Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin weren’t ‘haunted by demons’; they were having fun


Grace Slick was in the thick of the cultural revolution that swept the country in ’60s. Drugs and alcohol were a major influence on the country’s artists – and, sadly, they claimed the lives of several iconic rock stars. As tragic as those deaths were, Slick believes they weren’t escape acts, but rather they were part of the time and culture; part of trying to have fun in your 20s:

“Janis [Joplin], Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison,” Slick said in a recent Forbes interview. “They’ve written books about the drama, about how suicidal, miserable and haunted by demons they were. Okay, we all have little problems but trust me, when you’re in your 20s, you took as many drugs as possible, that was the deal. You could screw anybody you wanted because we didn’t have AIDS then, and you were getting paid to travel around the world to make music. Trust me, you’re not suicidal. We were taking drugs for fun, mainly. We wanted to test: How do you feel when you do this? Ooh, that’s interesting. LSD, oh, that’s nice. I want to relax.

Taking fun drugs is hardball entertainment. You’ve got to know that going in. Taking harder drugs – and I’m talking about the stuff that doctors give you as well – is a crapshoot. Heroin is especially tough because the amounts are so small you think you’ll just have a little more. Well, just a little more will kill you.”

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“God, yeah. We were on a lot of acid back then,” says Marty Balin, one of Slick’s bandmates in Jefferson Airplane (via The Maine Edge). “If we didn’t take it, somebody would dose us. It was in the punch. Every apple [backstage] would have it. You had to be very careful. Otherwise, you’d be flying when you didn’t really plan on it.”

Slick never took heroin – in part, she says, because she was “too lazy.” “God kind of saved me there. It’s too much trouble. You need a dealer, and he may not be home. You have to tie off your arm. You have to hit a vein. The doctors can’t even hit a vein on me. My veins are way too deep. I snorted heroin once, but didn’t get any feeling from it. I thought, ‘Okay, I don’t need that.’”

In recent years, Slick has been painting with many of her works revolving around music and wonderland themes. “All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire,” said during a 1998 interview. She’s stayed true to her belief. Sadly, we can only imagine what Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin would be up to if they were still around today.

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