This story is over 5 years old.

Vice Blog


Crack makes people do fucked up things: sell their kids, fight alligators at 4 AM, talk to dead presidents in the alleyway. It made Tina Forbis, under the guise of How I Quit Crack, turn out some of the most beautiful music this side of Planet Julee...

Crack makes people do fucked-up things: sell their kids, fight alligators at 4 AM, talk to dead presidents in the alleyway. It made Tina F., under the guise of How I Quit Crack, turn out some of the most beautiful music this side of Planet Julee Cruise. In neon lingerie she performs other-worldly gospel songs amidst bouquets of fluorescent flowers that breathe in her warped foggy synths, hazy guitar feedback, and distant vocals over moonlit lounge beats. I recently sat down with Tina, who's from Houston but is currently based in Austin, to ask about her musical and artistic response to quitting crack. Vice: Hi. Let's talk about the first time you smoked crack. Tina F.: The first time I smoked crack I didn't really know what it was. A friend of mine rolled it into a blunt. I was doing a lot of Xanax at the time and she was like "This has Xanax in it," and it was crack and it was pretty good. The first time I smoked crack by itself was at a party and I took a hit and started dancing, doing a total fucking Al Jolson-style retarded jig. I was so fucking high. I think what crack does is make you feel happy retarded. When I was smoking a lot that would be the only thing that would make me smile. The last time I smoked crack I got into a huge fight with my boyfriend at the time and ripped a whole lot of his hair out on New Years. So I know exactly when I quit. Would you recommend smoking crack to others? Yeah, cause crack makes you want to commit suicide. I use to smoke crack and think I wanna kill myself cause that's the only way I can stop smoking crack. I think suicide is a really good way to push ya, gives ya a deadline. I wouldn't recommend crack or any drugs but it gives you perspective cause you wanna kill yourself. Does that influence the music you make now? Yeah I think so, because it was like death or make something beautiful. Now I'm trying to make beautiful lounge music. I've had the idea to do what I do now for quite awhile. Before smoking crack, I played in noise bands and would let two or three guitars feedback on the ground with metal rods for a show. But I always had the idea to do beautiful lounge music or sing standards over noise. So yeah I was doing noise before I started smoking crack. I wasn't singing or doing what I do now. It really started when my friend Dom of Future Blondes invited my old band to play a regular gig but one of the members was "forbidden" to play. So I snuck in the opportunistic moment to play by myself and that was the beginning of How I Quit Crack. I just sang Billie Holiday covers over bass guitar noise. I told my crackhead friends I was quitting and doing a music project called How I Quit Crack and they were all pissed at me and didn't believe me 'cause I actually did it and they thought I was being righteous. Whats the 411 on Houston crack? In Houston we call crack hard and coke is powder, though you can call it soft or white. Guys carry around in their mouths. If they get pulled over they swallow it and then drink milk so they don't die of crack poison. You're only as high as long as the smoke is in your body. Soon as you exhale the high is over and you need another hit. I use to have really bad nights of hitting empty brillows, horrible chasing, always chasing the first hit. At times I would clean the pipes with weed, thinking when I smoked the weed, I would get the crack high. Nowadays I drink a lot of Taaka vodka. Three dollars a pint, three dollars will get you through the night. Is there such thing as good crack or bad crack? Yeah there was this one guy…it tasted so bad, it would make you gag, like it was cooked with dishwater. I had this one friend, this crazy crack ho and she taught me how to cook from a coke can, and that was bad crack. Good crack is you literally hear a sound, everything sounds like its going through a flange, almost like a snap pop crackle. You can't even talk, can't say nothing. Some sell bad shit on purpose to make you buy more. Tell about the response to quitting crack in your music and art. For the literal sound of my music, it's a response to the crack high, as crack is an abrupt, speedy thing and I make really slow, sludgy music, not the normal way you might of think of sludge like rocking out with your cock out. I'm trying to rock out with my vagina out. Like do something less phallic. More wombic. Rocking out with my genitals in. Invert the crack high is what I'm trying to do and I think How I Quit Crack explains that. Like this is how I stopped crack by creating the opposite of the crack high. Though real way I quit was by verbal abuse and neglect. How so? My significant other at the time quit before I did and he would call me a loser cause I was continuing smoking and make me feel like shit. I did stop, but after that it killed our relationship. I destroyed a lot of things physically in our living space and it wasn't easy for him to forgive me for that kind of thing. I started feeling like the neglected housewife, and that why I wear a lot of lingerie like a neglected housewife who wants a lot of attention and just doesn't care anymore, 'cause its over and I quit. I lost myself and I regret it. When I'm done healing myself, I will be done with the name How I Quit Crack. But I'm not done healing and I have a lot of dreams about crack. I use to chase a lot of crack and then when I quit, I felt like it was chasing me, like it was mad at me. My dad would always say that in the olden days when someone was possessed the spirit would look like animals, and they would act like that animal. Nowadays, possessive spirits take more sophisticated forms like greed and arrogance, and I think drug addiction is a form of that. I feel like I let my spirit be opened to that and now I'm going through a spiritual healing as well, which is How I Quit Crack.