Historically, jam bands and drugs have been as closely associated as water-filtered, color-changing, pyrex "tobacco" pipes and marijuana. And the marriage has at times been blissful, no doubt. But drug abuse has also contributed to many beautiful lives turning ugly and ending too soon. For many in the jam band world, Jerry Garcia is the primary, shared-example of this sort of occurrence. A lesser number of folks think of a friendly, young, music-loving fellow named Ben Evans.
Evans was a beloved member of the South Florida jam community who passed from a drug overdose in the fall of 2011. In the wake of his untimely passing, his family and friends longed to honor his life and continue his caring spirit. Thus, they established the B.e. Easy Scholarship Fund--a non-profit which aims to reduce the number of lives that end in the tragic way that Ben's did by helping those in the spins of addiction connect with the support they need to set a different course.
On August 31, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and a slew of the area's most groovin' acts -- including the Resolvers and the Funky Nuggets -- will take the stage at Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale at the second annual B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival--a fundraiser for the organization.
In the spirit of inspiring folks to kick the dope and get healthily high, we'd like to offer the encouragement (and super-heady, sober jams!) of some of the most well-known people in the jam world to have realized the glory of clean living.
5. Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits and Conspirator
From a Facebook post: "i feel like it's time for an anti-opiate rant. I don't ever want to be told that one more fan dies of heroin or oxycontin...It's happened way too often. If your friends offer you Oxycontin or Heroin, FIND NEW FRIENDS. If you are already doing them, STOP NOW and GET HELP. It is not worth it folks. If you don't take opiates, just DON'T START, they are addictive and way too often lead to death." (Source)
*Note: "Brownie" hasn't quite reported "quitting drugs" as clearly as the other folks on this list, but damned if he didn't condemn the bad shit.
4. John Scofield
"I had fun getting high at different points. It also became an obsession that almost, I believe, killed me. And I thank whoever's up there for taking me out of this thing and putting me in another path." (Source)
3. Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) of Ween
"Addiction is a very serious matter, and it can kill you. You know, it's a very common thing with a lot of people, and I just happen to be one of them. It's a very scary and insidious disease, so I've got no shame about it, and I'm very happy that I'm still around to even be in recovery." (Source)
2. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band
"I've been getting along fine [sober], because I don't even think about [drugs and alcohol] anymore. The only time I think about it is if I see a young musician, I might try to step forward and help him, say in the fewest amount of words that this might not be the right direction for you there, boy. [laughs] And I would know." (Source)
1. Trey Anastasio of Phish
"I fucking hate drugs. I really do." (Source)
B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival featuring Dumpstaphunk, the Resolvers, the Funky Nuggets and more. Saturday, August 31 at Birch State Park, 3109 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $38-$48. Click here.
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