Chapter 11: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (But Really, in This Chapter, Just the Drugs)

I have a long-standing policy when writing feature articles: if I take drugs with somebody I’m writing about, and if I mention in the article that they were consuming an illegal substance (in practice, that means marijuana), then I have to mention that I was as well. It only seems fair to me: if I took a hit off the joint when it was passed around the room, pretending that I didn’t would make me a hypocrite. (And most musicians are gentlemen about sharing—the memorable exception being the rapper Coolio, who sucked down most of a joint in the back seat of a limo and only offered it to me when we pulled up to MTV’s studios, in the heart of New York’s Times Square. Uh, no thanks, dude, I’ll decline to walk through Times Square with a joint in my hand.) I never had any problems with this philosophy until I wrote a cover story for Spin on Matchbox Twenty and ran up against the magazine’s house policy: they deemed it acceptable to write about musicians’ drug use, because that’s just observational journalism, but forbade writers from writing about their own, because that would be endorsing it. Much tap-dancing ensued; I ultimately wrote a paragraph that implied a great deal without actually depicting anything, not unlike the action of a PG movie.

  1. Did Jimi Hendrix really put LSD on his headband before performing?
  2. Is Coldplay’s song “Yellow” about cocaine?
  3. I heard about a drug bust that included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Marianne Faithfull in a fur rug (?) and a chocolate bar (!?!?!), but I don’t recall the details. What exactly happened?
  4. What drugs were the Grateful Dead taking when they recorded their first album?
  5. Were the Beatles really turned on to LSD by their dentist?
  6. What’s the deal with the connections between The Wizard of the Oz and Dark Side of the Moon? I’ve seen it, and the connections seem too many to be coincidental. And, I might add, I was neither drunk nor high at the time.