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Curved Papers

Obama Notes Santana's 'Altered State' at Woodstock

Carlos Santana at Woodstock in 1969: "So I said, ’Hey, I think I’ll take some psychedelics.’"

In his remarks at the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, Pres. Obama reminded the audience that honoree Carlos Santana "thought the neck of his guitar was an electric snake" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 (see ciip below).

Clearly, this was a tripping reference. Obama, a member of the so-called Choom Gang of stoners when he grew up in Hawaii, should know.

Here's the full quote:

“When a 22-year-old Carlos Santana took the stage at Woodstock, few people outside his hometown of San Francisco knew who he was. And the feeling was mutual. Carlos was in such a - shall we say - altered state of mind that he remembers almost nothing about the other performers. (Laughter and applause.) He thought the neck of his guitar was an electric snake. (Laughter.)"

Santana has previously said he dropped mescaline the day of the big show. "When we first got there, around 11 in the morning, they told us we weren't going on until eight," he explained. "So I said, 'Hey, I think I'll take some psychedelics, and by the time I'm coming down, it'll be time to go onstage and I'll feel fine.' But when I was peaking around two o'clock, somebody said, 'If you don't go right now, you're not gonna go on.'"

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.