Drugs Can Assist The Creative Process, Providing You Stay On Them
Heroin is like a Mike Myers movie; no matter how many times it’s declared to be dead or how much bad press it gets, they keep making it and people keep showing up for a taste. Under closer inspection, smack seems to get bad ink because the only people that write about it are former users. Why are so many people cooking up when even USA Today can't find anything nice to say about heroin? Because getting high is supposed to open up the creative areas of your mind, but the hideous truth is that most "H" users use up all of their creativity just searching for new ways to score junk leaving the masses with nothing more than some empty notebooks and vomit. There are numerous songs about "horse", but for the most part a song about heroin is just like the song about a broken heart: It comes after the fact when your life is empty and your friends will have nothing to do with you. You went off the rails on heroin and bottomed out when you realized you couldn't make your own lunch. Fuck off prima donna. Clean up songs are for pussies who play the Half Time show at the Super Bowl.
In order to separate yourself from the average junkie when you write a song about drugs, don't tell me you took drugs and they fucked up your life; TELL ME WHY I SHOULD TAKE DRUGS! Share with me the secret about this forbidden bitch goddess that makes you want to come back again and again even though you have half a set of teeth and drink out of toilets. Spare me the inner freedom hippie bullshit. Convince me to shoot up by explaining that heroin is like cumming for 35 minutes without having to talk to anyone afterwards while staying nice and trim and do it with some loud guitar.
By being a deranged genius that saw life differently than most, then building poetic and musical world around that surreal vision, Jim Carroll was the Willie Wonka of heroin. 1980’s Catholic Boy was the golden ticket tour inside the candy factory using what every good con artist always has handy-language. Catholic Boy is grad school Punk Rock that is closer to French New Wave film than the maniacal slashings of NYC contemporaries like The Dead Boys, as it was packed with enough metaphors to keep even the most pretentious hipster busy through a whole pack of Clove cigarettes. The album is not solely about drug use; rather it shows us the landscape absorbed through the eyes of a junkie and hustler and broadcasts it in way to make you sympathetic to his self-induced pain. The album’s most well known song “People Who Died” is also its biggest flaw. The misleading punk angst kept many from digging deeper into one of the single finest music albums ever made. The band behind Carroll is the key as they act like a tail on a kite directing the lyrical poetry into a force of different velocities that enhance the heights of Carroll’s underbelly experience. "Wicked Gravity” is a poetry slam and slam dance combined. An attacking but at the same time slide stepping song about the weightlessness of addiction heavy enough to keep it grounded so it’s point stays at eye level. Just as junk will do, “Wicked Gravity” pulls you in and keeps you beautifully dog chained. Eventually everything comes back to earth because the longer you live out the heroin dream, the less of a myth it becomes. Jim Carroll succumbed to the gravity of existence, checking out on September 11, 2009.
Conversely Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy carved out their heroin shooting rock band niche by taking clichés and brilliantly giving them a life of their own. Many people have written and performed songs about prison escapes but only Thin Lizzy had the balls to call it and actually make it sound like a “Jailbreak.” Ready to fuck or fight with a wink of his eye, Lynott was the motor behind the band as well as being its revered and inimitable front man who possessed the rare ability to craft the rock song of the working class with the lyrical insight of a broken hearted auteur. Under appreciation in the United States was partly brought on by their own doing-Lynott’s case of hepatitis (possibly caused by his use of heroin) forced Thin Lizzy to cancel what looked to be their career making 1976-’77 tour as the Jailbreak album was starting to take off.
1977’s Bad Reputation once again showed that Thin Lizzy could take formulaic subject matter and scare the fucking bogeyman with it. The title track to this record is simply one of the finest “I have it under control” records you will ever hear. The sonic menace of a back alley bruiser facing an intervention, Lynott snarls back at the chorus urging him to “turn yourself around” by filling you in that this not only the life he has chosen but he has worked hard to get to this low point, so he will sort it out his way. Recorded as a 3 piece, with the very underrated Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on guitar and drums respectively, “Bad Reputation” spotlights the bulletproof feeling of having the mind working just enough to rationalize marginal decisions. Perfectly encasing what having a bad reputation entails: a hard surface with rage, passion and technical skill that can be summoned and administered before anyone can hit the panic button, Thin Lizzy did the impossible-they gave heroin a cool makeover. Phil Lynott cemented his bad reputation when his body finally gave way to years of abuse in January 1986.