So how do You do it?

Mike J.

New Member
Nov 14, 2021
Ah yes, the good old days. I started on bass guitar and played in bands full time from 1972 through 1982. Wasn't much of drinker at first but as time went on it got pretty out of hand especially in the last few years. Then one night it hit me like a ton of bricks. We were near the end of the 3rd set with one more set to go when I noticed all the empty glasses on my amp top. There were 12 of them to be exact, all drank by me. It took a few years to get to that point but still, I knew it had to end and I did just that. That was around mid-1981 and from that point on the most I would drink would be half a beer at the end of the night but most nights I went without. How I even played some nights is also beyond me but somehow I did it. No one ever complained so either I did okay or no one noticed because we were all equally stupid drunk.

Really hit how utterly stupid I had been driving back home as drunk as I was some nights. How I always made it back home without incident is beyond me because there were a few nights where I didn't remember driving back home. Stupid, stupid.
What a f*****g idiot I'd been.

In the years that followed I barely had any alcohol. But I know for a fact when the last time was I bought any. It was summer of 2012 and I bought a 6 pack of Mike's Hard Lemonades. Three years later I still had three unopened bottles in my refrigerator!
I drank half of one which still tasted pretty good. About one year later I dumped the rest. Haven't drank alcohol since.

Deleted member 5962

Years ago, I had a friend that played in a band, and of course, drank (mainly beer) the whole gig. He didn't pound them, but 2 hours in, he was buzzed and I could easily hear it in his playing. One night he said something like "I don't really loosen up and play til the last set. That's when I play my best."

I asked him this question: There were a few times that after being out partying for a while, we went up to the school and played basketball under the lights. How do you think you did playing basketball with a buzz?" We both laughed about how sloppy it was, and how bad we played. We weren't sloppy drunk. As I said, I never went that far. I said "so what makes you think you play guitar better when you're buzzed?" And he gave me the whole "I loosen up, not nervous, etc." that I hear from others. But think about it. Anything that requires coordination, precision, timing, etc., is made worse by alcohol. I won't go as far as saying nobody ever played better with a little buzz. It's possible that if you are practically paralyzed with nerves, then there might be a spot where you loosen up a little but aren't buzzed enough to lose too much coordination. But that said, there is never a time when alcohol makes you play better. We can talk ourselves around that any way we want to, to work with what we like doing, but nothing that makes you lose coordination and precision can make you a better player.

The way you play comes into it here. If you strum chords, it may not affect your playing a great deal. If you play fast and harder riffs, it definitely does.

Now, back in the day, there were NO questions asked, that I played better guitar AND basketball with a little smokey buzz. There were a few years before I quit altogether, where the only times I smoked was on the way to play basketball. "In the zone" was a given with that buzz on. But alcohol is the opposite.
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New Member
May 23, 2013
Personally, I do enjoy a few beers when gigging. Usually 1 beer per set type thing, nothing too crazy.

I also run large outdoor music festival, and the stories I could tell! I won't name names, but I've seen performers that needed help walking off stage because they drank so much BUT you would never know it from their performance! Bang on note for note killer performances, from people who can barely stand. I guess when you are at that level of touring and playing everyday, the performance is muscle memory.

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Nov 15, 2021
Alberta Canada
So many big time acts were so totally wasted they can't even remember being on the stage or in the studio. Classic example is the Rumors album. All first cuts, no retakes at all and they were so messed up they couldn't care less. Hendrix was wasted (mostly anyway), Petty, Clapton, the list goes on. But many of them (that are still with us) say their music from those days was s**t too. Any writer (literature) worth his salt will tell you that anything you write while under the influence should immediately go in the trash bin, and I believe it having written a bit over the years. By the same token it's also true that during some periods of experimenting with mind altering substances, it brought out some really amazing sounds and classic works. But it often came at a cost, sometimes disastrously so for the artist. Some can, and some can't.
Personally I know I can't perform anything (not just music) worth while if I'm in the bag, or even halfway there. I've heard myself on the mic both sober and wasted...not hard to tell the difference at all. What I thought some of the time that was "nailing it" was, well, not at all what I was hearing inside my head. I can actually sing much better with a bad cold than a snoot full of whiskey, and I know better than to sing with a cold. And as far as being coordinated with playing and singing loaded, forget it. Unedited recordings never lie; instant delete.
And that's why I gave it up completely. It's really way more fun for me to go have a great time and actually remember it all quite fondly, and not feel like the wrath of God the next day either. Not preaching here at all, it's just my personal choice. Not to mention it just plain hurts too much at my age.:D


New Member
Jul 4, 2015
St. Petersburg
5-6 double screwdrivers resulted in a "buzz?" I am impressed.

Yeah, it's a curse. Mom always told me to be careful. I came home once as a teen, after partying all night at a beach resort getting drunk. I drank half a 5th of 151 Rum. No headache. I peed a lot but that's it.

Mom was very concerned. She lectured me on the "alcohol gene" in our family, listing off my relatives that had alcohol related deaths. I keep it in the back of my mind. I get drunk easily since I don't drink too often. I have a great tolerance for vodka and usually drink the cheapest the venue has so I feel it more.

Never had a hangover or felt crappy the next day after getting "buzzed". I make for fun party entertainment. I'm a happy drunk.

Now, I never said my playing didn't suffer. I've seen a few videos. It's a mixed bag. Sometimes my playing was inspired or firery once I was chemically loosened up, but a lot of the time I was sloppier, but very animated onstage. Stone sober? I'd be staring at the fretboard concerned about making mistakes - wound super-tight - and would not have any energy. A few vodka & OJs made for a better show, despite not be as articulate.

Moondog Wily

Howlin' At The Moon!
Feb 12, 2021
Piccolomini Crater, Luna
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, it slows things down. So does morphine, heroin, codeine, etc. This can be beneficial in playing and the creative process, but only to some extent and only in some situations. How do you think Amy Winehouse would have sounded if she wasn't on her depressant of choice? I would argue that she would not have had that sultry blues feel when totally straight.

THC (active ingredient in the Devil's weed) is a central nervous system stimulant. Think speed! Now many people will say "Oh, smoking pot makes me tired". This is true for many, but you can not blame the active ingredient for that tired feeling, what you need to blame there is filling your lungs with tar (20 times the tar in marijuana than there is in tobacco so smoking a joint is equivalent tar wise to smoking a full pack of cigs), which reduces the oxygen that is absorbed by your lungs, slowing your brain down due to that reduced oxygen flow. Try eating some edibles and you will understand what just the THC does when you don't have the tar clogged lung effects!

I would agree that moderation is prudent in all intakes when performing, and as DTR said, if you are trying to shred or play something in a 7/3 time signature, the more you consume the less likely you are going to nail it (although it may sound great in your mind at that time). It can however give you that slowhand vibe, or sultry voice, etc. when controlled properly, but as your state of mind changes, so does your perception so it can be difficult!

Now in the creative process, alcohol has the consequence of removing the "filters" that your sober mind imposes. That is why when drunk, people will say exactly what they are thinking rather than filtering it. The alcohol did not create those thoughts, they were already in that persons mind, but having the sober filters removed, it comes out often without thinking about the consequences or how it will affect others. So creatively, less filters can be a good thing, but could also produce a higher concentration of gibberish! THC, in my case anyway, stimulates the creative process, as does Psilocybe Cubensis! Unlike the "filters removed" consequence of alcohol, with these other substances, my mind climes trees that I did not even know were there in my "sober" state, so it can be very rewarding to discover and develop those hidden gems. I guess you could say it is another kind of filter being removed, but more of the type that allows you to access hidden items.

I used to buy tequila by the case, and that case would often not even last a month, often drinking a full 750ml myself in an evening! Glad I was not playing during those heavy consumption phases, the suffering I would have put people through is unbearable to even imagine! Those days are decades gone, but I still love tequila and beer, although these days 3-6 is my limit, regardless of what I am doing!

For decades I have told people "Moderation in all things, including moderation"! Sometimes (very rarely) I still like to exceed the boundaries, but it is at best once or twice a year and only when I know I am "safe" to cross the boundaries! So take it easy, but let yourself loose when the time is right, regardless of the intake! Likely the best time will not be at performance time, but maybe afterwards!

Happy and safe substance consumption to all!!!


Zombie Two, DFZ
Apr 26, 2012
Indy, IN
Don’t try this at home, kids.

Or, if you’re playing church gigs.
I lovingly disagree. I’d go to that church gig to see [email protected] players. :D

Have I played impared? Yes. Do I have super powers as a result, like some players? Absolutely not. But a few double Crowns have been consumed to drop the pre show jitters. It’s the driving home @ 3am that limited that activity to 6pm - 8pm only.


Not so new member
Jun 6, 2014
Southern California
At home I never have any kind of "artificial" buzz going when I play the guitar. At a gig, I like to have one glass of vino to settle my nerves down just a bit. I am guessing that there is a "line" and when you cross it, watch out.....