Plus News & Notes
Congratulations on finishing the manuscript! And I look forward to the occasional news and outbursts whenever the stars align, so to speak. Thanks. Peace.
Mad love, Erik!
Been meaning to write and tell you that your Led Zeppelin book blew my mind as a teenager, utterly transforming and priming the interiors of my mind. I revisited that book recently, 15+ years later as a grown up, now professional record producer and realized how massively foundational your ideas were to my approach to production as both a profession and MAGICKAL ACT.
Love everything you have ever done and continue to do. You are much appreciated.
P.S. I still hope you get around to writing some more about Pynchon.
I have to finish High Weirdness, traded it for a massage in Oaxaca Mexico on Jan 1, 2020 as the Sun rose over the S. Pacific. Dolphins giggling.
Unfortunately, my subscription budget (fixed income) has already been spent on Matt Taibbi's substack.
Erik. I enjoyed this disclosure greatly enjoyable. Your industry is awesome.
Words will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no words. The tricky part is where the time is coming from. Good luck with everything, Erik. Thanks for what you do. I appreciate your somewhat funky (old-school funk!) approach.
“What a long strange trip it’s been” I’m sure you agree with that lyric. Your writing comes with a soundtrack buzzing in my subconscious, and visuals like messing with the album cover of Physical graffiti…n sticking to my sound metaphor an old podcasts you did with A.J Lees (mentored by a madman) popped back into my head where it seemed that old rascal Burroughs wanted in on the conversation, the crackle n scratches sounded intentional in that episode.
Looking forward to your new book! Always love the great talks! I’m very grateful for you!
Hey man, I respect your decision and will continue my subscription. Recently I went through all my subscriptions to cut the unnecessary costs, but I kept burning shore. I get a lot of value from it and I think it will be a good thing to spread it to more people for free. Keep doing your thing! It always arrests my attention and creates new connections in me noggin.
Thanks, Erik, I appreciate your straightforward nature. Excited for the next book!
Ain't it interesting, how those tools drive us? The ability to look at the numbers (easily) makes us want to ... look at the numbers. Makes us want to degrade ourselves, our work, our worth. Since I do a fair amount of branding, strategy, & editorial content work to pay the bills, I have had to confront this over & over.
My conclusion: turning writers & artists into Numbers People is a bad feckin' idea. Marketing teams used to have wild & empathic minded creatives, with numbers-oriented project manager types to herd the cats. At Plazm we still operate that way in many of our projects, and it means we bring stronger creative & strategic to the table. We're not contorting ourselves for the latest metric, & it makes the work stronger.
Outside of Plazm, on my own, I have a minuscule podcast with a teeny-tiny mailing list, and only occasionally look at the numbers. I notice that the prominence of those dashboard tools (in this case, on Mailchimp) really draws me, makes me want to whore myself out as whorily as possible. It's like playing Whack-a-Mole at a carnival. You just wanna beat on those moles with the whack-em stick, wanna hit more & more & more of them. Playing Asteroids or Missile Command back in the day: make sure you never ask yourself *why* you want more points. It'd ruin the game.
you said 'customer'.
Erik: Please please do the GR/LSD essay! Two of my favorite subjects - both mind altering as well. That's my 'nudge'..... at any rate, keep on keepin' it weird!
Erik, Thanks for this. I've been struggling with similar issues and, as usual, you've helped to clarify things, and I see a few new ways forward for my own lil substack venture. Thank you —again! Jay
What is the meta- modern meditation center you are working on?
Let us know when we can order the book!
I really appreciate your entry, the Elephant LSD. As a 50-something guy who fairly recently returned to psychedelics after a 30 year hiatus, I'm sympathetic to your insights about LSD in the current US cultural context. As many old-school tripsters know, set and setting are of vital importance. Unfortunately, in my teens and twenties, set and setting were sorely lacking. Even then I sensed this absence. I tried to read The Psychedelic Experience couldn't make much sense of it. It was not until I participated in an ayahuasca ritual with a gifted guide a few years ago that I experienced the comfort of a safely held container and the potency of a ceremony that has developed over many centuries and hybridized for the demographics of the community. I'm especially fascinated by the extraordinary effects resulting from the entwinement of the tea and the icaros, which seem to bind together like ayahuasca and chacruna, working in concert as one medicine. Just as there is a techne to ayahuasca, which you rightly mention, I believe that there is a techne to set and setting, a techne that has been refined in the cultures in which plant medicines have played a core role in religious/spiritual life.Psychedelics and religion have an ancient history. But LSD and religion do not. (As a side-note, my high-school psychedelic source wrote a paper on the Grateful Dead as religion, then dropped out of Harvard to go on tour with the band.)
The icaros (and corresponding textile patterns) are said to be given to shamans by the spirit of ayahuasca herself. Beyond the Grateful Dead, Kesey's Acid Tests, and Burning Man/Festivals what parallels might there be for LSD? What small-scale ceremonial techniques have tripsters gleaned from their acid experiences? At the risk of ascribing agency to a chemical molecule, one might ask, What is acid telling us about how we can benefit most from the gifts it has to offer? In my teens, I always had a journey tape - Harold Budd's "Pavilion of Dreams" on one side and George Lewis's "Blue" on the other. Similarly, the Kuya psychedelic assisted therapy center in Austin recently commissioned musician Poranguí to record journey music sessions. Poranguí, who walks a highly disciplined spiritual path, composed and performed the soundtrack for Aubrey Marcus's documentary film Ayahuasca and his is Kuya Project collaborator, Amani Friend, of Desert Dwellers and Liquid Bloom, also have long histories as spiritual seekers and their music has clear references to plant medicine. In my experience, having a journey soundtrack was very helpful but it is not able to respond to a journeyer individually in the moment the way that a medicine guide/shaman can - to issue an invitation, to hold space, to protect, and support the healing and discovery process, to say nothing of integration...
Curious to know others thoughts on these ideas...