Pot Rock: An Incomplete History

From Reagan to Mamma Casserole.

1969 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson is committed to a Texas mental institution for three years for possession of a single marijuana cigarette. His friends say the treatments he underwent (electroshock therapy, Thorazine) permanently altered his personality.

1986 President Reagan harshes America’s mellow with stricter federal penalties for marijuana possession.

1991 The first Seattle Hempfest takes place with 500 attendees.

1996 California legalizes marijuana for medical use.

1996–2006 Inspired by Dazed & Confused and the like, people continue to smoke tons of pot.

2006 Austin psych band the Black Angels release debut album Passover on a Seattle label, Light in the Attic Records. Seattle stoners demand to know why more bands like this don’t live here, as Seattle is tired of getting stoned and listening to grunge.

2007 Canadian band Black Mountain release sophomore album In the Future. It is deemed one of the year’s best releases whether you are stoned or not.

2008 The Night Beats form.

February 26, 2008 Seminal Seattle grunge band Earth releases The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, an album that is not strictly psychedelic rock but is still trippy as hell. Seattle wishes more grunge bands would make the transition.

May 19, 2009 The Curious Mystery, one of Seattle’s headiest musical outfits, release debut Rotting Slowly on K Records, a label never particularly well-known for signing psychedelic bands.

Early 2010 Sensible Washington begins collecting signatures to get I-1068—a citizen’s initiative that would remove all state civil and criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession, transport, use, and sale of marijuana—on the ballot.

January 31, 2010 Justin Deary resurrects his star-crossed psych-rock project Whalebones. The new songs sound like something your dad would’ve listened to in college, and that’s not a bad thing.

July 1, 2010 Sensible Washington falls short of the 241,153 signatures it needed to get I-1068 on the 2010 ballot. The collective exhalations of disappointed stoners blanket Fremont in a fog of mournful weed smoke.

October 2010 Sensible Washington decides it had better get a jump on things for next time, and enlists one of Seattle’s resident psych-rock experts, Mamma Casserole, to organize a benefit show bent on mobilizing the pro-pot public to take political action. “I am definitely pro-legalization of Mary Jane,” Mamma Casserole asserts. The Night Beats, a band comprising two Texas transplants, agree to headline the show, scheduled for November 21 at the Comet.