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Documentary Director Ken Burns Discusses His Use of Psychedelic Drugs

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Most people probably assume that documentary director Ken Burns is a straight-laced guy. After all, you wouldn’t expect someone who spends his days filming National Parks or chronicling the lives of The Roosevelts to spend his off-hours partying like an 80s hair metal band. But there was a time when Burns let his wild side run amok, and he even dabbled with psychedelics like mescaline.

Oh, I’ve had some wonderful times,” he recalled in a recent interview with Pitchfork. I remember once on mescaline. I had got off work, and we were heading to a park. I got there around noon, and [after the mescaline kicked in] I said, Man, I told my dad I’d be back there by 8. I gotta go home.’ And they said, Man, it’s 12:35.’ ”

But he doesn’t partake in psychedelics anymore. I’m done,” Burns said with chagrin.

Burns also offered a passionate defense of flag burning and discussed his upcoming documentary project, which tells the history of country music. Check out the full interview above.

Banner Image: University of Mount Union/​Flickr

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