Wednesday, May 7, 2008



I am going to try and make a point that I believe was not fully understood regarding my description of a bad acid trip. I received emails and comments that led me to do this, because I didn't just tell that story for the sake of telling it.

Following that trip, I was informed by Henry Jaglom, the person I got the LSD from, that it was a multiple hit of Owsley acid and was enough to get a large number of people extremely high. I was pissed off by the information, after the fact, but in essence realized that I was the one who had chosen to take it.

There was no gun to my head. I made the choice. Ok! What's the point? The point is that it changed my life. It left me so shattered at the time that I had problems coping with it. It produced a paranoia and a sense of something irreversible having taken place. I was left with a peculiar knowledge of the power of the human mind that I had never glimpsed before, and was sure I didn't want to visit again.

What I write on these pages, in words, is inadequate to correctly describe the event and its consequences for me. It was in the aftermath that the real point lies, not in the description of the trip or the hallucinations. I had hallucinated many times before, but this stuff, and the fact that I took way too much of it, was totally different.

It was like somebody who had used heroin for a long time and then got something close to pure and overdosed on it. This was not just an acid trip. It was a life altering experience. It caused, more than anything else, the major upswing in my use of drugs and alcohol. I needed the sedation effect of other substances to deal with the anxiety I was left with after this experience.

This traceable lineage of what happened caused many things to occur. There is a line of progressive events that lead from where I started to where I ended up. This is key to the story and to the events as they unfolded in my life. Without context, what I write becomes a series of stories without a point. There is a point to everything I write, because each thing written about was central to the overall context. Like dot to dot drawing.

The music I wrote after this experience was completely different than what I wrote before it. The music was altered, as was I. Before I recorded "WORKING" in 1968, I wrote and recorded a number of songs that I worked on with Steve Clark, but which were never released.

The titles of these songs indicate to some degree the text of these unknown works. "Holy Holy Holy" "Hitler And Jesus" and a number of other songs I have little recollection of. I will try and discuss, as best I can, how these songs came to be and what events preceded and followed their creation.

As "Color Him In" began to fade out of my consciousness, as the thing that would make my life better, I ended up in New York City at Verve Records. I wanted to know why they weren't working the album, and I wanted to see Tom Wilson, which I succeeded in doing.

I found Tom in a recording studio working with Johnny Nash. I told him I wanted to cut another record and that I needed his help. Tom was gracious as always and tried to get me to see how busy he was with the Nash record, and that I was putting him on the spot, which I was.

I told him I'd come to New York and it was a big deal for me. I said I had to get something going with him while I was there or my coming would be for nothing. As I said, Tom Wilson was extremely respectful, and literally stopped the Nash session to talk with me. He said, "OK, let's hear what you got in the way of material." For the first time in my life I was unprepared to come up with some songs to record.

I stood there like an asshole, and knew it. Tom told me to go back to L.A. and get my music ready. He said we'd get together on it at a later date. As I left the studio, feeling awkward and foolish for not having any tunes ready, both Johnny Nash and Tom Wilson said I hadn't done anything to hurt them and what they were doing. I have never forgotten how well they treated me in light of my forcing myself into their important work at the time.

As I wandered aimlessly through the streets of New York, following my meeting with Tom Wilson, I began writing a song called "Black Brick Wall" which I eventually recorded but never released. The title speaks for itself. I felt like I had hit a brick wall and that it was indeed black.

After a couple of hours of walking and writing, I ended up In Greenwich Village with Frank Zappa who was playing with The Mother's Of Invention at the Garrick Theater. It was the summer of 1967 and hot and sticky in New York City and Frank was glad to see me, which was a relief.

I told him about Tom Wilson and what had happened and Frank told me not to let it get me down. "Just go write some songs back in L.A.," he said. I told him I'd already started and recited some of the lyrics. Frank nodded his approval and we let the subject drop.

Frank said he wanted me to go to a club with him so I could hear this guy play guitar. I agreed. When we neared the club I heard this thundering sound coming out of the place even though the door was closed. I touched the door handle to open it and it was literally vibrating.

We walked inside and there were three guys playing on a small stage, making more noise than I'd ever heard in my life. When I use the word "noise" I mean it in the most positive way. I looked at Frank and smiled my approval and Frank yelled in my ear, "This guy's going to be the next Elvis Presley." He was referring to his growing popularity not the sound. "What's his name?" I yelled back. "Jimi Hendrix! His name is Jimi Hendrix!"


  1. Your point about the uber-acid trip is well made. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The unfortunate side-affect of adults telling children/teenagers about bad drug experiences is that, 8 times out of 10, the child/teenager only concentrates on the details before the part about "and then my life was irrevocably changed"/"and then my life was worse, never the same again." They just think, "Yeah, that'd be cool, melting walls and crazy colors and it's illegal too!"

    Your descriptions firmly put into place how truly dangerous taking serious drugs can be. It's sad that kids don't have the gift of foresight to understand the ramifications of such actions