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Is Weed and Beer the Reason Your Band Sucks?

Probably. We asked Mac Demarco's original guitarist Pete Sagar aka Homeshake what he thinks.
September 30, 2015, 5:38am

If you are in a band it probably sucks. It’s just raw statistics. You may also be pretty damn good, but who cares? The bottom line is: you want to improve, right? So what are your options? Obviously the secret to music is: twisting tiny-little knobs (that’s all they seem to do in those Glastonbury YouTube videos). But you’ve tried this before. There’s just too many knobs for you to handle. So, you decide to start with the biggest and most powerful knobs and gradually work your way down to the less important knobs (just like my ex-wife).


Believe it or not, the one-knob-to-rule-them-all isn’t on your guitar amp. It’s inside you. More specifically, your head. This is the knob that controls your mental state. But how the hell do you twist this volatile fucker? Drugs my friend. Drugs.

The number of: bong-hits, beers and lines of coke you do or don’t consume during the ‘creative process’ has more effect over your music than any switch, foot-pedal or fader.

Just think about it for a second. Being high or drunk drastically changes how you drive, dance and fuck, right? So doesn’t it make sense that getting your fix also affects your music?. Yes, it does.

Often this effect is negative. For me it is. Sometimes it's positive. But it really depends on the setting you are in, the drug you are taking and your unique relationship with said drug.

The following testimonials are taken from the comments section of this neat little article written by Chris Robley three years ago:

Snoogans775: I always practice sober, so that if I want to get high and improvise a tune with my mates my muscle memory keeps it all together.

Anon: Like a lot of people, I became really dependent on alcohol and occasionally harder stuff too. That took the wind out of my creative sails for a long time.

MeloDmatic: I'm able to write, record and perform music without beer, whiskey and stuff. About 40% of my music has been created in a sober condition, but overall the quantity and quality of my output would suffer if I decided to quit drinking alcohol completely.


Ok. You got me. These people are all nobodies with weird usernames. An opinion from someone whose band doesn’t suck would be pretty handy right now. I agree. That’s why I asked Mac Demarco’s O.G guitarist: Peter Sagar aka Homeshake (a.k.a my musical crush) what works for him.

Here are his thoughts on…

Alcohol: "In a live setting, having a couple drinks can definitely loosen you up and relax you enough to play more naturally. I used to get super nervous before playing and would have to drink a lot more beforehand to get over the nerves, but after you play enough shows the nerves eventually disappear and are replaced with alcoholism."

Weed: "When I was younger I loved to smoke weed before playing, but I had to cut that out, it's a huge gamble. Sometimes you get all pothead about it and you can "feel the sound" or whatever, but most of the time you just think it's awesome when really it's sloppy, and the show is ruined because of it. I can get down with it in the studio though, gets you real focused on the task at hand."

Everything Else: "I haven't got any first-hand experience with other drugs and music, but it all boils down to what kind of person you are and how a drug affects you. Fuck cocaine though."

What does this all mean for your shitty band? Should you force your band mates to live a life of sobriety? Or should you start doing crack? Well, neither. All it means is that you should give stimulants the same amount of respect you give your penis-extension pedal board. After all, they just might be the reason your band sucks.