“This is the funniest stuff we’ve ever heard” said Michael Balderstone, spokes-person for the Nimbin Hemp Embassy, of Herb’s music.
Herb now has a five-year deal with Undercover Music for Potsongs. Herb says he hopes the combination of music and comedy will help to change negative attitudes surrounding the use of marijuana.
Herb cleverly includes a section on Aussie slang inside his CD booklet for the extra humor value and, of course, to help non-Aussies decipher some of the more obscure references.
In an interview with Cannabis Culture, Herb answered our most burning questions.
Why did you decide to focus on mar-ijuana in your music?
As a writer I saw a need. I tried to take a different approach from what I’d heard and do a complete pot album that covered a wide variety of pot-related subjects.
People love to laugh, so when I wrote Potsongs I took a tongue-in-cheek attitude. I wasn’t sure the young tokers would like it, but as it turned out they love it! Going by the response we’ve had from so many countries it seems universal.
How do you think pot affects your music?
For me it opens up the creative pro-cess, but for some others I know it has the opposite effect.
When did you first smoke pot?
After great resistance, and a puff some years earlier that did nothing, I finally succumbed to the dreaded weed in Saigon in 1969. I was a pretty straight-arsed bloke who had avoided all the uppers of the 60’s like the plague. I didn’t mind a drink but always kept that under control as well. That night in Saigon I only made one comment: “How long has this been going on?”
So you liked it right away?
I’ve seen people throw up and literally shit themselves on their first date with Mary Jane. Not me! We got on like a house on fire. Here is something that doesn’t leave you with a bloody great hangover the next day.
What was it like to win all those awards at the Marijuana Music Awards in Nimbin?
I’ve won other awards, but winning the inaugural Marijuana Music Award at the Nimbin Mardi Grass was very special. We’ve been going to Nimbin since the Aquarius Festival in the 70’s, and to pick up Song of the Year was a great thrill. Tam and Brian at Grassmusic, who own the legendary
Rainbow Cafe, should be congratulated for starting something that will only grow in the years to come. We’re also doing a live concert in May at the 2005 Mardi Grass with a couple of US acts that are coming.
How did your songs end up on the Potluck movie soundtrack?
We gave the CD to High Times in New York. They passed it on to the director who loved it and used I Smoked it Once and Toke by Toke.
Have you personally faced any prejudice because of your preferences?
I just don’t run around waving a flag at straight society ? except when I’m Herb and that’s within a professional situation.
Do you keep your identity a secret on purpose?
Yes, only so I don’t bring down the wrath of straight society on my family. I have another life that runs in conjunction with Herb and I see no need to have them harassed by uninformed dickheads.
Do you have any final thoughts on the drug war?
They’ll never win!
Track listing for Potsongs
I Smoked it Once but I Didn’t Draw Back