Sober Psyche 

Turning On, When Off the Pot

IN THE NEW WAVE of psychedelic music, how many musicians can possibly be stoned at all times? I found no shortage of folks that jam and freak without the wreath of pot smoke.

"If you've never tried drugs, but you're trying to create psychedelic music, you're more or less just going to be copying a feeling of something you've heard before that was influenced by drugs" claims Josiah Sherman of the Listening.

Gabriel Wilson, singer of the Listening, figures that drugs are "the 'fast and easy' way to get in touch with your spirit." He cites "meditation, prayer... those kinds of things" as his preferred method now.

Actually, everyone I found who makes sober psyche has had plenty of prior experience with drugs. Everyone save for Duncan Long. His Christian psyche explorations began in the late '60s cult group Concrete Rubber Band. Long warns, "I do know individuals that have 'blown their minds' to the point that they can't be creative, making me glad I didn't experiment with drugs in the past."

Certainly there are times when being high can work against a band. Look no further than the Grateful Dead catalog. Melynda Jackson, guitarist of SF group SubArachnoid Space, has seen a dark side to playing while high. "Have you ever picked up your instrument, looked at it, and been terrified because you can't imagine what you are supposed to be doing with it?" But when asked how she gets in the 'zone' to make psychedelic music without drugs, she's quick to respond. "I am always in the zone."

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