Music and weed is all you need right? This time we will leave Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa alone and take a look at a hard rock for dads, lying somewhere between virility and tradition. Before we go into more history, a brief description of stoner rock would be appropriate. The most defining feature of stoner rock is ‘fuzzed out’ guitars. The riff-laden melodies are drenched in heavy and often low frequency distortion, often accompanied by lower string tuning and other ‘fuzzy’ effects. It is white noise funneled through tonal shenanigans that would feel at home in a Bach fugue. Often the riffs will rely on the cage of thunder provided by the sound and meander along at a stoney pace. Yet gracefully acrobatic and exuberant guitarplay also is prevalent, and the two extremes often meet in a fiery crash of pure rock fury many times within a single tack. The bass guitars follow the same sonic omnipotence as their six stringed brethern, while also interweaving layers of schizophrenic counterpoint and shattering crescendos. And the drums provide solid rhythmic accompaniment while creating highlights and adding new styles, flavors or shades beyond what the strings have to say. While the musicianship in the genre is more often amazing than not, it does not rely on so much of the hyperbole and excess that had come to define much of heavy metal today. Surplus notes and beats are rare and there is not some machismo competition to play faster than everyone else. Just louder. This is also represented by the typical stoner rock vocals, which tend to be ‘clean’, which is a fancy way of saying ‘actually singing’ and not just growling, screaming, grunting or any of the other adolescent vanities that plague most hard music today.
Time to fire it up and crank your speakers to ten as we take a journey through the history of stoner rock…
The Bible of rampant terror. The anthology of the softest caresses of death. Turns out not only did Black Sabbath invent heavy metal over four decades ago, but the band also unknowingly wrote the bible of ‘stoner metal.’ Every stoner metal band (including the numerous ones omitted from this list) follow the blueprints laid out by Toni Iommi, Geezer Butler drummer Bill Ward, and Vocalist Ozzy Ossbourne, a sonic catharsis of distorted heavy rock music that was demented, trippy and loud as hell. Sweet Leaf is a song by Black Sabbath from their third studio album Master of Reality, released in 1971. The song is an early example of stoner rock. The song begins with a tape loop of guitarist Tony Iommi coughing from a joint he was smoking with bandmate Ozzy Osbourne. The title of the song was taken from a packet of Irish cigarettes which said “It’s the sweet leaf”.
2. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were always far more subtle in their musical drug references — although behind the scenes, they allegedly indulged as much as anyone. The wistful “Going to California” is a perfect example. Here, both the song’s protagonist and the band’s backing melodies seem to waver drastically between chilled out bliss and understandable paranoia — and it all begins with the woman unkind who smoked his stuff and drank all his wine. Damn that woman!
3. Jimi Hendrix
Rock’s eternal guitar god supreme, Jimi Hendrix electrified the blues as no one else has before or since, amplified rock’s hardest elements to their loudest and most rolling extremes, and sprayed psychedelic majesty all over the universe out from the right-hand Fenders and Gibson he played upside-down and left-handed.
4. Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members – David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), and Richard Wright (Vocals and Keyboard). Their critically and commercially successful albums are The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) , and The Final Cut (1983) . The Dark Side of the Moon is also considered as one of the greatest albums of all time. Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kyuss was an American stoner rock band, formed in Palm Desert, California. Kyuss grabbed hold of stoner rock in its closing days to define the contours of a genre that would become a movement all of its own: desert rock.
6. Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age is a rock band from Palm Desert, California, United States. The band is frequently labeled stoner rock, although they reject the label. They developed a style of riff-oriented, heavy music which the band’s founder and mastermind Josh Homme described as “robot rock”, saying that he “wanted to create a heavy sound based on a solid jam, just pound it into your head”. Since then, their sound has evolved to incorporate a variety of different styles and influences. They are probably the most commercially successful stoner rock band so far.
7. Bob Dylan
With his animated demands that “everybody must get stoned,” Bob Dylan simultaneously alienated much of his conservative folk music audience and instantly bonded with scores more rock music fans, on this opening number from 1966’s creative “line-in-the-sand,” Blonde on Blonde. Heck, is it any wonder Bob never (or rarely ever) looked back? We don’t think so. In fact, we think you’ll agree that “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35″ sends off our list of Top 10 Pot Songs on a definite high.
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as “the Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”.Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock,has come to also incorporate elements of pop,heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists. A band better known for indulging in slightly harder drugs in their day. Certainly that was the case around the time they were recording “Reefer Head Woman” for 1979’s Night in the Ruts LP. Of course, the members of Aerosmith would soon go teetotal — giving new meaning to the phrase “binge and purge.”
9. The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. The band got its name from the title of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception,which itself was a reference to a quote made by William Blake, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. A band that never seems to get mentioned as an influence on so many of these stoner/space/psych rock outfits is The Doors. Maybe it’s just not cool to mention the ‘Lizard King’ anymore, I don’t know, but I feel I must mention them.
10. Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones know their drugs. Whether we’re talking pills, powders or plants, it’s safe to say the Stones have tried it all — and that’s especially true for the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
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