Sound Advice - Drugs You Can and Cannot Take Prior to Playing a Gig / by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

This is FWN's 'Dear Abby' column: musicians send us questions, we post them with answers and a fun made-up pseudonym.


Take too much and your band could end up looking like the cast from  Candyland

Take too much and your band could end up looking like the cast from Candyland

Dear FWN,

Is there like a guideline out there somewhere that speaks to the types of illegal drugs that are conducive to playing live shows? I guess what I mean to say is: Are there drugs you recommend taking or not taking prior to playing a gig?

Just looking for a reference point, ya know? Like, I could figure this out on my own via trial and error but obviously that could prove catastrophic for the band if I stepped into the wrong shit, or took too much shit, etc.

Thanks again for all your guidance,

Wee D. Bagwell  


Dearest Wee,

First off, you've come to the right place. We got you.

Secondly, why YES, we do have an official guideline!

Without further ado we give you...



....Fort Worth Noise's Official Guideline of Acceptable and Unacceptable Drugs to Consume Prior to Playing a Gig


Alcohol (Booze, Bevvies, Hooch) - YES - Everyone in the band should have a little bit of this in their system prior to performing. And you know what? It goes down well during and after the performance too. Exception: The drummer. Alcohol does not enhance hand-eye-foot coordination, do not let your drummer convince you otherwise.

Amphetamines (Speed, Billy, Whiz, Phet) - NO - If anything, for live shows, your band should be aiming to play at a slower BPM not a faster one than your recordings. Exception: The drummer but only if said drummer is in a thrash metal or punk band. 

Cannabis (Dope, Hash, Weed, Pot, Skunk, Ganja, Spliff, Green) - YES - This 10000% enhances the experience for everyone involved. Exception: None.

Cocaine and Crack (Coke, Charlie, White, Snow, Sniff) - NO - Unless you want a band full of paranoid lying sacks of shit, FWN does not recommend. Exception: If you are in a Disco band everyone in the band MUST do coke.

Ecstasy (E, Beans, Pills, Doves, Apples) - YES & NO - On the one hand, if you want your band to be emotive in their performance style, I mean, look no further. On the other hand however, your guitarist could wind up licking his fret board mid-show. Exception: N/A 

Heroin (Smack, Junk, H, Brown, Gear, Skag) - NO - Unless you are curious as to how fans would react to one of your band mates dying on stage, we do not recommend. Exception: You are literally Kurt Cobain. 

Ketamine (Green, K, Special K, Super K, Horse Tranq) - NO - Being hella Tranq'd-out is not exactly conducive to passable live performances. Exception: Your band has the word 'Horse' in its name. 


LSD (Acid, Tabs, Trips, Paper) - YES - Acid is highly recommended but only if you can handle your shit. Exception: If one of your bandmates cannot handle their shit, do not give that person acid.

Magic Mushrooms (Shrooms, Mushies, Magics) - YES - Of course. Always, just 'cause. Exception: None. 

Tobacco (Ciggies, Tabs, Smokes) - YES - This is pretty much expected and bonus(!): they double as stage props if used during the performance. Guitarists can hang them from their headstock (pretty fancy trick), vocalists can look cool af and sing while it hangs from the side of their mouth, drummers can no-look flick them into the audience like flingin' a broken drum stick, etc. Exception: If you find yourself gigging in Dallas or other smoke-free venue, obvs there will be no on-stage consumption.

Volatile Substances (Solvents, Gasoline, Whippets, Magic Markers) - FUCK NO - Just no. Exception: Whippets are pretty fun when you are already high on something else; so idk, maybe this is the lone exception?? 


Hope you found our guide useful Mr. Bagwell,

Catch you on the flip side,



about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”