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Detroit trio Jamaican Queens open up about pot’s influence on music

Photo by Andy Miller – Andy Miller

Photo by Andy Miller

When a band makes “Jamaican” the lead word in their name, it’s a safe bet they enjoy an occasional puff of the chronic.

For Detroit pop trio Jamaican Queens, getting high is more than just a lifestyle: It’s an indelible part of their creative process.

Marijuana in the Mitten sat down with Queens frontman Ryan Spencer and drummer Ryan Clancy to talk about their recent European tour, forthcoming sophomore album and plans for getting “jooky” all summer long.

MITM: You guys got back from Europe just in time for 4/20. How’d you celebrate?

Ryan Spencer: The night before, I took LSD and fell in love with a girl at North End Studios. We slept at her place till 5 in the afternoon, and when we woke up she walked to Whole Foods and brought back stuff to make an amazing breakfast. Best 4/20 ever.

Ryan Clancy: I just smoked with my homies and chilled. The weed scene in France is subprime so it felt good to be home.

MITM: The French aren’t smoking good like that?

Ryan Spencer: The French are smoking “shit.” Or, hash. Basically a cigarette dusted with a tiny speck of weed.

Ryan Clancy: They do double papers with a big filter and almost all tobacco. A “spliff” over there isn’t 50/50, more like 90/10. And everybody hits it like 10 times before passing it on.

MITM: Did you smoke pure weed at all over there?

Ryan Clancy: We got to roll one unadulterated joint the whole trip, while we were in Birmingham, England.

Ryan Spencer: We were coming down from Molly.

Ryan Clancy: It was a really great joint, but it was nothing like the Michigan weed we’re used to.

MITM: This was your second European tour; how did the shows go?

Ryan Spencer: It was incredible. Our first night in Paris over 600 people showed up, they knew the words to our tunes and were singing along. We met a host of interesting people and got to collaborate with some super tight bands and made a music video in this seedy sex hotel.

Ryan Clancy: We had killer shows all over. Dijon. Anisy. Exotic babes trying to make out with our cameraman Andy Miller at every stop.

MITM: Are you going back on the road this summer?

Ryan Clancy: No set dates, but we’ve been talking to people about doing some shows on the East Coast.

MITM: How do you score marijuana when you are on the road?

Ryan Clancy: Usually someone in the crowd will have some. Its pretty ubiquitous in our scene so its never that much of a hassle. Sometimes people just give it to us.

Ryan Spencer: When we’re in states where we don’t know anybody we have to post about it on the internet.

MITM: What are your favorite strains of ganja?

Ryan Clancy: I had a strain one time called Master Yoda that really blew my mind. And Lavender. That strain brings out the coyote in me.

Ryan Spencer: I don’t even know the name of what I smoke half the time. Girl Scout Cookie, that’s some powerful shit. There is this strain called ‘Uncle Steve” I get that’s pretty crazy.

MITM: Talk about the influence of marijuana on your new album.

Ryan Spencer: I remember playing a show in Colorado last year. We smoked a ton of weed; I think it was the highest I’ve ever been playing a show. Between bands they were blasting chopped and screwed music. I was high as hell in this hot ass room with really intense strobe lights…I started texting Adam: “Why don’t we listen to this music more?” “This is the kind of music we need to be making.” “Everything we’ve done up till now is useless in the face of this weed and chopped and screwed music.” That was an epiphany and we took it from there.

The Jamaican Queens perform May 2nd at New Dodge Lounge as part of Metrotimes Blowout. Download their massively praised debut album Wormfood then blaze a fatty and check out their trippy website JamaicanQueens.com

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