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Drugs and Rock and Roll

Beginning with the late 1960s counterculture in San Francisco, music and drugs will forever be inter-linked. Hippie bands such as the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and Phish are associated with marijuana, mushrooms, and LSD. Modern electronic rave , or club music is associated with MDMA or Ecstasy. When one thinks of rock and roll, sex and drugs immediately come to mind. While the use of drugs is not essential for the creation or performance of all new music, it was certainly in important factor for the counterculture music of the late 1960s. While some of the most important and influential music was made with the help of psychoactive drugs, it was often to the detriment of the artist. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and countless other tremendously talented artists had their lives cut short due to drug use. Drugs were most often good for the music, but deadly for the music makers.The general mindset of the 1960s San Francisco scene is well summarized by Reebee Garafalo in his book Rockin Out: Popular Music in the USA when he states: For the counterculture, the focus on mind-expanding drugs seemed to offer the possibility of greater self-awareness and consciousness, which would in turn lead to a world without war, competition, or regimentation. The concept of expanding the mind in order to achieve a peaceful, utopian world naturally lends itself to the consumption of drugs. The image of half naked, marijuana smoking hippies dancing around in the park comes to mind when one thinks of the late 60s Haight-Ashbury scene. Drugs help tremendously in creating an altered state, making one oblivious to the outside world. A great deal of the music was preaching peace, love, and harmony. Drugs made it feel real. When on drugs, everything feels and seems peaceful and utopian, so naturally drugs were incorporated into the experience. Psychedelics, and drugs in general became such an important part of life during the 6...

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