I have a long story coming your way about my time in the jungle. And the whole Ayahuasca ceremony, and seeing the light, and getting rapé seeds blown into my nose by a shaman and feeling like Christopher Nolan’s papa, and seeing things i’ve never seen before. And not seeing an AC/TV/fan/electricity for more than a week in 37 degrees C and still being able to make it out alright. But i’m still finding the words for all that.
But before i get to that, i have another story for you. This happened a day after the ceremony. This happened after 9 days of sobriety, when i headed back to town to the Spanish family i was living with, and they had a jam session at their hostel the same night, where Ronald and Percy were to get together and lay down some tunes. Well, Ronald, Percy, and a percussion player who never turned up. Fucking drummers.
So Ronald asked me if i’d play. And though i passed the audition with flying colours, just an hour before the music started, Don gave me some weed.
He said, ‘it’s just OK weed man, nothing too great’.
An hour later he was saying, ‘shit man, i shouldn’t have given you that weed, we’ve totally lost you’.
(Don’s a dude who lives in Miami and smuggles ayahuasca for his hippie friends in the US to sip on and feel like they’ve seen heaven. Doesn’t work like that though.)
So i take this jam jar filled with weed, make a nice little joint, and spark and take a hit like my lungs have missed it for years. And slam.
It might have been the ayahuasca from the ceremony still in my body that those 3 drags kicked off. But OH MY GOD. I do not remember weed slaying me this helpless. Such potent shit.
So the makeshift percussion player that replaced the percussion player that didn’t turn up had to be replaced by Ronald’s girlfriend, who had the experience of being a makeshift percussion player on occasions like this.
Ronald is a German who had a choice between India and South America back in 1978. I think he made the right choice. He’s been in Peru or Colombia or Chile mostly ever since. Tagging his guitar along. Once a hardcore alcoholic and cocaine addict, today he’s as clean as the amazon air. He says the jungle showed him the path. That usually means many ayahuasca ceremonies. But he has been sober 32 years and counting. And he’s fit as a fiddle for a 60+ year old. And his girlfriend is probably just as old, but would put most 21 year old supermodels out there to shame with her body.
It’s funny most people settled here from Europe, and America, and Australia came here to get an abundant supply of the cleanest cocaine in the world. But just as soon as they land here, they go clean.
And when i say the cleanest cocaine in the world, trust me. I may have been sober most of the time here, but the few days i cheat, i really cheat. This was one of those nights.
So mid afternoon in the jam room, they got together and started a little rehearsal, prepping for later in the evening. First Ronald had on a yamaha 5 string bass, but later he put that down saying he couldn’t sing and play bass at the same time. Common band problem. So he picked up an acoustic and Percy had the electric guitar. I sat in on a few songs cos the percussion player came in 30 minutes late. This was my audition.
Below are Ronald, Percy, and the perc player that was supposed to turn up…
But of course, the perc player did not turn up for the gig. And a little before the gig, the weed rendered me motionless.
This was hugely embarrassing for me as i had to hug a pillar to be able to stand straight to say sorry to Ronald with a straight face. But he didn’t mind much. The actual percussion played had disappointed him enough for him to be disappointed in me.
Ilka, the girlfriend had to take over on perc duties. And even if she was majorly off-beat on most tunes, Ronald had a way of telling her to go chill on the hammock without really saying it with words.
Half an hour into the gig i managed to stand and record a video. You must watch this.
They dished out some good tunes. But like most musicians face in their lives, 3 tracks after this one, tragedy struck.
The 2 of them fought, there was a Spanish face-off that sounded like:
‘NO YOU FUCK OFF!!’
Percy grabbed his stuff and walked out and Ronald continued to play guitars while also sitting on the percussion and basically finished the show with nobody else walking out cos there was nobody left to.
This was the most bizarre gig i’ve attended in my life. I thought Rahul and Sandy was funny. This one pushed it to a whole new level.
Fucking musicians, man.