El Hefe by Monica

I interviewed El Hefe, the guitarist from NOFX, in December. Originally it was for an English report that I did, but the report turned into more of a thing that I did just for me. Something I was really proud of. Something that I hope you like, because the whole report was the best piece of writing that I had ever done.

At four o'clock in the afternoon, I took a visit to Hefe's night club in old town Eureka where I met Aaron, the owner of Hefe's and guitar player for the punk band, NOFX. As we strolled across the street to Subway, for a quiet place to talk, I noticed his earrings, nose ring, black pants and jacket,and wallet chain, the general apparel for a hard-core punk rocker. With the delicious smell of sub-sandwiches wafting around us, we sat to discuss drugs in rock music. Once we started to talk, he turned out to be nothing like I had initially expected in a person of his stature. "El Hefe," as Aaron is known in the music business, was very level-headed and truthful about everything that he had to say.

El Hefe has been into music for a very long time, playing trumpet in high school, and playing guitar for his current band, NOFX, for five years. During the five years before that, El Hefe was living in Hollywood, messing aroundin the music scene, and partying. In that time, he had many friends that died of drug overdoses and had drug problems. Among many of these friends and acquaintances is NOFX's drummer, Erik Sandin, who had a problem with heroin even before he and El Hefe met. Sandin went through with a three month detoxification program and has now been clean and sober for five years. He is now healthier and performs a lot better than he used to.

El Hefe talked to the late Shannon Hoon, of Blind Melon, about a month before his death. Hoon told El Hefe that his nasty heroin habit was making his career go sour and that he had been clean for a month or two. A month later Hoon was found dead of a heroin overdose.

When I asked El Hefe how he had been affected by the deaths of his acquaintances,he said that they opened his eyes. Back in Hollywood, El Hefe was quite a partier. He did LSD, speed, shrooms, smoked pot, and other things that he says opened his mind and made him more creative. When friends started dying from these and other drugs, he started partying less and less until he stopped.

El Hefe says that he knows of major rock groups that take cocaine before they go on stage, to make them more energetic. This is a trend that has been going on for years, with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and others who have had drug problems.

"The most creative musicians, the best musicians, are the ones that are all messed up on drugs," says El Hefe. He says also that the musicians that start using drugs, do it because of peer pressure. Some do coke to perform better and be more comfortable on stage. He knows of a band that uses Pixistix, pure sugar, to get that same effect. Most people that did drugs thought it was cool and wanted to be in "with the scene," according to El Hefe. He says that there doesn't seem to be a problem until a person doesn't know when to stop using drugs. They get addicted and go downhill from there.

Another problem seems to be a success. A lot of people can't handle the pressures of success, especially when it comes quickly, and they start using drugs and alcohol to get their minds off of it.

You hear of a lot of extremely successful people overdosing on drugs. Apparently one of the problems comes with trying to overcome addictions. What happens is that the longer a person uses a drug, like cocaine, the higher tolerance they have for it. All of a sudden the person stops taking the drug and their tolerance goes down. They start drinking alcohol to try to forget about the drug that they are addicted to, and their tolerance goes down again. All the while, the person's brain is battling over whether or not they want the drug and they give in to the mental pressure. They take the same amount of the drug as they remember taking the last time, which is way above their tolerance level, and they overdose.

Another way that people overdose on drugs, is when they take two drugs at the same time, an upper and a downer, at the same time. There is no problem when they take more of the upper than the downer, or vice versa. The problem comes in when they take the perfect, or not so perfect amount of the drug, so the heart just stops, and the person has a heart attack.

El Hefe doesn't think that this problem has to do with rock music, itself. He thinks that it is the people that are involved in the scene that follows the rock music.

I found my interview with El Hefe to be rather interesting, especially since he is directly involved in the rock music world. He has had contact with the people that have had drug problems, and he has helped friends battle this problem. He was able to give me insight into whatever people think and do, and tell me things about fellow musicians that I could have never found out otherwise. Template:Back