Tour Manager’s Guide: Legally Trying Drugs in America

Drugs TM Guide
Hi. My name is
Danny. I’ve been touring with bands for some time and want to tell you about some of the places we’ve been. I know, I’m missing some important things from these cities but this is just what I’ve had time to see. If you have suggestions regarding where to go in your beloved hometown the next time I’m hurtling through in a van filled with drunk people, please let me know. And then you follow me here you go here now!!!!


If you’d like to know what I was listening to during this adventure, press play on the Spotify playlist yo.

A few years ago the band I tour manage was scheduled to play 2 shows at Bonnaroo Music festival in Manchester, TN. Manchester, TN is a teeny tiny town located an hour outside Nashville that consists of parking lots, 3 star hotels, and one fantastic cafe named Jiffy Burger. I’d never been to Bonnaroo so I was excited to finally see what every college sophomore in America’s been raving about for the last 20 years. Normally when a band receives an offer to play a festival the size of Bonnaroo it’s like 6-8 months in advance.

This particular year, for whatever reason, we’d received the offer a bit late and everything in the surrounding area had been booked. Parking a bus at the festival wasn’t an option because well, we couldn’t afford one. For months we’d been driving around in a decrepit maroon 12-passenger van that had Amber Alert written all over it (this beauty was eventually left in front of Brendan from Finish Ticket’s house in San Francisco and turned into a cube).

Generally in this situation I’d have us pop in, play the show, and leave. This time though we were playing multiple shows in 3 days so we had to stick around. What to do? I called up the festival. Our artist representative explained that there was camping available.

I scoffed.

My jaw dropped.

My eyebrows hit my hairline.

Camping? You mean… among the people? General admission? They laughed and explained that there was a separate “artist camping” area. My eyebrows slid back down my forehead. I was assured we were entering a veritable Garden of Eden away from the heat, white dudes with dreadlocks, and stench of patchouli oil. Seemed ok…I agreed. Now I know I know, my rugged features and chiseled bone structure scream outdoorsman but the truth is I’m soft serve. I’m fine with a hike here and there but I enjoy evenings filled with power sources for my Macbook and Wi-Fi for Game of Thrones.

The night before our departure I remembered that one of my best childhood friends named Jay had recently hiked the Appalachian Trail and lived in Nashville. PERFECT. I would get Jay to come help set up camp and in exchange he’d get free access to the festival. It was a win win win win.

Without much negotiation Jay was hired. His duties were simple.

  1. Set up base camp.
  2. Find weed.
  3. Offer positive vibes.
  4. Find weed.

After arriving we realized that the Garden of Eden we’d been promised was basically the GA camping ground with a shower… that didn’t work. Anyone who’s ever known anyone in the history of Bonnaroo gets access to the area. I saw someone in furry rave boots. I saw dreadlocks. I nearly cried. But then the thought of seeing Lionel Richie live tempered my fears and we set to finding a campground. By the third day we were filthy and in great spirits. The first show had gone well and we were running around the festival seeing bands. There was one glaring problem; Jay had yet to find any weed. I reiterated the extreme importance of this task.

Eventually he found a dude in the camping area, I’m not kidding, named Splifington. Splifington looked like the type of person that would bring up chem trails at a family reunion. Spliffey provided everything Jay needed then disappeared into the forest, I’m assuming to discuss how 9/11 was an inside job with some other hippies (actually, I’m quite positive he was arrested). Mission accomplished. With all the drugs for the festival finally procured Jay promptly took them himself and freaked out in our tent. Mid freak out he unzipped our tent and also walked into the forest; I’m assuming to talk to Splifington about how 9/11 was an inside job. But unlike Splifington, Jay returned the next day and has been a member of the touring party ever since. Except now he sells merch… and sets up tents.

And this, ladies and gentleman of amusicblogyea; this was who I chose to reintroduce me to Marijuana in Denver, CO. TBH I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with weed. For starters I don’t like stoners; mostly because I think they over dramatize the need for black lights and mushroom art. I also think they over exaggerate Sublime’s talent (except “Paddle Out” that’s a great song). And look, if you’re over the age of 16 a lava lamp is a huge red flag. In addition to disliking most stoners I never liked smoking weed as it was something that quite consistently made me lose my mind. Every high school party was the same. Someone would be like, “DUDE! you gotta try this Afghan bang bang!” Then I’d be like, “Oh yeah? Ok I guess that sounds cool.”

Splifington
Splifington

Each time I smoked it was a familiar story. Thirty minutes after inhalation every anxiety I’d ever had would shoot out my eyeballs. After a few times I swore it off. Fuck it. I didn’t like weed! That was my stance. My friends instinctively began passing joints around me. They’d say things like “Don’t waste weed on Danny, he’ll wrap himself in a blanket and talk about our inevitable demise”. I assumed that if I didn’t like weed I’d hate other psychedelics so none of that. I’m allergic to opiates so unfortunately heroin was off the table. I’ve terrible sinuses so no cocaine. I’m not a great cook so crack wasn’t an option…. And like that I stuck to beer, whiskey, and the occasional port… for 10 years. I know what you’re saying, “Ten years and no crack? Come on Danny…” It’s true.

Enter Denver after legalization. Much like Amsterdam, I’ve always liked Denver and never cared that weed was legal. There are so many other reasons to love Denver. It has excellent food and everyone’s hot. It’s also on top of a mountain I mean come on people. One day on Yelp I saw a place that paired gourmet cuisine with weed. I met some gainfully employed individuals that smoked all the time. Finally one morning on tour at a fantastic breakfast joint in Denver called The Breakfast Queen II I decided it was time to give it another try. That’s right. I decided to get legally baked off my tits in the mile HIGH city. But I couldn’t do it alone, I called on Jay to attend and monitor my every move. But where to begin? I noticed some tattoos on our waitress and figured she’d know what’s up. She VERRRRY casually said sticky buds. There was no like, “OH GONNA GET HIGH?!” Nothing like that. It was like I’d asked where a McDonalds was.

We paid our bill and Ubered over to sticky buds. It’s a small store that sits at the beginning of what they call “the green mile” cause ya know… weed. We walked in, they checked our ID’s and made sure we were over 21. Sticky Bud’s staff looks exactly how I imagined Sticky Bud’s staff would look like. There was an older man that resembled a relaxed version Sean Connery’s character in Medicine Man (think 60 year old dude with round glasses, an oversized linen button up, and a ponytail down to his butthole). His associate was a bubbly 23ish woman with brown hair and a reassuring smile. She was like an enthusiastic Daria.

I addressed them as if they’d done something wrong, “Look! Weed makes me an insane person and my anxieties shoot out my eyes. I’d like something that will relax me and produce no anxiety.” They smiled and nodded their heads. The woman spoke up, “Ok, #1 you need Indica. It’s more relaxed than Sativa.” They recommend an edible called Cheeba Chews. Many edibles mix both Sativa and Indica but Cheebas don’t. They explained that sativa strains provide a “headier” more energetic high, and that Indica was something good before bed. During their explanation I nodded my head like a guy who doesn’t understand cars listening to another guy talk about cars. I reiterated the important question, “And this will not make me go insane?” They shook their heads no. I looked at Jay for approval, he agreed.

Stickybud’s Staff
Stickybud’s Staff

Cheeba Chew’s come in 4 varieties:

  1. Pure Sativa
  2. Pure Indica
  3. Mix
  4. CBD (More medical, little to no high)

It cost $24 for 10, 10mg tootsie roll type candies. Colorado has strict dosing laws cause some dude took 100mg and like did a backflip off a building or something. Or that’s what an Uber driver in a tan suit with a red ascot on told me, so it’s true. You can get the 100mg Cheeba chews in CA but I think it’s too hard to dose. Sure, for some super stoners 10mg is nothing but for someone like me it’s comforting to know I’m receiving small doses. I also bought two pairs of weed socks because if I was gonna be a stoner I needed to look the part. When we got back to the venue I opened up the box of Cheeba Chews and it was empty (stoners). I went back to Sticky Buds and ponytail dude was like, “OH MAN! MAN NO!” and he gave me a full box and a few joints as compensation for my trouble. Customer service is a big deal to me and now I’m a sticky buds customer 4 lyfe.

MY STICKY BUDS B4 AND AFTER

DANNY BEFORE DANNY AFTER
Danny Before | Danny After

We’d had a rather stressful few days on tour and when all my work was done and I was safely playing FIFA on the bus with weed socks on, I decided to have half a Cheeba Chew, 5mg. Everyone else in the band took a whole one and smoked joints. After 20 minutes, under Jay’s guidance, I took the rest. In 15 minutes I felt… great. My body felt euphoric and best of all my weed socks started to look like a permanent feature of my wardrobe. My chest felt like it was wrapped in chinchilla fur carpet. My legs felt like they were wrapped in chinchilla fur carpet. I bought not one but two Korean ramen bowls and turned them into one super Korean Ramen bowl. I was better at FIFA annnnnnd I slept like a baby… on drugs.

The next morning I woke up and said, “Okay world. You win. I get it.” And like that, for a brief period of time this spring I became what I’d always struggled to understand, a stoner. Over the next few weeks life became about one thing, how to score. And like a bunch of other stuff but you get it. A few things to understand about marijuana laws in Denver that you might already know but whatever fuck you.

  1. Weed is still illegal in the eyes of the federalies. Technically the FBI could kick down my beloved Sticky Bud’s doors and haul those lovely people off to jail. This also means you cannot fly with your stash. Although, I’ve heard it is very easy to fly with edibles. Flying with a joint is one thing. Flying with some weed mints that look exactly like Altoids in an Altoid container… you’re gonna be fine.
  1. You can’t buy more than 7 grams in one transaction if you aint a citizen of Colorado.
  1. There’s an amendment to the law that states you need to be subtle about public use. Smoking in a park, much like having a beer in one could result in a ticket… like if you had an open container.
  1. They don’t have coffee shops like in Amsterdam. Which is unfortunate. They’re like liquor stores.
  1. Dosage is more controlled in CO than in CA.
  1. Colorado’s exquisite green chili burritos are somehow more delicious when consumed after edibles. In the same way that Texas has its own version of Mexican food so do New Mexico and Colorado. I mention them together because they both have a tendency to put green or red chili on top of burritos. I much prefer the green chili. It’s a savory pork stuffed goo that pairs perfectly with any kind of burrito. I am the most patriotic Texan you will ever meet and it absolutely kicks the shit out of our chili. A hipster version of this can be found at a famous brunchery named Jelly. In addition to the burrito their Cuban sandwich is solid as are their homemade maple dipped donut holes. Our monitor engineer and Denver native claims that a place named Santiago’s makes the best green chili but I’ve never had it.

With the above rules in mind we decided to finish the Cheeba’s en route to the airport. Normally checking a band in at anything is a terrible process, it’s especially bad at airports. You have a lot of gear and everyone’s wearing sunglasses so they can’t find their tickets. But with our trusty Cheeba Chews the bane of my existence became a pleasant experience. We sat together on the flight and laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we got sodas and laughed then most of us nearly missed the connecting flight at O’Hare because we were buying so much food, then we laughed and laughed. At the end of the day I was exhausted from laughter and again slept like a baby on drugs.

We arrived in Seattle (marijuana is also legal in Washington) a few weeks later and I immediately organized a group to hunt down that green bang bang cush bang. I was now walking down the street looking a bit like Lieutenant Dan when Forrest finds him in Manhattan. We ended up at this place called Uncle Ikes. It offered a larger selection but lacked the intimate mom and pop experience of sticky buds. Uncle Ike’s staff were late 20s punk rockers with less patience for nouveau stoners such as myself. Perhaps I’m merely articulating the difference between the citizens of Denver and the citizens of Seattle. Due to a lack of Cheeba Chew’s in Washington I settled on some 10 mg weed altoids called Moxey Mints. Laws in Seattle are similar to the ones in Denver. In short, don’t buy enough to fill a dump truck or put a joint out on a detectives face.

If you are on tour and have a lot on you, do not enter Texas through El Paso. Take the route north through New Mexico and go south.

I was riding high. Life was softer. I didn’t like the Indica mints from Seattle as much as the Cheeba Chews but they did their job. But then, unexpectedly it all turned on me. I flew too close to the sun. Got too big for my britches. Or as we say in Texas “GOT TOO GOD DAMN HIGH.” In Albany we were doing some college show. The lineup was Plain White T’s, Shaggy, and us. That’s right. Shaggy. Of course we were excited to see him but after playing the show everyone was like, “let’s go back to the hotel.” Everyone except one man, our lead singer. One thing lead to another and “Almost Famous” style he was taken to a crazy frat party and inducted into the frat. This is a real story. I don’t know much about northeastern frat boys but I do know those god damn kids have more drugs on them than El Chapo in his prime. So the next day on our way to the airport our singer was like “hey, these kids gave me some edibles. I know you guys have been into it, so why don’t we take them before the flight?” Given our recent positive experiences I couldn’t agree more. Except this edible seemed suspicious. It was a gigantic red gummy shaped like a soviet star.

We all took hefty amounts of the star and entered the airport. In line it started creeping up the back of my brain; everyone gave each other reassuring eye contact and telepathically said, “ok, ok, we have no fucking idea what those frat boys put in the giant gummy star but we are gonna make it.” After an unnecessarily unnerving security check we sought refuge at the stoners Alamo, McDonald’s. I noticed something was up when halfway through my Eggy Mcmuffin our sound guy, Devin said, “Danny you aren’t making any sense.” And I was like, “What do you mean?” And he was like, “I mean that when you talk it’s all gibberish right now.” Then he just walked off…

At that moment it kicked in like a hydrogen bomb. Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” began playing in my head and I started walking towards the terminal (light?). My internal dialogue was as follows, “Danny, it’s all gonna be gravy. Just get on the flight and go togerbble gobbleblasksadhasfkjsdhfdskjhf (TV static).”

My

My

My

MY PHONE RANG

Daniel Carissimi at Albany Int. Airport
Daniel Carissimi at Albany Int. Airport

I accepted the call. Our guitarist, who was on another flight needed me to sort out a fucked up ticket. My god.

As with most jobs, “sorry boss, I’m super high” wasn’t an acceptable excuse so I pulled out my laptop and got to work. I spent the next 20 minutes texting with extreme caution and feverishly looking over my shoulder. Apparently I handled it well and everything turned out fine… Eventually we made it on the plane and passed out. When I woke up it was all gone… so was my appetite for weed… for a while.

Cheeba Chews
Cheeba Chews

I won’t be getting on a soapbox any time soon to campaign for weeds legalization. I won’t be doing that because it sounds slippery and I don’t care enough about pot. Weed should be legal and will be soon, duh. I recommend going to Denver and at least giving it a shot because it can be a lot of fun. If you’d like to learn more about all things weed you should watch the Viceland show, Weediquette. And if you hate getting high don’t worry, nobody is going to ask you to change their flight. As high as I got in that Albany airport it still wasn’t anything compared to an intense night of drinking. I could function and I wasn’t aggressive or sloppy. Some other spots I like in Denver are Stem Cider’s (they serve cider…), and Southeast Asian eatery / ping pongery, Ace. The Larimer lounge has excellent small shows and there’s a nice little restaurant across the street. Redrocks is the nicest venue in America. Last time we played the Gothic Theater. It’s nice but I prefer the Ogden.

I kept the socks.

Socks
Socks

If you liked this, or want to send me hate mail, hit me up on Twitter.

Thanks for photos @fate0301, @amiwhatyougonnado, and @weed.photography.

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