribed. He just had the prescription filled and the bottle had never been opened. I took a drink and we started playing. Every time I started to cough I would take a drink. There are only a few things I remember about the first two sets.

 

1. Me thinking "Why is everyone on stage grinning at me?"

 

2. Me thinking "When did we get the fog machine?"

 

3. The drummer saying "You drank the whole bottle in one set! That had codeine in it!"

 

4. The guitarist saying "I have never heard keyboards make sounds like that before. No. Don't worry. It sounded good. I just never knew a keyboards could sound like that." (I was using a Hammond, a MiniMoog and a Crumar synth at the time.)

 

5. Me saying "Guys. I'm sorry. This is why I don't drink."

 

6. The base player saying "No. Don't worry. You sounded good. We never heard keyboards sound like that before.

 

7. The singer saying "Lets put him on the drums and see what happens."

 

8. The drummer saying "No way in Hell."

 

9. The singer asking the audience if anyone has a tape recorder.

 

I really wish I knew what happened that night.

 

Robert

 

edit: With all the spelling errors I had in this post it must have seemed like I drank a couple while typing it.

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by Rabid:

7. The singer saying "Lets put him on the drums and see what happens."

 

8. The drummer saying "No way in Hell."

 

... this story was sooooo cool :D

 

I have not tried anything in 30 years. I feel I don't need it... but then, perhaps that's why I suck on keyboards... :P

 

:thu:

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We were drinking and smoking pot and we thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to music. Oooh, the deception when we heard it back...
I hear this story far too often...I don't know if you see it this way or not but lots of people carry it like a badge of honor...to me that's really lame. Look, if you sucked that night it was because you sucked, not because you were high.

 

There have been lots of times in my life where I thought I was playing great stuff just to be horribly disappointed when I heard it back later. If you're really committed to your music you feel like this A LOT...almost always!

 

I suppose that time when I was 10 years old and couldn't handle the pressure of a tough recital I should have just blamed it on the fact that I hadn't discovered Beer or Weed yet? :D

 

I'm always trying to make the best music that I'm capable of...sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm disappointed.

 

FWIW, High or Sober has never made any difference to me. I am lucky in the fact that I've never had a problem with any substance...I'm a very moderate partier.

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Rabid, that's gotta be one of the funniest cough syrup high stories I know. My brother has a similar story, but his doesn't involve playing, unfortunately :)

 

I've always felt I played better sober, so I've never drank anything in a gig (Mind you, I have been known to drink a lot in other occasions ;) ). Never been much to have stage fright, so I've never *needed* it for that reason either.

 

I've also refused to play with people that were either drunk or high. Whatever floats your boat I guess.. doesn't float mine.

 

PS : Man, I gotta start proof reading these posts

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Nothin' wrong with a couple of "sodas" prior to the gig. It helps take the edge off a little bit, in my opinion. I lead a relatively serious and normal "day" life (job, wife, kids, etc.) but when the gig time comes I like to treat it like an escape from reality. This can be achieved via sobriety, but some degree of getting liquored up is kinda fun to enable the fantasy world.

 

One band I'm in has a ritual in which we carry the "mobile speakeasy" to every gig - an old cooler stocked with a couple of cases of beer, including our favorites and usually a 6 pack of "featured beer" that is a little off the beaten path. Most general business gigs include refreshments, but you never know up front if the band will have unlimited access to the bar, not to mention what to drink during load in and sound check. The "easy" has become like a band member in its own right. We were even thinking of making a custom Anvil case for it, so it can roll in undercover.

 

Regards,

Eric

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there have been many a time after having a few too many drinks i have jumped on the neares piano and started playing a few tunes...but i can just feel my fingers not moving that well and not doing what i really want them to. Therefore im much happier consuming alochol AFTER the gig rather than before...

 

and drugs...well i dont take em but while they "might" induce creativity...i dont think they increase accuracy...which is what i want on stage.

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Interesting thread.

 

I'm returning to regular gigging after 12-years off. When I gigged regular in my 20s, I was mostly drinking during sets and smoking dope on breaks. And, not surprisingly, my first and second sets usually sounded pretty good, third set was sloppy but decent, and by the fourth set -- well, it's a good thing the audience was wasted by then too.

 

Today I'm one of "those" people (you know, clean and sober :cool: ). I was a little nervous playing in front of people for the first time without liquid courage. But it went GREAT! It was funny, as I was tearing down at 2 am I realized that I had NEVER torn down sober before. Set up sober a few times, but never torn down.

 

Hard to say whether I play better. It's been 12 years guys, my chops suck. :( But the chops do seem to be coming back faster than I had hoped. So we'll see....

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Interesting thread.

 

I'm returning to regular gigging after 12-years off. When I gigged regular in my 20s, I was mostly drinking during sets and smoking dope on breaks. And, not surprisingly, my first and second sets usually sounded pretty good, third set was sloppy but decent, and by the fourth set -- well, it's a good thing the audience was wasted by then too.

 

Today I'm one of "those" people (you know, clean and sober :cool: ). I was a little nervous playing in front of people for the first time without liquid courage. But it went GREAT! It was funny, as I was tearing down at 2 am I realized that I had NEVER torn down sober before. Set up sober a few times, but never torn down.

 

Hard to say whether I play better. It's been 12 years guys, my chops suck. :( But the chops do seem to be coming back faster than I had hoped. So we'll see....

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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I've always preferred playing sober, or with a slight beer buzz at the most, for a couple of reasons;

 

1. I've always been too damn cheap to waste my hard earned money on something that I'm either going to burn or flush. :D I always had that dangling carrot of a shiny new synth in front of me, keeping my priorities straight. Especially in the `70's and `80's, when keyboards were still painfully expensive.

2. Although a beer or two can relax me enough to enable me to play my best, any more than that just slows me down and makes me sloppy.

3. I agree playing and making music is a natural high. Why would I want to cloud the experience by fogging up my brain? :)

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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I hear this story far too often...I don't know if you see it this way or not but lots of people carry it like a badge of honor...to me that's really lame. Look, if you sucked that night it was because you sucked, not because you were high.

You would have been right if only we didn't start out sober. You can definitely hear the playing getting worse during the evening, together with the rising amount of alcohol and pot. BTW, nobody who's thousands of miles away is telling me if I suck or not...

Everybody on this thread is talking about booze and pot. Does anybody have any experience with coke or LSD on stage?

Robert, you made my day! :D:D:D

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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I always think I'll be more creative when I'm stoned. It's quite possible that I could be, however, my motivation goes right out the window if I'm high. I'd rather lay on my couch and eat chips or something. Honestly, I know people who create marvels when high, tripping etc...I am just not one of them. Don't put them down as losers so long as they have their use under control, okay? That attitude is pretty closed minded I think. Who here would call John Lennon a "loser" when he opennly wrote songs being and about being messed up. If you're in a band and others are relying on you, thats a different story as you owe them a certain level of responsibilty. I couldn't imagine performing live while high or drunk, but that's just me. I think my reflexes, focus, drive would be shot. That's just how my body reacts to substances. ~nel

*

 

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--With certain kinds of music, 2 beer max.

--Other kinds, strict no beer rule in effect.

--Other kinds, more beer the better.

--Pot too unpredictable, fun for experimentation, but too likely to sap my energy *and* always the potential for incapictating self-esteem problems, e.g., an inescapable awareness of how shitty I sound, how sloppy my technique is, how much better the other cat it. Pot ain't all about deulsions of greatness. It can be just as much about delusions of horrendouns suckiness.

 

Now that I seldom play out and am a full fledged studio rat, I am unhappy to report that both beer and pot are more or less no go. Working my modest studio rig is just a bit too complicated. Though a little weed might fire my creativity, it sucks for figuring out why there's no sound coming out.

 

When I gig tomorrow night, I will be in two beer max territory.

 

BTW, I love drugs and booze, love them so much that I am committed to *extreme* moderation so that I might enjoy their salubrious and entertaining effects throughout a long and healthy life.

 

Drugs are for losers? I don't know what's more heinous in that statement: the blanket dismissal of anyone who uses or has used drugs, or the utter lack of empathy and compassion for "losers." Loss, grief, weakness, failure-- are these not venerable staples of the human condition? The source of our greatest music and art? Life is for losers, baby.

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I rarely imbibe anymore, and never have during professional gigs (clubdates, sessions, anytime someone is paying me to perform a written part). HOWEVER, I have experienced situations where someone's creativity was opened up via utilization of "chemical amusement aids" lol. Anyway, that kind of blanket statement bothers me. Remember that Hendrix was often stoned while Ted Nugent never was - whose output was more creative? (I will concede JH died on drug vomit while Nuge is still alive & kickin' LOL)

 

Originally posted by urk10:

Originally posted by Kcbass:

DRUGS ARE FOR LOSERS!!!!

If you can`t get high off your music. Shame on you! Kcbass

Yep

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I wouldn't say drugs are for losers, a lot of great musicians have been drug users, and made a lot of great music while on drugs. Examples: John Coltrane, Bill Evans. Might he have played better without it? It's really a moot question. Music is about results - if you can get the results and be high while doing it, then good for you, who am I to judge.

 

I think hard and fast rules are not the best approach here. Do what works for you, and don't judge others.

 

As SuperBob said, it's very instructive to record yourself playing live, and hear the results of drugs and/or alcohol. I did that a couple of years ago at a jazz gig. I remember that while performing, I felt nervous and not relaxed at the beginning of the evening. Had a couple of beers during the evening, and started to feel more relaxed and comfortable. I thought that my playing improved during the evening. Or at least, that it got more relaxed, better groove, etc. I certainly felt better as the night wore on.

 

When I listened to the tape later, the exact opposite was true. The playing sounded better at the beginning of the evening, and deteriorated later. Now, I prefer to remain sober while playing.

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BTW, nobody who's thousands of miles away is telling me if I suck or not...
Don't let the language barrier confuse you...I didn't say you sucked and never would...you did :)

 

Your one experience means little to nothing to me because I record EVERYTHING I play and have for over 15 years. I study every recording I've made picking out 'mistakes' or just things I could have done better. It never made much difference whether I was high or not...I've NEVER listened to something the next day and said "Damn, that wouldn't have sucked so bad if I was sober"....I think that's a cope out and in my case has never been true.

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Originally posted by Magpel:

Originally posted by Llarion:

Well, never having been in any other state but sober, I guess I have to say yes, I play best sober... :)

And worst ;)
AMEN brother!!! LOL!!!!

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.llarion.com

Smooth Jazz

- QUESTION AUTHORITY. Go ahead, ask me anything.

http://www.llarion.com/images/dichotomybanner.jpg

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.I've NEVER listened to something the next day and said "Damn, that wouldn't have sucked so bad if I was sober"....
Man, are you a complete idiot or do you just need glasses??? I said, we STARTED OUT SOBER and we ENDED UP HIGH. That's clearly written in my second post! Of course when I would have been high the whole gig and would have listened it back later and would have said "Damn, that wouldn't have sucked so bad if I was sober", yeah, that would be pretty lame, BUT PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU WRITE THAT CRAP!

And for the drugs are for losers guys: you should try something of it before you can judge. ;)

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

.I've NEVER listened to something the next day and said "Damn, that wouldn't have sucked so bad if I was sober"....
Man, are you a complete idiot or do you just need glasses??? I said, we STARTED OUT SOBER and we ENDED UP HIGH. That's clearly written in my second post! Of course when I would have been high the whole gig and would have listened it back later and would have said "Damn, that wouldn't have sucked so bad if I was sober", yeah, that would be pretty lame, BUT PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU WRITE THAT CRAP!

And for the drugs are for losers guys: you should try something of it before you can judge. ;)

Ok, we're going in circles...what's the difference? You are saying the music was good when you were sober but as you got high it stopped being good, right? If you're not saying that then we have no argument.

 

I've only said blaming drugs or alchohol on bad playing is lame...unless you really do have a problem with those substances. I don't play well DRUNK or so high that I can't walk...almost no one does.

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The sad thing about this is that (I think) we all agree that booze/drugs don't give you that little bit extra to play better, but rather remove an inhibition that keeps you from playing better. In other words the talent and creativity are Always There, it's just that chemicals remove the mental barriers that keep it locked in.

 

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who used to use chemicals but now have another, healthier way to "unlock" their musicianship, be it yoga, snorting pure oxygen, prayer, more sex, less sex, scream therapy, etc. Anyone?

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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