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Coachella: Band and Drug Pairings Guide

Timothy Norris
By Adam Lovinus

Ever since sunshine acid saturated Woodstock back in 1969, music festivals and recreational pharmaceuticals have gone together. While we applaud those using Coachella as an opportunity to get sober, it's not for everyone, which is why below, we've recommended a fine list of musical acts and drugs that go together, to provide complementary and contrasting flavors for your mind's palette.

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Now of course, all of this is at your own risk, we don't endorse any of it, and the author is speaking strictly from a SWIM's (someone who isn't me) sense of experience here cobbled together from the stories of others. 

See also: Our complete Coachella coverage

Timothy Norris



Cannabis (Indica) + Ritalin

With its lush orchestral arrangements and cello drones, Beck's latest album

Morning Phase

complements perfectly the dreamy body buzz brought about by a bong load of sexy purple buds. Since this is a festival and not a plush sofa, a quick sniff of study drugs will do the trick for keeping up the proper headspace for the 


-era material.

Erik Hess

 The Replacements


 Whiskey + Celebrex

At age 54, Paul Westerberg is alt-rock's elder statesman (he's five days older than Michael Stipe). Chances are if you're a 'Mats fan, you're no spring chicken yourself. At this stage in the game, proper pre-show precautions are critical for enduring three days of hard partying in the desert. Stretch, hydrate at a 1:1 ratio, and take your arthritis meds. No need to blow out the lumbar ground-pounding on the first night.


 The Knife



When it comes to the mindfuckery that the Dreijr siblings choreograph into their live set - a "communal/political/conceptual/imaginational workout experience," as noted in their press materials - hallucinogens are ideal. An LSD trip is too lengthy an ordeal for a Friday night show, but a quick-hitting DMT session will spin you 'round nicely without getting too strung out, leaving the door open for hard-partying the following evenings.

Nick Vlcek / City Pages

Pet Shop Boys


Amyl nitrates + Ketamine

The Pet Shop Boys' synthy thump has soundtracked gay-club boogie nights across the globe for 30 years. After a few years of rumored Coachella appearances, what better way to celebrate than with a sweaty, popper-fueled dancefloor fling, followed by a trip down the k-hole in homage to the duo's 2001 musical, 

Closer to Heaven


John Gilhooley



Biker meth + rail liquor

A no-brainer. Motorhead's name is '70s slang for a speed freak. Their brand of teeth-grinding, berserker riff rock was born in the nastiest squats around London, laying the foundation of the thrash-punk aesthetic for decades to come. So keep it real - the dirtier the crank, the better. Chase it down with a flask of the cheapest gin available, and hold on for dear life.

Nannet Gonzales

Foster the People



In the face of meh reviews of their sophomore album, Foster the People have been billed pretty highly Coachella this year, presumably on the strength of a now three-year-old hit single. When obsolescence is the trip, 'ludes - a once-loved downer phased out by modern benzos like Xanax and Klonopin - becomes the drug of choice.

Timothy Norris

 Empire of the Sun



They say the high desert provides the optimal visual backdrop for a shroom trip. Combine that with the splendor that Aussie concept-rockers Empire of the Sun build into their stage show (imagine Gwar's intensity + Flaming Lips' whimsy) and voila - the perfect setting for getting properly weird.

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Band: OutKast
Drugs: Cannabis (Sativa)
Take an obese 20 sack and crumble it up into a grape blunt wrap, and follow the funk from that skunk! A nice, uppy sativa high is a good bet any time at Coachella, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more a propo time for it than the Friday night headliner.

Band: Anti-Flag
Drug: None
If there's one time where laying off the sauce is acceptable, it's at the Anti-Flag set, as they're a straight-edge act whose members are also vegan. Sometimes sobriety is a trip unto itself. 

Timothy Norris

 Anything at the Sahara Tent



Obviously. In and around the EDM tent, Molly seems to get more popular every year. She'll grind your teeth and cross your eyes until the strobes and bass get you off - it's a old formula that works every time. She's the one Huey Lewis was singing about.

See also: Our complete Coachella coverage

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