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Black Sabbath’s 1972 cocaine budget: $75,000
10:35 am



Black Sabbath circa mid-1970s with Ozzy showing us where he puts his cocaine
All the members of Black Sabbath have been pretty open about their debauched past, but of all the stories concerning their experiences with illegal party favors, I think my favorite is Geezer Butler’s account of how the band used to have cocaine flown to them on private planes while they were recording their masterful 1972 album, Vol. 4

During that time, many of Sabbath’s drug-soaked escapades took place in the rented Bel Air mansion of John Du Pont (former heir to the of Du Pont family fortune whose high-profile 1997 murder case was recently depicted in the film, Foxcatcher).
Ozzy Osbourne performing with Black Sabbath in Montreal, 1972
Ozzy performing with Black Sabbath in Montreal in 1972. Ozzy’s abs courtesy of cocaine!
According to Butler’s mathematical calculations, Sabbath spent approximately $75K on cocaine in 1972, a whopping $15K more than they spent recording Vol. 4. Here’s more on Sabbath’s white line fever from former cocaine enthusiast Ozzy Osbourne via his 2010 autobiography (which I highly recommend), I Am Ozzy:

Eventually we started to wonder where the fuck all the coke was coming from…I’m telling you: that coke was the whitest, purest, strongest stuff you could ever imagine. One sniff, and you were king of the universe.

In the same book Osbourne noted:

For me, Snowblind was one of Black Sabbath’s best-ever albums—although the record company wouldn’t let us keep the title, ‘cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn’t want the hassle of a controversy. We didn’t argue.

It’s almost too bad that the Vol. 4 cover has now become iconic in its own right, because wouldn’t it be great if it truly had been called Snowblind?

In addition to snorting what could easily equate to mountains of cocaine, Sabbath never really discriminated when it came to drugs or booze. On one particular occasion Geezer Butler nearly committed suicide after tripping balls on acid that someone had dropped into his drink. According to Butler, it was that incident that helped him recognize that he needed to get sober. Yikes.

Here’s some choice video of Sabbath below performing their homage to Tony Montana’s drug of choice from Vol. 4, “Snowblind” in 1978 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Because, cocaine.

Black Sabbath performing “Snowblind” live on June 19, 1978 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Flowered Up’s ‘Weekender’: ‘Quadrophenia’ for the E-generation
02:35 pm



Every generation has at least one song that captures the essence of their era. For the loved-up clubbers of the late 1980s and early 1990s, there are more than a few generation-defining songs to choose from. Near the top of any such list would be “Weekender” by London five-piece band Flowered Up.

Released in 1992, “Weekender” was Flowered Up’s ironic paean to rave culture—a hedonistic life of partying all the time, living life for drugs and music. It was the band’s biggest chart success, just skirting the UK top twenty and was deservedly hailed as their “masterpiece.”

Formed in 1989 by brothers Liam and Joe Maher, Flowered Up had a short but bright career that promised much more than was delivered, with the group sadly disbanding before achieving their full potential.
Apart from being a classic rave song, “Weekender” became a short film written and directed by W.I.Z. (aka Andrew “W.I.Z.” Whiston)—a hip young promo director who went on to direct music videos for Primal Scream, Oasis, Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers, Kasabian and Dizzee Rascal, amongst many others. W.I.Z. took Flowered Up’s song and created a film that captured the hedonism of “E” culture and tied it back to its musical antecedent The Who’s Quadrophenia. Flowered Up were often “lazily compared” to “Madchester” bands like Happy Mondays and Northside, but as W.I.Z. once wrote in his obituary for Flowered Up’s lead singer Liam Maher, who died in 2009 from a drug overdose, Flowered Up were:

...much closer to The Clash or The Who, sharing the contradictions of white boys within a black music scene, Liam articulating with incandescent anger the doubts hidden by the prevailing euphoria.

W.I.Z. described Liam as “a vital poet, like Pete Townshend before him”:

...he was the first of his generation to eloquently question the sincerity of its unbridled hedonism. Nowhere more savagely succinct than in their swansong, ‘Weekender’.

W.I.Z.‘s film Weekender opens and closes with the iconic image of lead actor Lee Whitlock staring directly at the camera as he slowly descends on a window cleaning platform, while Phil Daniels’ dialog from the film Quadrophenia plays underneath.

As W.I.Z. points out:

There’s nothing romantic about this, as when ecstasy culture finally expired, [Liam] like many of his peers were cast-offs, left skint with crippling drug addictions, unable to reconcile the comedown and the missed opportunity (for social change) that he, before anyone else, had had the honesty to admonish.

A quarter of a century on, Weekender has lost none of its power and daring in capturing the hedonism of rave culture—and here it is in its uncensored glory.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Man found on floor surrounded by junk food after call to 911 for being ‘too high’
02:44 pm



Stoner surrounded by junk food
Welp, here’s another story that is headed straight for the ever-growing Stoner Hall of Fame.

According to a story from the Seattle Times published yesterday (via The Youngstown Vindicator), last Friday a 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 because he had apparently gotten “too high” smoking marijuana. I don’t think any amount of police training could have prepared the cops for what they found upon arriving at the abode of the stoner in question.

According to a report filed by the Austintown Township police, the man was found in a fetal position on his floor, with an assortment standard stoner junk food like Doritos, Goldfish crackers and Chips Ahoy cookies scattered around him. He also complained that he “couldn’t feel his hands.” Which is sad because it sounds like he was really hungry. Johnny Law found his stash, but have yet to charge him with a crime. Although they did take away his car keys. Now how is he going to get to 7-11 the next time he gets the munchies? Poor guy.

I’ve often said that the most dangerous thing a stoner has ever done is eat too much junk food such as polishing off an entire box of Cap’n Crunch (with Crunch Berries of course) in one sitting. But the image of this guy (which is captured pretty accurately in the photo above I think) really takes the cake. I don’t know about you, but I’d do just about anything to see the “crime scene” photos from this caper.

Oh, Ohio dude, NEVER CHANGE!

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Keith Haring tequila bottles
04:43 pm



For the last 7 years 1800 Tequila has released a series of tequila bottles done up in the style of well-known recent artists. The project is called 1800’s “Essential Series.” In the past, their bottles have featured the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gary Baseman, Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, and Ian McGillivray, among many others.

This year 1800 selected Keith Haring for a spiffy set of 6 tequila bottles that look mighty handsome.

Each bottle costs $34.99 at a reputable online liquor purveyor.


Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Life’s been good, sure, but how HIGH, exactly, is Joe Walsh in this TV performance?
09:54 am



Just how high is Joe Walsh? That is the question we’ll be addressing in this bizarre performance from a late ‘80s TV program.

There’s no doubt that life’s been good to Joe Walsh. The critically acclaimed guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter has been a member of at least five successful rock bands over the past 40+ years of his lucrative musical career. In between the bookending of his popular work that began with James Gang in the late sixties, and continuing on through his ostensibly neverending association with that monster cash machine known as The Eagles, whom he joined in 1975 and is still going strong—thanks mainly to an endless parade of “farewell” reunion tours, each of which is inexplicably followed up by yet another incredibly lucrative farewell tour (Apparently, The Eagles are a band that simply loves long goodbyes)—Walsh has also managed to find time to release a total of twelve solo albums on the side.

Joe Walsh scored a major Top 40 hit in 1978 with his solo song “Life’s Been Good.” It’s essentially a song wherein Joe recites a laundry list of how much more awesome his life is than yours. He describes the endless money, the cars, the mansions, the chicks, the debauchery, and all of the rest of the trappings of rock superstardom that most of us can merely imagine. I suppose we’re supposed to live vicariously through him, but the actual truth is that the song is one long brag fest that some might find irritating. We get it, Joe. You’re very successful, and we’re not.

Well, a complete decade after the song “Life’s Been Good” was a major hit, Joe Walsh agreed to appear on a TV show called Sunday Night in 1988. It was broadcast on NBC on (you guessed it) Sunday nights.

On this particular show, the host, (a very young) David Sanborn, introduces Walsh at the beginning of this train-wreck of a clip. It’s immediately obvious that something is wrong with the musician. He seems confused and disoriented, but luckily, he has the late, great Hiram Bullock—guitarist for the Sunday Night house band, and best known to many for his tenure as the guitarist for “The Worlds Most Dangerous Band”  on Late Night with David Letterman—doing most of the heavy lifting for Walsh during this performance that goes completely off the rails from the very beginning.

All of the guys in the house band seem to be grinning at Walsh’s inability to play or focus. They try to pull him along, but that only goes so far. Walsh begins forgetting important lyrics, and his guitar work is, uh, off. The performance deteriorates into Walsh engaging in a constant series of shrugging, mugging, winking, and generally confused facial contortions in the direction of the audience and camera. He looks like he might, at any moment, start disassembling the amplifiers onstage.

Perhaps the funniest moment (or maybe the most poignant) in this video, comes when Walsh is required to sing “I lost my license, now I don’t drive” in his obviously altered state of consciousness. These words seem legit, coming from the guy who can only shout fragments of the lyrics that he can barely remember. The beautifully ironic bottom line is that Joe Walsh is so high, he even manages to butcher that “lost license” line. It’s a testament to, and a perfect indication of, just how far gone he is. Hopefully someone took the man’s car keys.

Of course, the most hair pulling aspect of the clip below consists in the choice of the song. Here we have a rich and famous guy, a guy who’s rich and famous because we, the audience, have elevated him to that status. And yet, the man is so somewhere else that he can’t even rub it in properly about how much better his life is than ours. He disrespects us so much that he doesn’t even bother (in a very real sense) to “show up for the gig.” Instead, he writes the audience off completely and spends the 4 minutes and 50 seconds documented of this clip in a “rocky mountain way.” Of course, having said that, I have to admit that the schadenfreude factor is off the chain.

And if anyone cares to question this article’s assertion that Walsh is high out of his mind, I’d simply direct you to take a gander at Walsh’s sartorial choice for this performance. No one not high dresses like that. Not even in 1988.


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
If you do LSD, your hot dog will turn into a troll doll and speak to you!
11:22 am



This is from one of those outrageously bad drug scare films from 1969. It’s called Case Study: LSD and it’s so bad it’s funny. Apparently, if you drop some acid and decide to eat a hot dog, the acid could potentially turn your meal into a troll doll.

Honestly, if I saw this nonsensical propaganda back in 1969, I probably couldn’t wait to get my hands on stuff! I mean, talking troll doll hot dogs?! I’m so there!

The talking hot dog had seven kids and a wife to support. He deserved better.

With thanks to Rusty Blazenhoff

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Seven Up’: The mind-expanding Krautrock album Timothy Leary made on the run from the law
08:49 am



The tale of acid sage Dr. Timothy Leary’s prison escape and subsequent exile is among the most amusing stories in the annals of drug culture lore—though sentenced to an absurd twenty years for utterly petty offenses including possession of a couple of roaches, Leary was able to game the prison system: as a reputable Harvard psychologist, it happened that he himself had designed the psychological examinations he was given by prison administrators to determine his security and work situations. He got himself assigned to a cushy gardening job in a minimum security facility, from which he handily escaped, issuing an outlandish revolutionary screed to taunt authorities shortly after he fled. Via a series of sneaks involving the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, an arms dealer, and a socialite whom he eventually married (how has this not been a TV mini-series yet? Get on this, Netflix…) Leary ended up in Switzerland, where he met with the German Kosmiche band Ash Ra Tempel, with whom he recorded the album Seven Up.

Formed by musicians from Eruption and Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel mostly shunned structured songs in favor of lengthy and often downright fierce improvisations. Their albums typically featured two side-length compositions, a feral freakout on side one, and a more ambient, electronics-driven suite on the flip, presumably to help sand the edges off from side one. From Peter Buckley’s Rough Guide Rock:

Manuel Göttsching (guitar) and Hartmut Enke (bass) had played together in various psychedelic blues and pop combos for a few years before they formed Ash Ra Tempel in August 1970 with drummer/keyboardist Klaus Schultz, who had just left Tangerine Dream. The most cosmic of the Krautrock bands, Ash Ra Tempel became legendary for their wild improvisational free-form live jams, influenced by Pink Floyd but eschewing songs to take the concept of space-rock much further, enhanced by both Schultz’s and Gottsching’s interest in experimental electronic music.

Schultz soon left for a solo career but several other musicians passed through the group’s revolving door, and with some of them Göttsching and Enke recorded the amazing Schwingungen (1972). With the idea of recording the ultimate psychedelic trip, Ohr label-head Rolf Kaiser next took Ash Ra Tempel to Switzerland to party endlessly and to record the album Seven Up with LSD guru Timothy Leary, who was living there in exile. The results were a more song-orientated first section, with Leary singing, followed by several conventional rock songs melded into a single track divided by spacey electronic segues.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Magazine ads from the heyday of cocaine chic
01:12 pm



Who was the Don Draper of magazine ads for cocaine and cocaine accessories? (That turn of phrase can’t help put me in the mind of Hank Hill.)

These vintage advertisements appeared in popular magazines like High Times and Hustler as well as magazines with, er, lower profiles. (Credit goes to The World’s Best Ever for unearthing these gems.) Somewhat surprisingly, these ads were perfectly legal—it wasn’t until 1986 that a statute was passed making it a crime to “sell, transport through the mail, transport across state lines, import, or export drug paraphernalia as defined.”

I really enjoy the names of the companies you were supposed to write in order to receive your high-end coke spoons or whatever: Paraphernalia Head-Quarters, Alpine Creations, Johnny Snowflake, Cocaphernalia, Elite Distributors, Leasure Time Products (sic), Klimax Novelties Inc.

I really want one of those vacuum cleaner-shaped coke straws!


Many more awesome coked-up ads after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cringeworthy Bud Light ‘grunge’ ad is totally 90s
02:00 pm



They might not have known it yet, but anyone who ever felt the remotest fandom for/identification with Kurt Cobain, Mark Arm, or Kim Thayil back when the word “grunge” still needed to be clarified for a mass audience on a regular basis (1991, say) was about to learn a harsh lesson in the pleasures of corporate cooptation. Once Nirvana’s Nevermind hit #1 on the U.S. charts in January 1992, the feeding frenzy was on, with Marc Jacobs introducing a “grunge” fashion line for Perry Ellis and a receptionist for Sub Pop Records successfully passing off a bunch of made-up grunge slang to the New York Times.

In truth, the attempts to cash in on grunge were only partially successful. Cameron Crowe set his 1992 movie Singles in Seattle and populated it with well-known and authentic grunge practitioners like Tad Doyle, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament, but that didn’t make the movie any good or (even if you liked it) any less stilted. Grunge resisted the spotlight, and in the long arc of history, the big winners ended up being, er, Matchbox 20 and Foo Fighters maybe?

Exhibit A in the deliciously tricky process of marketing the grunge mindset is this hilariously awkward “grunge” commercial that Bud Light put out, apparently in 1993, which ought to have induced a gag reflex in anyone who might be considered the prime target audience. According to the YouTube info, this commercial ran for four years, but I barely remember it, which may mean that it was just barely innocuous enough to escape the derision it so richly deserved.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The first use of ‘hippie’ in newsprint makes hippies sound like boring, self-absorbed assholes
10:21 am



George and Pattie Harrison in Haight-Ashbury
The Haight-Ashbury story that always resonated with me the most came from George Harrison, who had visited San Francisco in 1967 with his wife to visit her sister. At some point they decided to take some acid and visit hippie ground zero, expecting a scene of artists and beauty, but finding instead what Harrison later described as “just a lot of bums, many of them who were just very young kids.” Everyone was burnt out and impoverished, and while a crowd initially followed him adoringly, they quickly turned hostile at his lack of engagement. The whole thing was enough to put him off acid and send him to intensive meditation.

There is a widely held impression of deferred dreams or abandoned idealism to the subculture, as if the kids were initially utopian visionaries who just got caught up in drug culture, but honestly… if one is to go by the contemporary media reports, it seemed like the whole hippie scene just kind of sucked from the get-go. Take the alleged first use of the word “hippie” in the mainstream press. The article below (from 1965) was the first in a series for the San Francisco Examiner—the “new bohemians” of San Francisco represented an emerging wave of youth culture, though not one that sounds in any way appealing or groundbreaking (mostly they sound like boring, detached slackers). Later, the series made a point to distinguish between hippies and artists, the latter of which wanted nothing to do with the former, preferring to sell their wares to professionals who had both the money and the interest.

A New Paradise For Beatniks
by Michael Fallon

Five untroubled young “hippies,” scrawled on floor mattresses and slouched in an armchair retrieved from a debris box flipped cigarette ashes at a seashell in their Waller Street flat and pondered their next move.

It was 5 in the evening. Dinner was not yet on the stove; the makings for dinner were nowhere in sight.

No one appeared worried, though. Or even interested.

The same apathy controlled the discussion of their next pad, a move forced on them by a police marijuana and drinking party raid the week before. “Maybe we’ll move to the Fillmore,” said Jeff, 21, the oldest. The proposal drew loud snickers and seemed doomed.

In all likelihood the hippies will drift—together, separately, or in new combinations—to other quarters in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Haight-Ashbury is the city’s new bohemian quarter for serious writers, painters and musicians, civil rights workers, crusaders for all kinds of causes, homosexuals, lesbians, marijuana users, young working couples of artistic bent, in the outer fringe of the bohemian fringe — the “hippies,” the “heads,” the beatniks.

It is, in short, “West Beach.”

By and large, the Establishment of Haight-Ashbury—longtime residents and businessmen—are not in the least disturbed by all this. They are optimistic about the future of the district, welcome “new blood,” and point to commercial growth.

Haight-Ashbury indeed seems to be experiencing a renaissance that will make it a richer, better neighborhood in which to live.


There, too, are hundreds of San Francisco State College students, in flight from Parkmerced and in close contact with the hip world, and more aloof delegations from the University of California Medical Center and the University of San Francisco.

They fit into a mosaic of races and nationalities unique in the city—Negroes, Filipinos, some Japanese, Russians, Czechs, Scandinavians, Armenians, Greeks, Germans, and Irish.

Newcomers and old-timers both are attracted to Haight-Ashbury by the low rents. A high-ceilinged, six-room apartment worth $250 a month or more elsewhere in San Francisco may be found there for $150 or even for as low as $85.

The neighborhood is sprucing itself up. Dozens of splendid pre-earthquake Victorian homes have been refurbished and acquired fresh paint. New businesses are moving in to cater to the new bohemians. Older shops are enlarging.

Yet there are troubles. The threat of urban renewal projects in adjoining districts, or in Haight-Ashbury itself, raises slum fears. “Planning” is not a kindly received word, by and large, among the 30,000 people live east of Stanyan Street, south of Fulton, west of Divisadero and north of 17th Street, Upper Terrace and Buena Vista Park.

The neighborhood’s problems had little importance in the flat at 1446 Waller St., where a visitor was cautioned by a four-year-old Negro girl playing on the front steps: “Don’t go in there. That’s the wrong door. That’s the beatnik door.”

In the previous week’s marijuana raid, police had jailed eight tenants and rounded up 14 suburban juveniles, nearly all neat and well-behaved.


The five survivors in the third floor flat said that the gathering had been a “rent party,” advertised in the hip world to raise — as effortlessly as possible — $100 for another month’s rent.

Like many hippies, they defended marijuana. “It’s not habit-forming, you know,” they said. “To equate it with smack (heroin) is wrong.”

Marijuana sells for about one dollar a stick (cigaret) or $15 an say [sic] it is easily obtained and far healthier than a few shots of whiskey.

Would the five consider taking jobs to raise bail for comrades unfairly incarcerated?

“It would be a lot of work.”

“They wouldn’t expect it of us.”

If they weren’t worried about their friends, or the next pad, or anything else, then how about dinner? Where was that next meal coming from?

“A lot of us have ‘straight’ friends. They bring us food.”

Without lifting a finger, hippies share, too, in this age of affluence. On the menu that evening was lasagna

(Tomorrow: Coffee-housing in the MTA)

After the jump, George Harrison discusses the Haight…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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