New Dawn at High Times

Paul Krassner just emailed to let me know Chris Simunek has been named Editor-in-Chief of High Times, the first person to hold that position since I left the post over two years ago. Truthfully, High Times has struggled since Richard Stratton led an ill-fated retreat away from marijuana content eight years ago. Hopefully, Chris will return High Times to her former glory, when the magazine was the official record of arts, literature, history and spirituality of the counterculture (and not just a magazine for teaching people how to grow pot).

We probably met at a D Generation concert in some dive bar on the Lower East Side, a universe that doesn’t exist anymore. Michael Wildwood wanted me to read Chris’s book about a janitor who watches Godzilla attack Manhattan. The book was a comic masterpiece, yet it still lacks a publisher. Chris should put this up on smashwords asap.

The first assignment I gave Chris (after I hired him based on his writing ability) was to go undercover in a pot recovery program. During the week, Chris called his sponsor to let him know if he planned to take a toke. The rest of us would sit around and howl with laughter listening to the sponsor plead with Chris to stay straight and not take that next toke.

Chris almost got killed in Jamaica while on assignment, that was the scary story. But my favorite story was his account of the Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico. It was obviously his first taste of hardcore hippie culture and he never connected, being a lifelong New Yorker, but it remains one of the funniest stories High Times ever published.


Author: Steven Hager

I'm a writer, journalist, filmmaker and event producer.

4 thoughts on “New Dawn at High Times”

  1. Good Luck Chris!
    yes I remember Chris at the Rainbow Gathering that year he was so sick with hippie flu and such he really got a dose of Rainbow.. Blessings for Chris

  2. “…when the magazine was the official record of arts, literature, history and spirituality of the counterculture (and not just a magazine for teaching people how to grow pot).”

    Yeah, too bad this culture doesn’t exist anymore, and if it does (somewhere) those people are old, burnt and too poor to even buy a rag. But you’re right, Steve. The magazine was much better when cocaine, acid and crazy sex pervaded the pages. Ah, things change. Times change. I believe it is 2012 now.

    1. That’s right big Dick, when people get older, their culture dies and they become meaningless. Because only the young count for anything, right? Not really. I kicked the coke out of High Times. At the time, the mag was about to go under. Then I returned the magazine to where Tom Forcade had it originally (before the coke took over) and the magazine soared. Back then HT published groundbreaking stories on counterculture history and politics and culture. You don’t see those sorts of features much anymore. But I can tell you aren’t listening to me, so go back to your prejudices and please don’t grow old and meaningless like the rest of us.

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