[Dixielandjazz] Re: DRUGS AND MUSICIANS - Deja vu?

D and R Hardie darnhard at ozemail.com.au
Sun Oct 17 16:49:00 PDT 2004

Dear Fred,
I agree. 'Leave your mind alone' (James Thurber)
  I believe some beta blocking drugs have been shown to be negatively 
indicated because they have actually induced heart attacks. One of our 
local popular medical websites produced some evidence of that recently. 
Seems  their prescription to musicians for what used to be called 
nerves is therefore  not to be recommended. Like Steve my experience of 
alcohol laden band members is that they thought they played better but 
in fact did not.
Dan Hardie

On Monday, October 18, 2004, at 08:55  AM, Steve barbone wrote:

> I'm with you Fred. IMO Drugs & Booze only help one play worse.
> Didn't always think that was true having grown up in the jazz world of 
> the
> 40's through the 60's. Almost all of us were "experimenting" and many
> believed that artificial stimulants expanded your mind and your playing
> ability. You could "hear and play the truth".
> Then I started listening to recorded instances of playing high, vs. 
> playing
> sober. What a shock to realize that I played better sober.  Prior to 
> that,
> when I played high I sure thought, at the time, that I was really in a 
> new
> and wonderful groove.
> There is nothing like impaired judgement is there? :-) VBG.
> Even Bird knew that and cautioned everybody not to be like him and use
> drugs. Plus he played most of his gigs sober, getting high when off the
> stand. Not many of us listened to him. My contemporaries who did not 
> kick
> their preferred artificial stimulant habit  are all dead now, or barely
> existing and not able to play.
> When I started to play again in 1990, I stayed completely free of all
> stimulants on gigs, even caffeine. So, now in my 7th decade, I feel 
> great on
> gigs, sometimes driving 190 miles roundtrip for gigs in Rehoboth Beach 
> DE
> (3 and 1/2 hour high energy jazz gigs ending at 1 AM). Even though a 
> free
> 1st class room + breakfast is offered. Like to drive home because it 
> takes
> me three hours or so to come down from the natural high (that Larry
> mentioned) of playing jazz. Better that, than lying in bed wide awake 
> with
> your mind racing.
> The drive back is magical. Almost no traffic, couple of CDs and 2 
> cigars
> long, it relaxes me to the point that I can take a shower and hit the 
> bed at
> the right time. Just as Martha gets up to take care of the horses. 
> Just like
> the old days when gigs went to 3 AM and musos went to bed at sunrise. 
> The
> "come down" time is perfect to listen to what the new jazz guys are 
> playing,
> or re-visit some of the old masters. Including the Glenn Gould 
> "Goldberg
> Variations", both recordings, 10 years apart and released in a set by 
> Sony.
> A great lesson in how to re-interpret the same songs. "Viva la 
> difference."
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone (who lost 40 lbs. this year to avoid taking Lipitor 
> and/or
> other drugs)
> on 10/17/04 1:36 PM, Fred Spencer at drjz at bealenet.com wrote:
> Dear Steve,
> Thank you for one more informative article from the NYT. I am not, and 
> never
> have been, a member of the "medical establishment ", which seems to 
> approve
> of the uncontrolled use of propanolol in musicians.  Jazz musicians 
> used
> "chemical support" for pre-peformamce jitters long before the current
> unethical, phamaceutial commercials, bolstered by drug salesmen, which 
> tell
> you "to see your doctor" for free samples. Doctors want to keep their
> patients so they often comply with the patients' request, and today we 
> have
> a drugged US population.  I dealt with this to some extent in my book, 
> "Jazz
> and Death. Medical Profiles of Jazz Greats", quoting Pee Wee Erwin who 
> said,
> "I never attempted a solo performance under any circumstances in a 
> studio
> without drinling first".
> To the point. Propanolol may be "relatively safe" but not safe at all 
> to
> some people. Even aspirin has serious side effects. I don't know the 
> basis
> of the trial between drug /placebo-- Juilliard/Eastman students and 
> would
> want to know about the statistical validity of the study, which has to 
> be
> objective to some degree, but the subjective assessment by 
> "performances
> that musical judges deemed superior " in the drugged group is purely
> subjective. As Buck Clyton said in his autobiography "Buck Clayton's 
> Jazz
> World". "Anybody can be a critic if he so desires. I've seen critics 
> who
> just read some books and then go out snd criticize someone they don't 
> like".
> James Lincoln Collier presents a more academic, but equally scathing, 
> review
> of this topic in Chapter 9 (The Critics) of his book, "Jazz.The 
> American
> Theme Song".
> Enough, although there is a lot more.  I am a "theraupetic nihilist", 
> which
> means that I do not believe in any treatment unless it is absolutely
> necessary. There may be occasions when the medically supervised use of
> propanolol is justified in treating stage fright, which is not 
> approved by
> the FDA. The present uncontrolled pattern is to be deplored. Regards.
> Fred
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