John Coltrane and LSD

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LargeA

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Nov 28, 1994, 11:00:11 AM11/28/94
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In Eric Nisenson's fine ASCENSION: JOHN COLTRANE AND HIS QUEST, (St.
Martin's, 1993) he writes, "John Coltrane began using LSD fairly regularly
some time in
1965. Although it has been stated by some that he took it only when he
record OM later
that year, he actually took it far more often during the last few years of
his life, according
to a number of people, including a member of the quartet who would prefer,
like others,
not to be quoted directly on this subject."

I don't put heroin and alcohol in the same category as the powerfully
stimulating LSD. I
can still say that Coltrane gave up drugs in 1957. For him, as with
myself, it proved
immensely helpful in understanding his soul, his mind, and his spiritual
place in the world.
The author points out that the experiences confirmed his insights rather
that changing
anything. For me, this revelation is the most important one in this
absorbing account of
John Coltrane. - Allen Large

Rolf Hanson

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Nov 28, 1994, 4:04:19 PM11/28/94
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In article <3bcuqb$r...@newsbf01.news.aol.com>, lar...@aol.com (LargeA) wrote:

> I don't put heroin and alcohol in the same category as the powerfully
> stimulating LSD. I can still say that Coltrane gave up drugs in 1957.
For him, as with
> myself, it proved immensely helpful in understanding his soul, his mind,
and his
> spiritual place in the world.

does "it" refer to giving up drugs or to LSD? I am confused...
Nisenson's book says that he used it circa 1965, but the liner notes of
the Rhino "last giant" box state that he gave up drugs before 1960... are
one of the books in error, or is LSD not considered a "drug" among jazzers
used to alcohol and heroin?

-rolf

MMMbel

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Nov 29, 1994, 9:25:17 AM11/29/94
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Trane used lsd only once (during the OM session), as far as I know. This
was a one-off time. The man's genius and music came from his spirit. He
did stop using heroin and the ilk in the mid-fifties, and devoted his life
to spiritual enlightenment through his music. I'm really tired of this
fascination with Trane and lsd. It was a ONE TIME experiment, and should
be treated as such. Its not some cool "tidbit" on Trane's life...
actually its meaningless.

Mikey


David C. Hall

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Nov 29, 1994, 4:58:30 AM11/29/94
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In article <3bfdkd$g...@newsbf01.news.aol.com> mmm...@aol.com (MMMbel) writes:
>From: mmm...@aol.com (MMMbel)
>Subject: Re: John Coltrane and LSD
>Date: 29 Nov 1994 09:25:17 -0500

>Mikey


Mikey - No offence intended, honest, but how do you know it was a one-off
experience? I am curious as to your source - other musicians, hearsay,
interview? I am a great fan of Trane's music (and not hugely interested in
his alcohol/drug problems) but the scientist in me is a stickler for
accuracy in statement.

Thanks! David in Ithaca

*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@*****@****
From the desk of: dc...@cornell.edu

David C. Hall, DVM, MSc
Dept. Agricultural Economics, 408 Warren Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, U.S.A. 14853 Home phone/fax: (607)256-3248

LargeA

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Nov 29, 1994, 10:15:31 AM11/29/94
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In article <hanson-2811...@141.224.192.28>, han...@augsburg.edu
(Rolf Hanson) writes:

"It" meant LSD. I don't consider it a drug like heroin and alcohol. Rhino
was technically correct, but I don't think they or many others knew about
Trane and LSD.

Jeff Stuit

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Nov 29, 1994, 12:48:50 PM11/29/94
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The Eric Nisenson (sp?) book I read on John Coltrane early this year
really disputes this statement. Nisenson claimed that Coltrane
was using LSD frequently during the mid-60's, and that "Om" was
recorded when the entire band was on an acid trip. He also said
that Coltrane was so embarrased with how "Om" came out that he
never wanted the recording released, and it only happened after his
death.

LargeA

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Nov 29, 1994, 5:00:16 PM11/29/94
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Here again is the quote from Eric Nisenson's book:

David J. Strauss

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Nov 29, 1994, 12:38:34 PM11/29/94
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: fascination with Trane and lsd. It was a ONE TIME experiment, and should

: be treated as such. Its not some cool "tidbit" on Trane's life...
: actually its meaningless.

Nisenson seems to think otherwise. And if you listen to the newly
released Afro-Blue on the just reissued Live In Seattle, I think you'll
suspect the same (Much "Om-like" chanting in the middle of such). For all
the smack Romanticism, et al, involved in the Jazz legacy, the truth is
that most of us don't know very much about the individuals who made the
records that we obsessively pour over (& who but a fanatic would write
into this newsgroup day after day). Journalists tend to clam up about
warts and all (not unlike the days of John Kennedy), Miles implies
certain "disagreements" with bandmembers in his autobiography, we end up
knowing nothing. Let's out the truth once in a while, I think most of us
are big enough to take it.

MMMbel

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Nov 30, 1994, 10:30:41 AM11/30/94
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In article <3bfouq$j...@cmcl2.NYU.EDU>, djs...@is.nyu.edu (David J.
Strauss) writes:

.Nisenson seems to think otherwise. And if you listen to the newly
.released Afro-Blue on the just reissued Live In Seattle, I think you'll
.suspect the same (Much "Om-like" chanting in the middle of such). For all

.the smack Romanticism, et al, involved in the Jazz legacy, the truth is
.that most of us don't know very much about the individuals who made the
.records that we obsessively pour over (& who but a fanatic would write
.into this newsgroup day after day). Journalists tend to clam up about
.warts and all (not unlike the days of John Kennedy), Miles implies
.certain "disagreements" with bandmembers in his autobiography, we end up
.knowing nothing. Let's out the truth once in a while, I think most of us
.are big enough to take it.

Well, well, well. Speaking for this cat, "romanticism" has nothing to do
with it. In fact, quite the opposite. The "romanticism" seems to be the
need to keep talking about musicians and drugs in the context of their
music. Certainly, none of us are striving to hold any up on a pedestal
for fear of having to "accept" the fact that a musician
took/experimented/quit/died with drugs (there are pleny of authors and
journalists taking care of that.) Not here to judge either way, just to
appreciate a musician on terms of experiencing his genius and creativity.

As for Trane, that knowledge was dropped to me by various friends and
contacts "connected" to the scene back then (not myself, being a young lad
of 30), and they say that was the word out on the street. Its really hard
for me to think that Trane was using lsd steadily in a prolific year like
1965, but if a JC Quartet member says so, then hey, who am I to argue. The
point is the usage, in the context of what was pouring out of that man, is
minute in my opinion. So, yes, Trane experimented with lsd in 1965, maybe
more than once, but for me, it ends there.

Mikey


LargeA

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Nov 30, 1994, 12:10:02 PM11/30/94
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Thanks, for sharing that with us, Ed. The last time I used acid, thirteen
years ago, I met my wife! Anyone out there who has used it usefully, will
understand why it's so important to know that Coltrane discovered it, too.
It makes so much sense now, that I feel foolish not to even have suspected
it before. That's why I started this string..I had to get others' opinions
of Coltrane (whom I've always loved) and his use of this awesome
psychedelic.


Arild Hestvik

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Nov 30, 1994, 11:18:52 AM11/30/94
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In article <3bfpi2$o...@srvr1.engin.umich.edu> Jeff Stuit <st...@umich.edu> writes:

mmm...@aol.com (MMMbel) wrote:
> Trane used lsd only once (during the OM session), as far as I know. This
> was a one-off time. The man's genius and music came from his spirit. He

The Eric Nisenson (sp?) book I read on John Coltrane early this year


really disputes this statement. Nisenson claimed that Coltrane
was using LSD frequently during the mid-60's, and that "Om" was
recorded when the entire band was on an acid trip. He also said
that Coltrane was so embarrased with how "Om" came out that he
never wanted the recording released, and it only happened after his
death.

Why not ask Nisenson himself? He occasionally contributes here.

As for OM, I can understand Coltrane's embarassment---

-Arild

Walter Davis

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Dec 1, 1994, 11:02:57 AM12/1/94
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In article <3bfouq$j...@cmcl2.NYU.EDU>

djs...@is.nyu.edu (David J. Strauss) writes:

>
>Nisenson seems to think otherwise. And if you listen to the newly
>released Afro-Blue on the just reissued Live In Seattle, I think you'll
>suspect the same (Much "Om-like" chanting in the middle of such). For all

chanting is evidence of lsd use? Now I understand the attraction
of monasteries.


>the smack Romanticism, et al, involved in the Jazz legacy, the truth is
>that most of us don't know very much about the individuals who made the
>records that we obsessively pour over (& who but a fanatic would write

This is true. And we still don't. You have no better idea of
whether Trane used lsd on a regular basis than I do. We do
have Niesenson citing unnamed sources (it's my understanding
that the book is full of unnamed sources and uncredited
references). Why give greater weight to the author who claims
it was a regular habit than to the ones who claim it wasn't?


>into this newsgroup day after day). Journalists tend to clam up about
>warts and all (not unlike the days of John Kennedy), Miles implies
>certain "disagreements" with bandmembers in his autobiography, we end up
>knowing nothing.

Jazz authors, critics, biographers, etc. are more than
willing to talk about heroin habits and difficult personalities.
I won't say we get all the gory details, but use of lsd
seems pretty mild compared to the things we are told about.


>Let's out the truth once in a while, I think most of us
>are big enough to take it.
>
This is the truth? Because one author cites unnamed sources,
"including a bandmember!!!", that it was a regular habit?

My position - I don't know whether Coltrane took lsd. I
haven't read anything in this thread that comes remotely
close to credible evidence that he did. But guess what.
I don't give a fuck if he took lsd.

-walt

Walter Davis WALTER...@UNC.EDU
Department of Sociology and ph: (919) 962-1019
Health Data Analyst at the fax: (919) 962-IRSS
Institute for Research in Social Science
UNC - Chapel Hill

Tom Brown

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Dec 1, 1994, 12:32:42 AM12/1/94
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In article <3bfdkd$g...@newsbf01.news.aol.com> mmm...@aol.com (MMMbel) writes:

Once is quite enough to be very meaningful.


Roger Stump

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Dec 1, 1994, 3:05:38 PM12/1/94
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In article <1707F9B6...@uncvm1.oit.unc.edu> WDA...@uncvm1.oit.unc.edu (Walter Davis) writes:
My position - I don't know whether Coltrane took lsd. I
haven't read anything in this thread that comes remotely
close to credible evidence that he did. But guess what.
I don't give a fuck if he took lsd.

-walt

Well said, Walt.
--
Roger Stump (rst...@geog.albany.edu)

Tom Storer

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Dec 3, 1994, 7:03:08 AM12/3/94
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Psychedelics are one thing, jazz musicians another, jazz music yet
another. Musicians do all sorts of things in their lives: there
are/have been junkies, LSD users, drunks, chain-smokers, and no
doubt others who live lives of abstinence and ascetism. Every artist
has his or her own way of arriving at expression; as a person
interested in the lives of various artists, sure, it's interesting
to know as much as possible about individuals. As a music lover,
however, the bottom line is not whether Trane was dropping acid when
he was recording one record or another, but simply whether the
record was a good one or not.

--
"Le jazz, c'est comme les bananes - ca se consomme sur place."
Sartre

Ed Price

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Dec 3, 1994, 11:33:33 AM12/3/94
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Tom Storer <10034...@CompuServe.COM> writes:

>Psychedelics are one thing, jazz musicians another, jazz music yet
>another. Musicians do all sorts of things in their lives: there
>are/have been junkies, LSD users, drunks, chain-smokers, and no
>doubt others who live lives of abstinence and ascetism. Every artist
>has his or her own way of arriving at expression; as a person
>interested in the lives of various artists, sure, it's interesting
>to know as much as possible about individuals. As a music lover,
>however, the bottom line is not whether Trane was dropping acid when
>he was recording one record or another, but simply whether the
>record was a good one or not.

Damn. I just went to the bookshelf to grab Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game"
cuz on page 357 if I remember correctly there's a nice (a little goofy but
hey) paragraph describing this one character, the "Music Master", who is
described as having developed a profound "serenity", presumably related to
his involvement in music -- but I forgot that I lent it to someone and I
never typed in that quote... Oh well. Anyway, from what I have read of
Trane, he seems to have been a real-life example of someone who really did
improve himself as a person as well as constantly developing as a musician,
and these were not unrelated, it seems to me.

Andrey Tarkovsky: ``I am convinced, and this is something that has often
struck me, that an artist needs both knowledge and the power of observation
only so that he can tell from what he is abstaining, and to be sure that
his abstention will not appear artificial or false. For in the end it is
important to confine yourself within a framework that will deepen your
world, not impoverish it, help you to create it, excluding all
pretentiousness and efforts to be original. As far as possible all links
with life have to be excluded, with no loss of truthfulness, discarding
only the superfluous trash that appears (or may appear to some people) to
be a sign of authenticity, of convincing argument. For such arguments lie
outside the parameters of image-thought, in an area where quantity can
never be transmuted into quality.'' [diary entry, July 7 1980, from _Time
Within Time_ p261]

Rilke (from _Selected Letters of 1902-1926_): ``Art is always the outcome
of one's having been in danger, of having gone right to the end of an
experience to where no human being can go further. And the further one
goes the more peculiarly personal and unique does an experience become, and
the art-object is but the necessary, irrepressible and most conclusive
utterance of this uniqueness.''

Rilke also says: ``... I am not one of those who neglect the body so as to
make of it an offering to the soul, for my soul would have no wish to be
served in such a manner. All the soaring of my spirit begins in the blood,
for which reason I let a pure and simple mode of living, free of narcotics
and stimulants, go on ahead of my work like an introductory prelude; in
this way I am not deceived of that true spiritual joy which is to be found
in a happy and radiant communion with the whole of Nature.''

It's a common viewpoint, that using "artificial" things like drugs (for
"spiritual" reasons at least) is somehow "cheating". Kenny Werner seemed
to have a similar message when he taught a class I was in. I don't happen
to agree, but maybe I will change my mind someday, who knows. It's sort of
an ends/means thing really; if an option is available and effective, why
*not* take advantage of it? (Like Glenn Gould's positive attitude towards
technology; and he had no qualms about using drugs as well, although in his
case they seem to have been of the legal prescription variety, but maybe
that was for primarily cultural reasons.) I would say balance is
important; after all, in determining whether an option is effective, it
makes sense to compare performance using it *and* not using it (ie this
suggests experimentation rather than addiction).

A passage from Joyce Carol Oates' cool book _On Boxing_:

The artist senses some kinship, however oblique and one-sided, with the
professional boxer in this matter of training. This fanatic subordination
of the self in terms of a wished-for destiny. One might compare the
time-bound public spectacle of the boxing match (which could be as brief as
an ignominious forty-five seconds -- the record for a title fight!) with
the publication of a writer's book. That which is "public" is but the
final stage in a protracted, arduous, grueling, and frequently despairing
period of preparation. Indeed, one of the reasons for the habitual
attraction of serious writers to boxing (from Swift, Pope, Johnson to
Hazlitt, Lord Byron, Hemingway, and our own Norman Mailer, George Plimpton,
Ted Hoagland, Wilfrid Sheed, Daniel Halpern, et al.) is the sport's
systematic cultivation of pain in the interests of a project, a life-goal:
the willed transposing of the sensation we know as pain (physical,
pyschological, emotional) into its polar opposite. If this is masochism --
and I doubt that it is, or that it is simply -- it is also intelligence,
cunning, strategy. It is an act of consummate self-determination -- the
constant re-establishment of the parameters of one's being. To not only
accept but to actively invite what most sane creatures avoid -- pain,
humiliation, loss, chaos -- is to experience the present moment as already,
in a sense, past. *Here* and *now* are but part of the design of *there*
and *then*: pain now but control, and therefore triumph, later. And pain
itself is miraculously transposed by dint of its context. Indeed it be
said that "context" is all.
The novelist George Garrett, an amateur boxer of some decades ago,
reminisces about his training period:

I learned something ... about the brotherhood of boxers. People went into
this brutal and often self-destructive activity for a rich variety of
motivations, most of them bitterly antisocial and verging on the psychotic.
Most of the fighters I knew of were wounded people who felt a deep,
powerful urge to wound others at real risk to themselves. In the
beginning. What happened was that in almost every case, there was so much
self-discipline required and craft involved, so much else besides one's
original motivations to concentrate on, that these motivations became at
least cloudy and vague and were often forgotten, lost completely. Many
good and experienced fighters (as has often been noted) become gentle and
kind people... They have the habit of leaving all their fight in the ring.
And even there, in the ring, it is dangerous to invoke too much anger. It
can be a stimulant, but is very expensive of energy. It is impractical to
get mad most of the time.

Another excerpt from _On Boxing_ with relevance to improvisation (and
competition -- one can easily think of the jam session "cutting contest"
scenario as the musical equivalent):

Each boxing match is a story -- a unique and highly condensed drama without
words. Even when nothing sensational happens: then the drama is "merely"
psychological. Boxers are there to establish an absolute experience, a
public accounting of the outermost limits of their beings; they will know,
as few of us can know of ourselves, what physical and psychic power they
possess -- of how much, or how little, they are capable. To enter the ring
near-naked and to risk one's life is to make of one's audience voyeurs of a
kind: boxing is so intimate. It is to ease out of sanity's consciousness
and into another, difficult to name. It is to risk, and sometimes to
realize, the agony of which *agon* (Greek, "contest") is the root.
In the boxing ring there are two principal players, overseen by a shadowy
third. The ceremonial ringing of the bell is a summoning to full
wakefulness for both boxers and spectators. It sets into motion, too, the
authority of Time.
The boxers will bring to the fight everything that is themselves, and
everything will be exposed -- including secrets about themselves they
cannot fully realize. The physical self, the maleness, one might say,
underlying the "self". There are boxers possessed of such remarkable
intuition, such uncanny prescience, one would think they were somehow
recalling their fights, not fighting them as we watch. There are boxers
who perform skillfully, not mechanically, who cannot improvise in response
to another's alteration of strategy; there are boxers performing at the
peak of their talent who come to realize, mid-fight, that it will not be
enough; there are boxers -- including great champions -- whose careers end
abruptly, and irrevocably, as we watch. There has been at least one boxer
possessed of an extraordinary and disquieting awareness not only of his
opponent's every move and anticipated move but of the audience's keenest
shifts in mood as well, for which he seems to have felt personally
responsible -- Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali, of course. "The Sweet Science
of Bruising" celebrates the physicality of men even as it dramatizes the
limitations, sometimes tragic, more often poignant, of the physical.
Though male spectators identify with boxers no boxer behaves like a
"normal" man when he is in the ring and no combination of blows is
"natural". All is style.

(Miles was into boxing. Didn't he say that music was "all about style" in
his autobiography?)

*Every talent must unfold itself in fighting.* So Nietzsche speaks of
the Hellenic past, the history of the "contest" -- athletic, and otherwise
-- by which Greek youths were educated into Greek citizenry. Without the
ferocity of competition, without, even, "envy, jealousy, and ambition" in
the contest, the Hellenic city, like the Hellenic man, degenerated. If
death is a risk, death is also the prize -- for the winning athlete.

(Glenn Gould would have something to say about that... I won't interpolate
another quote, though, besides I've posted it here before... :)

[...]

If a boxing match is a story it is an always wayward story, one in which
anything can happen. And in a matter of seconds. Split seconds!
(Muhammad Ali boasted that he could throw a punch faster than the eye could
follow, and he may have been right.) In no other sport can so much take
place in so brief a period of time, and so irrevocably.
Because a boxing match is a story without words, this doesn't mean that
it has no text or no language, that it is somehow "brute", "primitive",
"inarticulate", only that the text is improvised in action; the language a
dialogue betweeen the boxers of the most refined sort (one might say, as
much neurological as psychological: a dialogue of split-second reflexes) in
a joint response to the mysterious will of the audience which is always
that the fight be a worthy one so that the crude paraphenalia of the
setting -- ring, lights, ropes, stained canvas, the staring onlookers
themselves -- be erased, forgotten. (As in the theater or the church,
settings are erased by way, ideally, of transcendent action.) Ringside
announcers give to the wordless spectacle a narrative unity, yet boxing as
performance is more clearly akin to dance or music than narrative.
To turn from an ordinary preliminary match to a "Fight of the Century"
like those between Joe Louis and Billy Conn, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali,
Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns is to turn from listening or half-listening
to a guitar being idly plucked to hearing Bach's *Well-Tempered Clavier*
perfectly executed, and that too is part of the story's mystery: so much
happens so swiftly and such heart-stopping subtlety you cannot absorb it
except to know that something profound is happening and it is happening in
a place beyond words.

The "bottom line"? Well... I highly recommend INTERSTELLAR SPACE as a
Coltrane album (hmm, possibly a better choice above than the WTC? since it
is, after all, improvised music, and a duo as well)! Last two times I've
listened to this, I haven't gotten past the first tune, which is intense.
I seem to want silence after that. It knocks me out, I guess! :)

Ciao,

-Ed

Michael Kelly

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Dec 3, 1994, 12:27:59 PM12/3/94
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Tom Storer (10034...@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
: Psychedelics are one thing, jazz musicians another, jazz music yet
: another. Musicians do all sorts of things in their lives: there
: are/have been junkies, LSD users, drunks, chain-smokers, and no
: doubt others who live lives of abstinence and ascetism. Every artist
: has his or her own way of arriving at expression; as a person
: interested in the lives of various artists, sure, it's interesting
: to know as much as possible about individuals. As a music lover,
: however, the bottom line is not whether Trane was dropping acid when
: he was recording one record or another, but simply whether the
: record was a good one or not.

I agree with your sentiment above Tom. I try not to confuse the artist
with the art. If you want to check out some really strange cats, take
a look at the great novelists! But, who really cares? The great
novels live on anyway!<g>

: --

: "Le jazz, c'est comme les bananes - ca se consomme sur place."
: Sartre

ciao

--

Mike

"Miles smiles for good reason!"

William Brown

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Dec 8, 1994, 8:04:55 PM12/8/94
to
"Om" for me was one of the great spiritual and musical revelations of my
life.

It was on the radio as I was on my way to a Kurasawa film festival. I had
to pull
over and heard the whole thing, both sides. It was like an extreme acid
trip. A
transformation of my self, ego and personality. Burning through layers
of
artifice uncovering deeper and deeper layers of truth and self. Pain,
suffering,
joy, enlightenment. Whew! Quite an evening.

WB..
wb...@echonyc.com

Matt Wright

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Dec 10, 1994, 2:36:25 AM12/10/94
to
mmm...@aol.com (MMMbel) makes {him,her}self extremely clear:

I'm surprised with the ferocity with which you proclaim that Trane's usage
of lsd is not worth discussion! The charter of our group is discussion.

Others have pointed out (inconclusive) evidence that Coltrane might have
taken LSD many times, which may be worthy of another discussion.
Personally, even if Coltrane took LSD only once, to record Om, I think
that's still an interesting starting point for a conversation.

Now I have no idea what drugs Coltrane took, but I would like to know, in
order to understand his music (and therefore all music) better. Let me take
some time to intersperse my musical perception of "Om" with some purely
fictional hypothetical psychology:

Musically, I've never understood how Om fit into Coltrane's musical
development. As an extremely crude, one-dimensional model of Coltrane's
career, one might say that he started more "inside" and moved "outside" as
time went on. There's no doubt that "Expression", "Interstellar Space", and
"Live In Japan", all from 6/66 to 3/67 sound more like each other than like
"Black Pearls" or "Lush Life" from 9 years earlier. But "Om" (10/65) is
something of a jump in that progression. "First Meditations", recorded in
9/65 (only one month earlier!) sounds *really* different.

To me, "First Meditations" sounds like a band that's still in the shadow of
"A Love Supreme", trying to see what possibilities lie ahead for moving
beyond that intense spirituality. I mean, what would *you* do, after
finishing "A Love Supreme", and then needing *another* album to live up to
it!?

I could see needing to meditate on that dilema, to use thought to try to
achieve the place that spirituality had brought me to previously. Hence
"First Meditations". Two months later, Coltrane had some more "Meditations"
(11/65). He wasn't meditating for the whole three months, though! In
October (near Halloween?), he dropped acid, maybe with his whole band.
While on acid, they played their most outside music yet, by a big margin.
Just in terms of dissonance, Coltrane spent the rest of his life catching
up to Om.

I find this very interesting! Now, I have no idea how any of the musicians
were feeling, or what drugs they were taking, but I'm sure their drugs
influenced their playing. I play *very* differently when I take lots of
caffeine, beers, antihistamines, etc., and I know that other people do too.

I also know that more enjoyment takes place when the listener of music
partakes of the same drugs that the musicians are taking. The Greatful
Dead, for example, are widely known as a band that takes lots of pot and
LSD, and whose fans take a lot of the same stuff. Fans say that the pot (or
whatever) enhances the music. My friends who like pot tend to like music
made by people known for smoking pot: Hendrix, the Beatles, Miles, Bob
Marley. Furthermore, they enjoy those artists more while smoking pot than
while sober. Maybe people in general hear things a certain way when they're
stoned, so stoned music makes more sense when you're stoned too. I don't
know.

So part of me thinks I'll understand Coltrane better if I listen to "Om" on
LSD, but a much bigger part of me never wants to try LSD. I appreciate
first-hand reports from people who've done LSD and who like the same kind of
music I do (Ed Price, Andrew Homsy (sp?) --- thanks).

So to sum up, I don't think it's right to conclude that "actually, it's
meaningless." If Coltrane took acid only once, then Om is the *only*
document we have of LSD's effect on him. Are you saying that the LSD had no
effect on the music, because I find that hard to believe? Or are you
shouting "we don't need to talk about this!" for some other reason?

I'd like to hear responses to my ideas from some people who know more than I
do! :-)

Sorry for being so long,

-Matt

Ed Price

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Dec 10, 1994, 7:23:49 PM12/10/94
to
ma...@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU (Matt Wright) writes:

[...interesting discussion of late Coltrane...]

>I also know that more enjoyment takes place when the listener of music
>partakes of the same drugs that the musicians are taking. The Greatful
>Dead, for example, are widely known as a band that takes lots of pot and
>LSD, and whose fans take a lot of the same stuff. Fans say that the pot (or
>whatever) enhances the music. My friends who like pot tend to like music
>made by people known for smoking pot: Hendrix, the Beatles, Miles, Bob

^^^^^
Actually, I'm pretty sure Miles didn't like pot. (He talks about it in his
autobiography if I remember correctly.)

>Marley. Furthermore, they enjoy those artists more while smoking pot than
>while sober. Maybe people in general hear things a certain way when they're
>stoned, so stoned music makes more sense when you're stoned too. I don't
>know.

Personally, I don't believe that taking the same drugs the musicians used
will enhance a listening experience or provide any special insight into the
music. Of course, I haven't done *extensive* *comprehensive* testing of
this issue :) nor do I really want to -- I don't like being drunk and I
have minimal interest in heroin...

Here's something I wrote a fairly long time ago:

|From: e...@panix.com (Ed Price)
|Newsgroups: alt.drugs
|Date: 13 Oct 1993 05:08:47 -0400
|
|"Greg" writes:
|
| Not *one* improved their playing by using pot. That's my opinion. Try
| talking to a few mature musicians about the role of drugs in their playing
| (not kids who are still enjoying the rush, but people who have made a
| living playing for years). I believe that when all is said and done,
| musicians use drugs for the same reasons non-musicians do, and it is
| an utter myth that drugs help their playing.
|
|Well, your opinion is one thing. I think it is impossible to know whether
|certain musicians would be better or worse or simply different had they not
|used "drugs" or whatever. I see no reason to assume that it's impossible
|to gain anything from playing music while stoned. And *certainly* for
|listening to music, it's great. BTW, besides being a musician myself, I
|happen to know a lot of musicians (including some accomplished and
|successful professionals) who smoke pot.
|
|software....@satalink.com (Software Interspec) writes:
|
| Here I am going to side with those who argue you don't know how this
| could work if you haven't tried it. This is a weak argument in your
| opinion. But MJ adds a depth to *hearing* and understanding music that
| you are unaware of. "Hearing" isn't the right word here, there probably
| isn't a word to convey what I am trying to say.
|
|"Hearing" is precisely correct IMHO.
|
|Especially with respect to free improvisation (something I happen to be in
|favor of; IMHO it's the truest test of someone's musicianship) the most
|important skill one needs to have the ability to really *listen* well. To
|yourself, as well as anyone else who is playing. At least, this is what I
|think is important; others may have different agendas. In any case I have
|a lot of experience doing this while stoned and while sober, and with
|groups of people who's states also vary from time to time (not all drug
|users are constantly under-an-influence). Personally I'd have to say that
|there is a certain amount of physical coordination which is lost when one
|is stoned, but a good musician can play something worthwhile and meaningful
|without having to resort to *technical* (perhaps I should say "mechanical")
|ability -- I believe this strongly, irregardless of the "drug issue".
|Whether the music produced (by myself and/or others) while stoned is better
|or worse than that we produce while sober, well, I see no easy correlation.
|
|Someday maybe I will try an experiment. I'll record 30 minutes of music
|played totally drug free (no caffeine!!! that could wreak *havoc* with
|one's touch and phrasing!!! :) and another 30 minutes of music played while
|heavily stoned. Then conduct a survey to see if there's any relationship
|between that variable and how much people like what they hear (without
|telling them anything of course). Could also vary whether the listener is
|stoned and see how that matched up. I would certainly be interested to see
|the results of such an experiment.
|
|-Ed ... who has been known to follow along with the score for the Well
|Tempered Clavier (JS Bach is my main free improv hero), listening to it
|while on acid.
|
|PS This article was written under the influence of caffeine. All grammar
|and spelling mistakes are the result of that evil drug playing its "tricks"
|on my poor abused brain, which is no doubt mutating in hideous ways due to
|the strychnine with which I hear the local delis are lacing their coffee.

Looks like my opinion has changed a little bit since then. I think now I
have less doubt about the performance-enhancing effects of pot. Maybe
there was a loss of physical coordination at first, but I don't think
that's true any more; it might have just required a certain amount of
experience to become familiar with playing in that state. Like adjusting
to a different action on an instrument: at first it may seem weird and will
interfere with your playing but you get used to it and after a while it
becomes totally normal (and could well be an improvement).

There's a recent thread in rec.music.classical about "Classical Musicians
and Drugs" but the only drug under discussion seems to be something called
a "beta-blocker", which I had never even heard of before; it's a legal
prescription drug, used to reduce physical symptoms of performance anxiety.
Sounds pretty boring, really... :)

Keith Jarrett: ``I don't have any drug stories to tell about myself. Once
somebody met me on the street when my quartet was going into Slug's -- it
was just after Lee Morgan's wife had shot him dead at Slug's [in 1972].
And this guy said, "You still going there playing?" And I said, "Well,
your wife can shoot you anywhere! And I need the work and we're going to
Slug's." And he said something about getting high and I said, "Yeah -- on
the music." For me, it's hard to understand why a musician needs more than
the music. When I went to Europe the first time with Charles Lloyd, after
the first or second set there were people coming up to Charles asking him
if there was anything they could do for me! Because to them I was so crazy
that I must be on something! So they were saying, "What can we do for
Keith, we'd really like to help him, he looks so far gone!" But I wasn't
drinking, smoking, taking any drugs ... I never have taken drugs ... no
interest in it.'' [quoted by Ian Carr, _Keith Jarrett_, p194]

Some of this doesn't quite make sense. In particular, the bit about why a
musician should need "more" than music. Well, Keith has explored various
religious/spiritual systems -- why should he need that? For that matter,
as a human being, why should one even need music?

Back to Matt:

>So part of me thinks I'll understand Coltrane better if I listen to "Om" on
>LSD, but a much bigger part of me never wants to try LSD.

Why not? (Just out of curiosity; I respect your decision.)

> I appreciate
>first-hand reports from people who've done LSD and who like the same kind of
>music I do (Ed Price, Andrew Homsy (sp?) --- thanks).

(No problem. Well, hopefully not, anyway!:)

It is too bad that Coltrane didn't talk about his experiences with LSD. I
would have been curious to know what he got out of it.

-Ed

(contemplating the chemical options for Blind Idiot God tonight...)

William Burnette

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Dec 11, 1994, 7:06:28 AM12/11/94
to
William Brown (RCA...@prodigy.com) wrote:
: "Om" for me was one of the great spiritual and musical revelations of my
: life.

: WB..
: wb...@echonyc.com

It was the same way for me. It wasn't the first time Id' heard it
but it was the first time I Heard it. I was actuallly doing opium at
the time. All those emotions filtered down inot one simple peace for
me. At first I was a bit scared--but that didn't last long, as I
realized the importance of shared struggle. I definitely went through
a metamorphosis that night.--Kelly Burnette
--
Im not just a bum, Im the son of God.

Tom Brown

unread,
Dec 12, 1994, 6:34:03 AM12/12/94
to
In article <3cblpp$i...@agate.berkeley.edu> ma...@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU (Matt Wright) writes:

>I also know that more enjoyment takes place when the listener of music
>partakes of the same drugs that the musicians are taking. The Greatful
>Dead, for example, are widely known as a band that takes lots of pot and
>LSD, and whose fans take a lot of the same stuff. Fans say that the pot (or
>whatever) enhances the music. My friends who like pot tend to like music
>made by people known for smoking pot: Hendrix, the Beatles, Miles, Bob
>Marley. Furthermore, they enjoy those artists more while smoking pot than
>while sober. Maybe people in general hear things a certain way when they're
>stoned, so stoned music makes more sense when you're stoned too. I don't
>know.

I don't think it's necessary to be in the same frame of mind as the
artist to appreciate the work. I have found that psychadelic drugs can
give me another perspective on the music, but not necessarily a more
perceptive one. I do enjoy listening to music much more when I'm in an
herbal state of mind, but I actually enjoy playing *less*, because I can't
concentrate and I sound bad when stoned. For this reason, I don't
get high very often. I'd rather be productive.



>So part of me thinks I'll understand Coltrane better if I listen to "Om" on
>LSD, but a much bigger part of me never wants to try LSD. I appreciate
>first-hand reports from people who've done LSD and who like the same kind of
>music I do (Ed Price, Andrew Homsy (sp?) --- thanks).

If you don't want to do LSD, don't. It's not necessary. I haven't done any
for at least ten years, and have no plans to. I don't think you'll miss
anything from Coltrane.


Scott H. Silverman

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Dec 12, 1994, 4:22:40 PM12/12/94
to
In article <3cblpp$i...@agate.berkeley.edu>, you wrote:
[lots of stuff about specific moments in the Coltrane oeuvre deleted]

Matt,

First, if I'm falling for a gag, shame on me. Let's say I'm not: Following
hard on the essay in the latest Village Voice (by the main rock critic,
Robert-what's- his name) about the late, great Kurt Cobain, your post has
depressed me no end. As the father of two young children I had hoped the
intervening generation between mine and theirs -- I'm guessing you're a
twentysomething -- had learned a little something from the excessive
stupidity of mine in particular. Apparently every era has to reproduce
history just to prove how universally ignorant is the human condition.
Please don't misunderstand; I am hardly a Puritan, neither of the neo- nor
true-believer variety, but I have spent enough time cleaning up after my
own mistakes and those of some good friends to know that whatever black
urges drive us to this:

[Matt opines]> I find this very interesting! Now, I have no idea how any


of the >musicians
> were feeling, or what drugs they were taking, but I'm sure their drugs
> influenced their playing. I play *very* differently when I take lots of
> caffeine, beers, antihistamines, etc., and I know that other people do too.


the results are rarely improved by the experience. Do you think a kicked
Bird could not have made great music? Do you think a still-on-heroin
Coltrane -- putting aside LSD for now -- could have improved on _Love
Supreme_ and "Alabama" and "Impressions" and "Africa"?

[Matt states further]> I also know that more enjoyment takes place when the


>listener of music
> partakes of the same drugs that the musicians are taking. The Greatful
> Dead, for example, are widely known as a band that takes lots of pot and
> LSD, and whose fans take a lot of the same stuff. Fans say that the pot (or
> whatever) enhances the music. My friends who like pot tend to like music
> made by people known for smoking pot: Hendrix, the Beatles, Miles, Bob
> Marley. Furthermore, they enjoy those artists more while smoking pot than

Forgive me, but some might say that the exaggerated veneration which some
fans pay these musicians is more due to the emulation of their
extra-musical lives than to an actual appreciation of the music. Now then,
am I to suppose that reggae is really only appropriately appreciated after
smoking pot, but to be shunned when tripping? This would make sense given
that Marley's preferred high was marijuana rather than LSD. On the other
hand, Janis Joplin "enjoyed" everything, so to hear her really properly I
should shoot smack, drink several shots of Jack Daniels and do a bowl or
two before I put on her CDs? No wait, it would have to be vinyl, since how
can you appreciate any music in a format other than its original medium?


[Matt again]> while sober. Maybe people in general hear things a certain


way >when they're
> stoned, so stoned music makes more sense when you're stoned too. I don't
> know.
>

It never occured to you that some folks just hear "made up shit" when they
are stoned? That some of that experience from being high or drunk or both
results from a chemical reaction inside your head that is basically going
to kill you if you work at it hard enough?

[Matt]> So part of me thinks I'll understand Coltrane better if I listen to


"Om" >on
> LSD, but a much bigger part of me never wants to try LSD. I appreciate
> first-hand reports from people who've done LSD and who like the same kind of
> music I do (Ed Price, Andrew Homsy (sp?) --- thanks).

I've done LSD, not since 1975, but I've done it. If you feel you need to
experience something before you can have an opinion, do it. If you think
you need to have this experience in particular to "appreciate the music,"
do EVERYTHING the guys who came up hard did: don't just trip, do heroin;
get hold of some crack too, but remember: that ain't the authentic deal.
Drink very heavily because it eases the agony of being strungout. Don't do
anything to protect the legacy of your compositions either; being ripped
off is an authentic jazz experience too.


[Matt again]> So to sum up, I don't think it's right to conclude that


"actually, >it's
> meaningless." If Coltrane took acid only once, then Om is the *only*
> document we have of LSD's effect on him. Are you saying that the LSD had no
> effect on the music, because I find that hard to believe? Or are you
> shouting "we don't need to talk about this!" for some other reason?

God, Matt, are you really that unsophisticated? Hey, if I change a tire
while suffering from a kidney stone attack does the way I changed that tire
become a milestone piece of evidence in my personal medical history? Even
if Coltrane was tripping his ass off recording _Om_ -- and trust me, I
don't care -- it is only one factor that explains what you're now hearing
on that record today -- whether you're doing a hit of windowpane or sipping
Poland Spring.


> I'd like to hear responses to my ideas from some people who know more than I
> do! :-)

I have no idea if you know more than I do but this is my reaction. By the
way, if I had your address I would have preferred NOT letting the whole
world read my feelings. I've responded because I think you living in
dangerous oblivion.


>
> Sorry for being so long,
>
> -Matt

Sorry for being so serious,

Scott

ssil...@brynmawr.edu

eri...@delphi.com

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Dec 12, 1994, 8:22:03 PM12/12/94
to
Well, I guess its time that I , the author of Ascension, weighed
in on this subject. I had misgvings about writing this part of the book,
since I knew that it might be mis understood or used to detract from
the tremendous respect felt toward Trane. But I could hardly ignore it.
I was told this by three different parties, all of whom I absolutely
trusted and all of whom were in a position to know (one was Miles Davis).
It is a very small part of my book after all, but my book is about
Coltrane's spiritual quest. I know that these days acid is looked upon
as just another way to get high, but in the Fifties and up until the
rise of the counterculture, taking it was a way by serious inner
exploreers to find ultimate truths about themselves and ultimate
spiritual truths. Taken under the right circumstance, it was a profound
experience that changed many lives for the better. For a pilgrim like
John Coltrane, a man who was seeking both the ultimate essence of music
and with it the mind of God, such a tool as LSD can be was simply a
thing he would have to explore. This should not, hopefully, detract from
anyone's respect for this genuinely great man.--Eric Nisenson

Rolf Hanson

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Dec 13, 1994, 7:29:54 PM12/13/94
to

> If you don't want to do LSD, don't. It's not necessary. I haven't done any
> for at least ten years, and have no plans to. I don't think you'll miss
> anything from Coltrane.

Listening to Coltrane is *better* than LSD.
-rolf

Ed Price

unread,
Dec 14, 1994, 2:21:17 AM12/14/94
to
ssil...@brynmawr.edu (Scott H. Silverman) writes:

>It never occured to you that some folks just hear "made up shit" when they
>are stoned?

What do you mean here? A number people in this group, for example, have
commented on how great musicians like Miles Davis, Bill Frisell can seem to
cause one to hear things that they don't actually play. This probably has
something to do with "imagination". Now, I doubt that everyone who has
observed this effect has done so stoned. So, basically my point is that
even *if* being stoned does improve your ability to identify with a musical
performance ("listen to it as if you're the one playing it" -- the advice
of Arnie Lawrence), to be more fully involved with it, so that your
imagination is engaged in a productive way, what's the problem? Isn't that
a good thing? Unless you're talking about something else, some other
variety of "made up shit" perhaps, in which case, what?

> That some of that experience from being high or drunk or both
>results from a chemical reaction inside your head that is basically going
>to kill you if you work at it hard enough?

Whoah! I don't like the sense of equivalency between "high" and "drunk" in
the above... Big difference there IMHO!

The thought that marijuana might be harmful to one's health is a reasonable
one. And, sure, it no doubt *is* harmful -- to *some* extent. But to what
extent? As bad as alchohol? I apologize for indulging in a slight
digression on this subject (hey, marijuana is involved in the culture and
history of jazz so the following is at least vaguely relevant to r.m.b...:)
but here is some information...

Excerpts from the alt.drugs FAQ:

|5. Can you overdose on acid/pot?
|
| No, overdosing on pot would require smoking several KILOS of the stuff
|within 15 minutes. Assuming you did manage this feat, you would instantly
|throw up most of it. Overdosing on LSD is equally difficult. There
|is a case where a number of people snorted a massive overdose (equal to
|around 1250 hits) of pure LSD tartrate, believing it to be cocaine; some
|of them fell into comas and had other severe physical reactions, but lived
|through the experience with no permanent physical or mental damage.

|9. Will marijuana do <X> to my body?
|
| Marijuana does *not* cause brain/immune/reproductive system damage,
|concentrate in the brain/testicles, enlarge breasts in males or damage
|chromosomes. It *can* cause lung ailments such as cancer, and driving
|while stoned *can* cause accidents. MJ smoke is *not* 10 times worse than
|tobacco, they are roughly equal, it may even be less harmful. See Marijuana
|Myths or the Cannabis Hemp (alt.hemp) FAQ for more details.

Folowing that pointer... Excerpts from alt.hemp FAQ:

|3a) Doesn't Marijuana cause brain damage?
|
| The short answer: No.
|
| The long answer: The reason why you ask this is because you
| probably heard or read somewhere that marijuana damages
| brain cells, or makes you stupid. These claims are untrue.
|
| The first one -- marijuana kills brain cells -- is based on
| research done during the second Reefer Madness Movement. A
| study attempted to show that marijuana smoking damaged brain
| structures in monkeys. However, the study was poorly
| performed and it was severely criticized by a medical review
| board. Studies done afterwards failed to show any brain
| damage, in fact a very recent study on Rhesus monkeys used
| technology so sensitive that scientists could actually see
| the effect of learning on brain cells, and it found no
| damage.
|
| But this was Reefer Madness II, and the prohibitionists were
| looking around for anything they could find to keep the
| marijuana legalization movement in check, so this study was
| widely used in anti-marijuana propaganda. It was recanted
| later.
|
| (To this day, the radical anti-drug groups, like P.R.I.D.E.
| and Dr. Gabriel Nahas, still use it -- In fact, America's
| most popular drug education program, Drug Abuse Resistance
| Education, claims that marijuana ``can impair memory
| perception & judgement by destroying brain cells.'' When
| police and teachers read this and believe it, our job gets
| really tough, since it takes a long time to explain to
| children how Ms. Jones and Officer Bob were wrong.)
|
| The truth is, no study has ever demonstrated cellular
| damage, stupidity, mental impairment, or insanity brought on
| specifically by marijuana use -- even heavy marijuana use.
| This is not to say that it cannot be abused, however.

|3b) If it doesn't kill brain cells, how does it get you `high'?
|
| Killing brain cells is not a pre-requisite for getting
| `high.' Marijuana contains a chemical which substitutes for
| a natural brain chemical, with a few differences. This
| chemical touches special `buttons' on brain cells called
| `receptors.' Essentially, marijuana `tickles' brain cells.
| The legal drug alcohol also tickles brain cells, but it will
| damage and kill them by producing toxins (poisons) and
| sometimes mini-seizures. Also, some drugs will wear out the
| buttons which they push, but marijuana does not.

|4) Don't people die from smoking pot?
|
| Nobody has ever overdosed. For any given substance,
| there are bound to be some people who have allergic
| reactions. With marijuana this is extremely rare, but it
| could happen with anything from apples to pop-tarts. Not
| one death has ever been directly linked to marijuana itself.
| In contrast, many legal drugs cause hundreds to hundreds of
| thousands of deaths per year, foremost among them are
| alcohol, nicotine, valium, aspirin, and caffiene. The
| biggest danger with marijuana is that it is illegal, and
| someone may mix it with another drug like PCP.
|
| Marijuana is so safe that it would be almost impossible to
| overdose on it. Doctors determine how safe a drug is by
| measuring how much it takes to kill a person (they call this
| the LD50) and comparing it to the amount of the drug which
| is usually taken (ED50). This makes marijuana hundreds of
| times safer than alcohol, tobacco, or caffiene. According
| to a DEA Judge ``marijuana is the safest therapeutically
| active substance known to mankind.''

|5) I forgot, does marijuana cause short-term memory impairment?
|
| The effect of marijuana on memory is its most dramatic
| and the easiest to notice. Many inexperienced marijuana
| users find that they have very strange, sudden and
| unexpected memory lapses. These usually take the form of
| completely forgetting what you were talking about when you
| were right in the middle of saying something important.
| However, these symptoms only occur while a person is `high'.
| They do not carry over or become permanent, and examinations
| of extremely heavy users has not shown any memory or
| thinking problems. More experienced marijuana users seem to
| be able to remember about as well as they do when they are
| not `high.'
|
| Studies which have claimed to show short-term memory
| impairment have not stood up to scrutiny and have not been
| duplicated. Newer studies show that marijuana does not
| impair simple, real-world memory processes. Marijuana does
| slow reaction time slightly, and this effect has sometimes
| been misconstrued as a memory problem. To put things in
| perspective, one group of researchers made a control group
| hold their breath, like marijuana smokers do. Marijuana
| itself only produced about twice as many effects on test
| scores as breath holding. Many people use marijuana to
| study. Other people cannot, for some reason, use marijuana
| and do anything that involves deep thought. Nobody knows
| what makes the difference.

Later,

-Ed

Walter Davis

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Dec 15, 1994, 10:52:27 AM12/15/94
to
In article <3cblpp$i...@agate.berkeley.edu>
ma...@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU (Matt Wright) writes:

>
>Now I have no idea what drugs Coltrane took, but I would like to know, in
>order to understand his music (and therefore all music) better. Let me take

This of course depends on whether you think that Coltrane's vision
or musicianship was related to the drugs he may have taken.


>Musically, I've never understood how Om fit into Coltrane's musical
>development. As an extremely crude, one-dimensional model of Coltrane's
>career, one might say that he started more "inside" and moved "outside" as
>time went on. There's no doubt that "Expression", "Interstellar Space", and
>"Live In Japan", all from 6/66 to 3/67 sound more like each other than like
>"Black Pearls" or "Lush Life" from 9 years earlier. But "Om" (10/65) is
>something of a jump in that progression. "First Meditations", recorded in
>9/65 (only one month earlier!) sounds *really* different.
>
>To me, "First Meditations" sounds like a band that's still in the shadow of
>"A Love Supreme", trying to see what possibilities lie ahead for moving
>beyond that intense spirituality. I mean, what would *you* do, after
>finishing "A Love Supreme", and then needing *another* album to live up to
>it!?
>
OK, but how about "Ascension", recorded prior to "Om" (and I think
prior to "First Meditations" as well)? If Coltrane took a quantum
leap to the outside, I'd put it there. "Live in Seattle" is also
well outside, by the way, but since it was recorded the night
before "Om" it's quite plausible that he/they were on LSD then.


>I could see needing to meditate on that dilema, to use thought to try to
>achieve the place that spirituality had brought me to previously. Hence
>"First Meditations". Two months later, Coltrane had some more "Meditations"
>(11/65). He wasn't meditating for the whole three months, though! In
>October (near Halloween?), he dropped acid, maybe with his whole band.
>While on acid, they played their most outside music yet, by a big margin.
>Just in terms of dissonance, Coltrane spent the rest of his life catching
>up to Om.
>
Another way to interpret this whole sequence is to say that
"Ascension" clearly marks his move to the outside. Shortly
after that he records "First Meditations" but isn't pleased
with it (it was a posthomous release if I'm not mistaken),
probably because it came out "too inside". "Ascension"
also shows his desire to incorporate more musicians, whereas
FM was a quartet session. This experiment with larger groups
and more outside music continues through that whole year
of 65, with "Kulu Se Mama", "Selflessness", "Live in Seattle",
"Om", and the released "Meditations" being recorded evidence.
Perhaps the move back from "Om" (if there really was such a
thing) was a reflection of displeasure with it, just as the
later version of "Meditations" is evidence that the original
didn't meet with his approval. Someone else in this thread
wrote that Coltrane once said that he was embarassed by "Om".

Anyway, I think there's clear evidence that Coltrane was
moving toward larger groups and more outside music without
the aid of LSD. Remember, "A Love Supreme" was supposed to
continue adding Archie Shepp and others, showing that
even at that time he was going for a larger sound (and
if adding Shepp is any indication, moving outside).


>I also know that more enjoyment takes place when the listener of music
^^^^

>partakes of the same drugs that the musicians are taking. The Greatful

huh? You "know" this? Well, I can certainly say that being
drunk has never increased my enjoyment of music, especially jazz.
John Hiatt claims to not even remember the "Warming up to the Ice
Age" sessions - do I really need to be in a drunken stupor to
enjoy that album? Does this go for literature too? Dance, etc?


>
>So part of me thinks I'll understand Coltrane better if I listen to "Om" on
>LSD, but a much bigger part of me never wants to try LSD. I appreciate
>first-hand reports from people who've done LSD and who like the same kind of
>music I do (Ed Price, Andrew Homsy (sp?) --- thanks).
>
Don't forget to try and find a good heroin connection for
all that great 50's jazz...and keep a bottle of scotch nearby
too....and lots of cigarettes and coffee....probably some
speed too. And break up with your significant other if
that happened to the musician just before the session.


>So to sum up, I don't think it's right to conclude that "actually, it's
>meaningless." If Coltrane took acid only once, then Om is the *only*
>document we have of LSD's effect on him. Are you saying that the LSD had no
>effect on the music, because I find that hard to believe? Or are you
>shouting "we don't need to talk about this!" for some other reason?
>
Is it meaningless? Maybe. Did it effect the music? Probably some.
Do I believe that the effect of LSD on Coltrane's music is
miniscule compared to his vision and his spirituality? Yes.
Do I care if he took LSD? No.

Joshua_R...@brown.edu

unread,
Dec 16, 1994, 12:06:24 AM12/16/94
to
Sorry, but comparing a drunken stupor to the experience of taking LSD (or
marijuana for that matter) is just an inappropriate comparison. Alcohol
just dulls you and makes you stupid - although, granted, for a musician it
can loosen you up if used in moderation.
LDS and pot are profoundly mind-opening substances that in many ways do
the opposite to you that alcohol does. How many people do you know of who
smoke grass and then get into brawls? How many people get drunk and then
listen to music with intense concentration? Do you see what I'm saying?

If the only "drug" experience you have is with alcohol, you are just not
in a position to understand this - I encourage you to expand your
horizons.

By the way, YES, this does go for literature and dance, too.

-Josh

Scott H. Silverman

unread,
Dec 16, 1994, 10:28:17 AM12/16/94
to
In article
<Joshua_Rosenstock...@cis-ts5-slip3.cis.brown.edu>,
Joshua_R...@brown.edu wrote:

> Sorry, but comparing a drunken stupor to the experience of taking LSD (or
> marijuana for that matter) is just an inappropriate comparison. Alcohol
> just dulls you and makes you stupid - although, granted, for a musician it
> can loosen you up if used in moderation.
> LDS and pot are profoundly mind-opening substances that in many ways do
> the opposite to you that alcohol does. How many people do you know of who
> smoke grass and then get into brawls? How many people get drunk and then
> listen to music with intense concentration? Do you see what I'm saying?

I'm sorry. I'm really trying to be a nice, restrained, tolerant person,
but this is absolute ill-informed crapola. Not the comparision between
drunkeness and altered states per se; you are right, the intoxication of
alcohol has a different physical sensation than does being "blown out" or
tripping. I am quite impressed by your empirical evidence extolling the
virtues of LSD. How long have you been compiling all this data on
profundity? I don't pretend to scientific objectivity, but there is
nothing particuarly profound about being totally addled, nothing
particularly uplifting about thinking everyone in a room is involved in a
demonic conspiracy against you. Put it this way; I don't want to be
driving on any road that you're driving on. A friend of mine had the
experience in 1970 of having his face melt off into a pond on Key West.
Man, that was profound alrighty. Also, I can assure you that people who
get high also _can_ get violent. (In fact, more people than not who get
high also get drunk, at least in my experience, and often in tandem. And
frankly, my experience is NOT limited.) BTW, I know lots of drunks who
don't start brawls, and for all I know plenty of Mormon boyscouts -- no
offense to either group intended -- do.

Now I'll let the discussion return to music. For now long, I promise
Matt/Ed/Joshua that if you don't tell us, I for one promise I won't ask
you.

Scott

ssil...@brynmawr.edu for those of you just dying to tell me what an a-hole
I am.

Ed Price

unread,
Dec 16, 1994, 2:30:48 PM12/16/94
to
ssil...@brynmawr.edu (Scott H. Silverman) writes:

>Joshua_R...@brown.edu wrote:
>
>> Sorry, but comparing a drunken stupor to the experience of taking LSD (or
>> marijuana for that matter) is just an inappropriate comparison. Alcohol
>> just dulls you and makes you stupid - although, granted, for a musician it
>> can loosen you up if used in moderation.
>> LDS and pot are profoundly mind-opening substances that in many ways do
>> the opposite to you that alcohol does. How many people do you know of who
>> smoke grass and then get into brawls? How many people get drunk and then
>> listen to music with intense concentration? Do you see what I'm saying?
>
>I'm sorry. I'm really trying to be a nice, restrained, tolerant person,
>but this is absolute ill-informed crapola.

is not! (is too! is not! is too! is not! ...)

>I don't pretend to scientific objectivity, but there is
>nothing particuarly profound about being totally addled, nothing
>particularly uplifting about thinking everyone in a room is involved in a
>demonic conspiracy against you.

that happened to you?

hmm... you know, religion can do that to people as well... :)

people have wide ranges of experiences on acid. i don't doubt that "bad
trips" can happen, but i have never experienced one myself.

> Put it this way; I don't want to be
>driving on any road that you're driving on.

common sense: it is unwise to operate heavy machinery etc. while impaired
(whether drunk, stoned, tripping, sleep-deprived, or whatever).

> A friend of mine had the
>experience in 1970 of having his face melt off into a pond on Key West.
>Man, that was profound alrighty.

well, i don't know about profound, but it sounds interesting.

> Also, I can assure you that people who
>get high also _can_ get violent. (In fact, more people than not who get
>high also get drunk, at least in my experience, and often in tandem. And
>frankly, my experience is NOT limited.) BTW, I know lots of drunks who
>don't start brawls, and for all I know plenty of Mormon boyscouts -- no
>offense to either group intended -- do.

no doubt. none of us are "pretending to scientific objectivity", i think;
it is a little too harsh IMHO to call someone's description of their
experience and impressions "absolute ill-informed crapola". what he said
sounded fairly accurate to me, certainly no more subjective or ill-informed
than what you've posted. (for more "objective" information, there are
probably statistics available somewhere that one could investigate...)

>Now I'll let the discussion return to music. For now long, I promise
>Matt/Ed/Joshua that if you don't tell us, I for one promise I won't ask
>you.

fine with me.

>ssil...@brynmawr.edu for those of you just dying to tell me what an a-hole
>I am.

i think i can handle the disagreement without getting abusive.

ciao,

-ed

Genie Baker

unread,
Dec 17, 1994, 1:06:12 PM12/17/94
to
In article <EDP.94De...@panix.panix.com>, Ed Price <e...@panix.com> wrote:

>people have wide ranges of experiences on acid. i don't doubt that "bad
>trips" can happen,

Then why do you become so combative whenever someone responds to one of
your "drugs are a really cool experience" posts with descriptions of bad
experiences that either they or their friends/family have had?

> (for more "objective" information, there are
>probably statistics available somewhere that one could investigate...)

I kind of got a kick out of this. Statistical research is what I
do for a living. There is nothing inherently objective about it, I assure
you. (At a minimum, which questions get asked and which don't involves a
great deal of prior belief (or prejudice) about how the world works.)

But more importantly to me, adding "1" to the number of people who
become addicted, or overdose, or do something to hurt themselves or
others while tripping, &c, each time something like that happens is an
awfully cold way of ignoring the very real agony that drug abuse --
however rare -- brings into a lot of people's lives.

>i think i can handle the disagreement without getting abusive.

I think your flip responses to people who describe drug experiences
that were horrifying to them *are* abusive, however unintentional on your
part.

--
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Genie Baker gba...@umich.edu

Ed Price

unread,
Dec 17, 1994, 2:42:58 PM12/17/94
to
gba...@econ.lsa.umich.edu (Genie Baker) writes:

[edp]


>>people have wide ranges of experiences on acid. i don't doubt that "bad
>>trips" can happen,
>
>Then why do you become so combative whenever someone responds to one of
>your "drugs are a really cool experience" posts with descriptions of bad
>experiences that either they or their friends/family have had?

I think people have been doing a little more than that. I also think I've
been doing a little more than simply glorifying drug use, at least I hope
so. Also I just enjoy arguing about it, I guess. I became somewhat
combative I suppose some months ago when people were criticizing Keith
Jarrett, for some of the same reasons -- because I have gotten so much out
of his music, it means a lot to me, and I want to present that perspective.
I *want* to hear about bad experiences with drugs, and with Keith Jarrett
for that matter, because they are part of the truth too, but I try to be
accurate and honest about my perceptions and opinions and I hope that
others will as well.

>> (for more "objective" information, there are
>>probably statistics available somewhere that one could investigate...)
>
> I kind of got a kick out of this. Statistical research is what I
>do for a living. There is nothing inherently objective about it, I assure
>you. (At a minimum, which questions get asked and which don't involves a
>great deal of prior belief (or prejudice) about how the world works.)

That's why I put the word in quotes.

> But more importantly to me, adding "1" to the number of people who
>become addicted, or overdose, or do something to hurt themselves or
>others while tripping, &c, each time something like that happens is an
>awfully cold way of ignoring the very real agony that drug abuse --
>however rare -- brings into a lot of people's lives.

No argument from me here. I am against drug abuse.

(Not to be combative, but... the War On Drugs brings a lot of agony into
people's lives too... If we agree that drug abuse is a bad thing, which I
assume we do, maybe this is the real issue -- what to do about it?)

>>i think i can handle the disagreement without getting abusive.
>
> I think your flip responses to people who describe drug experiences
>that were horrifying to them *are* abusive, however unintentional on your
>part.

I am really sorry if I have hurt anyone with anything I've said. It is, of
course, unintentional. Sometimes I do regret having said something online.
Another issue we can become combative on, free jazz, was the cause of a
certain amount of misunderstanding a while back when Garth Jowett said some
things centering around late Coltrane, and I, among others, responded in a
way that was, if not abusive, at least easily interpreted that way, and I
felt bad about that. As I've said many times in this group, discussion is
a good thing, and controversial topics can often lead to very interesting
discussions. Flip? When people become agitated it seems to me that
remaining calm is a good idea, since otherwise things will just escalate
into an irrational flame-war and no-one will learn anything except maybe
about some of the less inspiring aspects of human nature.

Apologies again for the digression.

Pharoah Sanders and Charles Gayle tonight at the Knitting Factory!

-Ed

Brett Anderson

unread,
Dec 17, 1994, 3:14:28 PM12/17/94
to
I'll second Josh's reply--if you have no personal first-hand experienc
with LSD and pot, you're not in a position to judge their effects with
reference to alcohol. I've done all three many times, and I can tell y
that the three experiences couldn't be more different, both in their

alteration of one's senses and their impairment and lack thereof. Whil
I don't advocate airline pilots dropping tabs before taking off with M
black ass in row 14, I certainly wouldn't make a blanket statement abo
drugs in general as you have done, while dismissing Josh so rudely.

My 2 cents. They come from a self-confessed LSD-user, so feel free to
dismiss them as well man. We're all totally demented anyway..


--




Genie Baker

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 1:58:26 PM12/19/94
to
In article <EDP.94De...@panix.panix.com>, Ed Price <e...@panix.com> wrote:
>gba...@econ.lsa.umich.edu (Genie Baker) writes:
>
>(Not to be combative, but... the War On Drugs brings a lot of agony into
>people's lives too... If we agree that drug abuse is a bad thing, which I
>assume we do, maybe this is the real issue -- what to do about it?)

Yeah; you've made a lot of interesting points in the past in this
regard.
I guess I feel that at a minimum, people should make informed choices
for themselves. The people I know who have had serious problems with
drugs are extremely unlikely to ever post anything on a newsgroup anywhere
(supporting or fighting addictions can become pretty consuming), so I
wonder how possible it is to have a balanced discussion here.

Scott H. Silverman

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 1:10:24 PM12/19/94
to
Path: NewsWatcher!user
From: ssil...@brynmawr.edu (Scott H. Silverman)
Newsgroups: rec.music.bluenote
Followup-To: rec.music.bluenote
Subject: Re: John Coltrane and LSD
Message-ID: <ssilverm-1...@165.106.148.57>
References: <hanson-2811...@141.224.192.28>
<3bfdkd$g...@newsbf01.news.aol.com> <EDP.94De...@panix.panix.com>
Organization: Bryn Mawr College Library

Folks, I think I've shown an intolerant aspect of my personality that does
not convey the whole essence of me.:-) I do disagree fundamentally with the
tendency of some of these posts to impute intellectual qualities to acid,
and yes -- I believe acid is basically in the same family of abused
subtances and that substance abuse needs to be divested of the romantic
aura that many still hold for it. But that's not why I'm writing. In
hindsight, I was irresponsible in alluding to my now famous friend of the
melting face. At least 2 pieces of private email indicate that some have
read this as a description of a tragedy. No, it was merely a hallucination,
one about which I discern no redeeming intellectual qualities but that some
find intriguing. The person who had it is alive, VERY WELL, and would
rightly kill me if he saw this post. So I, for one, am officially shutting
up (until y'all tick me off again). :-) BTW, I actually listen and enjoy
the music too. Remember that? :-)

Scott
ssil...@brynmawr.edu

Jeff Volkman

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 1:51:40 PM12/19/94
to

I get a kick out of this too. The "bottom line" is that drugs are tools
which can be used or abused. I had a bad experience with a phillips head
screwdriver once, so now I only use flatheads.

--Jeff

Genie Baker

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 4:27:16 PM12/19/94
to
In article <Pine.ULT.3.91a.94121...@stein1.u.washington.edu>,

Jeff Volkman <ve...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
> I had a bad experience with a phillips head
>screwdriver once, so now I only use flatheads.

I feel your pain, Jeff, and will give a lot more thought to my own
use of phillips head screwdrivers.

Michael Kelly

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 4:20:37 PM12/19/94
to
Jeff Volkman (ve...@u.washington.edu) wrote:

[ deletia ]

: I get a kick out of this too. The "bottom line" is that drugs are tools
: which can be used or abused. I had a bad experience with a phillips head

: screwdriver once, so now I only use flatheads.

I guess it depends on what you have a mind to screw around with Jeff! :)

btw-I just happen to be listening to a trane CD for the first time.
John Coltrane Quartet _Coltrane_

Relaxed, but has a good rhythm to it. Nice!

ciao

: --Jeff

--

Mike

"To commit the perfect crime, you don't have to be intelligent,
just in charge of the investigation that follows."

Jeff Volkman

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 4:54:50 PM12/19/94
to

On Mon, 19 Dec 1994 gba...@econ.lsa.umich.edu wrote:

> In article <Pine.ULT.3.91a.94121...@stein1.u.washington.edu> you write:
> > I had a bad experience with a phillips head
> >screwdriver once, so now I only use flatheads.
>

> I feel your pain, Jeff, and will give a lot more thought to my use of
> phillips head screwdrivers.
>

> --
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Genie Baker gba...@umich.edu
>

I trust your judgement Genie.

--Jeff

Ed Price

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 6:45:33 PM12/19/94
to
ssil...@brynmawr.edu (Scott H. Silverman) writes:

>Folks, I think I've shown an intolerant aspect of my personality that does
>not convey the whole essence of me.:-) I do disagree fundamentally with the
>tendency of some of these posts to impute intellectual qualities to acid,
>and yes -- I believe acid is basically in the same family of abused
>subtances and that substance abuse needs to be divested of the romantic
>aura that many still hold for it.

This reminds me very much of some of Glenn Gould's criticism of *music*
(especially certain Romantic notions about it in fact). Interesting...

It is probably true that, just like music, acid can be "indulgent" rather
than profound. I don't think it was irresponsible of you to point that
out. It *is* irresponsible to deny the possibility of *either* extreme --
I trust you agree that using acid *can* be uplifting (I posted about a very
positive experience early in this thread for example). In talking about
something like music or drugs it makes sense to me to try to communicate
what is worthwhile and valuable to you about it, and what is not. This is
what we do all the time in this group, after all. Hopefully the result is
that people are better able to experience the good and avoid the bad.

Well, I hope this is not excessively provocative. I will attempt to shut
up on this topic now as well.

Ciao,

-Ed

Tom Brown

unread,
Dec 19, 1994, 9:32:54 PM12/19/94
to
In article <3d4trk$7...@controversy.math.lsa.umich.edu> gba...@econ.lsa.umich.edu (Genie Baker) writes:
>In article <Pine.ULT.3.91a.94121...@stein1.u.washington.edu>,
>Jeff Volkman <ve...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>> I had a bad experience with a phillips head
>>screwdriver once, so now I only use flatheads.
>
> I feel your pain, Jeff, and will give a lot more thought to my own
>use of phillips head screwdrivers.

Personally, I prefer grapefruit screwdrivers, but I'm weird that way.

Glenn Lea

unread,
Dec 20, 1994, 7:40:40 AM12/20/94
to
In article <EDP.94De...@panix3.panix.com> e...@panix.com (Ed Price) writes:

This reminds me very much of some of Glenn Gould's criticism of *music*
(especially certain Romantic notions about it in fact). Interesting...

I have to laugh -- Ed, you can find an appropriate Glenn Gould
reference in ANYTHING :)

--
Glenn Lea

Michael Kelly

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Dec 20, 1994, 4:15:18 PM12/20/94
to
Jeff Volkman (ve...@u.washington.edu) wrote:


: On 19 Dec 1994, Tom Brown wrote:

: >
: >
: >

: They make me paranoid, and sometimes my face melts, but hey - to each
: his/her own. We're all adults here (aren't we?). I'm hoping for an
: electric screwdriver in my Christmas stocking this year.

: --Jeff

That's Vodka, orange juice, and acid isn't it? :)

ciao

--

Mike


Jeff Volkman

unread,
Dec 20, 1994, 12:17:51 PM12/20/94
to

On 19 Dec 1994, Tom Brown wrote: