Warm Summer Nights, Music, and a Cannabis Frame of Mind
We’ll soon be attending backyard parties again, and what could be better than an evening outdoors with friends, chillin’ to music wafting on a warm summer breeze? And if you choose to heighten your senses with a sativa strain like Headbanger, Stargazer, Kali Mist or CBD Skunk Haze, you’ll likely be in the same frame of mind as those who created the music you’re listening to.
It’s no shock that the creative influence of cannabis ripples throughout music history. Singers, songwriters, and musicians have been getting high since music was first put to tape (and long before that, too). Whether you’re a raving fan, a musician or an aspiring songwriter, heightened senses are always a bonus.
They certainly have been for some of the world’s highest and most talented musical artists, including the five mentioned below, who of course, are also huge cannabis advocates.
In his memoir Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, country superstar Willie Nelson writes that the day he quit smoking cigarettes, he dumped out his pack of Chesterfields, rolled up 20 joints, and put them into the empty pack, which helped him stay quit. The joints, after all, got him high; the cigarettes didn’t.
A lifetime later, Nelson is maybe the music world’s biggest advocate for cannabis, and has written stone-cold, all-time classic songs like “On The Road Again,” “Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain,” and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Nelson is a notably relaxed dude, which is likely not not because of his favourite herb. And to all those who might continue to believe that weed makes you lazy, Nelson can testify in opposition. The 88-year-old is legendarily productive, churning out eight albums in the past five years.
For a large chunk of his life, reggae icon Bob Marley was a Rastafari, and so he considered cannabis to be a sacrament and an aid to meditation – a way to commune with Jah. "When you smoke herb, herb reveal yourself to you,” Marley said. “All the wickedness you do, the herb reveal itself to yourself, your conscience, show up yourself clear, because herb make you meditate. Is only a natural t'ing and it grow like a tree.”
The above communion helped Marley become reggae’s greatest ambassador to the rest of the world, and spurred him to deliver messages that celebrate interconnectedness (“One Love/People Get Ready”), aim to ease pain (“Three Little Birds”), and fight for freedom (“Redemption Song”).
At the beginning of his 2013 reggae jam, “Smoke The Weed,” Long Beach, California’s own Snoop Dogg (credited then as Snoop Lion) declares, “smoke the weed every day.” Over two decades earlier, Snoop was helping Dr. Dre create the infamous G-funk sound – a sonic hip-hop palette both sophisticated and sleazy – with his contributions to The Chronic. He’s long been a champion of cannabis, as noted in an unintentionally hilarious note on his Wikipedia page: “During his downtime, Snoop Dogg enjoys smoking marijuana. It can be observed from his Instagram page that he smokes marijuana at least 3-5 times daily.”
Snoop gave us timeless classics like “Gin and Juice” (where he cops to ‘smokin’ endo’), “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?),” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – all of which sound even better after smoking a bowl.
On top of being, perhaps, pop music’s biggest modern star – she’s the only artist who started making music in the 21st-century who’s sold over 250 million albums – Rihanna is also a certified pot enthusiast. She’s worn clothing emblazoned with pot leaves, got booted from a Barbados hotel in 2010 for setting off smoke alarms in her suite, and rolled a blunt on her security guard’s head at Coachella.
During it all, Rhianna has brought the planet some of the best bangers in pop history, “Umbrella,” “Rude Boy,” and “Work” being some notable world-shakers. Probably not much of a spoiler but sparking up while spinning some Rihanna is certain to induce major grooving. Her 2016 tune “James Joint” even begins, “I’d rather be smoking weed…”
Everyone in the Grateful Dead
No surprise here. The dudes from San Francisco who started a psychedelic, globe-spanning movement that might never end – based, at least partly, on a voracious appetite for drugs – love weed.
The group’s late, great songwriter and guitarist Jerry Garcia once even compared the way people get into the Dead to the way people find their love of grass: “What happens is that someone turns their friends on to us in the same spirit or sense that they would turn their friends on to pot,” Garcia told Relix magazine in 1980. “They turn them on because they have a good experience and they have a good time.”
There are few better experiences while high than to completely dial in to a live Dead bootleg, complete with divine, 15-minute guitar jams. Hell, if you weren’t high already, the one-two punch of “Scarlet Begonias” into “Fire On the Mountain” from Cornell 5/8/77 will likely take you there. The live stuff is where the real magic happens, but the folksier vibes of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are the right kind of breezy for kicking back with some herb, too.
A commenter on the Grateful Dead videos thanked Garcia for helping them get through a tough year. They were not alone. Regardless of your choice of music, when blended with your own favourite strain, and just the right frame of mind…
It helped us all.