Liquid Courage for "Better" Playing?

TJK

Well-known member
I can’t play worth a f$$7 on just one beer. I’d drink coffee before and coke (a cola) during the show then beer when the last song started. Much more successful with the ladies than the 4 other drunks in the band lol, to be 21 again before life started
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
No.

I don't understand drinking before drumming. I can't drink while drumming.

Now, drumming then drinking I get.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
I think a better inquiry would be who would benefit from a depressant and who would benefit from a stimulant?
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I recommend Busch beer and/or Oak Leaf wine. I'm not endorsed by either company. My girlfriends hate both brands so there ya go, it's gotta be good.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well if your a functioning alcoholic I’m sure there have been plenty of drummers that fits throughout history. John Bonham and Keith Moon come to mind for being known to consume a lot of booze. I imagine a lot of us Baby boomer drummers were known to drink and drum in our younger days-just some refreshments during the festivities-also a cigarette hanging outta our lip. Course you can't do that forever-you'll die-so we mostly sobered up.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Well if your a functioning alcoholic I’m sure there have been plenty of drummers that fits throughout history. John Bonham and Keith Moon come to mind for being known to consume a lot of booze.
They didn't always function that well. And Bonham died from (the result of) excessive drinking, and Moon died by taking too much of the drug meant to help with his alcoholism.

Neither is a good poster child for the argument.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
I wished for Moonie to be straight and a dedicated, practicing drummer during his short stay here.
Factor in the chemical refreshment as well.
Sad.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
I feel like music is the only activity/profession where this is acceptable behavior. Not really sure why.
So, I'll play the devil's advocate in this thread and have personal experience in both the heavy party lifestyle as well as the very sober lifestyle...

For many the dependence of drugs and alcohol comes from some form of trauma, bad parenting. In recent psychology they are also finding a link between trauma and ADHD and as that area of medicine becomes more mature much of what used to be considered genetic is being considered to more frequently actually be a trauma response. As alcohol and drugs can help a person escape from that reality that they're living in it does provide them relief and can actually help them focus better and be more free and open minded. Of course, there are healthier ways to go about this than alcohol and drug addiction, but it's a truth that I think should probably be spoken of more.

This is very much happening first hand for me. I've been historically a casual drinker who didn't often turn down a drink, but also in the last 15 years I rarely had more than one or two at a time. However, I did end up having a drink or two every day probably for the last 25 years. I wouldn't turn down weed either and I was admittedly quite functional on both. After getting an autism diagnosis a few years ago and digging into some trauma in therapy I just kind of lost the interest in drinking and weed and haven't indulged in either in almost a year and a half. It wasn't ever a conscious decision, I just started to notice I slept better when I didn't drink and so I stopped. Quitting weed was actually harder because marijuana helped prevent me from having nightmares and really intense vivid dreams that were honestly so jarring that they'd leave me useless for an entire day. But life had gotten quite challenging for me for personal reasons through the pandemic and I wanted to be thinking straight through it all.

I don't trust big pharma anymore. I did in my 20's and was on meds for depression and while they sort of worked, I'd be lying if I didn't say they made me not be as wholesome a person as I truly am and would even use the word narcissist to describe areas of my behavior. In therapy ADHD was a big topic for me and my therapist even supported my use of cannabis as in recent studies it's been helpful for people suffering, but my memory retention of what I was studying was not up to my satisfaction so I've refrained from that indulgence. I'm hoping things balance out, but quite honestly when I listen to recordings of my playing live from 20 years ago when I would have a drink or two and some marijuana in me my playing was more inspired and more confident than it is today. It's a long process and I have faith it will all come back around again, but the shorter path is certainly just having some drinks and feeling better temporarily. This is the cycle and it's why people like Keith Moon, John Bonham, Kurt Cobain and so many others aren't with us any more, but also put out an impressive quality of work.

So, others have touched on the idea that "if you're playing better when under the influence you have other things going on," and I completely agree with that. But for some strange reason I felt like opening up a bit with my experience in the hope that it might shed some light on a rather taboo subject. So yes, I think it does actually help some people perform better, but it will probably shorten their life and come at an expense to their mental health over time.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Not live but I've had a beer while rehearsing. It's odd how instead of reacting WITH music I notice that I'm reacting TO music. It's not the same and alcahol (for me) hurts that relationship. I become Mr. funny guy but the music suffers..its tolerated in the spirit of fun but then rehearsing becomes a different vibe that I'm not crazy about so all in all its not something that I like participating in.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
They didn't always function that well. And Bonham died from (the result of) excessive drinking, and Moon died by taking too much of the drug meant to help with his alcoholism.

Neither is a good poster child for the argument.
That’s why I qualified- you can’t do that forever- you’ll die. It wasn’t an argument of support- just some have done so. Alcohol has taken so many great musicians you understand prohibition. Sadly it still cost society in poor health outcomes, violence,wrecks, etc. it’s a cautionary tale
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
I haven’t had a beer before or during a performance since the La Jolla Debutante Ball in 1973, when the beer cooler (filled with ice & Coors) was next to my hi hat. Lesson learned.

This past winter I recorded an album for a friend. At one point I decided to record my drumming after a toke of cannabis. Not as a final take, but to experiment. I was curious. The results were surprising. My timing was off but the ideas I was throwing down were good! Because I knew I wouldn’t use anything, I felt freer and played with looseness that felt good. No Red Light Fever. (This is not unusual in the studio).

When it came time to track my performances, I did not imbibe and it showed. My timing was solid and I integrated a few stoner ideas into my performances. Like this one:

 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
So, I'll play the devil's advocate in this thread and have personal experience in both the heavy party lifestyle as well as the very sober lifestyle...

For many the dependence of drugs and alcohol comes from some form of trauma, bad parenting. In recent psychology they are also finding a link between trauma and ADHD and as that area of medicine becomes more mature much of what used to be considered genetic is being considered to more frequently actually be a trauma response. As alcohol and drugs can help a person escape from that reality that they're living in it does provide them relief and can actually help them focus better and be more free and open minded. Of course, there are healthier ways to go about this than alcohol and drug addiction, but it's a truth that I think should probably be spoken of more.

This is very much happening first hand for me. I've been historically a casual drinker who didn't often turn down a drink, but also in the last 15 years I rarely had more than one or two at a time. However, I did end up having a drink or two every day probably for the last 25 years. I wouldn't turn down weed either and I was admittedly quite functional on both. After getting an autism diagnosis a few years ago and digging into some trauma in therapy I just kind of lost the interest in drinking and weed and haven't indulged in either in almost a year and a half. It wasn't ever a conscious decision, I just started to notice I slept better when I didn't drink and so I stopped. Quitting weed was actually harder because marijuana helped prevent me from having nightmares and really intense vivid dreams that were honestly so jarring that they'd leave me useless for an entire day. But life had gotten quite challenging for me for personal reasons through the pandemic and I wanted to be thinking straight through it all.

I don't trust big pharma anymore. I did in my 20's and was on meds for depression and while they sort of worked, I'd be lying if I didn't say they made me not be as wholesome a person as I truly am and would even use the word narcissist to describe areas of my behavior. In therapy ADHD was a big topic for me and my therapist even supported my use of cannabis as in recent studies it's been helpful for people suffering, but my memory retention of what I was studying was not up to my satisfaction so I've refrained from that indulgence. I'm hoping things balance out, but quite honestly when I listen to recordings of my playing live from 20 years ago when I would have a drink or two and some marijuana in me my playing was more inspired and more confident than it is today. It's a long process and I have faith it will all come back around again, but the shorter path is certainly just having some drinks and feeling better temporarily. This is the cycle and it's why people like Keith Moon, John Bonham, Kurt Cobain and so many others aren't with us any more, but also put out an impressive quality of work.

So, others have touched on the idea that "if you're playing better when under the influence you have other things going on," and I completely agree with that. But for some strange reason I felt like opening up a bit with my experience in the hope that it might shed some light on a rather taboo subject. So yes, I think it does actually help some people perform better, but it will probably shorten their life and come at an expense to their mental health over time.

No better example of this than the late/great Jaco Pastorius who suffered from crippling stage fright early in his career. He was advised by Joe Zawinul to have a beer prior to a show to better cope and relax. This was the catalyst to Jaco’s becoming a raging alcoholic for the rest of his too-short career.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
I haven’t had a beer before or during a performance since the La Jolla Debutante Ball in 1973, when the beer cooler (filled with ice & Coors) was next to my hi hat. Lesson learned.

This past winter I recorded an album for a friend. At one point I decided to record my drumming after a toke of cannabis. Not as a final take, but to experiment. I was curious. The results were surprising. My timing was off but the ideas I was throwing down were good! Because I knew I wouldn’t use anything, I felt freer and played with looseness that felt good. No Red Light Fever. (This is not unusual in the studio).

When it came time to track my performances, I did not imbibe and it showed. My timing was solid and I integrated a few stoner ideas into my performances. Like this one:

I envisioned Cat Stevens for a minute there.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
I never have used alcohol while drumming. Well except for that party that I threw in my mother's house when I was a teen. I don't think that's what you're after.

I did most of my drumming in my youth. Alcohol was not a part of my life yet. If anything, I'll smoke a J and play. But, I really prefer sobriety behind the kit. If I'm under the influence of ANYTHING, I just accomplish nothing.

I will add, I've not played in front of peeps for some time. But, I've never been nervy behind the kit. I think it helps when you start when your young.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I used to have a beer or two while setting up and then another one or two while playing at most gigs. During the pandemic and extended stays at home I started overdoing it and decided to stop drinking for a while. That was about 5 months ago. In the months since, things have eased up a bit and we've been playing gigs again. The guys have made special note of how much tighter my playing is and how much more solid my time is. Even if I do go back to drinking, I don't think I'll be drinking pre-show or during shows again.
 

Rhythm666

Well-known member
Never, i used to smoke some weed to relax a bit from my band members who were nervous like hell before a gig, but then i started to look for a chill spot to do my warm ups and i stopped smoking a joint back then
 

Sonar Dave

Well-known member
My band and I always drank at practice and live gigs. We probably made our share of mistakes but just figured that the audience was probably just as wasted as we were. Not a very good attitude, but we had a blast. This was in the 80's and early 90's.

Now I have a little over 2 years sobriety. I haven't missed it one bit.
 
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