Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We All are Chemicals

Last week I introduced you to my 1983 concept album, Alcohol and Other Drugs. This month I'm going to show you some of the songs from that album, starting here with a video for side one cut one (hey, it was 1983 and although CDs had been invented by then almost nobody had bought a player yet): "We All Are Chemicals".

A direct link to the above video is at

I wrote the songs on this album to accompany a live show called The Good Life, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Alcoholism Commission, which Regina's Globe Theatre toured through the high schools of Saskatchewan that year before over 30,000 students. Each song looks at different attitudes towards drugs and alcohol, which for me brings to mind this pervasive meme:

Throughout human history, and even back to the various tales of animal intoxication (birds that enjoy fermented fruit being a commonly cited example), living creatures have always seemed attracted to finding ways to enter altered states.
A google search for "animal intoxication" turned up this Erowid book review about that topic as the top result, and on YouTube this Mike Jay documentary came up, which is a serious look at the history of mind-altering substances called "High Society".

A direct link to the above video is at

In The Good Life, "We All are Chemicals" was sung by a character who (predictably enough) has a meltdown by the end of the show, and of course his recipes for what drugs to never take together are deliberately ludicrous. Still, even though the "living creatures are drawn to altered states of consciousness" meme has proved to be a powerful one, it can also be used as an excuse for drug abuse, and the slippery slope from the desire for novelty or enlightenment to abuse and addiction makes this meme one that should always be accompanied by education. As preachy as it may sound, know what you're putting into your bodies, kids!

Here's the lyrics to the song:

WE ALL ARE CHEMICALS - words and music by Rob Bryanton (SOCAN)

When I wake up in the morning
And I get out of my bed
And I need a little something
To wipe the sleep from my head
No, no, no I don’t go to the kitchen
And I don’t go to the store
I just go up to my closet
Up on the second floor
Where there’s a world of wonders locked inside a little chest
There’s a thousand chemicals, I love them all the best

We all are chemicals, so don’t you be surprised
We all need chemicals to survive

It’s a difficult decision
You know it always was
Tryin to find the chemical
For my day’s first buzz
I’ve got little magic mushrooms
Or the very finest smoke
I’ve got uppers and downers
Acid or coke
I am a scientist, my body is the lab
Workin with my chemicals, what fun I have had

We all are chemicals, so don’t you be surprised
We all need chemicals to survive

It’s a question of balance
It’s a question of control
And knowing when to give the go ahead
And when to tell yourself no
So I never mix tequila with my sensimilla weed
I don’t put sugar in my coffee if I’m on heroin or speed
This is the good life, don’t you throw it all away
Careful of which chemicals you take every day

Next: Gimme a Beer!

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