Chemical Brothers: A New Moon Reverie
Where I recall riding on the back of my friend Steve’s motorcycle to go drop acid at my mom's house by the beach.
YOU OFTEN DON’T REALIZE the great things about your parents until they are either dead or so old as to be unrecognizable. The latter condition allows you to see them in a different light, in the way you would wonder about someone that you’d met for the first time.
Lately, I’ve been considering how cool my Sagittarius mom was when I was a teenager. At 16 she condoned my decision to move in with a friend and his family so I could finish my last years of high school with my peers. Otherwise, I’d have had to move to where she’d relocated to the beach in California.
One of my most vivid memories from that senior year was riding on the back of my friend Steve’s motorcycle to go visit my mom in Long Beach and drop acid at her house.
Steve was a cohort from my drama class who was also on our school’s football team. He was also an Aquarian which explains why as I developed a bad crush on him he didn’t do anything boorish like recoil in hetero horror. Nor wobble away from his hormonally flushed interest in girls to score an easy handjob. He was sophisticated enough for us to remain friends. Too, he appreciated my interest in Motown, David Bowie, and astrology.
Throughout the first part of the school year, Steve and I talked often about experimenting with hallucinogenics. He was heavily into the Carlos Casteneda books and was convinced, in his Uranian way, that through traversing some altered states he’d be able to survive the too-tight confines of his ultra-conservative parents. His dad reveled in his son’s footballer status but loathed Steve’s beautiful long hair, which in 1974 you were allowed to have at a designated length and still remain active in school sports.
Finally, during spring break, after Steve had found us some acid, I rounded up my copies of Ziggy and The Beatles (and he brought along his copy of Crosby, Stills, and Nash) and I held on to his waist as we made the long trek over to my mom’s house on the coast. Added visual bonus: Steve was wearing his varsity jacket that morning. A very pre-Grease homo tableau.
We went to my mom’s house because she said I could only take acid if we stayed in the house where she could monitor us and make sure no one jumped out of a window. This was a radical accommodation. Parents at the time were haunted by the story of Art Linkletter’s daughter who’d taken LSD and flown out of her apartment’s six-story window. Diane’s fatality became the focal point for all of the anti-drug hysteria roiling across America in the 70s.
Typical of acid I don’t remember much about our trip. We’d eaten the tabs around noon—right after my mom was knocked unconscious after deciding she’d ‘experiment’ with a few hits off of the massive joint that Steve had brought along. When my mom asked why the spliff had been dipped in resin (I think we called those ‘oilers’ back then), Steve said the coating would heighten her buzz.
A short while later my mom resembled a female Gulliver, sprawled on her back, fast asleep on the living room floor (so much for overseeing our potential freakouts). By 1 o’clock Steve and I retired to the extra bedroom where I immediately gave him a hand job. I mean, where we immediately kicked back, also stretched on the floor, and listened to the ‘white album’—I think for the entirety of the day.
My worst acid memory was years later when I worked in the music business in LA. It involved my friend Barbra, an unfettered New York Jew who was obsessed with Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood. And her friend, a guy who wrote for Rolling Stone. And also the guy’s promo copy of The Three Degrees Greatest Hits. Not your de rigueur acid trip LP.
Someone had put the album on just before we started to peak, and then the fucking record played over and over and over until I shut it off after Barbra managed to bite the writer guy’s bicep until he howled. Her assault left teeth marks and drew blood. Of course, tripping on acid, neither one of us thought much about this occurrence. A second after he’d yelled out he was micro-analyzing an I Ching-like scattering of uncooked spaghetti that had spilled across the kitchen floor. Precautionary by nature, I struggled to focus and found a pencil to scribble out an S.O.S. for someone (anyone) to find the next day. I think I wrote something like “Barbra bit ____ and he should see a doctor. There was blood.”
To this day I flee from wherever I am—a coffee shop or supermarket—if I hear the song When Will I See You Again come over the sound system.
I dropped acid less frequently as I approached my 30s. Each subsequent trip became both tiresome and jarring—a nuisance. I recall the last time I took LSD with friends on the Big Island of Hawai’i and I instantly regretted it. Like five minutes after I swallowed the tab I said to my very Cancer self, “Oh fuck, I’m not in the mood for this.” Again, I don’t recall anything beyond that point. Acid became too macro and too much, but only because it was taken for granted. And taken recreationally. Better to just have a glass of wine.
The new Moon today is in Virgo, so all of you folks born during Pluto’s transit through Virgo (roughly between 1957 and 1971) might consider experimenting with micro (Pluto) dosing (Virgo) some hallucinogenic. I’m convinced that this is a viable alternative to Big Pharma’s incessant push to prescribe endless parades of tranquilizers and anti-depressants. The other day I found out that a friend of mine was on a combination of three different serotonin reuptake inhibitors. And her doctor was considering adding some other sort of modifier into the mix. No wonder she wants to jump out of a window.
With Jupiter in Virgo, I’m a big proponent of ‘better living through chemistry’. But of the discretionary alternative sort. Experiments that are applied intelligently (i.e., not gobbled like Flintstone vitamins).
Just as the Pluto (atomic) in Leo (extroverted) generation (1938-1957) lived amidst the harnessing of nuclear power to animate their environment, the Pluto in Virgo tribe experienced the inner explosion and release of hidden psychic powers through the counter-culture’s experimentation with recreational LSD.
Now, with Pluto in Capricorn, trining the Pluto in Virgo generation’s cosmic DNA, it might be fortuitous to try something beyond the aforementioned Big Pharma clusterfucks or the conventional ‘wellness’ pastimes like herbal cleanses, macrobiotic diets, incessant gym, and aerobic routines. Something fresh. Perhaps a minuscule tweaking of the brain’s chemistry might lurch someone out of a depressive or manic phase. A condition a lot of folks are treading nowadays.
Good luck. And caveat emptor: avoid The Three Degrees.