Do drugs enhance a rocker’s creativity?

In the case of Disturbed frontman David Draiman, that answer would have to be a yes. The 42-year-old claims he writes almost all of his songs while he’s high.

“You know what? 95% of the songs I’ve written in my life, I’ve written them while high,” he told Revolver magazine. “That’s the god’s honest truth. I’ll have a very skeletal musical idea in my head, and then I’ll light one up, go in the shower and let the steam kind of build up… it helps me relax, and I can see the gaps.

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“I can see the holes in the rhythm and the melody and I’ll know where I can go, and what the possibilities are. It helps me be able to perceive everything a little bit more clearly. So I figured, ‘What the hell, let’s write a song about it!’ And [guitarist] Danny [Donegan] had this riff that had a real funky bounce to it and that was so different. So it was, ‘Okay, let’s try this…'”

We all know Draiman’s far from alone, though. According to rock lore, Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis on August 28, 1964. When he pulled out his stash, the Beatles looked sheepish.

“We’ve never smoked marijuana before,” they told him.

Dylan looked disbelievingly from face to face. “But what about your song?” he asked. The one about getting high?”

The Beatles were stupefied. “Which song?” John managed to ask.

Dylan said, “You know…” and then he sang, “and when I touch you I get high, I get high…”

John flushed with embarrassment. “Those aren’t the words,” he admitted. “The words are, ‘I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide…'”

dylanThat introduction to pot would eventually leave its mark on the Beatles and their future music. As Paul McCartney said in a 2004 interview, drugs definitely impacted their songwriting, but one shouldn’t read too much into that.

“A song like ‘Got to Get You Into My Life,’ that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time,” McCartney said. ” ‘Day Tripper,’ that’s one about acid. ‘Lucy in the Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”

McCartney added: “Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time.”

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2 comments to “Do drugs enhance a rocker’s creativity?”
  1. Marijuana enhances the senses, making it perfect for listening to or playing music. Even straight-laced Charlie Watts said it helped him “hear better”. But if you overdo it and become a pothead, it deadens initiative and drive, hurting your creative output. And don’t even think about the heavy shit.

  2. Good point. With weed, you have to stop while you’re still creative. I’ve heard (because I have obviously never smoked marijuana myself) that weed is good for silencing the voice in your head that says ‘you’re not good enough.” Creative people tend to be insecure, so I would imagine that they turn to drugs as a way to be more freely creative without tripping over their self-made stumbling blocks.

    Drugs are a great way to tune out pain without actually learning to deal with it.

    But really, you’re fine if you stay away from needle drugs, meth and PCP.

    And only do coke once every four years.

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