JUST OPENED ALTERNET and among the dirty dozen or so stories—including those on the White House, white nationalists and Stormy Davis—there was this splash of color with multiple images of Jimi Hendrix circling the Mad Hatter! It accompanied an article titled “How LSD Makes Music Profoundly Awesome” about researchers learning more about how the powerful psychedelic LSD affects the brain.
Thankfully, it wasn’t penned by another non-experienced writer who thought that acid and psychedelics would be a groovy topic, using Google to ask “What is LSD like?”
Uh-uh! All the online research in the world won’t give you the tiniest glimpse of what the experience is like.
With this topic, the only research is hands-on experience being experienced.
And that means a few trips around the block.
“Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.” – Jimi Hendrix
Fortunately, it was instead written by Phillip Smith, celebrated author of the Drug War Chronicle. Smith’s opening paragraph is anecdotal:
“Listening to Jimi Hendrix on acid back in the day was absolutely mind-melting. The sounds transcended normal tonality—not to mention space-time—and the music itself took on deep, deep meaning. It seemed like he was plugged into the primal energies of the universe, and profound truths flickered like jagged lightning.”
The impetus for the AlterNet article is a recent study that found that “LSD changed the perception of music by altering the neural response in certain key brain regions, including those that govern emotion, memory, sound processing, and self-directed thought.”
And I thought, “Groovy!”
Even if it misses the magic.
Seasons in the sun
But the sentences that were the impetus for me to be writing this article you’re reading was a little more humorous. Smith note that:
“It wasn’t just the music of the master, either—LSD had the uncanny ability to imbue even the most saccharine dreck with cosmic connotations. Any old head who suddenly ‘got’ Terry Jacks’ Seasons In The Sun in an acid-induced tearful epiphany knows whereof I speak.”
Hoowah, but that brought a memory-jolt of my own, and I scrolled down to the comments sections and left this anecdote:
“Love the remark about the super-saccharine Seasons In The Sun producing an ‘acid-induced tearful epiphany.’ LSD also worked its wonders on hyper-emotional pop: I had similar epiphanies listening to things I would normally consider dreck.
Back in 1974, while dosed, I had my (non-dosed) friend pull the car over to the side of the road while I sniffled my way through Olivia Newton-John’s I Honestly Love You—a song that normally made me reach for the dial to switch channels.
Thanks for the flashback!”
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Olivia Newton-John as (former) goody-two-shoes Sandy and John Travolta as greaser bad-boy Danny in the 1978 movie Grease. It’s a silly movie with music by writers who didn’t seem to get anything meaningful out of ’50s rock & roll. While Grease has a certain charm, I was never able to get into it—but then, I haven’t tried watching it on acid …