News Flash – Bass Players Discover Cannabis

Shavo Odadjian

High times for low-enders?

By Jon Liebman
Week of March 4, 2019

Cannabis is everywhere. These days, it seems everyone is talking about some aspect of the legality of pot. Lo and behold, marijuana is even finding its way into the music community. I mean, imagine that.

The subject has come up from time to time in various bass player interviews I’ve done over the years. Bold statements have come from players like Crobot’s Jake Figueroa about where the band finds “inspiration” to write songs, and from the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Steve Boone, recounting the times he used to sail boatloads of marijuana from Colombia back in the ‘70s. I once a had a fun conversation with Doobie Brothers bassist John Cowan about how in the world the band ever came up with that name. Now that recreational cannabis use is becoming totally legit in a growing number of places, more and more people are discovering ways to get involved in different aspects of the pot business. That list includes musicians, and yes, even bass players.

This week, we published an upbeat interview with Shavo Odadjian of the heavy metal band System of a Down. Having relentlessly pursued his “passion projects” for as long as he can remember, Odadjian recently launched a new business, 22Red, offering lifestyle products, clothing, and quality cannabis. With Shavo, it’s not just about jumping on the ganja bandwagon in order to capitalize on the newfound legality of pot. No doubt he’s looking to make money, but it’s also a form of self-expression. In 22Red, he has plans to include other items he’s passionate about, including music and products for skateboarders.

Whatever the reason, cannabis has infiltrated our society in a manner that’s different from the way we may remember it growing up. New attitudes prevail, harsh laws are being relaxed and the availability of the once-forbidden substance is so commonplace, the shock value and need for concealment are long gone.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the marijuana industry continues to mature. Who knows if musicians – and bass players – will offer any new approaches to this change in this societal ethos that the traditional business community never considered?

As for Shavo, he is determined to make sure the “quality of everything is top of the line.” That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Given Shavo’s successful track record of bringing his passions to light, it’s all but certain he will continue to maintain the highest standards in all he does.

How about you? Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Shavo here.

Comments on News Flash – Bass Players Discover Cannabis

  1. Tom Winstead says:

    Interesting and timely topic, and not just for bassists.

    As a young man I had lots of friends, musicians and non-musicians, who smoked pot. I tried it–I did indeed inhale–and found out that pot made me sleepy and hungry. At that time, I had a LOT of sleepy and hungry going on–I did not need to amplify it.

    Many moons later, I find myself in my 61st year, having suffered a bad back for 31 of those years, and chronic pain from the acute degenerative arthritic disc disease that causes it. Hereditary. Thanks Mom! I’ve used opioids in small daily dosages to keep my back from ‘locking up’, for the past 5 years. And they suck. When I don’t need them, I crave them. When I do need them, they’re not quite powerful enough to make a dent, although they do seem to work in keeping the immobile spells away. My pain doctor actually suggested cannabis, when I complained about the opioid issues.

    Now to be fair, our government has never told a single thing to us about cannabis that is true, going back to the Reefer Madness days. And even though it is becoming legal, and more socially acceptable (if a nationwide referendum were held, it’d pass by a statistical landslide), it’s still illegal in Texas (where I live) and there are still people having to deal with big-time drug dealers to get the stuff that I have access to to the market. Not good.
    I even suggested to the President that if he wants a wall, and Mexico to pay for it, that all he has to do is legalize pot, tax it, and both things will occur naturally.
    Now that I have had a year or so of experience with my reintroduction to the drug, I’m a big advocate. It helps. It helps me sleep. Not sure if it helps my creativity, but it does not hurt. So there it is–a lifelong not-pothead, now a big supporter.


  2. Bif says:

    I like to smoke but this article is dumb and irrelevant. There’s bass players who smoke pot? You have enlightened us all.

  3. Joe says:

    will smoking pot make me a better bass player?

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