Here in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood, we lost another local musician to heroin. I won’t write his name here, because I don’t want to inextricably link him with the drug that killed him. But there’s an anguished frustration every time this happens, when the needle takes yet one more.
Junk has been a cancer on music since before Charlie Parker played a note. It has taken too many casualties to list here. It seeps into cinema and art like toxic groundwater. No one does better work while on heroin. It improves no experience; it only makes one atrophy. What it does, is put your soul in terrible pain, and then dulls it. Nothing it does helps you or anyone else in any legitimate way.
I freebased heroin on a dare during the early production of John’s Arm: Armageddon. The only positive was vomiting up the cold water I’d been drinking, which revulsed my ladyfriend. Other than that, it was utterly useless for the creative process; I didn’t even think to record the puking for audio. You are now reading the sole output of that entire studio day. It’s barely good enough for a footnote.
Heroin sucks. Just stay away from it. If you think you feel a pain inside that could be salved by heroin, please get help. I tried it because I needed to know it had no power over me; this is commonly considered to be “insane”. Do not do this. To quote David Meyer, the Pope of New York, I don’t practice what I preach, because I’m not the kind of man I’m preachin’ to.
After experimenting with LSD in the early 1990s, I got into ecstasy very heavily, just before the turn of the century. Here’s the thing about ecstasy; it wears off. And real life feels like anal rape by comparison. How long have you been grinding and clenching your teeth? Hours? Days? Why can’t you breathe “on track”, like before? Why is the cloudy sky making you weep?
If you have terminal cancer, or any other ailment where your expiration date is confirmed by a doctor, stock up on MDMA and bliss your way to your last breath. Otherwise, stay the fuck away from ecstasy. I was clinically depressed before I took it; otherwise, I’d never know if I’d deliberately depleted my serotonin. Happiness in pill form is something you should save for the worst possible moment. I don’t regret or decry my experiences on ecstasy, but remember: I am an American mutant. When you hear the phrase “technically you should be dead” more than once, you pay attention to the wisdom you can now impart.
I have managed to “blast off” on DMT several times, and I learned something special about myself each time. I enjoyed Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void, but his depiction of the visual effects of DMT was unfortunately way off. It’s fine for anyone who doesn’t know, but the best way I can describe the effect is “sight within sight”. I saw things without the use of my eyes, clearer than I could with them. I watched a giant mountain in the desert from thousands of feet above, alive with people carving out dwellings inside it, millions of tiny shutters and windows opening and closing, the birth of a civilization.
It was my left leg.
My best DMT experience was alone, in front of an empty fire pit. An indescribable entity arose from the ashes.
“I am the Stape”, it announced, in a metallic voice like static and hornets.
I think I said hello.
“Cast your negativity into the trees, and they will cast it into the void.”
I craned my neck and took in the night sky. The trees were bare from winter, resembling hands warding evil from the earth. The stars were outshone by a shower of meteors, pinballing in all directions. When I looked back to the fire pit the Stape was gone.
The following day, replaying the experience in my mind, I searched the word “stape”, expecting it to come up as a typo. I’d certainly never heard of it, even in Scrabble.
The stapes /ˈsteɪpiːz/ is a bone in the middle ear of humans and other mammals which is involved in the conduction of sound vibrations to the inner ear. The stirrup-shaped small bone is on and transmits these to the oval window, medially. The stapes is the smallest and lightest named bone in the human body, and is so-called because of its resemblance to a stirrup (Latin: Stapes).
The kid who made the DMT I was lucky enough to enjoy; he killed himself. As jaded as I am, I didn’t go overboard with DMT, because it’s different for everybody, and it makes acid seem like ginger beer. When you dream at night, your brain releases minute amounts of DMT. When you die, your brain pulls the stopper, and releases all the DMT, for the final blast-off. This is next-level spiritual experimentation shit. Please, my friends, tread lightly here, if you must at all. Do not use DMT outside of the supervision of Joe Rogan. He’s board-certified in this matter.
If you loved Pixy Stix and Jolt Cola as a kid, stay away from cocaine. Cocaine is very popular in the food-and-beverage service industries of metropolitan areas, because waitresses and chefs have to be human beings, while operating at the level of high-octane machines. It is addictive and will fuck up your nose and teeth. I’ve done it a bunch of times, and it’s a lot of fun, until it’s used up and everyone gets snippy. One of my favorite David Bowie albums, Station To Station, was produced entirely under the influence of cocaine. Just remember, a shitty time is inevitable, and coke has destroyed as many lives as heroin, if not more so. Up to you if you wanna roll them dice.
Marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is a medicinal flower and plant. That’s why I’m leaving pot out of this article. I don’t think it’s a good idea until you’re over 18, but you have receptors in your brain that are specific to weed, so you figure it out. I maintain faith that this country will come around on this matter. Time will tell, but you can’t argue with a 0% fatality record. I like rum, which is alcohol, which is a drug. How many people did that kill last week? Yesterday?
Use your head. Stay the fuck away from drugs that kill. There is no seductive secret power to heroin; it’s just a quick-and-dirty way to numb the pain. I had a better time getting shot up with morphine before an abscess drainage than I ever did on heroin. There’s no romance; it’s just an opiate. That’s what your enemies use to control or destroy you. Never bring it on yourself.
If you’re thinking it’s not worth it, you’re right.