I was reading an article on the link between music and drugs, and this question occurred to me……
What would the music scene be like if drugs were never invented?
Is it too hard to imagine a world where, people just go to a venue to listen to music and appreciate it with a clear head? Or, where musicians aren’t known for their habits before their talent? Or where a genre of music isn’t defined by a drug that goes with it?
Just imagine if the creativity of the musicians of the past had come from their own brains, and not aided by LSD, Heroin or Cocaine etc.
As the article reminded me, the Jazz world in particular got taken to another level by drugs. Would jazz have moved and transformed itself into the art form that is today, if it weren’t for smoking of dope and taking of heroin, leading to the advent of Bebop and the more free Jazz elements? Would the style have moved on from the Jazz of the 40’s, which sometimes come across (to me) as a bit formulaic in structure?
Look at these old Jazz and Blues players who survived the excesses of the 60s and 70s, and I think about the friends they have lost to drugs and alcohol. Just imagine a world full of old jazz guys who didn’t get hooked on heroin or over-dose in a hotel room somewhere. The world would be overflowing with cool old guys (and women of course).
Without LSD and Marijuana, the Hippie generation would never have existed? What would the disillusioned youth of the 60’s and 70’s have grabbed on to…. Going into the Army? Embracing religion? Alcoholism? Rioting?
There would have been no Jimi Hendrix as we know him, the man widely regarded one of the most influential guitarists of all time might never have picked up a guitar and a wah-wah pedal.
There would have been no Bob Marley…..No Rastas even.
Maybe, coffee shops would be the place to hear live music and get your fix of caffeine and other legal drugs.
If the world had of changed tack back in the sixties, there is no way of telling what music would have become today.
Personally, I like to think that the people who made the biggest musical contributions to the world would have done it with or without drugs. I believe that some people are born with such gifts, and have been since the beginnings of mankind.
Even without the psychedelic 70s, couldn’t you see a version of Jimi Hendrix with a guitar in hand, and still re-writing history in a different genre of music. Maybe Flamenco or Blues guitar….
Take a good look at the losses that have been made to the world of music, as a direct result of drug abuse.
Was it worth it?