This just in: Musicians also use performance-enhancing drugs
Overlooked amid the hoopla surrounding the recent Mitchell Report — former Senator George Mitchell's investigation into the use of steroids and human growth hormone in Major League Baseball — was the release last month of the Quayle Report. The culmination of an eight-year, $77 million investigation headed by former Senator and Vice President Dan Quayle, the 2,196-page report exhaustively details the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances by bands and musicians.
Most of the information that appears in the report was provided to the Quayle Commission by 61-year-old Mick Bobbins, a British national and veteran roadie. After being arrested by Arkansas police while in possession of an eighth of an ounce of marijuana in the backstage production area of a Toby Keith concert, Mr. Bobbins reached a plea agreement whereby, in exchange for his cooperation and disclosures based on 40 years working as a production assistant for many hundreds of musical acts, authorities would drop the $150 fine. Supplementary information was provided by 42-year-old Charles Zifkin, an associate of Mr. Bobbins, who worked as a recording studio intern from 1991 to 1998.
"I was absolutely shocked by some of the things I learned during the course of this investigation," Senator Quayle stated at a press conference symbolically held in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. "Some of the artists enshrined in the building behind me are among the most egregious users of illegal performance-enhancing substances, and it is absolutely clear that without these substances, there is simply no way they could have achieved any of the creative or commercial successes that they have. I am certain that music fans will be equally shocked by the contents of this report."
• "On the evening of September 30, 1966, Mr. Bobbins stated that he provided the singer Syd Barrett of the British band The Pink Floyd with LSD-spiked hot tea an hour prior to the band's performance at the All Saints Church Hall in London, England. Upon taking the stage, Mr. Barrett proceeded to stare blankly into the crowd for 20 minutes, and then madly recited nursery rhymes for the remaining 45 minutes of the set. Mr. Bobbins believes this moment was pivotal in the band becoming psychedelic-rock pioneers and legends."
• "During a three-night stand in Los Angeles while on the Diary of a Madman world tour in 1982, Mr. Bobbins stated that he was repeatedly sent at the personal request of the heavy metal singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne to obtain a number of illegal substances, which he believes aided the singer in his performances each night. Mr. Bobbins corroborated his statement by producing a wrinkled, stained note written on Beverly Hills Hotel stationery that read, 'Get me some f—king coke, I'm going bloody f—king batty! — Ozzy.'"
• "Mr. Zifkin stated that in 1997, while interning at a New York recording studio during the making of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan's album, Wu-Tang Forever, he witnessed Clifford Smith, a rapper who performs under the stage name 'Method Man,' smoke at least three marijuana cigarettes prior to recording his verse on the song 'Triumph,' considered some of his best work. According to Mr. Zifkin, 'I really don't think he could have come up with lines like "It's court adjourned for the bad seed from bad sperm/Herb got my wig fried like a bad perm" without being totally high.'"
When asked to comment on the report, a spokesperson for the United Federation of Songwriters and Musicians provided a terse statement: "Duh."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.