All Things Weed With High On Fire’s Matt Pike
“I have a pretty good relationship with weed,” says Matt Pike. “I’m just glad now that where I live, it’s legal and easy to obtain.”
Matt has ushered in this year’s 4/20 with perhaps the understatement of the century. As the guitarist of stoner doom legends Sleep, Matt has helped metal find its way back to Black Sabbath’s irony-less love of the electric lettuce, penning epic tracks about marijuanauts hitting cosmic bongs across the ether. And fronting his own Grammy-winning band High On Fire, Matt has helped millions of potheads realize how much they love big, aggressive metal riffs, while reminding heshers that a bong hit and a Frank Frazetta print could be as hardcore as any grim extreme metal act.
Above: High On Fire at the 2019 Grammys, where they won Best Metal Performance.
Since today is 4/20, the world’s yearly celebration of all things red-eyed and oppressively hungry, we reached out to Matt and ask him about his preferences when it comes to the Devil’s Broccoli — how he takes it, how he’s enjoyed it in the past, and what he thinks about its future as a legal product in America.
“It’s great that it’s weed day,” says Matt. Since the early days, when Al [Cisneros] and I concocted Sleep together, those were the essential parts: weed and Black Sabbath.”
Can you remember the first time you got stoned?
The first time I got stoned was the first time I heard Black Sabbath, Master Of Reality. I was with a friend of mine named Danny Joe. I think I was 11 or 12 years old. It was before Master Of Puppets came out, but it was that year. I’d liked guitar before then; MTV had come out, and I got exposed to music through that. Babysitters exposed me to ZZ Top. That day, we were listening to Pink Floyd, Van Halen…and I think I turned green! You know when you’re a kid, and you’re stoned, and it hits you harder than you expect? I turned green. I had my mom pick me up, and she asked me if I was doing drugs, and I didn’t know what to say!
These days, how do you take your cannabis? Do you smoke, or are you more into edibles?
I don’t smoke as much weed — I eat it now. It’s legal here, so I usually get tinctures. I have my fair share of pain, so CDB mixed with THC one-to-one is my painkiller, and then I usually get a tincture that’s just pure THC for after a show. Maybe I’ll smoke a joint after a show, but I’ll eat THC and CBD all day. I can regulate it more than just edibles. With edibles, you never know what you’re going to get, but with knowing how many milligrams I can take, I can spend all day just being kind of high and maintaining. I also have some depression, so it helps with everything. That and a lot of coffee.
Are you an Indica or Sativa man?
Indica if I want to go deep, or go to sleep. Sativa keeps me up. Either way is fine with me — I don’t really have a preference.
Do you have an old faithful bong you like to use?
There was a time when we were smoking out of a chalice - it’s a Rastafarian way of smoking out of a coconut with a surgical hose coming out of it. But that was just ridiculous — we’d smoke like an ounce a day, take naps behind our amps at band practice, then wake up and start all over. That’s when we first started the band. And when we get older, we don’t need as much.
Do you ever get too high and freak out, or are you well past that?
I have made the mistake of taking this super, super fucking strong tincture I had, and going onstage and having it hit me all at once, and thinking, ‘Aw, FUCK…’ Not knowing where the fuck I am in the song, dropping the ball left and right.
When do you still smoke?
We smoke when we’re writing, or when we’re out on tour. But with tincture, there’s less risk of contracting flus, colds, and diseases on the road.
Shit, man, I didn’t even think about that. I bet the road is one giant petri dish.
Oh, yeah. Flu season? Fuck, dude, I’m like fucking schizophrenic, I wash my hands every three seconds. People will cough into my microphone, and then get pissed when I have to put some minty alcohol on it. But it’s such a bummer to get the flu on the road. I’m very careful about that kind of stuff. I also keep tinctures of silver and grapefruit seed extract — those are like natural antibiotics. I also get oregano extract, licorice extract…I do natural remedies for pretty much everything. But CBD does a good job of killing a lot of the pain.
As an Oakland resident, what’s it like living in legalized America?
It’s great. The national pastime used to be baseball, and now I think the national pastime in America is smoking pot. Which isn’t such a bad thing — baseball’s cool, but I hate watching it.
Do you think we’ll see legalization in our lifetime?
It’s really funny that they’ve had it outlawed for so long, because just like with liquor — when they had liquor outlawed, they realized they could’ve made so much fucking money from it. That money can save a life. It saved the economy of Denver when Denver did it. Now it’s on the stock market.
If you didn’t see stoner metal gods Sleep in the past couple of years, you may have missed your chance.
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