The expanded and reissued version of The Rolling Stones’ meandering druggy masterpiece, Exile On Main Street has just gone to number one. We look at five other great narcotic-influenced albums . . .
The Cure - Pornography
Goth God Robert Smith was chomping down LSD, not bothering to sleep and recreating the Egyptian pyramids in beer cans in the studio during the making of this murderously ugly 1982 opus. "I really lost touch with what was real for a couple of months,” he’s said. It opens with him singing “It doesn’t matter if we all die” and ends with him whimpering “I must fight this sickness, find a cure”. Smith said he wanted the album to be “virtually unbearable” and it was - brilliantly so. Merciless, nihilistic and Wagnerian, it’s the ultimate bad drugs album.
MGMT – Congratulations
The Brooklyn indie act’s latest effort Congratulations expands on the psychedelia of their best selling Oracular Spectacular, drawing once again on their experimentation with banned substances. The band who once erected an onstage marijuana tent during a gig claim to have been influenced by aliens during the making of the album – always a good sign that chemical refreshment has been judiciously undertaken. The tone is set early on with the first track, It’s Working. “It’s mostly about Ecstasy, like surfing on ecstasy.” singer Andrew Vanwyngarden explains.
Devandra Banhart – Smokey Rolls Down Thunder
The freaky folk artist’s fifth album does little to detract from his hippy reputation even though it experiments a lot more with genre than previous releases. Banhart, who admits to dabbling with hallucinogenic drugs in the past, claims to have “spent a quarter of this record’s budget on crystals.” Whether he meant meth or those new age stones there’s no denying the nature of the prevailing wind - and it has more than a whiff of marijuana smoke about it.
Girls - Album
Lead singer Christopher Owen grew up in the notorious acid-gobblin Children of God cult and received his first guitar from fellow member and Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Jeremy Spencer. Escaping the cult at 16, Owen Eventually met fellow band member Chet Jr White and with a mutual love of mind altering substances and The Beach Boy’s, the band Girls was formed. Embodying the shadowy side of Californian surf rock they released their imaginatively named debut in 2009. White has sad: “I guess we were pretty obsessed with taking pills for a couple of years.”
Happy Mondays – Yes Please!
The last studio album that the Mancs made with Factory Records is often credited as the final blow that eventually killed the label. In an effort to keep away from heroin manager Nathan McGough shipped the band to Barbados. Unfortunately McGough hadn’t countered for the country’s abundance of crack cocaine, which soon became Shaun’s new drug of choice. Eventually running short on funds he began selling studio equipment (including the sofa) to feed the habit. The result was reviewed in Melody Maker with the words. No thanks!