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drugs in the studio Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 17th September 2002
High End Moderator
mwagener's Avatar
drugs in the studio

now this is really a "high" end topic, even though it might be a little touchy:

In the early '80s I felt that quite some studio time was wasted while trying to record an artist who was intoxicated in one way or another. Now I have a NO HARD DRUG policy when recording. How do you deal with drug/alcohol use by the artist when recording.
Old 17th September 2002
BevvyB's Avatar

Do them all before the artist arrives!
Old 18th September 2002
Gear Maniac
Cape's Avatar

If they are paying then it's up to them, my video camera is always handy to record the fact that it was them and not me if they complain, that the vocals sound like ****.

As for myself, as soon as I have a few tokes on a bunta, major system failures occur and strange wiring oddities increase (it's like the studio knows I'm weak). So all mind altering subs are now banned for myself, unless I'm looking for a head freak experience.
Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear
C.Lambrechts's Avatar

tut tut tut

I handle a ZERO tolerance level for both hard drugs and alcohol abuse.

Marihuana isn't considered as illegal anymore over here and I don't mind them smoking an occasional joint..... outside that is .... and if they want to drink a beer or even something stronger ..... fine .... but no drunk or high people in my studio.

Hard drugs .... NO FREAKIN WAY .... Even if I see someone used it .... I'll kick them out .... don't care who it is, can be the biggest rock star guru whatever ..... I hate that **** .... It is enough a problem of todays world as it is .... I have 2 boys .... an uncle of mine is president of a drug clinic .... heard and seen enough what it can do to people.

Of course I have clients who do occasional hard drugs .... fine ... their problem ... when they come to the studio they're clean or there is NO session.

Call it silly or foolish if you like .... and all that performance enhancement psychadelic bull**** while recording being creative blah blah .... do it somewhere else .... not in my studio .... period.

(great idea to have this as a topic btw Michael )
Old 18th September 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar

change in policy

that is an intresting policy shift mike ...
what changed ?
Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear
Tim L's Avatar

When I'm working I'm straight. If the client wants to get all ****ed up that's fine, but he does it outside. If someone is too ****ed up to walk, speak, or think on any reasonable level... the session is over! I treat it just like a no show as far as being paid. They either find somewhere else to go or keep a reasonable head for the next session. I have nothing against people getting high, I just don't have the patience to deal with **** like idiots who can't handle their buzz. Guess I'm getting old and crabby.

Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear
Midlandmorgan's Avatar

No chance of that here...

A) It's a relatively small town, and I will NOT let someone else make decisions that may impound my gear;
B) Gave it up years ago...and I don't need anyone reminding me of how good I thought I was back then;
C) Can't stand to be around drunks - too many years in bar bands;
D) Too many expensive (to me, anyway) things that may become temptations to a five fingered discount.

No apologies for being a hardass about it, either...if someone wants to waste their life, fine...if they want a recording of them being wasted, fine...just don't do it on my property.

dfegad hard core dopers.
Old 18th September 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar

i get paid either way. i only have two that will get someone booted. crack and smack. i have had coke sessions in my studio before. i have no clue as to how ANYONE has ever made a recording coked up [i know many have] but damn if you dont get JACK **** done. so i prefer for them not to do that, of course they are basically paying for a room to do coke in, not like they ever record... and i am getting paid. WTF do i care? then on to drugs like acid and shrooms... now THAT i LOVE to record. it might not be entirely useful in the end but its a riot to record people like that. hell, i used to record in that state all the time myself. had some really cool **** come about on it. too bad i lost all the tapes. oh well.

now on to pot and alcohol. sure. why not. i have found that alcohol is a GREAT inhibition filter for performances for some people. especially people who get really nervous in the studio. i get great takes when a little alcohol hits. weed can do the oppoite from alcohol.... it can make the players too right brained at times. sometimes a mixture of both is what is needed.

i rarely have good sessions when everyone is sober. just something about it. and the sessions are really boring as well. a lot of times im not even partaking [you gotta know when and be able to handle your **** if you do] it just adds a better VIBE to the session. im not talking drinking or smoking yourself into a stuper... although i have had sessions end by passing out before, and they were GREAT fun. i have also had parties going on while recording. now that adds dimension to the recording [as long as nobody knocks over any mics] its great on the initial live tracking date.

im really laid back. just the two aforementioned i have major problems with. im sure someone else could better serve them than i could.
Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear

No drugs in a session I'm on. No way.

It's a free country. If they want to waste their time and possibly their life with substance abuse, they'll have to find somebody else to watch them do it.

Note. This does not mean that I don't care about them as people. I do. I'll be totally glad to help them out anyway I can. But in my book, allowing drugs on a session is helping no one out.

Brian T
Old 18th September 2002
Gear Head

Ok so I am "That Producer" my girlfreinds a drug dealer. Anything you want she gets it and band loved this perk but recently I had a band live with me for weeks while we did a record and one of the members who I grew very close with ODed. That ended my involvmant as the hookup and I did realise this is a LIFE not jsut fun and in the morning someone could be dead. I am now pretty hard ass about coke in the studio I was recently also involved with a project of 6 months of vocals cause the singer was constantly blowing lines. By the end of it I hated it. Oddly enough I have done drugs twice in the last 7 years or so.
Old 18th September 2002
Very honest replys so far. I have a fairly substancial drug history. I will be back to comment on my policy now.

Old 18th September 2002
Gear Addict

Here it's a little different because I record in my house and the band is usually staying here. So we do have alcohol and the odd joint around, but I've never found it a problem, because the recording happens all around the every day functioning of the space. We prepare meals and have wine with them, all in the recording space. We adjourn to the deck for a beer and listen to roughs etc. Once in a while someone gets a little sloppy in their playing, but not often as most of the drinking takes place when the sessions are done for the day, when it's time to kick back and evaluate the days work. But a beer, or two with the lunch time food is fine. All smokeables go outside out of respect for the gear. I'm an early riser and we start to record by ten AM after a great breakfast, if you want to stay up all night and get blitzed fine but I'm shaking you out of the sack for breakfast at 9 and you better be able to play your parts by 10 or I get the stick out. The bands that come here know the score and want to accomplish something, and everyone gets into the big meals and hanging out together and enjoying a few bottles of wine, a few tokes and a bottle of great whisky at the end of the day. As far as hard drugs go they never appear so it's never been an issue. Take care Logan
Old 18th September 2002
Gear Addict
cymatics's Avatar

I did a few songs for a band once at their practice space which at the time was a huge loft in a barn. Really cool sounding room. I brought my 1/2" 16 track, a small console, monitors and some outboard. We got everything set up, miked etc and the sounds and vibe were great. We started trying to get takes at about 5:00 PM. By 10:00 or so we still didn't have anything useable and everone was pretty frustrated, starting to argue etc. The drummer said "**** it, let's go smoke some weed" I pretty much figured the sesion was shot. They came back in, and nailed the song on the first take.

This is the only time I have ever seen performances decisively improve with the addition of chemicals.

- jon
Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear
David R.'s Avatar

Alcohol and pot - no problem. Just no smoking in the control room and no drinks on equipment.

Personal preference from experience - if you want to shoot or snort something, you are probably in the wrong studio.
Old 18th September 2002
Lives for gear
Renie's Avatar

I'm not 100% clear on this but having worked in the past with someone who smoked pot non-stop I will not repeat that again. No matter how talented the person is (or was).

I don't ideally want to be around people taking drugs/drink but if it's at the end of a session and people need a drink as a prop to relax, that's OK. To be honest I've been there myself and while I'm glad I'm not there anymore I know a lot of people do need it to chill. Not during a session though. And never hard drugs.
Old 18th September 2002
I was very big on coke from 1980 to 1995 when I stopped dead and quit drinking, cigarettes and all other drugs (cept espresso!)

Back when I WAS doing it, apart from the odd absurd joke session for a drug dealer, I never touched the **** untill AFTER the session. Still... I finally became unhappy with my usage and quit.

They way it is now, bands usually ask first if it's cool to roll up a doobie or start drinking,

Basic guidelines:
Booze - after the muzo's parts are recorded or after 9-10 pm
Doobies - in the evening - but outside in the live room or hallway..

Career pot smokers and folks that simply cant be without a drink are of course allowed to do their 'usual thang'... Who am I to stop them....?

I do sometimes wonder, if being so straight now will make certain bands not want to work with me! But to date it hasn't been a problem.

As a producer I occasionally buy session muso's illegal 'treats'. The lawless critters seem to like it... go figure...

Old 19th September 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar

bands never have a problem when i remain straight for a session. i respect their head space, they respect mine. it is rare that i toke during the initial parts of a session... sometimes the whole session. its nice once you outgrow the NEED to do them like when you are younger eagerly waiting for the J to come your way. i probably turn it down more than i smoke anymore.

mixing is another story.
Old 19th September 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I'm fine with doobies and drinking as long as it doesn't get excessive. If someone gets too ****ed up to stand, play or function as a human the session is over. I don't allow any kind of hard drugs in any way shape or form. BTW, some people define those as different things, what are your "hard drugs?"

As for myself I stay sober 90-95% of the time. If things are really rough like a trash for cash session where I want to hurt the "talent" I might sneak out and do a quick shot or something to take the edge off. If the band is schmokin' up and they offer I might take it. It really depends on what work has been done and what needs to be done. If I'm getting sounds, editing, and stuff that I need to concentrate on I'll pass. But, if I'm kickin' back while they blow through takes I'll induldge a bit. I got way too high once while recording fretless bass (thanks to the bass player, I was producing) and it wasn't all that fun. Actually it was, but we had nothing to show for three hours of work and that sucked.
Old 19th September 2002
Gear Nut
Diginerd's Avatar

I work with a lot of trance / club producers, I hesitate to call some of them "Musicians", though a couple are way more gifted musically than you'd think.

Anyway as my studio is in my own house with a wife and baby two floors up from some extensive soundproofing my policies have had change over time.

It used to be pretty much everyone in the studio would drop an E (or X as the Americans seem to call it) at the same time at the start of the session and then things would progress from there.

E does not react well with alcohol so it was pretty much assorted fruit juices, water, or Red Bull in the drinks department. As the sesson progressed those that smoked fatties smoked and those that didn't, didn't (or chainsmoked Marlbro Lights), or maybe dropping more pills.

The end results were usually pretty interesting, though it invariably took me another sesson on my own, totally straight to sort out all the little mistakes and restore harmony to the mix.

Of course this was when my wife was my girlfriend, and my baby hadn't decided that earth was a nice place to live yet.

Now the policy is pretty similar, but much toned down, and I don't touch the pills or smoke fatties. I do get cosy with a couple of beers which can bring a different perspective to the session when everyone else is buzzing their tits off... yuktyy yuktyy yuktyy

If I go around to a friends studio to work the rules are pretty much the same as mine, except I may be tempted to have a pill or two as I am not having to go straight home and face my baby. I swore befoe she was born that she's never going to see me in any state other than sober. Well at least until after she's left home...

Having said that the music that I generally work on is 99.99% programmed, with no "real" instruments apart from the odd vocal or sampling session.

I have to say this is a good thread, and made more valuable by candid contribution.
Old 19th September 2002
Lives for gear
Volodia's Avatar

I'm a 100% clean at work but I think it's not my role to decide how the artists is happy to work.I've done a lot of hip hop where the guys would be smoking all the time,but as long as they do what they have to it's their problem.I once had a drummer who had a coke addiction and was aware that it was a problem ,and I even had to add that to his fee but he actually was one of the best (if not the best) drummer I ever had in a session.So I think it's difficult to judge what's good or not for the people who work in the studio with you.When a session musician is not doing his job properly because of drug or boose then that's a problem and I may interfere(but it doesn't really happen cause people who have problems on sessions don't get called)
Old 19th September 2002
BevvyB's Avatar

I couldn't believe it when Jules quit everything in 1995. And how the hell he has put up with me and everyone he knows without the help of anything whatsoever is nothing short of miraculous.

On the other hand, after three of his double espresso's I'm bouncing off the walls while he sips his fourth cup without even a heart murmor.

To each and every one his own. To be honest, the powder really doesn't agree with me and I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's the most non-creative substance ever produced.

I guess that's why lots of drummers I know like it!!! ha ha ha !!
Old 19th September 2002
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar

'the thin white line... such a waste of time' Shihad 1998 (NZ band)

Well in the studio it is.... and every one starts to wonder about whether or not rack 1 tom needs editing!

But what about after the session in the clubs or bed!!!

Me ive basically tried the lot in the studio.

For me i prefer to stay straight when tracking.. maybe a few beers after beer o clock' 7pm

Mixing: i like to wrap up a fatty before i start, put on some sly and the fmaily stone groove around while no one is around put the 2" s on the machines, zero desk if some ignorant bastard did not do it before me, patch in my fave compressors, eq etc so they ar e ready to roll when i want to reach for them, pull a few faders up have a listen and go from there. I only roll another fatty if the mix is 'in the can' and everyone is 100% happy and we're all
'chillin like villains' on the couch talking **** etc..

I think in most studio cases 'The Verve' said it right ' The drugs dont work'. look at heir 2nd album they trashed an Otari MTR90 during the making of it.... the bass palyer was literally jumping up and down on the SSL etc... However some people can only function in an altered state of mind....

each to their own and so long as everythings cool and they dont **** with the vibe and productivity of the session there!!!!

But Strictly No Smack..... recipe for disaster, complicated coroners reports (when they OD)and bad hygiene.

Old 19th September 2002
High End Moderator
mwagener's Avatar
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I'm fine with doobies and drinking as long as it doesn't get excessive. If someone gets too ****ed up to stand, play or function as a human the session is over. I don't allow any kind of hard drugs in any way shape or form. BTW, some people define those as different things, what are your "hard drugs?" ...
IMO everything past a fatty and a few beers is considered hard drugs, be it Coke or Whiskey. I actually turned down the mix for Guns 'n Roses "Appetite..." album because I didn't want to deal with the drug situation rollz
Old 19th September 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar

Originally posted by mwagener

IMO everything past a fatty and a few beers is considered hard drugs, be it Coke or Whiskey. I actually turned down the mix for Guns 'n Roses "Appetite..." album because I didn't want to deal with the drug situation rollz
well, coke and whiskey are two ENTIRELY different beasts. in fact, if a few beers is "okay" then a few shots of whiskey should be similar.

one shot=one beer=one glass of wine

funny though... i would figure not dealing with axl would of been a better reason than drug use.... or HOPE he is all smacked out and throw him in the live room sedated and out of the way.
Old 19th September 2002
Gear Head
kushan_ku's Avatar

I agree, no hard drugs / coke, at least around me. No smoking in the drugs laying around, I got a business to run!

I'm not going to scare off my non-druggie clients...they pay better! tut
Old 19th September 2002
Lives for gear
Knox's Avatar

I have a friend that just finished a record with a major artist (obviously an addict) that was smoking crack at the console and getting so high he would pee in drink bottles at the desk and leave them around the studio. SCREW that . . . I would have told him to take his record and stick it up his ass!
Personally . . . . I don't allow hard drugs in the studio. If someone wants to smoke some weed (outside) or have a few beers . . it's kool. Though inevitably the session begins to suffer if it goes too far. Pot smokers get lazy and drinkers get sloppy the more it goes on. I WILL stop a session if it goes too far. Me . . . I am clean and I let clients know it . . . so that usually stops any craziness.
Old 19th September 2002
An artist smoking heroin off foil while 'on mic' doing backing vocals made me feel unconfortable... But I proceded with my job. He's more 'comfortable' now where ever he is, he's dead.

Old 20th September 2002
Gear Maniac
Cape's Avatar

What happened to the rock n roll world, not that I'm really like the image beside my text, but art is art, and sometimes a bit of crazy chemicals make someone better or adds to the track in general (i.e it acts as an effect that you can't recreate with sober peeps).

If someone thinks there gunna get through a sesh on da brown then fine, I'll just say walk this way to the nice big sofa and come in when .

You can't stop drugs in musicians, as soon as they get a deal it's like we're Led Zeppers, until they realise the interest repayments on there deal are higher than ya worst credit card company they will always act and want to act that way.
Old 20th September 2002
Gear Nut
Andy Sneap's Avatar

Old 20th September 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar

heh fuuck
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