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‘The Pot Smoker’s Song’: Neil Diamond’s terrible anti-weed anthem
05:54 am



There’s no shortage of candidates, but my vote for the worst song in Neil Diamond’s catalog goes to “The Pot Smoker’s Song” from 1968’s Velvet Gloves and Spit. While it’s possible to write a decent anti-pot song—Jonathan Richman’s “I’m Straight” comes to mind—it seems Diamond’s ruthless songwriting instincts, so adroit with other kinds of subject matter, led him to adopt the most hysterical position on cannabis: smoking grass leads directly to shooting scag. (As readers of the stoner bible Newsweek know, it does not.)

In ‘68, says Laura Jackson’s Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion, the Jazz Singer’s visits to an NYC rehab called Phoenix House inspired him to start an anti-drug group called Musicians Against Drugs (MAD). The organization soon changed its name to Performers Against Drugs (PAD), though I’m not sure it’s a better acronym for an anti-drug group—doesn’t it make you think “crash pad”? Anyway, the crystallization of that late-60s drug activism is “The Pot Smoker’s Song,” an album track which combines grim field recordings with a jolly chorus. During the verses, actual junkies from Phoenix House talk about how grass made drug fiends of them and ruined their lives, accompanied by merry instrumentation and backing vocals. (I think this is how Neil Diamond does sardonic?) See if you can come up with a melody for the first verse:

I started when I was thirteen, and, uh, I had saw some people smoking pot, and I bought myself a nickel bag, and I went behind my building and sat on a bench all by myself, and I smoked that bag—y’know, until I finally got high. Uh, I started with pot ‘cause I was curious, and at that time I was having problems with my family. I remember on one trip, I was at a party, and, uh, I got very sick from, uh, from speed, from meth. And, uh, I used to shoot it in my spine. I also used to shoot acid in my spine. And, uh, I had too much, I was building a big thing up over a week, and I got sick, and I tried to commit suicide.

Jackson’s bio reports the song was subject to such derision that it was omitted from later pressings of Velvet Gloves and Spit. I see no evidence of this on Discogs, but the song was left off of one UK pressing. Never mind: “The Pot Smoker’s Song” was lame. Neil said:

“The Pot Smoker’s Song” almost cost me my career. People just laughed at it.


But in the fullness of time, the scales fell from Diamond’s eyes and he repented of his error. Ben Fong-Torres’ classic piece “The Importance of Being Neil Diamond,” from the September 23, 1976 issue of Rolling Stone, opens with a 50-man squad from LAPD and the LA Sheriff’s Department raiding Diamond’s house on a cocaine tip. The Man didn’t find any coke at Neil’s place, but the search did turn up a little herb. Fong-Torres knew Velvet Gloves and Spit, and he nailed Diamond:

There is a track on a 1970 [sic] Neil Diamond album called “The Pot Smoker’s Song.” It begins, “Pot, pot, gimme some pot, forget what you are, you can be what you’re not, high, high, I wanna get high, never give it up if you give it a try.” And between the bouncy choruses are spoken testimonials from kids connecting grass to speed, acid, suicide and worse.

Today, Diamond says “The Pot Smoker’s Song” was “essentially misdirected”; that he learned the real villain is heroin after “The Pot Smoker’s Song” came out. He started smoking dope – “mostly out of boredom,” usually on long road trips.

“Fortunately, when I went through this stage,” he adds, “I was old enough to discern between marijuana and heroin.” Diamond is 35.

Fortunately? I, for one, would really have enjoyed hearing the results of a scag habit on Diamond’s later work, but I guess my loss is his gain. It’s never too late to start, Neil…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
New study finds that smoking weed DOES NOT cause psychotic episodes in teens
02:42 pm



Well, whaddya know…a new study conducted by researchers from the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds runs counter to arguments put forward by drug prohibitionists by concluding that cannabis use in adolescents does not cause psychotic episodes.

Published in the Psychiatric Research Journal, the report “Psychotic experiences are linked to cannabis use in adolescents in the community because of common underlying environmental risk factors” questioned 4,830 16-year-old twins—to rule out genetic factors—asking whether they had ever tried cannabis? Respondents answered “Yes” or “No.”

The researchers then examined whether the respondents had ever had any psychotic episodes (PE) which were divided into five self-report subscales:

...paranoia (15 items), hallucinations (9 items), cognitive disorganisation (11 items), grandiosity (8 items), anhedonia [the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable] (10 items) and one parent-rated subscale: parent-rated negative symptoms (10 items)....Response scales related to frequency of experiences for paranoia and hallucinations (“Not at all” (0),“Rarely” (1), “Once a month” (2),“Once a week” (3), “Several times a week” (4), “Daily” (5)).

The end result found that both cannabis use and psychotic episodes were triggered by environmental factors—ranging from being poor to bullying (“peer victimization”).

The report revealed how children who are under stress for other reasons tend to smoke cannabis, and are also at higher risk of psychotic episodes. The researchers found:

Cannabis use and psychotic experience co-occur due to environmental factors.

Focus on specific environments may reveal why adolescent cannabis use and psychotic experiences tend to ‘travel together’.

Exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage may induce stress that triggers the development of psychotic episodes and cannabis use.

However, the report “investigated the association between cannabis use and PEs and not clinical psychosis. Findings should therefore be interpreted with the view of PEs as trait based phenotypes, and not clinical psychosis.”

The whole report can be read here.

It’s not just teenagers who enjoy a smoke… here’s some grandmas trying weed for the first time….

H/T Metro, via Psychiatric Research Journal

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Maryjane’: Former teen idol stars in goofy anti-marijuana flick
07:51 am



On Kliph Nesteroff’s essential website Classic Television Showbiz, you can find lengthy, fascinating interviews with many, many figures from the distant past of the worlds of comedy and TV—“distant past” here refers to, ohhh, before Laugh-In, say. Nesteroff’s focus is frequently the Las Vegas of the 1940s through the 1960s, which is a very, very different environment for standup comedy than, say, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood in 2015 (the main difference is the high influence of the mob—then, not now).

The other day Nesteroff posted the third part of an interview he conducted a few years back with Peter Marshall, best known to many as the host of Hollywood Squares from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. It turns out that in the late 1960s Marshall had a partnership of sorts with actor Dick Gautier, best known as Hymie the robot from Get Smart. Together they penned a screenplay about marijuana use, with the title Maryjane, and the actor who was picked to bring it to the big screen was none other than Fabian, singer of several hits in 1959 (“Turn Me Loose,” “Tiger,” “This Friendly World,” “Come On and Get Me,” etc.) who also epitomized the manufactured pop star that acts like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would banish from the charts—for a time, anyway. The movie isn’t very good, but everyone involved with the movie seem to agree that it did well, made money.

The director of Maryjane was Maury Dexter, also directed The Day Mars Invaded Earth, Surf Party, and The Mini-Skirt Mob. He wrote in his book Highway to Hollywood: The Hard Way, which is available as a PDF.

The first show that I did for AIP was Maryjane, a script about teens smoking marijuana. There was nothing salacious or offensive about it, but it did have some provocative scenes that showed the results of overindulging and the risks taken when someone needs “a fix.” The picture starred Fabian and Diane McBain. The film did very well at the box office, although, it was far from a big hit. I used the Doheny Mansion in Beverly Hills for some scenes. The stark beauty of the estate set against the ramblings of a young “user” was, I thought, quite effective. Maryjane was shot entirely in the Hollywood area—using mostly “live” or real sets.

As you can see here, the advertising for the movie mimicked the iconic poster of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause:

Here’s some sample dialogue from a teacher’s conference, with a representative of the law to set them straight on the severity of the problem.

Faculty Member A: Marijuana is not dope.
Faculty Member B: Well, that may be, but their eyes get funny and they act weird and crazy!
Faculty Member A: Oh, they may seem giddy, they may appear excessively relaxed....
Faculty Member C: Sort of like they’re drunk?
Faculty Member A: Yes, yes, in a way….
Faculty Member C: Then what’s wrong with it?
Jack Webb type: Well, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it! It spreads. Like cancer. First it’s marijuana, then it’s LSD & STP, then it’s heroin & cocaine.
Faculty Member C:  You’re saying that marijuana leads to the hard stuff?
Jack Webb-type: The big-time scientists say no. But statistics show that every hard-core addict started with marijuana. Look: Can I tell you something? We picked up three kids for possession of marijuana, and do you know how old they were? Twelve and thirteen and flying high!

More ‘Maryjane’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Handy’ chart shows which drugs are the most popular at each festival
12:48 pm


Tags: created this awfully “handy” chart which shows what the most popular drugs are used at certain festivals. Since most people won’t freely admit to taking any illegal drugs, collected their information by using Instagram.

...researchers first gathered intel on how many Instagram posts mentioned one of the 15 festivals they analyzed (3,622,365).

From there, they looked at how many of those posts also mentioned or alluded to a controlled substance—by percentage, Marley Fest had the most mentions of drug use (pretty shocking…), and the KISS Country Chili Cook-Off had the most mentions of alcohol (which could have been inspired by the Brad Paisley hit of the same name—he headlined after all).

I’m giving this chart a major side-eye. C’mon, just using mentions on Instagram to get your statics without actually physically talking to a single person? I dunno, seems pretty pointless to me. I’d take this chart with a grain of… something fun.

via Billboard

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Smoke weed from the heads of Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson & other oddballs
09:51 am



Raul Duke and Dr. Gonzo pipes
Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo pipes

I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits - and millions of Americans agree with me.
—Hunter S Thompson

Millions of Americans: “Yes, we do agree. Except for grapefruit. Fuck grapefruit.”

As the “legalize the good shit” wave continues to sweep across the U.S., so do the seemingly endless varieties of marijuana smoking apparatus. Ever wanted a bong that you could strap to your face that looks like Satan? No problem. Now if you happen to be one of those stoners who is always on the lookout for something unique to pack at your next smoke session, today is your lucky day Spicoli.
Tom Waits pipe
Tom Waits pipe

It just so happens that a Macedonia-based business called WOOFterrapipe makes ceramic pipes in the images of poets, deviants, and folk heroes like Tom Waits, Walter White and Edgar Allan Poe among others. The only pipe in the collection that puts me off a bit is the one of Charles Bukowski. While I understand that pretty much everybody (including me) and potheads love Buk, Bukowski himself LOATHED potheads. So as a huge fan of the man who wrote words like a wild horse runs, it seems a bit rude to want to fire up a bud of Blue Dream in the back of Bukowski’s little ceramic head.

However, given the choice (and it’s a tough one), I’d rather burn Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo with a little grass, a few beers (and maybe seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, two dozen amyls, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers).
Charles Bukowski pipe
Charles Bukowski pipe

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Florida man surfs cars because meth
10:29 am



Goddamn you, Florida, you’ve gone and done it again. Jonathan Restrepo, of Coral Springs, FL, jumped out of his girlfriend’s car on South Ocean Boulevard while allegedly high on meth and decided it would be a good idea to surf the tops of people’s moving cars. According to reports, he had it in his head someone or something was after him. What better way to escape your imaginary foes than by jumping on top of random cars and thereby insuring that real police would be after you? It IS Florida, so this story totally makes sense. I mean, it just does.

The driver who shot the video (which is below) said “He was running around like a monkey with his tongue out, waving his arms in the air, jumping on top of cars.”

Mr. Restrepo, who surrendered to police, is currently out on bond after being charged with numerous offenses.

via WPBF 25 News and h/t Death and Taxes


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Paul Krassner: I dropped acid with Groucho Marx
07:49 am



Paul Krassner has lived a remarkable life, with singular experiences including publishing The Realist, acting as editor of Hustler, becoming a “one-man underground railroad of abortion referrals,” testifying at the Chicago 7 trial while tripping on acid, co-founding the Yippies, and so forth.

Not the least of his adventures was the time he acted as “sort of a guide for Groucho Marx” for Groucho’s first acid trip.

As he wrote in the February 1981 issue of High Times, “We ingested those little white tabs one afternoon at the home of an actress in Beverly Hills.” At the end of the anecdote, Groucho says that he is looking forward to playing “God” in Skidoo, the legendary cult movie from 1968 directed by Otto Preminger in which Groucho smokes pot, so the timing of this acid story must have been late 1967 or early 1968. Wikipedia asserts that Groucho took acid to “prepare” for Skidoo, but Krassner’s article definitely does not say that. In fact, Krassner’s article is something of a mishmash, covering 3-4 different stories, and he doesn’t really explain anything about what led to his acid trip with Groucho. Here’s a little bit of what they did do, though:

We had long periods of silence and of listening to music. I was accustomed to playing rock ‘n’ roll while tripping, but the record collection here was all classical and Broadway show albums. After we heard the Bach “Cantata No. 7” Groucho said, “I may be Jewish, but I was seeing the most beautiful visions of Gothic cathedrals. Do you think Bach knew he was doing that?”

Later, we were listening to the score of a musical comedy Fanny. There was one song called “Welcome Home,” where the lyrics go something like, “Welcome home, says the clock,” and the chair says, “Welcome home,” and so do various other pieces of furniture. Groucho started acting out each line as if he were actually being greeted by the duck, the chair and so forth. He was like a child, charmed by his own ability to respond to the music that way.

He also says, remarkably, that “the acid with which Ram Dass, in his final moments as Dick Alpert, failed to get his guru higher was the same acid that I had the honor of taking with Groucho Marx.”

There’s a lot more in the article, so read the full thing here.

Interestingly, in his account Krassner mentions the tour buses of Haight-Ashbury hippiedom of the late 1960s, which DM covered just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s not acid, but here’s a little clip from Skidoo with Groucho smoking reefer:

Hat tip: Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
If you’ve never tried Quaaludes before, they’re kinda like this guy singing ‘Jesus Loves You’
11:42 am



Clearly this video of Rod Boucher singing “Jesus Loves You” has been slowed wayyyy down. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pick up on that. But the result is a type of seemingly Quaalude-induced hilariousness. If you’ve never done ‘em before, look no further than this video because this pretty much sums up what the experience is like. Minus the fun parts, of course.

Dig Rod’s Minnie Riperton-esque high notes, “Somebody loves you! Wooooooooooooooooo!” Also, his use of the word “forever” literately goes on forever and ever.

The video was taken from a Christian Television Association advertisement. An Australian ad from 1980.

via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
That time when Ringo Starr evicted Jimi Hendrix for being such a shitty tenant, 1967
10:25 am



Ah, 34 Montagu Square, the infamous ground floor and basement apartment once leased by Beatle Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Many celebrities sub-leased the apartment from Starr then, but perhaps the worst of the worst celebrity tenant award goes to a Mr. Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix—along with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham—sub-leased the apartment back in December of 1966. They both lived on the lower-ground floor and paid £30 a month in rent. That’s a pretty rad bargain if you ask me even for back then. I’d consider it living situation that you’d probably not want to fuck up. But… Jimi Hendrix apparently did. One night while on an acid trip, Hendrix decided it would be a good idea to whitewash the entire place. He threw whitewash all over the walls because LSD. That, er, “mistake” led Ringo Starr to issue Hendrix an eviction. Bye-bye, Jimi!

Hendrix and Etchingham only lasted three months in the digs. Hendrix, did however, compose the song “The Wind Cries Mary”  while he lived there. The song was inspired after a fight he had with Etchingham over her lack of cooking skills.

The photographs you see here, by photojournalist Petra Niemeier, are of Hendrix while he lived at 34 Montagu Square. Judging by these photos, I’m surprised Hendrix didn’t burn down the damned place while smoking in bed. Methinks the Beatle probably made the right call.





via Mashable and Wikipedia

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Square people gawk at Haight-Ashbury hippies from the safety of a tour bus, 1967
08:55 am



Between January and April 1967, the following albums were released: the Doors’ first album (January), Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow (February), Donovan’s Mellow Yellow and the Grateful Dead’s first album (both March), and the Electric Prunes’ first album (April). Four of those albums were recorded in California, and as a group the albums helped define the psychedelic scene of the Bay Area; just a few months later San Francisco would be immersed in the Summer of Love.

Something was brewing in the city, and the word had gotten out. The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in January; for the April 26, 1967, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter J. Campbell Bruce and photographer Art Frisch collaborated on an article by embedding themselves (to use much later terminology) on a tourist bus that would cruise by the Haight-Ashbury district so that regular folks could see real hippies in action. According to Brian J. Cantwell, the bus was called the “Hippie Hop.”

In the pages of the Chronicle, legendary columnist Herb Caen sniffed with bemused contempt at the tour buses:

What’s striking about the pictures from the perspective of today is that the ostensible “hippies” seem indistinguishable from most young adults today. The “little old lady” cited in the original article as saying “You’re sure they’re not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland” surely had a point. My guess is that the intervening 48 years (!) have made it difficult to see what was so gawk-worthy about these young people; also, by the end of the summer, things were likely looking quite different on Haight-Ashbury.

The tours were well known at the time. Just two weeks later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about them in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “The ‘Hashbury’ Is the Capital of the Hippies”:

The only buses still running regularly along Haight Street are those from the Gray Line, which recently added “Hippieland” to its daytime sightseeing tour of San Francisco. It was billed as “the only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” and was an immediate hit with tourists who thought the Haight-Ashbury was a human zoo. The only sour note on the tour was struck by the occasional hippy who would run alongside the bus, holding up a mirror.

That article appears in HST’s collection The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. The first thing I thought of when I saw this story was Renata Adler’s 1976 novel Speedboat, which is mostly set in New York; it includes the following passage:

At six one morning, Will [the narrator’s boyfriend] went out in jeans and frayed sweater to buy a quart of milk. A tourist bus went by. The megaphone was directed at him. “There’s one,” it said. That was in the 1960’s. Ever since, he’s wondered. There’s one what?

All pics except the Caen column will spawn a larger version if you click on them. Be sure to see the full gallery at SF Gate. All photographs by Art Frisch.


Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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