Editorials

THOUGHTS ON POT – METALHEADS LIGHTEN UP

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I’m probably the last guy around the MetalSucks Mansion that should be writing about pot.

Last time I smoked was over 20 years ago. I was riding around in a van with a couple of dudes from Deadhorse somewhere in Houston, Texas, having a great ol’ time. For some inexplicable reason though, I decided to give up the ganja then and there. There was no traumatic reason for doing so. I just knew I was done. Haven’t touched the stuff ever since.

So, instead of trying to opine about marijuana, I decided to turn to some of my metalhead friends in the business. I simply asked them to write down their thoughts on pot.

These are their stories:

Jason McMaster (Vocalist for Watchtower/Dangerous Toys/Broken Teeth) – “Good medicine, in moderation, plain and simple. Just like havin’ a drink with dinner, the unwinding effect is important. The third eye having even a slight sample of clarity is good and a little weed helps sometimes. The fact that people can overuse might seem unbelievable to avid tokers and legalize-it petitioners. i have seen weed ruin and slow down some very talented young people who would thrive and add so much to society if they put the bong away for at least a week.”

Mike IX Williams (Vocalist for EyeHateGod/Arson Anthem) – Proceeding to Nazareth: Yes, No or Maybe by Mike IX Williams – EyeHateGod/Arson Anthem –

“Yessiree, without a doubt in my head, at the end of the day marijuana changed my life, all for the better or the worse. The mighty hydroponic hemp opened my teenage eyes to many many, many new sights and sounds. Slayer and Venom videos never looked and sounded so incredible! Celtic Frost and English Dogs on vinyl was fucking golden! Swans and Hirax blew my mind and Voivod and Die Kreuzen had me staring at the stereo in amazement. In a room full of us baked in a cloud of hazy smoke and cold beer, we understood that B-horror movies like Pieces, Gates of Hell, and Bloodsucking Freaks were major masterpieces. These were times I wouldn’t trade for anything. Tape trading and weed – check. Toking while making our own xeroxed fanzines – check. Sitting stoned for hours trying to write songs on a beat-to-shit two string K-Mart fake SG – check.

Is pot a gateway plant? It definitely was for me but I don’t think everybody is the same. The ancient herb does NOT always lead folks to try LSD and ecstasy; nor does it eventually pull people down a way more decadent road of heroin or cocaine, but shit happens, however, and usually and luckily stronger heads prevail. I do not smoke pot at the very moment because of a thing called urine analysis and some criminal prosecution, but that’s not to say I never will do it again. Look, kids…it’s not for everyone, stick to eating Frankenberry and Count Chocula if you want, or you could try a bit of nature’s finest home grown product, it’s your decision. Hemp should be legalized immediately for its uses beyond smoking at the very least. So on this 4/20 celebration day, either way, make the move. Call that weird guy with the greasy hair and Sleep shirt that lives on your block as soon as possible and – if you want – get right.”

Albert Mudrian (Editor of Decibel Magazine) – “Honestly, I have no strong opinions on pot either way. I rarely smoke any, but I’m in no way opposed to it.”

Dean “Deaner” Murdoch (FUBAR actor Paul J. Spence) – “OK here’s some crazy talk. This is the true nature on the history of 4/20 by Dean Murdoch. Back in the pre-Merlin days, in the Land of the Ancient Wizards, the calendar had 420 days. Uther, the original Spellcaster decreed that on that last day of the year, the 420th day, there was to be 24 hours of bong hits from hollowed out trees, massive orgies with trained virgins and master swordsman, and limitless beer, which back in the day was called Fearlies. Then when Socrates changed the calender to 365, they were like, fuck, when do we party, and Uther was like, Fuck it, we party EVERDAY, at 4:20. And so we do. Bongs up, motherfuckers!”

Joel McIver (Author of Crazy Train: The High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads) – “The subject of marijuana is made over-complex by the endless opinions of uninformed people. While I accept that its effects are powerful, ultimately we’re only talking about a plant that grows in your back yard, not an agent of Satan. It’s so obvious to me that it should be distributed and regulated by the authorities that any other argument seems senseless. Treat it like alcohol: open up its manufacture and distribution to the open market, tax it and market it appropriately. Warn people that it can fuck you up and offer medical relief to those who have overindulged. None of this is rocket science.”

Brian Slagel (Metal Blade Records Big Cheese) – “Hey Corey, I don’t smoke so I don’t really have any good thoughts on it. Best of luck with the MetalSucks stuff!”

Tony Nobles (Guitarist for Skullduggery/The Beaumonts) – “It is a part of all music. I work with musicians of all stripes and the use of the weed is universal. It is simply a part of music. It has been the subject of song since the emergence of recorded music. Folk, big band, swing, blues, jazz and country all had stars that sang about and smoked weed from their beginnings almost a century ago.

The illegality of it is disturbing and costly on many levels. The social and psychological ramifications of being deemed an outsider, or outlaw, due to marijuana usage extracts a terrible toll on individuals and society. I find that the older I get, the anti-marijuana rhetoric becomes less convincing and the socio-economic realities clearly become that of oppression. Prohibition is a huge business. It is an expense paid in addition to the money spent on drugs, not in leiu of. It seems like graft of the highest order that we pay for a war on drugs, then pay the drug warriors for protection ensuring an abundant supply.”

Aaron Aites (Co-director of black metal documentary Until The Light Takes Us) – “I support decriminalization. Marijuana is non-addictive, it’s use is extremely widespread, and studies have shown that there are no physical or mental problems associated with its use. I don’t believe the purpose of laws is to criminalize behavior patterns that harm no one. It could also immediately be a source of state revenue if regulated, while at the same time eliminating the power of the criminal cartels which currently distribute it. If anything should be illegal, it’s alcohol, not marijuana. The fact that marijuana isn’t legal yet baffles me.”

Aaron wrote back and added, “I have never known anyone that was harmed in any way by marijuana use. Accept of course for those who have run into cops while smoking it.”

Paolo Gregoletto (Bassist for Trivium) – “Well if you can get a hold of Nick, he is more of a “connoisseur.” I don’t smoke and I have only eaten hash a few times and it made me freak out. I am neutral on pot, it doesn’t hurt people but it really makes some of them dumb as fuck. To each their own!”

Mike Titsworth – (Bassist for Angkor Wat/Pasadena Napalm Division/PAIL) – “Smoking weed jacks up your singing voice.”

Tre Watson (Guitarist for Carthage) – “I used to smoke weed when i was younger (all through high school with my drummer for example). Personally, i have no qualms about pot. It didn’t make me necessarily better at writing or composing music (I’ve always been a better writer sober) or really anything i would hear folks say it does, but i always had a good time, and blazing with my friends was one of my favorite memories of my adolescence. As for pros/cons, come on, be real: pot is like the least harmful of any substances. Makes me wonder why nicotine products are legal, as harmful as they are. Always felt like legalizing assault and getting sentences for speeding.”

Lance Harrison (Guitarist for Hirax) – “Pro!!! Mary Jane is a Beautiful Bitch!!”

Jason Bittner (Drummer for Shadows Fall) – “Well lets just say that I am 100% pro marijuana, as long as it doesn’t interfere with a person being a productive part of society. I advocate it’s use for health, and wellness, especially for those in chronic pain, and for dealing with stress and anxiety. However, I do not support those who do nothing with their lives aside from being a weed smoking, uninspired couch potato. That being said, lite em’ up!!!”

Rick Colaluca (Drummer for Watchtower) – “I have mixed feelings about pot. On one hand, it makes you stupid. Like, walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and forget what you were looking for stupid. Or, forget what you were talking about in the middle of a sentence stupid. Not good. On the other hand, it makes it easy to see things from a different perspective. Things that don’t make sense while straight make perfect sense when stoned. And that goes for music too. For instance, I can struggle with writing a drum part to a difficult rhythm, but put a little THC in my system, and suddenly it makes sense. I guess it’s that it opens up the mind in a way that only THC can do. In my opinion, that’s good.

As for the legal aspects of pot, I think that it’s very bad for society to continue to jail people for owning something that grows freely out of the ground. What could be more stupid? It’s a weed! And then there’s the social stigma surrounding pot. Society has deemed it ok for people to get wasted on alcohol, or destroy their bodies smoking cigarettes and using prescription drugs, but not ok to use THC in the privacy of their own homes? This simply makes no sense. In addition to the obvious use as a drug, there are many things that hemp can be used for, and yet growing or owning this WEED continues to be illegal. I won’t get into all of the many reasons why pot should be legalized, but I’ll just say that this is just another manifestation of a society that has its priorities completely backwards.

Ok, I’ll stop now….”

Ian Christe (Head Honcho of Bazillion Points Publishing) – “One of my best friends heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while super-high, and thought it was the most incredible thing she’d ever known. The next day, she went out and bought the record and couldn’t wait to hear this amazing thing over again. Halfway through, she turned it off, threw the disc out the window, and has never smoked pot again. Pot makes stupidity tolerable—which is miraculous, but it also breeds intolerable stupidity—which sucks.”

William Howell (KNAC.com Metal DJ) – “As a non-smoker & resident of California a state that’s close to $400 Billion in debt you’d think legalizing and taxing Marijuana would be a way to help solve our fiscal crisis and should’ve taken place by now, but no. We’re liberal, but not that liberal apparently. Even though Medical Marijuana here has been accepted as legalization overall the voter ballot measure last year was rejected. No matter…as long as we have rich soil, great year-round weather, brave cultivaters and a consistant demand out there, Marijuana crops will continue to flourish and I can count on that thick second hand smoke at every concert from all the users!”

Bill Kennedy (Re-mixer for Nine Inch Nails) – “Gotta Love Pot and Hash!!! It helps me with everything…and makes my mixes a little more fun!!!!”

Neal Turbin – (Singer for Deathriders/ex-Anthrax) – “Marijuana is just a plant that grows easily for hemp products like paper, clothing, and as we know, also beneficial to treat illnesses ranging from glaucoma to sleep apnea and many other medical disorders. It has also been used for centuries in spiritual and religious practice. The deaths and related injuries from alcohol are always in the news. How many times do you hear or read this about marijuana? The recreational benefit for some is that it helps to prevent boredom. The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. It is not and cannot be classified as a narcotic, but the law virtually treats it the same way. I guess the powers that be would rather have angry drunks than happy stoners.”

Adam Wright (Singer for By Any Means Necessary) – “Vaporize that shit. It’s less harsh on the lungs.”

-CM

Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books. He also has the munchies.

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