Why It's Okay For Music Journalists to Drink and Do Drugs on the Job

Perry Farrell and Chris Chaney of Jane's Addiction partying it up onstage at the Brooklyn Bowl during their 2014 Nothing's Shocking shows in Las Vegas.
Perry Farrell and Chris Chaney of Jane's Addiction partying it up onstage at the Brooklyn Bowl during their 2014 Nothing's Shocking shows in Las Vegas.
Scott Feinblatt

Almost everything that carries a negative connotation can be vindicated given the proper circumstances. For example, killing another human being is generally regarded as a sin; however, certain governmental jobs not only make it permissible, but a requirement. Additionally, when soldiers kill enemies in a battle, their families and countrymen celebrate. But let’s take a step back from the front lines and talk about something a bit more controversial than governmentally-sanctioned murder: drugs and alcohol.

Drugs and alcohol have their legitimate uses, and while most of the time they are written about in the context of abuse (particularly drugs), there are some circumstances in which their use can be beneficial. Music journalism is a prime example. So without further ado, OC Weekly proudly presents the following reasons why it is okay for music journalists to drink and do drugs on the job.

5. FREE THE BEAST WITHIN: While some people benefit from a little social lubricant, the same can be said for some journalists. After all, they’re not reporting on some boring town meeting, trying to make a case about racism inherent in the system, or riding the coattails of some frivolous lawsuit; they’re writing about a sensuous art form. By subduing their inhibitions a bit, music reporters can allow themselves to relax with the crowd and experience a bit more of the feeling that the musicians create. Furthermore, by perhaps imbibing a bit, their style may loosen up and enable them to sound more like a humorous art aficionado rather than a stuffy, hard-nosed analyst.

4. WHEN IN ROME: Apart from writing reviews of shows, sometimes music journalists wind up backstage with the performers. They may be there to score an interview or perhaps they already interviewed the performer and were invited backstage to say hello. In either case, if said performer offers the journalist a drink, then it’s appropriate to share a beer with them. While it is usually permissible to opt for a soda or a bottle of water in such cases, other cases may not lend themselves to such flexibility. For example, if the lead singer of Bad Brains offers to share a joint with you, it would be poor etiquette to just say no.

3. DO IT FOR THE HOLY TRINITY: Music journalists write about an industry / art form that goes hand-in-hand with the words "sex" and "drugs." To exclude either of the two [in theory or practice] is simply sacrilegious. [NOTE- This category is one of the few that may allow exceptions. For example, if we're talking about teen pop, this argument is totally inappropriate; you wouldn't want to drop acid or be coked out of your head and go to a Katy Perry concert, where you would be surrounded by 12-year-old girls. To do so would be a sin — not to mention that the visuals of pop shows designed for teenyboppers, experienced on hard drugs, would likely result in sensory overload and / or seizures.]

2. ACID LOGIC NEEDS AN AUTHORITARIAN VOICE: The music of certain bands might not make much of an impression when you're sober, but under the influence of alcohol or various substances, their vibe and their music might take on an elevated meaning or significance. For example, many people think that Grateful Dead music is jolly good background stuff, but if you listen to it while under the influence of a powerful hallucinogen, your doors of perception will likely open and you will achieve a finer understanding of life, the universe, and everything. Music journalists, who are enabled with the appropriate substances, can substantiate what might otherwise be deemed the mere delusional ravings of an impaired audience member.

1. NO ONE LOVES A NARC: If you are in a houseful of outrageous slobbering maniacs, all piss drunk or twisted out of their minds on various substances, you don’t want to be the only sober person. First off, if everyone in the audience is drunk, then their drink-spilling, vapid jabbering, and vomiting ways are likely to result in your negative experience of an otherwise great party environment. On the other hand, if everyone’s consciousness is altered in some other way — but yours is not — then you may come across like a narc. In either case, if a reporter is in the midst of a concert party zone and they don’t speak the common tongue [party language], then they may not be able to report accurately on the event; rather, their report may be overly biased.

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