“Feeling happy in my pain/ Icicles within my Brain…cocaine.” We move on in our exploration of drugs with the magic powder that helped create both Vol 4 and Station to Station, and put the thin and the white in the Duke – in fact, the paranoia hit Bowie so hard he thought that witches were trying to steal his semen.
As I explained in the first installment of our exploration of wonderfully wicked world of drugs, these are not the views or beliefs of CVLT Nation as a whole. I have personally done every drug I am going to explore, but have not used recreational drugs in thirteen years, following fourteen years of use that ended with having to deal with some serious addictions. If you have read my other work, it should come as no surprise my views on drugs differ greatly from the largely Christian recovery community. I feel all drugs should be legal, and do not take a militant straightedge like view of them; just because I can’t use them doesn’t mean other people should not. I had some very positive experiences on certain drugs and adhere to the hallowed words of the Butthole Surfers: “it’s always better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done.” While some of my thoughts on the subject, as well as personal experiences, will be shared, I am going to attempt to maintain a somewhat neutral stance here.
With Cocaine, a neutral stance will be easier than some, because, when I used it, it was done in a similar fashion to how I use another more benign drug…caffeine now. I find my Pumpkin Spice Latte with a triple shot an addiction less expensive, and seldom peek out of second floor windows or hold hour-long conversations in bathroom stalls while passing a key around, thanks to Starbucks. The purified extract from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca bush, cocaine is ingested either as powder or hard, the cooked up version known as crack, which is such a different experience we are going to return to crack in another installment, so just focusing on powder here.
The withdrawals are psychological, and include depression, fatigue, and the inability to feel pleasure, aches, pains and difficulty concentrating. When I stopped, all of those things were just my daily state of being anyway, since cocaine was far from the only chemical being pumped into me. I have no recollection of withdrawing and tend to think I could take or leave it; but once again, with the amount of chemicals in my system, I think its safe to say my perspective on that was skewed. Robert Louis Stephenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde high on coke in six days, and later said Hyde was modeled after how he felt on cocaine.
South American Indians have been using cocaine for centuries much like the supermodels of today – to reduce hunger and fatigue. One of the early supporters of cocaine was Sigmund Freud, who thought it was a wonder drug, though later in his studies found the effects of how it affected others varied as he tried to wean a friend off morphine using it, but found the friend developed just as vicious of an addiction to cocaine. Now its a Schedule 2 drug, but it’s actually legal medically in the States, though not available for prescription. It is still illegal in some countries like South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, New Zealand, India and the Bahamas.
When it comes to musicians who use the drug, this one is for rock stars with money to burn, and it literally is like cashing out your checking account, dousing it with gas and putting it to a match, because the high is short – around two hours, so once the peak wanes, you immediately want to more, because who doesn’t want to be the last person awake loving the sound of your own voice even after you tried to have sex with three different women, but couldn’t get it up. So, extravagance is the name of the game here – “Master of Puppets,” despite its seemingly anti-drugs lyrics, was written by guys giving themselves a cautionary tale to sing before things got really out of hand on the And Justice For All… tour. When the Black Album came out, they toured with Guns N Roses, who later inspired Rotzo the clown from Metalpocalypse, a David Lee Roth-like parody who announces his love for the drug as much as Groot says his own name. Some musicians, like Johnny Thunders and Jay Reatard, were not as lucky the more glamour-ridden cock rockers of the 80s when it came to cocaine.
While little pick me ups can be great, the high was hit or miss for me – but if talking endlessly for hours about nothing in particular with a limp dick and empty wallet are your thing, then you will love it. Best albums to listen to while coked up include KMFDM’S Angst, Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese, Basement Jaxx’s Rooty and anything by the Eagles.