Two years ago, Alex Casnoff (lead singer of LA band Harriet) had a crazy near death experience when his heart stopped, he lost bodily control, and choked back vomit on a hospital bed in Los Angeles. As if that wasn’t already a ridiculously compelling inspiration for a song, the cause of his experience tips things over the edge: marijuana. We’ve heard of rock stars overdosing on cocaine and heroin, but WEED? One of the safest drugs on the planet? WHAT?
As bizarre as the circumstances of his experience were, the song that came out of the whole thing is no less dramatic. Over solemn piano and a brooding electronic backdrop, Casnoff delivers a haunting vocal performance as he explores the helpless feeling of losing control and encountering your own mortality. Read his description of the experience below.
“Two years ago on the holiday known as 4-20 I overdosed on weed. My heart stopped. What I thought was half a dose of a hash oil candy bar, was three doses of the strongest edible the club had. Marijuana is legal in Los Angeles, but my heart stopped. Literally. Flat line, beeeeeeeep, doctors rush in, everything. I could have single handedly taken down the industry. The first weed-death. The no-addiction, no-harm drug, now lethal.
Of course a little Ativan in my veins and I was back a few moments later. But for a second I was really gone. I stopped breathing. I had no control over anything. I just sat there in my body, waiting and watching and vomiting and choking until I died. After, I remember a bro-nurse, tatted up the sleeve, handing me a giant cup of ice water in a plastic bucket, and all I could say was “Biiig Waaater”, but nothing’s ever tasted better.
It’s embarrassing to have died from weed. It doesn’t inspire feelings of strength or masculinity. The only consolation was that when my friend and I brought back the chocolate to the club to complain, they mentioned that the same thing had happened to, not gonna name names, and I obviously can’t confirm the sources reliability, but, an important member of the Wu-Tang Clan. I feel like that puts me in good company. Pot is a fantastic thing.
There are no warnings or doctrines in this song, besides, don’t go to a club on 4-20 and ask for the strongest edible they have, like, something thats literally gonna make me hallucinate, and then accidentally imbibe three of them. It’s a recounting of where my head was at, when I lost complete control of my body. Nothing’s ever been scarier for me. And, nothings ever been so overpriced as a hospital. At least we got a song out of it. No Way Out.”