Dude, Be Cool: Here’s How NOT To Be a Drug Dope at Shows

Don’t flail onstage in a drugged-out haze or Honus Honus will boot you in the face.

Oh, hello? How long have you been standing there? This isn’t what it looks like, you know? He totally hit his own head on that rock in my hand. Here, be useful. Grab that shovel at least. Are you hungry? Eat a few of these “candies” if you’re hungry. Now lie down in that super comfortable hole I just dug for you. These are just some of the things you don’t ever wanna hear while tripping your face off.

Hi! Uncle Honus here to share some observations you never knew you never wanted observed and even after muscling through you will still disagree with entirely. Today’s delightful topic: Drugs!!!

Aw, yes, drugs. They are as synonymous with rock & roll as unwashed leather pants are with Jim Morrison, Elvis hunched over a toilet seat and Hendrix taking a nap with a mouthful of vomit. All dead dudes. From drugs. Here’s a list, in no particular order, of show etiquette “no no’s” that I’ve encountered during my more than twenty decades in the indie rock “biz.” If I’ve left anything out, (fellow music players) let me know:

DON’T…be an inconsiderate show tripper.

Acid/molly/mushrooms/bath salts are cool. Until they aren’t. Would you please define “aren’t,” Uncle Honus? Well, “aren’t” is when you’re thrashing around in the front row of a show, gnashing your teeth until they look like they’re about to shatter and pounding on the stage and fans around you with your fists. “Aren’t” is also when you fill your britches with bodily function number two and continue to do all the pre-mentioned activities and then try to climb on stage and I have to Santa Claus your face with my boot as I glare daggers with my best “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid” face. True story. Smelly story. Gross story. Madison, Wisconsin story.

Basically, go easy. I’m not telling anyone not to do drugs — we’re all adults here — but maybe don’t eat double Panda Express beforehand? Also, if your friend is totally goosed and you are as well but keeping it together so much better, don’t abandon them. Muscle through it as a team; get on the same page. The story, the friendship and everyone one else at the goddamn show will be way better off for it. And, along those lines, here’s a fun anecdote from the vaults of my melting, gooey brain…

Recently I was at an experimental noise show in L.A. — the kind that happens in a radical, semi-illegal art space where everyone is seated or leaning against a wall and looking beautifully disheveled — and there was a totally tripped-out, psychedelic jam happening on stage. A few moments into the improvisational bliss, an attractive young gun in the front row stood up and started to groove to the music, sexily snaking along, really digging in. Everyone, including myself, thought it was part of the performance since it had a very Fluxus, Antonin Artaud, Theatre of the Absurd vibe to it, blending the comfortable with the uncomfortable, yada yada. The musicians on stage weren’t reacting to her so she had to be part of the group, right?

Then she started to thrash, violently. It created a very disconcerting vibe for everyone around her, since the music was beyond chill, mega chill. I was still onboard, feeling it, actually a tad envious because it was such an Avant card to play, making the audience uncomfortable and all. When she finally crawled on stage and started fiddling with a vintage synthesizer, I think everyone was still unsure of her role in it all. Is or isn’t she part of this? Even when one of the promoters rushed forward, cradled her carefully in his arms like an angry baby and lifted her out, I was still hoping it was all part of the performance.

Even after we all could hear her raising holy hell in the art gallery room next door, “Brilliant performance,” I kept telling myself. When she rushed back in and had to be carried out yet again, it became all too clear that she was just another concert-goer totally blitzed out. She ended up being tossed from the venue, running off into the night after punching one of the people trying to calm her down. Let me tell you, downtown L.A. late at night is truly zombie town. Not the kind of place you wanna be roaming around as a young lady zonked out on whatever mind-altering drugs she was on. The worst part of this story is that her friends (who weren’t fucked up on drugs) didn’t attempt to curtail her behavior or take care of her. Come on, gals. Where’s the love?  We’re all in this together!

DON’T…be a piece of human garbage…

…and drug someone without their consent — for “funny” or sexually predatory reasons (there will be a whole column about this type of garbage person in the future, don’t you worry). I know this column is slowly evolving into the “Dude, you’re just pointing out the obvious,” but for real, don’t do it. And if you see someone being so diabolically evil, don’t be a casual bystander. If you lack the courage to say something or don’t want to break your hand beating the shit out them, immediately tell someone who will and don’t take your eyes off the victim. Security LOVES to regulate. And if you think someone, even a complete stranger has been drugged, be a good Samaritan. Take the time, help ’em out, pay it forward. Maybe they’ll let you smoke the banana peels with them at the next show.

DON’T…hold up the bathroom lines with your lines.

I’d never tell you not to do your key bump of Noriega, but for the sake of your own protection (and, health?), PLEASE don’t do blow rails off a Porta Potty toilet paper ledge — especially at a music festival (hello, Coachella) where there are so many other covert places you can go and feed the hunger.  I know there are Darwin Awards to be collected here and proudly place up on the shelf next to the Sublime (also, drug overdose) tapestry but, please, for the love of drugs, be smarter!

And if you’re hogging the only stall in the venue bathroom and there’s a long line behind you, have a little consideration for everyone else who needs to shake the juices loose or do a bump of their own. I know coke is the magical drug that will turn even the sweetest of apples into a raging, selfish asshole but…there is no “but.” Just don’t start a fight, engage in all the activities of previous “Dude, Be Cool” columns or have a heart attack. I love you.

(Photo credits: mushroom: Teves Costa, Porta Potty: katie chao and ben muessig, header art: Dan Schmatz)

Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus), is a musician-songwriter, film/theater score composer, screenwriter, mustachioed multi-hyphenate living in Los Angeles. Texas-born, he grew up in the Philippines, South Carolina, Germany, Illinois, Alabama and Missouri before finally settling in Philadelphia and pouring his scattered upbringing into his bands Man Man and Mister Heavenly. He’s releasing his first solo album in 2016. Michael J. Fox as Teen Wolf is his spirit animal. You can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. (photo credit: Mike Gerry)