I’m not a drug user.

It’s never been my thing, at all. Hell, I’m not even that much of a drinker. I get high enough just living life, you know? So, being a drug user just isn’t my thing. Oh, I know many people who are, for sure. Being in a band, you see many, many things that surprise you, and some things that just don’t, not after a while. I remember one night, back in the fall, I was sitting backstage with one of my bandmates, getting ready to go on, when a guy from the band that was going on after us came into the room. He looked at us, the way a doberman watches a person coming into its yard at dusk; tense and on edge, waiting for a wrong move. After a quick moment, he assessed that we were “cool”, and walked past us to the far wall. He then removed a vial of white powder from his pocket, tapped a little onto a pocket knife blade, raised it to his face, and inhaled. After snorting a couple of times, he cleaned his nostrils, turned to us and smiled, gave us the devil horns, and walked out. Rock ‘n’ roll. I was stunned. I had never seen anyone do cocaine before, and it wasn’t a scene I wanted be a part of. I strolled on out, back into the bar.

I am often an island in a sea of drugs. It’s been offered to me more times than I can count. When I refuse, the looks on people’s faces is often priceless. “What do you mean, you don’t smoke out? You’re black! I thought all brothas smoked that herb.” I don’t let it bother me most of the time, and I’m very careful about letting people into my car. And I never hold anything for anyone. It’s just not my scene. I don’t hate on people who choose to do it, though. If that’s how they want to spend their time and money, so be it. Just pass the dutchie on the lefthand side, ok? It has no home here. I am often dismayed, though, at how deep people can get into the drug culture. I’m not talking about the dealers – these guys are vermin, by and large. I mean the users. In many cases, their whole lives revolve around getting their next high, their next fix. Sociologically, it’s intriguing to me to see how people can erode their priorities down to just a few key ones: get high, eat, fuck, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Nothing else matters. Oh, these folks can keep a job or maintain relationships, but those things are hollow. They are means to an end, nothing more. Naturally, this doesn’t apply to ALL drug users, but I’m not talking about the fully-functional people. I’m talking about the people who live for the high. The more drugs they do, the higher they want to be. Standard drugs just don’t cut it anymore. They don’t even feel pot. Coke gives them a slight buzz. Crack? Nah, that’s for the REAL junkies. Well, maybe just once, to say they did it. Meth? Sure, can’t be THAT bad. Ecstasy? That makes you feel gooooooooooood. Crank? Heroin? Special K? Night train? Horse tranquilizers? Hells yeah, muhfucka! Line ’em up!

Nitrious oxide? Oooooo.

——
Big Steve ran security for our last show back on July 22. When I first met him, he scared the everloving shit outta me. Big Steve was appropriately named. Dude was about 5’11”, 300 lbs. And tattooed from top to bottom. Big Steve didn’t start mosh pits…he WAS the mosh pit. I saw him at a show where some friends of mine were playing, and I immediately turned around and walked in the opposite direction. He had piercings, he had armbands, he had tats on his scalp. White people, let me give you a quick formula, for your general knowledge: to black people, tattoos + scalp = skinhead. Just letting you know that. I had no interest in getting my ass kicked by a walking bulldozer. I met him again a few months later, and actually talked to him. He was genuinely a nice guy. Smart, affable, funny…the exact opposite of my expectations. While I’d hesitate to call him a friend, he certainly was an acquaintance, and whenever I saw him, I gave him man-hugs and talked to him. I was shocked when I saw him on the 22nd, ’cause I didn’t even know he worked in that bar as a bouncer. Believe me, if you started some static in there and you saw Big Steve coming for you, you bounced. I gave him man-hugs, and talked to him for a while. He was excited to see us play, which was significant because the friend-band through which I knew him wasn’t playing that night, and typically, he liked much harder music than we played. I was very happy to hear that from him. After the show, he showed us love, telling us we had a great performance. It was a good night. I saw him again 3 nights later at our band practice room, kicking it with our friend-band next door. He told me about the underage drinkers he saw that night, and how he kept it to himself so that it wouldn’t fuck up the show. We don’t condone that behavior, but I appreciated the fact that he cared about the performance enough to not disrupt it by forcibly throwing people out. It was very cool of him. I gave him man-hugs, and told him “Good lookin’ out”.

4 days later, he was dead.

Alledgedly, he and a friend were getting high in an apartment by putting bags over their heads and breathing nitrous oxide. Apparently, they both passed out, and suffocated. It’s tragic, it’s terrible, and it’s so fucking stupid. I am so conflicted right now, emotionally. No, he wasn’t my out-and-out friend, but still, he was a guy I knew and was friendly with. He had a family. It’s awful. But I’m also angry, because it’s such a needless, pointless, stupid waste. I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of someone under such a powerful influence. I have no basis of comparison. But…where does common sense go in situations like these? You wanna get high? Fine. Take turns. Dying is a very real possibility when you take on these types of activities, so safety should be priority one. But then again…

Get high, eat, fuck, sleep.

Rinse and repeat.

Nothing else matters.

Rest in peace, Big Steve.

Peace.

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