Traveling with your stash can be challenging. When your stash is your muse, as well as your remedy, networking from town to town becomes a given. Thankfully, cannabis is the world’s most beloved and commonly used beneficial plant on the planet, and even in illegal states, there are little stashes to be found everywhere.
Levitation Room has lived its young life on the road. Cannabis partakers since high school, the plant is part of who they are, infused into the lyrics of love song, Cosmic Flower, from its debut album, Ethos.
Cosmic Flower, tell me why
Your faded love keeps me satisfied
Floating around on a constant cloud
But I’m never coming down
The lyrics were penned by Julian Porte for the band that seems to be channeling an exquisitely orchestrated ’60s psychedelic rock sound.
Porte and longtime friend, Gabriel Fernandez, grew up as punks in Los Angeles. They were eventually inspired by the sounds of the ’60s and beyond, with Porte sharing that that’s when they learned to actually play their instruments well.
“When we started looking into what inspired punk rockers, that puts you into music from the ’60s – and that leads you to folk, blues, and jazz,” he explained from a rest stop somewhere in Arizona. “All this music was influenced by weed. The first time Gabriel and I smoked and listened to Reggae – Tuff Gong, Marley – it was a revelation.”
Porte said their music is a combination of everything they’ve ever been inspired by, with all the pieces coming together for their unique, yet vintage sound.
The title of their first album, Ethos, was chosen purposefully, after learning that the Greeks used the word to describe the power of music to influence the emotions, behaviors, and morals.
They’ve toured for three years with Ethos, and just released their sophomore effort, Headspace, on October 4. Headspace is an equally groovy compilation, with a trippy video to its Polydactyl Cat album opener, detailing a day in the life of a man-sized hip cat on a bad trip.
Touted as an East LA psychedelic rock band from its label, Burger Records, all four members grew up in Los Angeles, with Gabriel Fernandez the band’s founder on guitar/vocals (31); Julian Porte, also guitar/vocals (33); Jonathan Martin, on drums (29); and (another) John Martin on bass/vocals (31).
Porte and Fernandez met when they were 15 and 17 years old, respectively, shortly after Porte ran away from home as a rebellious, angst-filled punk-rocker.
“My father is a conservative Christian,” Porte shared. “I ran away because of all the rules he had for me, but we are good today. My mom is my best friend – shout out to my mom! She smokes every now and then – it helps her sleep and calms her emotions, because she’s going through menopause. My dad is great – we’ve found a middle ground. I’m grateful.”
They’ve toured solidly throughout the states, with three European and UK tours under their belts to date. And everywhere they’ve been, they’ve been able to medicate and recreate, thanks to social media and a loyal fan base.
“We don’t carry if we are in an illegal state,” Julian advised. “We are respectful of the rules, but when we post we are coming to a certain town on one of our social media platforms, fans will show up offering their appreciation. They aren’t just are fans, they are our tribe.”
Stash on the Road
The band stopped on the road and took photos of what a typical stash looks like, albeit, with one stand-out: an apple.
From an article in OC Weekly, Porte admits, “I know people get tired of hearing it, because it’s so typical, but the Beatles are my greatest influence.”
“Anything from Abbey Road to Rubber Soul, that’s where our heads are at,” Porte added.
Hence the apple, but the plot thickens, as Porte expounds on the additional significance, “We also like to smoke out of apples – and you can eat it when you are finished. It’s good for you.”
With a nod to how difficult it is to eat healthy on the road, it’s also a tip on being paraphernalia-free while crossing state lines from legal to non-legal states, and so on. Hence the pre-rolls and papers for joints on the go.
Always aware of the plant’s medicinal properties, Porte shares, “For me, I love cannabis because it relieves a lot of stress – on the road, in life. After I eat I sometimes have stomach pains, but when I smoke the pain is gone in less than five minutes, and my stomach feels fine.”
It’s apropos to have Porte’s guitar in the stash, as well as guitar picks in their stash box, as he says smoking weed has gone hand-in-hand with learning to play the guitar well.
“It’s helpful in the creative process,” he explained. “Time flies by, as I can practice for hours – it’s enjoyable, not a chore. Even though we’ve played our songs hundreds of times, weed can make everything new again. It’s definitely a muse.”
Drummer, Jon Martin, adds, “I like to get really high and put on a record really loud, and play it from start to finish! You can hear every detail, every chord – especially with a vinyl.”
Favorite papers are the classic orange Zig-Zag, or Randy’s, the paper with the built-in wire-turned roach clip from the ’70s.
To be honest, Porte said the boys in the band aren’t picky about what flower they medicate with. But, while in California, the band’s go-to is a cultivar called Old Pal, ground and ready to roll.
“Sometimes weed these days can be a bit strong and can end up giving us anxiety, or make us feel overwhelmingly introspective,” he surmised. “Old Pal’s hybrid is our favorite, because it’s a really mellow high. It’s nice to catch a chill buzz and still be able to socialize and engage in normal, routine activity, without the world melting around you – while you’re stuck in the prison of your own mind.”
Stuck in a prison of your own mind – while the world melts around you. Sounds like a stash gone terribly wrong. Could be a righteous riff from this hip band’s next album. In the meantime, this writer will roll-up another one, with headphones firmly on and the volume turned up high – getting into my own Headspace, in my own Levitation Room. Thanks, guys.