I’ve written before about how my work in the music industry often collides with my work in the wide, wide world of weed, in a service I’ve deemed “Backstage Budtending”.
Much of it involves gifting musicians and their crew with cannabis and cannabis-infused products, and sharing what I know about which products are best suited for which ailments.
It’s something I have done for longer than Oregon has had a regulated and taxed cannabis program (ahem), but after these many years, it’s become a fairly standard routine.
I show up, ask what maladies the band and crew are hoping to alleviate (pain relief, better sleep, reduction of anxiety, other stresses of the touring lifestyle), and then attempt to stay awake long enough to both catch the show and hang afterward to further explore solutions.
But recently I spent an evening supporting some musicians in a very different manner.
A band that I have a 15-year relationship with played in Portland a couple of weeks ago. They stuck around to shoot a music video, and I was asked to come around the set at about 7 pm, at a location beneath a freeway in North Portland.
This wasn’t Lemonade. The catering was some hastily compiled take-out scattered on the hood of someone’s car. The nearest bathroom was on the band’s tour bus, parked several blocks away. The band was set up against a chain link fence and some shipping containers, and no one had on any makeup.
While the lighting was being finalized, I stood huddled with the band’s crew and sparked up a joint. The smoke wafted directly in front of the band, who immediately asked if I was planning to share. I did, only to have one of the assistant directors walk up and ask me, “Are you planning to be here all night?”
I said yes, which brought a cheery, “Great! Do you think you could smoke a joint when we do a take, and blow the smoke just like you are now at the band, but just out of range of this camera? The more smoke the better, and don’t stop during the take.”
I agreed, and rolled up a fresh joint for the take.
The crew and I puff-puff-passed and blew our clouds of smoke in front of the cameras, as directed. A single one-gram joint lasted the length of a take, about three minutes. As soon as the first take wrapped, the same assistant director said, “Great, can you do that again?”
We did, and then a third time. By then the band crew was happy but hesitant to join me for a fourth joint, so they tapped out. However, being the bottomless pit of canna consumption that I am, I smoked again, again, and yet again.
By the ninth joint, my lips and tongue stuck together like weed-scented packing tape, and rolling each subsequent doob became a greater and greater challenge, as my fingers were darkening with resin and began to stick to the papers and grinder.
By the 15th joint, I was at that level of high where you begin questioning what is real. Was that really a police cruiser that had pulled into the parking lot across the street from us? Were two officers and an off-shift crew of county-road repair staff gathering to watch the shoot?
It was, and they were, and it dawned on me that I should wave at them, because that was certainly what they were seeking, right?
Against all odds, everyone waved back.
Two joints later, I was done. You can watch the finished video here.
The cab driver started laughing as soon as I climbed in, asking if this was a video shoot for Snoop Dogg.
I had to check three separate times that I hadn’t left my phone in the cab before the driver patiently pointed out it was in my hand. “Thux mun, hym a vittle hurr hat ma nodent,” I said (my cotton-mouthed mangled attempt to say, “Thanks man, I’m a little high at the moment”).
Never has unlocking my front door taken so long. My hand stuck to the cat when I petted him, and the next morning my pillow smelled like a bong.
I doubt there will be an ongoing need for my human-fog-machine services on a regular basis, but interested bands can reach me through this site.