As a drug abusing, alcoholic musician I can say without a doubt, ‘Yes, it was and is worth it.’ Not only is it worth it, it’s necessary. Not so much the drugs, but the personality that will embrace drugs to cope with it’s existence. The individual who will shrug the pain of developing the finger callouses, tendonitis, arthritis, blown lip, etc. for the release of endorphins playing something ‘good’ brings will also likely shrug the dangers of drinking, smoking, or shooting whatever makes him feel better about his one true addiction…music.
That said, psychedelics are their own thing. Taking them not only makes you aware of different perspectives, it allows you to be one with them. Jimi Hendrix without LSD would’ve been just another exceptional blues guitarist. Maybe more because his career coincided with the invention of distortion and other effects. But what made him stand out was his connection to things he may have never personally experienced. Watch the woodstock video of his version of the national anthem. That wasn’t a new take on the blues scale. That was him expressing what his mind’s eye had seen of war. The 1st handers didn’t get a chance to play their guitars, but he was able to fully realize their plight and express it through his medium.
About the losses…death’s a part of life. We lose about as many musicians to plane crashes and cancer.
LondonJazzCollector mentioned the audience and the drugs they were on. The audience is a huge part of a music’s upbringing, evolution, and overall success. How many venues have you been to that didn’t have a bar? Where you didn’t smell weed near the back door? Where you didn’t suspect someone of a self-inflicted runny nose?
Drugs are as much a part of the music we know as an artist’s childhood, society, colleagues, or influences and it is worth it.
‘No junk, no soul.’