Enhancing the Music-Marijuana Connection
May 20, 2019 09:01PM
● By Leland Rucker
It’s certainly no secret that musicians, for the most part, love cannabis, and many use it as part of their creative process. And audience members have been smoking pot at concerts for as long as I can remember. With legalization of adult-use, it was only a matter of time before bands began creating special blends for fans to enjoy at shows.
The Disco Biscuits are one of the leading jam bands in the country, and the quartet comes to Colorado every few months with its experimental, in your face, improvisational style. Influenced by disrupters like Frank Zappa and electronic music, the Biscuits are known for never doing the same show twice, a trait that keeps their fans coming back for more.
“We wanted to make the craziest, wildest music of all time,” bassist Marc Brownstein said recently about the group he’s spent a quarter century with. “We’re out there, and we’re not trying to make it pleasant or easy on the listener,” he explains enthusiastically. “We felt our job as creative people is to take what existed before us and push the envelope. We’re a four-to-five-songs-per-set kind of band. It takes us a long time to get where we’re going.” I could just about see his smile over the phone.
The band hails from Philadelphia but finds itself in Colorado a lot. “The whole jam band scene is rooted in Colorado these days,” Brownstein says, adding that he is generally here four or five times a year, sometimes with the band, sometimes just to hit the slopes. “So many people from all over the country especially after the 2009 legalization flocked to Colorado for career opportunities. A lot of those were in music, and it’s become a hotbed of the music scene.”
One of the Biscuits’ most-devoted fans is Dave Malone, who began digging the band back in 2002, long before he started Green Dot Labs in Boulder with his wife, Alana. A huge Phish fan, Malone was looking for similar groups when he was introduced to the Biscuits, whose creative style hooked him big-time. “What appealed to me was how much improvisation is part of their music,” says Malone. “They are constantly creating content in the live setting, and 70 percent of it is improve, which means it’s a unique show every time. They just kinda wing it they play with their ears as much as with their hands.”
Malone started posting on band/fan websites and social media, Brownstein says. “He was a fan and active on our Facebook page. I kept an eye on him over the years as he become one of the leading extractors in the country. It just naturally led to this collaboration.”
The “collaboration” is a special blend, On 42, created jointly by the Biscuits and Green Dot for three concerts the band is doing at the end of May in Denver. (See sidebar on this page for more details.) Some advice Brownstein got from his lawyer about possible partnerships like this stuck with him. “She said to look for something you would be proud to put your name on. We’ve been offered a lot of partnerships, but if we were going to collaborate, we wanted it to be the best of the best.”
Green Dot’s reputation for high-quality THC products is considerable. (I can attest personally to this.) Malone had worked with South Tribe Sector Nine on a similar project, and he reached out to Brownstein. “Creating is the nature of what we do,” Malone says. “We do improvisation in our own business. We’re trying new things with technology, trying to push the envelope. There are parallels between what they do and what we do. We are constantly creating content, extracts, genetics. I connect with what they do. I kind of apply that to my own business.”
The special limited release combines two Green Dot strains: Sour Best Lemons and Dubble OG, in live resin cartridge or dabbable Live Badder, both packaged in a special edition box designed with and for the Biscuits. “We went through our gardens and picked the plants they preferred,” Malone explains about the process. “We settled on a blend of lemon-peel flavor and a long-lasting, energetic buzz, something that would pair to escalate the overall experience.”
On 42, named after “42,” a favored Biscuits improvisation, will be available at dispensaries across Colorado this month leading up to the band’s Memorial Day Weekend run, which includes two nights at the Ogden Theatre and a third at Red Rocks. A portion of proceeds go to the Cannabis Voter Project, a nonprofit organization that engages and registers voters at concerts co-founded and co-chaired by Brownstein. “We’re harnessing the power between artists and fans and using it for positive social impact registering voters,” he says. “We signed up Ariana Grande, and she’s now one of our main clients.”
Malone says that though this is a one-off, it could wind up becoming a strain of its own. “It started as a blend,” he says. “But I can crossbreed those two and create the cultivar, and it will become its own plant. Consumers are looking for new products that will increase everything they do. It’s an interplay with music and cannabis and the synergies between them. We could do many more down the road.”