Joan Jett Deflects Ted Nugent Criticism, Cites 1977 High Times Interview

Joan Jett stated her case in a new interview with NME—citing a wild conversation Ted Nugent had with High Times in 1977.

Rolling Stone included Jett as #87 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, which was originally published in 2003. Last December, Nugent—who didn’t make the list—slammed the decision to include Jett in the list.

“You have to have shit for brains and you have to be a soulless, soulless prick to put Joan Jett [on the list],” Nugent said during a livestream on his YouTube account on December 30, 2021.

Jett fired back months later, defending her status as one of the greatest guitarists, and explaining that Nugent’s attack was a poor choice of words based on past interviews.

“Is that his implication,” Jett asked NME, “that he should be on the list instead of me? Well, that’s just typical—it’s what I’ve dealt with my whole life, being written off. Ted Nugent has to live with being Ted Nugent. He has to be in that body, so that’s punishment enough.”

“He’s not a tough guy,” she continued. “He plays tough guy, but this is the guy who shit his pants—literally—so he didn’t have to go in the Army.”

The 1977 Ted Nugent x High Times Interview

Jett was alluding to Nugent’s infamous 1977 interview, first published in High Times, but frequently cited. In 1977, Nugent was at the peak of his fame with his biggest hit “Cat Scratch Fever.” 

When High Times writer Glenn O’Brien interviewed young Ted Nugent in 1977—like many other old-school High Times articles—the interview went off the rails at times. Nugent said he avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War in 1967 by dropping his own personal hygiene and dabbling in drugs to appear like a hobo. 

“I got my physical notice 30 days prior to [being drafted],” Nugent told High Times. “Well, on that day I ceased cleansing my body. No more brushing my teeth, no more washing my hair, no baths, no soap, no water. Thirty days of debris build. I stopped shavin,’ and I was 18, had a little scraggly beard, really looked like a hippie. I had long hair, and it started gettin’ kinky, matted up.”

Nugent continued, “Then two weeks before, I stopped eating any food with nutritional value. I just had chips, Pepsi, beer—stuff I never touched—buttered poop, little jars of Polish sausages, and I’d drink the syrup, I was this side of death. Then a week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. Poop, piss the whole shot. My pants got crusted up.”

Nugent also explained that he was typically “extremely anti-drug” but “I snorted some crystal methedrine” in order to avoid the draft, which is ironic considering his long-held stance on drugs. 

Nugent is indeed still anti-drug nowadays, and said as recently as 2018 that he’s “hardcore” against pot. “I have stepped over so many dead bodies who tried to convince me that smoking dope was a victimless crime,” Nugent said in an interview on WKAR’s “Off The Record.”

What Really Happened

So where did the story about getting out of Vietnam come from in the first place? According to an updated autobiography, Kenny Mills, a drummer who goes by the stage name of KJ Knight, claims that it was he—not Nugent—who “used wild antics” at the Selective Service physical and was quickly dismissed from serving. Knight was a prolific drummer in bands like The Knightriders and The Amboy Dukes with Nugent.

According to military records, and reported by Fact Checker and the Reno Gazette Journal, Nugent got a student deferment, which is not “draft dodging” given that he showed up for the medical exam. 

Nugent later admitted that some of the story was made up in later interviews. Nugent got a high school student deferment (1-S) in 1967, a college student deferment (2-S) in 1968, and after being reclassified for military service (1-A) in 1969, Nugent was rejected as a result of a physical examination (1-Y) in 1969 and reportedly received a 4-F classification.

Student deferments are a legal means of avoiding service in the military—you know, the same method that Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, and Bill Clinton used to get out of the Vietnam War. Clinton also got help from friends in high places and didn’t follow through on some promises to avoid service but is legally considered not to have violated the Military Selective Service Act.

In any case, Nugent’s criticism of Jett was probably done without remembering his infamous High Times interview decades ago.

The post Joan Jett Deflects Ted Nugent Criticism, Cites 1977 High Times Interview appeared first on High Times.

Yaadcore on New Video, Cannabis in Jamaica, and Psychedelic Inspiration

Today Yaadcore, along with Jah9 and Subatomic Sound System, announced the music video for “Police in Helicopter,” a re-imagining of John Holt’s defiantly political 1982 ganja-themed jam.

The track is on Yaadcore’s recently-released debut album, Reggaeland (12 Yaad/Delicious Vinyl Island), and was originally released in April 2021 as a one-off single on Houston, Texas-based Yard Birdz Records. The video was co-directed by Miguel Hernandez, who helped animate Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” music video as well as a recent animation for Ozzy Osbourne, and Emch of Subatomic Sound System.

Yaadcore’s musical journey began as a selector—Jamaican word for a disc jockey—but is now stepping into new shoes as a vocalist, including on his new album Reggaeland. Born Rory Cha, he quickly developed as an artist. He now hosts Jamaica’s first weed strain review series, “Spliff A Light Spliff,” for Kingston, Jamaica-based dispensary Itopia Life. For Spliff A Light Spliff, Yaadcore examines phenos with magnification to see the trichomes and nugstructure.

Dub has a much bigger emphasis on echo and reverb compared to reggae, and that genre formed alongside reggae—and led to sampling and remixing techniques that permeate most other forms of music nowadays, Yaadcore reminds us. Walking in the footsteps of dub masters like Lee “Scratch” Perry, King Tubby, and Mad Professor—Yaadcore, Subatomic Sound System, Jah9, and others carry the torch.

John Holt wrote “Police in Helicopter” because Jamaicans were tired of U.S.-funded efforts to aggressively burn down crops of cannabis. American officials launched Operation Buccaneer—secretly coordinating with Jamaican police—beginning in 1974, when the song was written.

“The chorus of this song has been a battle cry in my heart since I first heard it,” Jah9 said of the track. “As someone intimately involved with the use of this herb as a symbol of defiance but more importantly as a powerful tool for healing, I’m honored to add my voice to bringing it forward to a new generation.” Jah9 now lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and was tapped for the track with “the perfect” voice for it. 

Thanks to WikiLeaks, the tactics behind Operation Buccaneer in Jamaica, and the pressure from the U.S., have been made public. The goal of Operation Buccaneer was to eradicate all ganja. Operation Buccaneer continued in waves through the 1980s, and was profiled by the Washington Post in 1987. In the 1987 wave alone, 350 acres of small farms were destroyed over several months, and homes were destroyed by the helicopters as well.

The re-imagining of “Police in Helicopter” is dub-heavy and created for a new chapter in the world of ganja. Yaadcore hit up Diamond Supply Co. in Los Angeles recently on April 23 to promote Reggaeland and the new song. High Times also watched Yaadcore perform last February at Cali Vibes festival, with several Marley siblings, Shaggy, Sean Paul, and many others.

High Times caught up with Yaadcore on the phone, and we could hear the flick of a lighter as the conversation kicked off.

Courtesy of Jay Williams

How are you doing today?

Good, thank you.

You’ve been shifting from DJ to vocalist in the lab. How is being a vocalist different creatively compared to working as a selector?

Well, it’s different in that it’s more technical, it is more time consuming. It takes a lot more thought because, you know, you’re actually creating something from nothing. You know, whereas that DJ has some artillery already given to him and then, you know, he uses that to do his job. But as far as the [vocal] artist is concerned, you know, we have to take things out of thin air to make it you know, pleasing to the ear. So, I think that’s the difference with being a DJ artist, you know?

“Police in Helicopter” is an old-school political tune from way back in 1982. Tell us about what the song is about.

Right. So “Police in Helicopter,” as you mentioned, is a political song. In 1974, you know, the U.S. government funded Jamaica’s government in aiding and abetting to burn down marijuana fields. So that was the whole you know, idea. The inspiration came about from John Holt, who did the original “Police in Helicopter” in 1982 or 1981 I believe. And yeah, Emch [of Subatomic Sound] linked me up. He was the one who really wanted to remake this song for his bridging on the Yard Birdz record label and link me, and I knew I wasn’t the one to sing the chorus because that’s not really my style or anything. So you know, I suggested Jah9—perfect collaborator. And you know, I reached out to her and she agreed to do it after hearing me first and everything.

Does that reflect your own views about cannabis?

The song really you know, depicts my views of marijuana in that you know, the lyrical content states you know, watch out for the “chopper dem a chop,” which is reference to the helicopters that fly by our field and dem want to take our crops you know, so and then in the second verse, I’ll go on to say, you know, “Non-stop burn the fire pon the system, when you turn the marijuana farmer in a victim.” You know, so this song is really advocating for the farmers you know, and you know, their herb on a whole is coming far away but we still have a far more way to go, because marijuana is not legal in every country in the world. And you know, we all are equal and want the same rights to partake in this herb so you know, that’s why we still find it necessary to sing these kinds of lyrics.

Your debut album Reggaeland came out recently. There is a heavy dub element to it. Which track are you most proud of?

What was I most proud of? Honestly—there are a few tracks and I’m proud of it. Frank reasons being Lee “Scratch” Perry “Play God” that was one very mystical track, you know, seeing that he’s also being the legend that he is and how it really came about was really me … You know, after I wrote the song, I was listening to one of his interviews, and I realized he said the same thing that I was saying in the song, which was, you know, the devil is trying to play God because that’s really what “Play God” is all about, you know, like as bigger heads trying to be the gods of man, and you know, want to tell man, what they should do what they should not do. So, that’s a very special track.

And what else?

You know, “Nyquill (Remix),” is also especially with the legendary Richie Spice, you know, the highest one or the one that has, you know, some of the most marijuana on them. So it was definitely a pleasure to collaborate with him as well. And then you know, “Shrooms” also, so the whole album is very special.

Yaadcore
Courtesy of Jay Williams

It sounds pretty psychedelic.

I like shrooms now. And you know, we’re on High Times so [that’s] a nice topic to touch on, you know. It’s gonna be one of the first—alright the first-ever—reggae song that is singing in support of shrooms as a religious and natural mystical tool. It happened you know, on my first experience with the psychedelic; That was the manifestation.

What about the songs with Lee “Scratch” Perry?

All right, so I have two songs with Lee “Scratch” Perry. Oh, no, with Lee “Scratch” Perry: The one that I did before was not on the album. That was also set to release before his passing was even a ‘ting. You know, yeah, so unfortunately, he passed before that song actually came out. So no, I don’t really have any [more] of Lee Scratch Perry’s tracks that I, you know, worked with … that’s coming out. Though we have a Lee Scratch Perry [track] featuring and a bunch of younger artists also on that as well, but is not necessarily from these Lee “Scratch” Perry’s production, but more of him being an artist on that track.

The dub master?

And he’s the founder of dub—a type of music that almost every other genre uses now was originated by him. And you know he influenced Bob Marley. I agree. You know he has produced with Bob Marley as well. That very bizarre icon in music—not only in reggae music but you know, in music.

Do you find shrooms to be spiritual like cannabis is?

Of course, even on a higher level, I don’t even I don’t want to say high because everything serves this purpose, but how I like to describe it like marijuana is for like the earthly, spiritual realization and shrooms no can take you unlike a spiritual spiritual connection. Yeah, no. Yes. Is definitely way more intense. And you know, it has medicinal values … Also, you know, it’s not all about the psychedelic aspect and everything. Just like marijuana. […]

What kind of live performances do you have coming up?

Well, you know, actually, I have only one confirmed date right now in Sacramento. We’re actually working under a regular tour right now. So not any confirmed dates as yet. But I’m sure there will be some in a few weeks or so.

Do you have any other announcements?

I mean, you know, I definitely have singles going to be released before the end of the year, that are not going to be on the album, or that wasn’t on the album. And yeah, we just have this mixtape that we’re gonna do with WholesomeCo Cannabis. That’s a dispensary in Utah.

I did two for them before. So this is like the final final leg of this series. You can check that out as well. But yeah, that’s about it. I did a merge collab with Diamond Supply Co. for the song “Nyquill.” So there’s merch for the “Nyquill” remix on the Diamond Supply Co. website. So that’s a big deal. I think, you know, yeah. There’s no other artist that has ever done anything with our streetwear brand officially, you know?

Are you aware that High Times threw many events in the past near the cliffs in Jamaica?

They should let us do some content stuff in Jamaica. Yeah, we should look into that, man. I should, we should definitely look into that. Yeah, no problem, man. Thanks for your time as well.

yaadcoreradio.com

The post Yaadcore on New Video, Cannabis in Jamaica, and Psychedelic Inspiration appeared first on High Times.

Yaadcore on New Video, Cannabis in Jamaica, and Psychedelic Inspiration

Today Yaadcore, along with Jah9 and Subatomic Sound System, announced the music video for “Police in Helicopter,” a re-imagining of John Holt’s defiantly political 1982 ganja-themed jam.

The track is on Yaadcore’s recently-released debut album, Reggaeland (12 Yaad/Delicious Vinyl Island), and was originally released in April 2021 as a one-off single on Houston, Texas-based Yard Birdz Records. The video was co-directed by Miguel Hernandez, who helped animate Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” music video as well as a recent animation for Ozzy Osbourne, and Emch of Subatomic Sound System.

Yaadcore’s musical journey began as a selector—Jamaican word for a disc jockey—but is now stepping into new shoes as a vocalist, including on his new album Reggaeland. Born Rory Cha, he quickly developed as an artist. He now hosts Jamaica’s first weed strain review series, “Spliff A Light Spliff,” for Kingston, Jamaica-based dispensary Itopia Life. For Spliff A Light Spliff, Yaadcore examines phenos with magnification to see the trichomes and nugstructure.

Dub has a much bigger emphasis on echo and reverb compared to reggae, and that genre formed alongside reggae—and led to sampling and remixing techniques that permeate most other forms of music nowadays, Yaadcore reminds us. Walking in the footsteps of dub masters like Lee “Scratch” Perry, King Tubby, and Mad Professor—Yaadcore, Subatomic Sound System, Jah9, and others carry the torch.

John Holt wrote “Police in Helicopter” because Jamaicans were tired of U.S.-funded efforts to aggressively burn down crops of cannabis. American officials launched Operation Buccaneer—secretly coordinating with Jamaican police—beginning in 1974, when the song was written.

“The chorus of this song has been a battle cry in my heart since I first heard it,” Jah9 said of the track. “As someone intimately involved with the use of this herb as a symbol of defiance but more importantly as a powerful tool for healing, I’m honored to add my voice to bringing it forward to a new generation.” Jah9 now lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and was tapped for the track with “the perfect” voice for it. 

Thanks to WikiLeaks, the tactics behind Operation Buccaneer in Jamaica, and the pressure from the U.S., have been made public. The goal of Operation Buccaneer was to eradicate all ganja. Operation Buccaneer continued in waves through the 1980s, and was profiled by the Washington Post in 1987. In the 1987 wave alone, 350 acres of small farms were destroyed over several months, and homes were destroyed by the helicopters as well.

The re-imagining of “Police in Helicopter” is dub-heavy and created for a new chapter in the world of ganja. Yaadcore hit up Diamond Supply Co. in Los Angeles recently on April 23 to promote Reggaeland and the new song. High Times also watched Yaadcore perform last February at Cali Vibes festival, with several Marley siblings, Shaggy, Sean Paul, and many others.

High Times caught up with Yaadcore on the phone, and we could hear the flick of a lighter as the conversation kicked off.

Courtesy of Jay Williams

How are you doing today?

Good, thank you.

You’ve been shifting from DJ to vocalist in the lab. How is being a vocalist different creatively compared to working as a selector?

Well, it’s different in that it’s more technical, it is more time consuming. It takes a lot more thought because, you know, you’re actually creating something from nothing. You know, whereas that DJ has some artillery already given to him and then, you know, he uses that to do his job. But as far as the [vocal] artist is concerned, you know, we have to take things out of thin air to make it you know, pleasing to the ear. So, I think that’s the difference with being a DJ artist, you know?

“Police in Helicopter” is an old-school political tune from way back in 1982. Tell us about what the song is about.

Right. So “Police in Helicopter,” as you mentioned, is a political song. In 1974, you know, the U.S. government funded Jamaica’s government in aiding and abetting to burn down marijuana fields. So that was the whole you know, idea. The inspiration came about from John Holt, who did the original “Police in Helicopter” in 1982 or 1981 I believe. And yeah, Emch [of Subatomic Sound] linked me up. He was the one who really wanted to remake this song for his bridging on the Yard Birdz record label and link me, and I knew I wasn’t the one to sing the chorus because that’s not really my style or anything. So you know, I suggested Jah9—perfect collaborator. And you know, I reached out to her and she agreed to do it after hearing me first and everything.

Does that reflect your own views about cannabis?

The song really you know, depicts my views of marijuana in that you know, the lyrical content states you know, watch out for the “chopper dem a chop,” which is reference to the helicopters that fly by our field and dem want to take our crops you know, so and then in the second verse, I’ll go on to say, you know, “Non-stop burn the fire pon the system, when you turn the marijuana farmer in a victim.” You know, so this song is really advocating for the farmers you know, and you know, their herb on a whole is coming far away but we still have a far more way to go, because marijuana is not legal in every country in the world. And you know, we all are equal and want the same rights to partake in this herb so you know, that’s why we still find it necessary to sing these kinds of lyrics.

Your debut album Reggaeland came out recently. There is a heavy dub element to it. Which track are you most proud of?

What was I most proud of? Honestly—there are a few tracks and I’m proud of it. Frank reasons being Lee “Scratch” Perry “Play God” that was one very mystical track, you know, seeing that he’s also being the legend that he is and how it really came about was really me … You know, after I wrote the song, I was listening to one of his interviews, and I realized he said the same thing that I was saying in the song, which was, you know, the devil is trying to play God because that’s really what “Play God” is all about, you know, like as bigger heads trying to be the gods of man, and you know, want to tell man, what they should do what they should not do. So, that’s a very special track.

And what else?

You know, “Nyquill (Remix),” is also especially with the legendary Richie Spice, you know, the highest one or the one that has, you know, some of the most marijuana on them. So it was definitely a pleasure to collaborate with him as well. And then you know, “Shrooms” also, so the whole album is very special.

Yaadcore
Courtesy of Jay Williams

It sounds pretty psychedelic.

I like shrooms now. And you know, we’re on High Times so [that’s] a nice topic to touch on, you know. It’s gonna be one of the first—alright the first-ever—reggae song that is singing in support of shrooms as a religious and natural mystical tool. It happened you know, on my first experience with the psychedelic; That was the manifestation.

What about the songs with Lee “Scratch” Perry?

All right, so I have two songs with Lee “Scratch” Perry. Oh, no, with Lee “Scratch” Perry: The one that I did before was not on the album. That was also set to release before his passing was even a ‘ting. You know, yeah, so unfortunately, he passed before that song actually came out. So no, I don’t really have any [more] of Lee Scratch Perry’s tracks that I, you know, worked with … that’s coming out. Though we have a Lee Scratch Perry [track] featuring and a bunch of younger artists also on that as well, but is not necessarily from these Lee “Scratch” Perry’s production, but more of him being an artist on that track.

The dub master?

And he’s the founder of dub—a type of music that almost every other genre uses now was originated by him. And you know he influenced Bob Marley. I agree. You know he has produced with Bob Marley as well. That very bizarre icon in music—not only in reggae music but you know, in music.

Do you find shrooms to be spiritual like cannabis is?

Of course, even on a higher level, I don’t even I don’t want to say high because everything serves this purpose, but how I like to describe it like marijuana is for like the earthly, spiritual realization and shrooms no can take you unlike a spiritual spiritual connection. Yeah, no. Yes. Is definitely way more intense. And you know, it has medicinal values … Also, you know, it’s not all about the psychedelic aspect and everything. Just like marijuana. […]

What kind of live performances do you have coming up?

Well, you know, actually, I have only one confirmed date right now in Sacramento. We’re actually working under a regular tour right now. So not any confirmed dates as yet. But I’m sure there will be some in a few weeks or so.

Do you have any other announcements?

I mean, you know, I definitely have singles going to be released before the end of the year, that are not going to be on the album, or that wasn’t on the album. And yeah, we just have this mixtape that we’re gonna do with WholesomeCo Cannabis. That’s a dispensary in Utah.

I did two for them before. So this is like the final final leg of this series. You can check that out as well. But yeah, that’s about it. I did a merge collab with Diamond Supply Co. for the song “Nyquill.” So there’s merch for the “Nyquill” remix on the Diamond Supply Co. website. So that’s a big deal. I think, you know, yeah. There’s no other artist that has ever done anything with our streetwear brand officially, you know?

Are you aware that High Times threw many events in the past near the cliffs in Jamaica?

They should let us do some content stuff in Jamaica. Yeah, we should look into that, man. I should, we should definitely look into that. Yeah, no problem, man. Thanks for your time as well.

yaadcoreradio.com

The post Yaadcore on New Video, Cannabis in Jamaica, and Psychedelic Inspiration appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis and the Clan: Exploring the Highs of the Wu-Tang Clan

There is, will, and can only ever be one Wu-Tang Clan. The Wu-Tang Clan has a career-long connection to cannabis, including performing at the 2017 Cannabis Cup. There’s much to explore when it comes to the Wu-Tang Clan and cannabis. Some questioned Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s claim that “Wu-Tang is for the children” at the 1998 Grammy […]

The post Cannabis and the Clan: Exploring the Highs of the Wu-Tang Clan appeared first on Cannabis News, Lifestyle – Headlines, Videos & Cooking.

Antonio Brown Drops New Strain and Album at Lemonnade 

On 420 eve on April 19, former top NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown made an appearance at Lemonnade Van Nuys and provided a sneak peak of his new strain, AB Biscotti, and his debut album Paradigm, marking his creative shift into the music industry. DJ Carisma and WeWorking founder and reality television personality Steve Lobel, who co-owns the dispensary, were also in attendance.

Lemonade Van Nuys isn’t just a dispensary; it looks like a hip-hop museum. The first thing I notice is a Death Row Records throne surrounded by other expensive-looking memorabilia from hip-hop history, affixed like museum artifacts. And there’s a recording studio. In the back of the shop, there’s a grow room filled with frosty plants. DJ Carisma was spinning, mixing in one of her new tracks with Lil Kim.

People went wild when Brown walked out. Brown worked with Ye in the studio to produce the album, and he was recently president of Ye’s Donda enterprise. The album features Da Baby, Young Thug, French Montana, Fivio Foreign, Young Thug, Jacquees, and Keyshia Cole. 

The new strain is the result of a collaboration between Brown and Los Angeles-based brand JUUG to release AB Biscotti. Biscotti cultivars are powerful and tend to creep. When discussing the move into cannabis and music, Brown said what he feels more than anything else—gratitude.

“I’m really grateful to not only work with, you know, great artists, but express my creativity,” Brown told High Times. “I’m really grateful to be here today on behalf of JUUG promoting the new strain—AB Biscotti.” 

Brown shifted focus from the NFL for the new pursuit in music, a bold move that he isn’t willing to tackle. “So I’m just beyond grateful to be here to have a whole vision shift and looking at things from my perspective and [you] know, having a bold vision that [is realized],” Brown said.

Hailing from Santa Ana and Power 106, DJ Carisma is the “Queen of the West Coast radio,” and produced tracks for artists such as Tinashe, Chris Brown, Jeremih, and Ty Dolla $ign.

“We’re here; We’re out here. Brand new strain. I love it,” DJ Carisma told High Times. She was in her element and could not be any more positive and energetic. “I love how he’s going global like this. I love it. Lemonnade is one of the coolest stores. If you ain’t checked out Lemonnade in Van Nuys, people need to come.” 

As it turns out, DJ Carisma also has a hand in the pot industry. “I love how they blended the culture of weed and hip-hop. It’s beautiful,” DJ Carisma continued. “And you can get my strain here. That Carisma OG is officially available at Lemonnade here too. So let’s go!”

It truly is a different experience inside Lemonnade Van Nuys—a whole lot that you wouldn’t expect. “We created something magnificent and original in Van Nuys, California, right behind the private airport called Lemonade. Powered by Weed Working,” Steve Lobel told High Times.

Lobell has been a music executive for over 35 years, working with everybody from Run-D.M.C., Bone, Thugs N Harmony, Nipsey Hussle, Three 6 Mafia, Eazy-E, The Outlaws, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and so on. 

“I wanted to create something different because I got into the cannabis business about six years ago with my partner Berner with Cookies,” Lobel said. “The reason why we didn’t call this Cookies is because we have a Cookies, Will and Hill store not too far from here. We have Cookies Maywood, and we have a bunch of stuff, and we’re opening a bunch of stores across the country [and] in Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.”

Photo by High Times

Pictures of Lobel with familiar faces in hip-hop are all over the walls.

“But here is something different, right? Because of microlicenses,” he said. “We did a hip-hop museum where people are dropping off their, you know, memories and a lot of stuff I horded from my career of 35 years.”

Lobel said that everybody comes in there, from Benny the Butcher, Conway, to Krazy Bone to Jay-Z to Jadakiss. The company is opening two stores in Massachusetts by the summer, with more projects in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. 

“Me and Scott just opened a treatment center called the Heavily Center (THC in Studio City, where we’re helping people with a drug addiction, alcohol addiction, using cannabis,” Lobel said. “So, you know, cannabis is a plant. No one overdosed; No one passed away from cannabis.” Lobel thanked his mentor, Jam Master Jay and others.

lemonnadevannuys.com

The post Antonio Brown Drops New Strain and Album at Lemonnade  appeared first on High Times.

7 Stoner Songs for 420

Whether you couldn’t make it to the 4/20 festivities this year or just want to keep the vibes going a little longer, these 7 stoner songs for 420 are just what you need. Pick your favourite cannabis product and relax while you listen to music. You can also enjoy many of these songs while watching […]

The post 7 Stoner Songs for 420 appeared first on Cannabis News, Lifestyle – Headlines, Videos & Cooking.

Problem Unveils ‘106 & Spark’ Show with Spoon and The Cannabis Cutie

106 & Spark is a new 20-minute countdown entertainment talk show that covers the many facets of music with celebrity interviews, coverage of pop culture trends, cannabis education, entertainment tid-bits, and popular Black culture. The show recently launched exclusively on ALTRD.TV, streaming into households everywhere. 

It’s executive produced by Grammy Award-nominated hip-hop artist Problem, aka Jason L. Martin, and hosted by social media personality Tammy “The Cannabis Cutie” Pettigrew and emerging artist Spoon, aka Sean Chris Spooner.

106 & Spark puts a fresh spin on the countdown format, and its debut season features a broad mix of celebrity appearances, surprise studio visits, and countdowns, often tailored for the cannabis space. 

“I want to tackle what’s next and what’s now,” Problem told High Times. “It will be an opportunity to know what’s hot, and we can tell them what’s hot. We learn things all the time. Those are not scripted; Those are not anything we’re reading from. Just hard facts. We have Spoon putting on the fly shit and letting everyone know. And not just for people who engage in cannabis all day.” 

Courtesy of 106 & Spark

The show hosts aren’t limiting themselves to big names only in both music and cannabis. “I want to really broaden the horizon of what the world of cannabis is,” Problem added. “I think that there’s so many misconceptions about stoners.” 

Problem appeared on 106 & Park several times, which helped him learn the business of the industry, learning about slots and advertising costs. It ended up being a great learning experience for the rapper. 

He wants to include artists who are challenging the norm instead of mindlessly churning out mediocre material. “Just like how using cannabis and growing cannabis is starting to be—for lack of better words—gentrified,” Problem said. “It’s starting to become a big, big business. And it’s kind of like the same thing that happened to hip-hop. I’m trying to get control of it early, and not allowing the new corporates to tell us what it is. We’re just going to grab the mic now and tell y’all what’s cool and what’s not—what to do and what not to do.”

Problem said that MTV was the first playlist, and that’s close to the magic he hopes the show will bring. “I think the fact that now we can just watch what we want and listen to something we want—it loses value,” he said. “I think people are actually getting tired of that.”

He explained that it’s one thing to want access to everything at your fingertips, but that eventually dilutes the integrity of music.

“That’s a big point of the show,” Problem said. “We want to have music. I want to have all the dope things that I had on 106 & Park. You know what I’m saying? We used to wake up in the morning and go see what’s going to be on the Top 10 this morning. What does Bow Wow have going on? What [are] Free and A.J. gonna have on? What guests are going to come on? … It’s the same format.”

Coffee & Kush is coming, Problem said, and it will cover every aspect of cannabis—from music to shows and opening up consumption lounges, but revolve around music. 

106
Courtesy of 106 & Spark

106 & Spark Co-Hosts Chime In

Pettigrew immerses herself in the art of debunking myths about cannabis and creating change. In 2020, she founded Cannabis Cutie Education to provide accessible, engaging cannabis education online. 

As co-host of 106 & Spark, she explores the facets of the cannabis industry, big and small. Viewers can stream the show at ALTRD.TV.com, as all six episodes are available on that platform. Find it on AppleTV, Roku, Samsung, Google Play, PlexTV, and more.

“We definitely touch on many topics as to what’s happening with the weed industry,” Pettigrew told High Times. “But [this] year, we’re keeping it cannabis, education, music, entertainment, but you also have to be cognizant that there’s an entire culture and subset of people in this space who are negatively impacted by cannabis.”

Pettigrew said that they will touch on the cannabis industry, but with a focus on entertainment “We touch on how there’s a lot of people sitting in prison for cannabis charges while people are profiting off this industry,” she said. “We definitely bring attention to factors that are happening in the industry.”

“Coffee & Kush is a lifestyle,” Spoon, who hails from North Carolina, told High Times. “To touch on what Problem said, it stems from the music, and we started creating it a few years back. And then, we actually got to go on tour in Europe, and visit the coffeehouses in Amsterdam. From there, he was like, ‘This is what we need in America.’ So, the vision was born from there. We’re building that now.”

Spoon is now a part owner and president of the Coffee & Kush brand, and he’s also working on his first studio rap album—with a bit of assistance from Problem.  

The show featured the recurring “Music Video of the Week” segment, showcasing videos including Problem’s hit song “4 The Low” with Wiz Khalifa, to Kaytranada’s latest single “Look Easy” with Lucky Daye. 

Each episode also includes a weekly “Top 5” countdown series where Tammy and Sean countdown the best of cannabis culture, which includes exploring strains, products, and brands. 

“That gives us the chance to put the spotlight on artists and music videos that maybe a lot of people haven’t seen,” Spoon said. “Videos that we find to be really dope. Not the typical stuff that’s played on the radio every day. That gives us a chance to show the viewers a different side of the art.”

“You also need to watch it high,” Problem added.

The post Problem Unveils ‘106 & Spark’ Show with Spoon and The Cannabis Cutie appeared first on High Times.

Snoop Dogg Becomes an Operator in Call of Duty with Cannabis References Abound

In an announcement in March, Call of Duty shared that Snoop Dogg would be appearing in the game for the first time in not just one, but three titles: Call of Duty: Mobile, Vanguard, and Warzone. The announcement describes that Snoop is joining the fight “right before a certain unofficial April holiday,” and as of April 20, the Tracer Pack: Snoop Dogg Operator Bundle officially became available to players for 2,400 COD points (or $19.99 USD).

“The D O Double G is back in Call of Duty and this time I’m in the freakin’ game!” Snoop said in the March announcement. “Excited to be working with the COD team to bring some fly features for you all to enjoy. It’s dope….. y’all can play as me and get these sick items that have Snoop written all over them. Check it out.”

The bundle announcement touts some of Snoop Dogg’s greatest achievements in his career. “Nearly two decades after breaking out with The Chronic, Snoop Dogg is still on top of the game. He became the owner of Death Row Records. He delivered an iconic halftime performance right outside his hometown of Long Beach. He joined an esports organization, has multiple business ventures, and even helped break a world record for largest cocktail, which, of course, involved plenty of ‘Gin and Juice.’ This week, Snoop will add one more milestone to his career: Becoming a Call of Duty® Operator.”

A brief YouTube video also pumps up Snoop’s presence in the game, showcasing the unique weapons players can get access to, including blueprints for the “Bong Ripper” Sniper Rifle, “West Coast Bling” Assault Rifle, and an SMG named “Tha Shiznit”—all of which shoot “Green Weed Tracer Rounds” that spray cannabis leaves and an imprint a cannabis leaf wherever players pull the trigger.

Snoop even gets his own chuckle-worthy Operator description:

Name: Snoop Dogg

Task Force: Executioners (Unofficially “TF 420”)

Favorite Weapon: PPSH-41 (unlocked for free by reaching Military Rank 51 in Vanguard and Warzone)

Date of Birth: 10/20/1971

Citizenship: American

Hobbies: Listening to K-Pop, Smoking, Painting

Bio: Growing up in Long Beach, California, Snoop Dogg realized he had a talent for rapping at a young age and began to pursue it as a career. Now, he is still releasing music and appearing as a media personality on multiple shows, but in his free time, he chooses to fight as an operator in Call of Duty.

The bundle also includes a “The Original Gangsta” emblem, the “Mellow Metal” charm and a “High Art” cannabis leaf graffiti art spray. In-game Snoop animations include a highlight intro called “Tactical Toke,” a finishing move called “Finishizzle Movizzle” and an MVP highlight called “Hit This, Fam.”

This technically isn’t the first time Snoop has appeared in Call of Duty. Previously, he recorded lines for a voice pack in Call of Duty Ghosts back in April 2014, where he was narrating the matches, calling killstreaks, and alerting players to enemy activity—but it lacked the cannabis flavoring of this year’s in-game Snoop bundle that Call of Duty developers obviously had a lot fun with.

Snoop has donated his likeness and/or his voice in NHL 20, Madden 20, UFC 3, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and True Crime: Streets of LA

Other celebrities have given the green light to their likeness and voice being used in other video games, such as with Keanu Reeves and his role in Cyberpunk 2077 (2020), and Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen in Death Stranding (2019). Although the roles that these celebrities had in their respective games were a little more involved, it’s hard to beat the comedy gold of Snoop Dogg and cannabis humor.

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T-Shyne on 420, Hip Hop, and Young Stoner Life Records

420 only comes once a year, and for hip-hop powerhouse collective Young Stoner Life Records (aka YSL), and rap guru T-Shyne, this is serious business. 

Home to Young Thug, Gunna, Lil Keed, T-Shyne, and many more, YSL is undoubtedly on top of the rap game, but with their eyes set on the top of the weed game as well. For their annual 420 event, Young Stoner Life Records is presenting the International Stoners Association: 420 Online Experience. For an unforgettable, immersive activation that brings the worlds of streetwear, cannabis, and hip-hop culture together, look no further. 

This experience will include free giveaways via a virtual claw machine, NFT drops, exclusive video performances by Young Stoner Life Records/300 Entertainment artists, including Lil Keed, OMB Peezy, T-Shyne, and others, as well as retro arcade games based on YSL releases like Gunna’s “Too Easy,” and limited edition merch that will be sure to set off your 420 function properly. 

For folks in Las Vegas, be sure to check out their in-person experience at Jardin Dispensary, which includes a meet-and-greet with YSL artists, a limited-edition sneaker collaboration with Kool Kiy, and an actual claw machine to connect the digital and physical worlds. Attendees of the in-person 420 activation will receive a POAP NFT and online users will receive a virtual-exclusive NFT. 

Needless to say, Young Stoner Life Records and 300 Entertainment are at the cutting edge of music and cannabis. Here to set things off right, is YSL and New York’s very own T-Shyne, offering an exclusive smoked-out performance of his singles, “Still Ain’t Finished” and “Speak My Truth,” live from Astor Club NYC.

T-Shyne was also generous enough to lend his time to High Times for an interview. Be sure to read below about what T-Shyne has to say about all things YSL, athletics, rap life, and cannabis.

T-Shyne, it is known that you are a part of Young Stoner Life Records, but are you in fact a stoner? What is your relationship with cannabis and how did it start for you?

I am most definitely a stoner. I’ve been smoking weed since I was like 13 or 14, and I never fell out of love with it. My dad is a Rasta, so it’s something I’ve been around all of my life. There are so many benefits to marijuana in general.

Out of everyone you have witnessed in person from Young Stoner Life Records, who smokes the most bud, and what is a smoke session like with them? 

We all smoke a lot. There really is no limit with us. A smoke session with us is gonna be filled with blunts or papers with grabba. It doesn’t take long for the whole room to be hotboxed. We set smoke alarms off everywhere.

What are T-Shyne’s personal smoking essentials to set off the vibe of a typical smoke sesh?

Right now, I need my RAW papers, some good Grabba Leaf, and I’m good. Usually, I’m smoking on Gelato 41.

Courtesy of Seina Saba

Besides making music, what is your favorite activity to do while you are extremely stoned?

Bowling while high is a vibe. Lately that’s been my thing.

You are the only New York artist on Young Stoner Life Records, so do you feel any responsibility to put on for Sour Diesel, or are you accustomed to smoking a different strain?

Growing up in New York, Sour Diesel was a staple; everyone was smoking on diesel, but nowadays, Gelato 41 is my go-to.

Your “30 for 30” song has a basketball-themed music video; you had NBA superstar and future hall of famer Kevin Durant executive produce your project, and he is known to be a cannabis advocate himself. What are your thoughts on the NBA cannabis policies and their decision to discontinue their protocol of random marijuana testing of players in the league?

I think the decision was great for the league. There are so many benefits of marijuana for athletes. It can help with pain, help them sleep better, and keep them calm. And those are just a few.

You seem like more than just a sports fan, but an actual athletic person as well. How do you balance that lifestyle with being a stoner and what does that routine look like for you on a typical day?

I got my dog, so naturally, I get a lot of natural exercise from walking with him or bringing him to the park. Also, we got a hoop at our studio, so we play a lot of basketball over there.

Courtesy of Seina Saba

What does an ideal studio session with T-Shyne look like? Who is in the room, and what are you guys smoking?

An ideal session with me is gonna be a lot of weed, a lot of snacks, and a lot of drinks. Lights are dimmed down low to catch a vibe. I’m usually with some of my bros, and right now we’re smoking 41 and biscotti, mainly.

As a recording artist of your nature, you must be on the move a lot and get a chance to visit a wide variety of places around the country and the world. In these travels of yours, where have you found the best bud, and what was the backstory behind it all?

To be honest, the best bud I’ve smoked is in California. Even when you travel around the world, everyone is asking if you got that Cali. I usually travel with my own weed ‘cause I know the quality is there, you know?

Lastly, can the people expect to see a T-Shyne strain in the future? If so, what would the profile of the strain be?

Most definitely going to come out with a strain, and you know it’s gotta have some traits of that Gelato 41!

The post T-Shyne on 420, Hip Hop, and Young Stoner Life Records appeared first on High Times.

From the Archives: The Chocolate Watch Band (1986)

Everyone knows psychedelic rock began in San Francisco with bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Few people, however, recall an even earlier group that became a major attraction in the Bay Area in 1966: the CHOCOLATE WATCH BAND.

Although the WATCH BAND never had a hit record, never achieved national recognition, and never got invited to Woodstock, they spawned a devoted cult following that grows larger each year (despite a notable lack of publicity or record company hype.) The band released only three albums, yet 15 years after their release, two of the records continue being re-issued, with original copies trading hands for as much as $75.

Why does this group refuse to die?

To find out, I decided to locate the WATCH BAND’S lead singer, DAVID AGUILAR, who as far as I knew, had never been interviewed before. I hardly knew where to start. My only lead was a rumor he was teaching astronomy at a Colorado University.

The rumor turned out to be true—sort of. After several phone calls, I discovered someone named Aguilar had formerly been in charge of a Colorado planetarium, but had left the academic world for a more lucrative post elsewhere. After a few blind calls, I eventually tracked down a David Aguilar working for an aerospace firm.

“Is this the same David Aguilar that used to sing with the Chocolate Watch Band?” I asked tentatively.

There was a brief pause, followed by an amused chuckle. “Yes, it is,” answered the voice.

Aguilar seemed genuinely surprised anyone remembered his former life as a rock star. I asked if he was aware of the Watch Band’s growing popularity—evidenced by the release of several new compilation albums. “Yeah, I saw some of the re-issues in a record store,” he replied. “But until I saw them, I didn’t know they existed. I never received a penny from any of our records.”

I next asked if Aguilar had any sixties memoribilia, mentioning I was particularly interested in a legendary box the band had always carried with them, a box reportedly filled with every conceivable variety of mind-altering substance. (Their producer Ed Cobb described the box on the back of a greatest hits album released in 1983: “[It] was incredibly hand-tooled, hand-carved, inlaid wood, like a giant fisherman’s box. In it were sticks of hashish close to a half-inch in diameter, LSD, and all the pills you could imagine! … The smoke was so heavy coming underneath the [studio] door that I had a contact high for three days!”)

“I don’t know what happened to the box,” laughed Aguilar. “Maybe it beamed directly into space after a recording session.”

In a later conversation, Aguilar confessed he was the only member of the group who wasn’t into drugs. He also explained why he’d gotten rid of many vestiges from his past. “I threw everything away from the sixties, even my records,” he said. “I still have a lot of bad feelings over what happened to us during those years. The flower child era was a magical time, but most people don’t realize how brief it really was.”

In these dark days of MTV-style shlock rock, it’s hard to believe there was a time when almost every kid in America felt he had a shot at becoming a rock star. The lawyers, accountants and image makers were around, but hadn’t quite figured out how to run the system. Consequently, phony posturing, rock star cliches, and designer haircuts were kept to a minimum.

The American garage band movement began in the mid-sixties largely as a reaction to the British invasion.

By the early sixties, America-made rock had already been undermined by a procession of baby-faced Fabians and Frankies, and the British had no trouble taking over the scene when they reverted to the original spirit of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, etc. Most American garage bands formed as copy bands imitating the British sound. It was a weird time—what with the Brits imitating the Blacks and the Yankee teenagers imitating the Brits. The emphasis was on three-chord dance songs anyone could play, and the action centered around high school hops and fraternity parties. Some groups were pop oriented (meaning they sounded like the Beatles), while others pursued a more demented sensibility (meaning they sounded like the Rolling Stones).

Unlike today, the teens of the sixties were actively rebelling against a hypocritical society whose value systems had collapsed. Consequently, garage bands and drags were a natural combination. The earliest bands probably ranked alcohol highest on the preferred list of mind-altering chemicals, but others were into more exotic highs, such as smoking paregoric, sniffing glue, or popping the occasional diet pill stolen from mommy’s purse. Marijuana was just coming into vogue in 1964, but it was the arrival of LSD that really pushed the garage band sensibility to unexpected realms.

Acid, as it turned out, did not mix well with your typical teenage rock ’n’ roller. Acid heads tended to be gentle, introspective creatures, while garage bands were violent and destructive. Not many bands could combine the two sensibilities, and those that did, didn’t last long. In fact, the fusion of punk and psychedelia is so unstable that the Watch Band have remained one of the few groups to successfully pull it off.

• • •

When Mark Loomis formed his band in 1964, he must have been aware of the country’s growing interest in LSD. Why else pick such a surrealistic title for the group? In its earliest incarnation, however, the Watch Band was little more than a copy band for the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and Kinks. The band went through several personnel changes before the final lineup was solidified in 1965: LOOMIS (lead guitar), AGUILAR (vocals), GARY ANDRUASEVICH (drums), SEAN TOLBY (guitar), and BILL FLORES (bass).

All five members lived in San Jose, a model suburban community curled around the bottom rim of the San Francisco Bay. The local high schools overflowed with bands, the most popular of which was the Syndicate of Sound, a driving dance band that performed immaculate covers of current hits. Frequently appearing in matching blue suits and Beatle boots, Syndicate members scored their biggest hit in 1966 with “Little Girl,” a re-vamped version of the five-chord classic “Hey Joe.” That same year another young San Jose group, the Count Five, capitalized on the emerging acid scene with a Top Ten ditty titled “Psychotic Reaction.”

Despite the competition, the Chocolate Watch Band created an immediate sensation in San Jose, a development at least partly due to Aguilar’s unbridled vocals, some of which bore more than a passing resemblance to Mick Jagger’s. Although music writers have criticized Aguilar’s lack of originality, it’s important to note his performances on vinyl remain convincing, powerful and full of sharp, emotional edges. There are some, in fact, who think he’s better than Jagger (who, it should be admitted, copped his style from American bluesmen anyway).

“I was influenced by Jagger,” admitted Aguilar, “but I was also influenced by Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley. Mark was the philosopher of the group. He provided the psychedelic touch. I was more into rock ’n’ roll. To me, rock was like a lumber truck barreling downhill out of control.”

Since Aguilar had a relative living in England, he received all the latest British hits before they arrived in American record stores. The group also made frequent forays to Los Angeles to buy British imports. “I remember the first week we got together,” said Aguilar. “We went to Sausalito to get our picture taken and stopped at a local club that featured a group who looked like the Beatles. We asked if we could play a song while the band was taking a break. They said okay. We barely knew each other, but we blew the rafters off that place. It was our first live appearance and girls were already crying and running after us.”

Courtesy of High Times

It wasn’t long before the band was approached by a potential manager named Ron Rube, who arranged an audition with a producer/songwriter named Ed Cobb. Cobb was invited to see the Watch Band at a small club in San Jose. “He was in his mid-30’s, tall and thin,” said Aguilar. “He sort of reminded me of Roger Moore.”

A former member of the squeaky-clean vocal group the Four Preps, Cobb had some connections with Tower records, and was in the process of pitching several acts to the label. After the Preps had broken up in ’64, Cobb had formed a production company called Green Grass with an old friend, Ray Harris. The duo was determined to mine the new emerging youth market. (Cobb’s final recording with the Preps had been titled “A Letter To The Beatles.”) Cobb had already written a song titled “Dirty Water” and was looking for a group to record it. His first choice was an LA garage band called The Standells.

“The Standells were a good studio band,” said Aguilar, “but they were terrible on stage. I’m still upset we didn’t get ‘Dirty Water’ because we could have had fun with that song. Cobb gave it to The Standells because they had a Farfisa organ.”

While “Dirty Water” was climbing the charts on its way to becoming a massive national hit, Cobb went to work on another song for the Watch Band titled “Sweet Young Thing.” First, however, the band was asked to sign a multipage contract with Green Grass. “Our manager told us it was a really good deal,” said Sean Tolby in 1983. “But it was awful! They owned our name, they owned everything! On Rube’s word, we signed it without realizing what would happen.” “We were only 17 and 18 years old,” added Aguilar. “Cobb said he’d make us stars. We didn’t know what we were doing.” (Within a matter of months, the group would get much better offers, including one from Filmore owner Bill Graham, but by that time it was too late. They were locked into a five-year contract.)

Released in ’65, “Sweet Young Thing” promptly went nowhere, which is strange since the song is considered something of a classic today. Aguilar blames Tower. “I don’t know why they put us on that label,” he said, referring to the fact Tower passed the tape to Uptown, a Black R&B subsidiary. Obviously, the record’s promotion was botched.

“It was a marvelous beginning,” writes archivist Brian Hogg of the song, “somewhat modeled on The Standells, but with a prominent Rolling Stones influence in Aguilar’s Jaggeresque phrasing, the Brian Jones harmonica and the guitar riff, which somehow always seems to be hinting at the tune of ‘Paint It Black.’ ‘Sweet Young Thing’ is, however, more than mere cloning, there’s an atmosphere that’s purely Californian that makes it special.”

Cobb was dividing his time among many projects and with the success of The Standells, he had less and less time for the Watch Band. “We saw very little of him,” said Aguilar. “We were on tour all the time.” Cobb began to view the Watch Band more as an outlet for cashing-in on the psychedelic subculture. Unfortunately, his efforts to realize this goal would usually be made at the band’s expense.

“One day Cobb called us and told us to fly down to LA to be in a movie,” said Aguilar. The result, Riot on Sunset Strip, provides the only known footage of the Watch Band performing. Unfortunately, they were forced to lip-sync, performing two highly derivative originals that were probably written on the spot: “Don’t Need Your Lovin’” and “Sitting Here Standing.” As far as Aguilar is concerned, the true sound of the band was never captured on film or vinyl. The film, however, does offer a sample of the band’s impressive stage presence.

The Watch Band was especially appreciated at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, where they shared the bill with such acts as The Yardbirds, The Mothers of Invention, and Jefferson Airplane. They also performed as an opening act for The Seeds, a band they considered their musical inferiors. To show their disdain, they opened with 25 minutes of Seed covers, including the hit “Pushin’ Too Hard.” “The Seeds were so mad they didn’t want to come out and play,” laughed Aguilar.

Meanwhile, according to Aguilar, Loomis and Tolby were sinking into a psychedelic haze. “I think LSD really messed them up,” he said. “It opened a few doors that probably should have been kept closed. There were nights when our equipment manager would have to stand behind Sean and prop him up. I was afraid to take acid because I saw so many burn-outs.” On a trip to LA, Loomis bought a polished mahogany box with brass fittings and filled it with drugs. “It became his first aid kit,” said Aguilar.

Despite a lack of airplay or media attention, the Watch Band had high hopes for their first album No Way Out, which was released in September 1967. Half the album was given over to Cobb’s concepts, even though the band had already proven their songwriting abilities. Cobb insisted on two covers, “Hot Dusty Road” and “The Midnight Hour.” The third cover, Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” was more representative of Aguilar’s taste. The Watch Band contributed three originals, including “Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love ln),” which remains one of the finest anthems to emerge from San Francisco. While other groups were falling into a quagmire of hippie idealism, the Watch Band were translating the acid experience into an us-versus-them teen drama.

“Too many people don’t know where they belong,” sang Aguilar. “They need someone to tell them right from wrong. You better break away. Try to be yourself. Don’t leave your future to someone else.” Loomis’ mindwrenching guitar riffs are reminiscent of the best work done by Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane. But then, the two were friends and probably arrived at the sound simultaneously. The other two Watch Band originals were “No Way Out,” a masterpiece of early psychedelia, and “Gone and Passes By,” a sitar rave-up with a Bo Diddley beat.

However, when the album was released, the liner notes mysteriously failed to mention the band members by name. Even worse, the band had never even heard three of the songs, which were performed by studio musicians. One of these, “Gossamer Wings” was an obvious re-write of an earlier single written by Aguilar and Loomis titled “Loose Lip Sync Ship.” “Gossamer Wings” was credited to Don Bennet and Ethan McElroy, and the vocal was performed by Bennet. The other two Cobb creations, “Expo 2000” and “Dark Side of the Mushroom” attempted to cash in on the Watch Band’s druggy image. “Expo 2000” was a good song, but why didn’t Cobb tell the band about it or let them perform it themselves?

“We submitted two album cover designs,” said Aguilar, “and they said they’d use one of them. But the album came out with a completely different cover. I came to the conclusion we were going nowhere.” Aguilar was so upset he temporarily left the group.

Cobb, however, convinced everyone to get back together for a second album, promising things would be different. He was right. For the second album, things got worse. All pictures of the band and mention of names (except for Cobb and his studio cronies) were left off, and Cobb took over an entire side for his own psychedelic experiments.

“They were trying to convince us they didn’t want anyone to see what we looked like until they saw our concerts,” said Sean Tolby in a Goldmine interview in 1983. Apparently, Cobb had convinced some members of the band this strategy of not giving the band credit would create a mystique around the group. A more likely scenario, however, was that Cobb was keeping his options open, while holding the band in the worst possible bargaining position. Shortly after the record was released, Aguilar left the group for good, taking much of the fire driving the band with him.

“The Chocolate Watch Band had broken up and come together several times,” Cobb told an interviewer in 1980. “I really enjoyed working with them, but they had no rules binding themselves. Consequently, they would break up. It didn’t matter if they were successful or not. Then I would talk to them, and they would agree to do something else. By the time of the third album, they had developed to the point where they were so strong together, that I would have been a fool to have my influence be in there and screw up what they were trying to do.”

“More likely Cobb saw a tired group,” wrote Brian Hogg. “The resulting album One Step Beyond was a great disappointment. The group wrote most of the songs, the one cover being ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ which never lifts off, and the rest are rather ordinary. ‘Uncle Morris’ was good, ‘Flowers’ had its moments and ‘Devil’s Motorcyle’ was interesting if only for its guitar work, supplied by an incognitio Jerry Miller of Moby Grape.”

However, by 1969 the bottom was dropping out of the psychedelic exploitation market, and Cobb was predictably losing interest in the genre. He gave the band a free hand at last, but it was two years and two albums too late. Without Aguilar, the group wasn’t complete, and Loomis was so high he couldn’t perform his solos.

“Performing in front of 20,000 screaming fans is the greatest high in the world,” said Aguilar. “I was really sorry to see that taken from us. I still miss it.”

High Times Magazine, November 1986

Read the rest of this issue here.

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