Thinking About Dropping Acid? Here's The Story Of My Best Trip
I have a friend called Bob, he’s in his early 30s, and he’s thinking about taking acid for the first time.
But Bob read an article recently that said, “If you’re over 30 and you’ve never tried a psychedelic before, then you shouldn’t bother. Your brain chemistry is set and won’t be able to handle an ego-death experience. The risks outweigh the potential gains, and you’re likely to do more harm than good.”
Therefore, Bob’s on the fence about how to proceed.
“Tell me about your best acid trip,” he asked me, the last time we hung out.
This is what I told him.
- - -
It was 2010 and I was living in Sydney. The Pixies were touring Australia for the 20th anniversary of their Doolittle album. I decided to buy tickets to their show in Melbourne so I could go to the gig with my buddy Alex.
I arrived in Melbourne at lunchtime on a Friday and got fucked up the whole weekend. Alex was living in a quaint share-house in St Kilda, so we spent a lot of time hanging with his strange housemates, and partying at various haunts around the city.
Sunday rolls around, the day of the gig. We went and picked up some acid from Alex’s dealer. The plan was to pre-drink with one of Alex’s mates who was also going to see the Pixies.
But I started to feel a little apprehensive. I was taking acid regularly at the time, maybe once a month, so I was well aware of what was coming my way. There was a sick feeling in my gut that was asking me, “Whoa, are you gonna be able to handle this? You’ve been drinking and smoking weed all weekend, dude. Maybe you’re a little too scattered to trip right now?” I could tell Alex was feeling the same way. It was a silent, contemplative tram ride.
We got to Alex’s buddy’s place and knocked on the door. I realized I didn’t know a thing about the person I was about to meet.
“So who’s this friend of yours?” I asked.
“His name’s Roger,” Alex said. “Really nice dude. Plays tambourine in a psych rock band. He’s a bit like Joel from The Brian Jonestown Massacre except he’s intellectually disabled.”
The door opened and Roger was standing there. I had no time to process the fact that I was about to trip in the company of a disabled stranger. Roger was about 5'9, skinny and wiry, Ramones haircut, early 40s but he dressed like he was 15 years old.
“Hey, I’m Thom,” I said.
Roger pushed his wrinkly face right up into mine and said, “David? Did you say your name’s David?”
It was gonna be a long night.
Roger’s place was a small suburban house, standard for inner city Australia. But it had a sanitized feel to it. There were no unnecessary adornments, just the bare essentials. My Dad used to work with special needs kids and it reminded me of of their classrooms; stripped back and sprayed down regularly.
We cracked some beers and started shooting the shit. I quickly realized that Roger was a really lovely dude. There was nothing slow or stupid about him — he was just socially awkward and super twitchy. The guy had an encyclopedic knowledge of music and he told me about all his favorite Aussie bands from the 70s.
At one point Roger went to the toilet and I said to Alex, “Hey man, do you think it’s a good idea to do acid tonight? Like, maybe we should kind of keep our shit together in case Roger gets himself into trouble at the show?”
Alex turned to me and said, “Fuck no. Roger’s gonna be on acid himself.”
Sure enough Roger came back from the loo holding a baggie. He picked out a tab with some tweezers and necked it. I had bought the ticket; it was time to take the ride. Me and Alex cheers’d then downed our tabs too.
We had about half an hour to kill before it was time to leave. So we just sat around in Roger’s backyard, enjoying the late afternoon sun. Mother Acid slowly started kicking in. I was wondering whether the trip would calm Roger down, similar to how dexies relax kids with ADHD, or whether it would amplify his peculiarities.
Turned out the drugs really let his craziness shine. Roger had a glass of red wine in one hand and a can of lager in the other, and he started splashing the beer into his wine glass. He started blabbering like a little kid. “See I know a lot about wine, and this is a really nice drop, but it just needs a few bubbles.” Roger took a sip of his disgusting concoction. “Ah! Delicious!” His ridiculous face started to swirl. I took a deep breath and prepared for the most arduous night of my life.
We left Roger’s place and made our way to the train station on foot. Roger was darting all over the place, weaving between parked cars like a little fucking rabbit. Me and Alex were giggling like stoned schoolgirls.
“Fuck man,” I said as I desperately tried to catch my breath. “I feel like someone’s gonna get arrested tonight.”
On the train Roger took it to the next level. He was sprinting down the carriage, spinning around on the rails and trying to strike up conversations with bemused strangers. Alex was lost in a wormhole of laughter. I sat with my head in my hands, mortified.
We reached our destination and got off the train. The venue was a place called Festival Hall, which is right next to Marvel Stadium, a football ground. Alex led us from the station to the hall using his smartphone to guide him. We were halfway around Marvel when Alex realized he’d been leading us in the complete wrong direction. This misstep cost us valuable time, and we started to run back in the direction we’d come from.
Transitioning from one environment to another is frightening when you’re tripping your balls off. Our entry to Festival Hall was made even more difficult by the fact that Alex had a huge DLSR camera around his neck, and he needed a Press Pass. At this point I honestly didn’t think we were gonna get to see the show and I was ready to call it a day. Somehow Alex convinced the door guy to give him a pass, and we walked into the venue just as the show was starting.
Roger started sprinting towards the mosh pit and Alex followed. I grabbed Alex’s shoulder.
“I don’t think I can deal with Roger right now,” I said to Alex. “Let’s just hang back here and find him after it’s finished.”
Alex nodded. Roger started weaving through the crowd like Roadrunner.
The Pixies launched into their set and the sound was insane, so much snarl and power. “Dancing the Manta Ray” was first, and then a few songs later they played “Tame”, and I started to peak. When Kim Deal sang “a-haha, a-haha” it all became too much, and I went to collect myself in the loo. I took a super long piss in the urinal which was an orgasmic and religious experience.
The rest of the show did not disappoint. They finished with “Gigantic” and then the lights came on.
“We should find Roger before we leave,” I said to Alex. “You’ve got his number right? Maybe send him a text?”
“Nah, he always finds a way to get backstage, the roadies in Melbourne love him,” Alex said. “Let’s go grab a beer at Cherry Bar — I’ll tell him to meet us there.”
The 40 minute walk over to AC/DC lane was hilarious. Immediately outside the venue there was a Frank Black doppelgänger selling bootleg tour shirts (“Probably does it after every show to get laid,” Alex said). And then we ran into these two middle-aged American tourists who’d also been at the show. We nearly convinced them to join us for a nightcap, but instead our two new buddies decided that “hookers and burgers” at their hotel was the more appealing option.
We picked Cherry Bar because not many other spots were open due to the fact that it was a Sunday night. But at that time Cherry was a pretty shady fucking place, essentially a bikie bar. The bulldog of a bouncer had multiple face tattoos. And the atmosphere inside wasn’t much to write home about — just a bunch of shady characters mournfully nursing drinks.
We ordered a couple of beers. The vibe was so dark that we were on the verge of bailing when Roger burst through the door. He was dripping in sweat — the loose unit had sprinted all the way from Docklands.
“Roger!” I called out to him.
“David,” he said as he walked up to us. “Pretty good show, right?”
Roger single-handedly changed the dynamic in the room. “Search & Destroy” blasted out from the soundsystem, and Roger ran over to the dancefloor and started throwing the weirdest shapes you’ve ever seen. Me and Alex downed another tab and ordered more drinks.
More and more people from the Pixies show started to enter the bar. A goth girl looked at Roger dancing to Iggy by himself.
“Oh my God,” she said to me and Alex. “I love him.”
“Great,” Alex said. “You can take him home then.”
- - -
I finished telling my story to Bob.
“Wow,” he said. Bob massaged his temple. “If it’s not too much bother, can you tell me about your worst trip?”