Artificial Red

Album: Above (1994)
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Songfacts®:

  • One theory is that this song is about Methadone, which is a pink/reddish color. Layne Staley may have either entertained getting on, or actually got on a Methadone program.

    "Artificial Red, smoke, poison consumed in the house of ill repute": Methadone clinics are filled with cigarette smokers, they are dirty, and they are not non-profit. They want people to believe they are helping, and to some degree they are, but they are in business to make money, and they don't want you to leave. They let you take your "dose" up as high as you like, and it's miserable go back down. Layne could have seen this and likened it to the clinic whoring out the methadone, hence the "House of Ill Repute."

    "Is this the way I spend my days in recovery of a fatal disease?": Methadone patients have to come to the clinic everyday, stand in line (which is sometimes for a long time), are submitted UA's and are generally miserable.

    "Alone, untouched is what I crave": This could indicate that this methadone idea wasn't his, maybe he's doing it for other people. Maybe he just wants to sit at home, continue doing heroin, and be left alone.

    "Is this the place I search for Love? When my need is within my, a gift from above.": His "need within" was his craving for heroin, he probably thinks he was born that way, hence "gift from above." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kevin - Portland, OR

Comments: 9

  • Ricky from Cleveland TnCan totally relate. Did heroin for over 30 years. It was my life. Towards the end, a quack doctor I was a pro at finding prescribed me. 80 mgs of Methadone a day. The wafers. By this time I was completely out of hustle and thought my ship had finally come in. I would control it. Yeah, right. In a matter of a couple months I was eating 400 mg a day. The script would be gone in days and back to the hustle for dope. I went on script day to get my refill and the doc got shut down by the DEA. A woman doc was there instead and I knew right away what went down. She told me that she'd write me ONE MORE script and told me about a new drug called Suboxone.. She told me I was a prime candidate for it and told me if I was interested to come to my next appointment in withdrawal. I'll tell you this much for a fact. I kicked heroin in jail ac few times and it was rough
    But NOTHING compared to Methadone. The worst kick of my life bar none. I went on the Suboxone and was on it for 10 years. Had to come off that to and it a long lasting withdrawal. Like Methadone but not nearly as acute. 30+ years I wasted. Trust me man. If you ever have the chance to try Dope and you're anything like me...DON'T. I first tried it at 15 years old and loved it the first time. From there it was a long, slow decent. Doing things and ending up places I never thought I would. It's a dark lonely road. Tell you that. Many friends are gone. I remember saying many times I couldn't imagine my life without narcotics. And I couldn't. It was over 30 years of hustle every single day. And BTW. I know many people who tried the Methadone as a way out. Most are dead now or still on it. In my experience it makes it worse....not better.
  • Ashley from Baton RougeActually layne wasn't sober through mad season at all. Him and mark lanegan were both on dope. You can see it on the concert at the Moore hes wearing fingerless gloves for a reason. Mike McCready was trying to be a positive influence on him as he just got clean from rehab. But sadly it did not work. He was high during the concert. And he had been from then on until he died
  • Matt from Boston, MaSad to say but any ex dope fiend of junkbox has probably heard many of the lines, versus, ideas said by Layne throughout his recovery and throughout Mad Season; it's why AIC/Layne/Mad Season was followed/adored by so many junkies/ex-junkies. for those of us who have been in and out of rehab, meetings, programs, etc, we've all heard these lines, ideas, thoughts a million times. as mentioned, riding the PINK CLOUD is known in RECOVERY; it's like when you first start your methadone or suboxone you are ON TOP; you are CLEAN, you are OFF DRUGS, you get the initial RUSH of being "clean". then you eventually become "normal" even w/ your typical dosing, and the PINK CLOUD TURNS TO GRAY! KNOWN thing in RECOVERY! Mad Season aside ,Layne during Junkhead could NOT BE MORE STRAIGHT FORWARD!
  • Mazzy from Colorado, CoLayne was clean during the 'Above' album, and 'Dirt' with AIC. Artificial Red is Methadone, and the really struggle within the song, as many of his songs, is him 12 stepping through recovery. 'Smoke, Poison, Consume'...even though he was going clean, at least what you can while still taking methadone, he was smoking and drinking. And, when 12 stepping...smoking cigs not a big deal, alcohol is a big no-no.

    "pink clould turned to gray"...is actually a term within rehab...you come in on a 'pink cloud' thinking you've not destroyed anything within your life and addiction...as you go through the process and start getting clean you realize it's the opposite...hence, it goes 'your pink cloud turns to gray'.
  • Justin from A Place, CtThis group is much more well read and intelligent than the people who commented on River of Deciet and Wake Up
  • Dyanne from Boston, MaAs, a recovering Heroin addict I can tell, that alot of people making comments really don't "get it". I think it's admirable to try, but....
    Layne's family was and always has been there for him ! In life and in death. Go check out the Layne Staley Fund web site.
  • Justin from Franklin, VaWell ive read alot bout and studied Staley and he did enter a methadone clinic and I think he did it more than once. It never really worked because it is said you need tons of family support and they need to be there in person for it to work and all his family did was send a card every now and then. It is also said Methadone was once put under review due to some believing it was more addicting than heroin.
  • Ryan from Plano, TxThe whole "pink cloud turning to gray" bit was used in the Alice in Chains song "Angry Chair", in a slightly reworded form, a few years earlier.
  • Kevin from Portland , OrOne more thing I thought of. "On a cloud of Pink has turned to gray, and I'm alone again". When you enter a Methodone Clinic, they give you a dose that will make you feel high (they tell you it's because they don't want you to go out and use other opiates on top of the methadone) But, after a while, your body develops a tolerance to the Methadone, and you don't feel any euphoria anymore. I think that's what Layne was saying here. Methadone felt great for a few days (like riding "on a cloud of pink"), then his body adjusted, and he felt sober and "alone again".
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