Album cover for the 2012 edition.
|Studio album by Sleep|
|Released|| 1998 (Jerusalem)|
2012 (Dopesmoker Reissue)
|Recorded||1996 at Record Two Studio in Comptche, California|
|Genre||Stoner Metal, Doom Metal|
|Length|| 52:08 (Jerusalem)|
73:07 (2003 Dopesmoker)
75:09 (2012 Dopesmoker)
|Label|| Rise Above Records|
The Music Cartel
Tee Pee Records
Southern Lord Records
|Producer||Sleep and Billy Anderson|
| Sleep's Holy Mountain |
| Dopesmoker |
2012 (Dopesmoker Reissue))
| The Clarity |
Notable for it's mythos and being a single song spanning sixty-three minutes and thirty-four seconds, Dopesmoker is considered a seminal release in the stoner/doom metal scenes.
Development and RecordingEdit
After positive reviews from the heavy metal press and the release of the album Sleep's Holy Mountain (1993) on Earache Records, Sleep's label announced that they would release their follow-up record. Sleep had been touring in Europe with Cathedral and in the United States with Nik Turner's Hawkwind in support of Sleep's Holy Mountain when the group felt they had to write new material. The new album was going to be an hour-long song. This song was written and practiced at sound checks, motel rooms and in friends' houses. Matt Pike said the songwriting process was long and that they were "working on [the song] for like four years. We also had two other songs that were working on that were really long, too—like 15 and 20 minutes. But we never recorded them." Al Cisneros stated that smoking cannabis was important to the song's creative process: "I was really dependent on the space I got into when I was using it, and some of the lyrics are about that...The line, 'Drop out of life [with bong in hand],' was kind of a creed at that point." The song was originally known and performed live under the title Dopesmoker around that time in 1994. After their tour, the group began to be interested in a Middle Eastern desert theme which led to Sleep referring to the song as Jerusalem during later practice sessions.
In an interview with Willamette Week, Billy Anderson talks about the process the band had in composing Dopesmoker:
|“|| “I think when they got back from touring with Cathedral in Europe they were talking about this new thing they were writing. It was not too long after Holy Mountain. Al, in his cryptic language, would be all, "Dude, this new thing—flight, weed, 12th." Basically that song is an homage to the 12th fret of the guitar.
They had names for the riffs, like "Blackened," "Reversed Flight," "Hotel Room." We'd get a version of it, we'd cross it off a dry erase board, and then I'd be like, "Maybe we should try an alternate version of that section," with a different feel or whatever. We would go to my house and play with different ways to arrange. We had at least 10 reels of 2-inch tape. Some of those reels had 10 or 15 edits in them. But then, they're only 17 minutes long. So we didn't actually hear it as an entire song until well after it was mixed. It was like going to math class.
[On Al's lyrics]That's what came out as Jerusalem [an edited version of Dopesmoker released in 1999]. Al got all religious. By the end of the recording of the Dopesmoker thing, we would finish recording for the day, and they would sit around a candle and [Al] would read passages from the Bible. It went from this anthem about smoking weed to this anthem about caravans of Jesus people going across the desert. The lyrics changed from like a weed song to this religious thing about "Hashishians." In fact, Al was still writing a lot of the lyrics as he was singing them. He'd be like, three days later, "Dude, I wanna punch in this one word. Instead of something, I want it to say 'Golgotha.'" It was really important to him to have these words convey this certain thing which I still don't even know. Somehow, Jesus was a pothead, I guess.”
— Billy Anderson, Willamette Week 
London Records and JerusalemEdit
Sleep were ready to record the album in 1995 but did not record it until 1996 as the band was still contracted with Earache. Cisneros said that there was "about a year and half of legal wrangling between their managers and lawyers at Earache" and that Earache owner Digby Pearson "waited to make the most prime conditions for himself before he let [Sleep's] contract [go]." Sleep were in talks with both London Records and Elektra Records to release their next album. They chose to sign to London, as they were promised complete artistic freedom and more money, and since the label did not have any metal bands, Sleep felt they would receive special treatment. The members of Sleep were poor, and used the majority of money they received from London Records to cover for the debt they were in at that time.
The song was recorded at Record Two Studio in Comptche, California. While recording the song, it began to develop differently from the original vision. Pike stated that the "song was getting slower and slower and then it got weird. We started tripping out and second guessing ourselves." Pike recalled in the recording process that "there was so much to memorize for that album, and we had to do it in like three different sections because a reel-to-reel only holds 22 minutes. It was really cool, but it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in in my life." Sleep were in the studio for one month then went home to rehearse and returned for another month. Pike noted that they ended up with two or three different versions of the song. Producer Billy Anderson maintains he has the unmastered mixes that has never been properly released in any capacity.
Within a few weeks of signing with London, the A&R member who was negotiating with Sleep had been transferred and replaced. After sending the finished album to London Records, the label told Sleep that they were not going to release the album in its current format. London Records had David Sardy remix the album (To the dismay of Anderson) but the label were still confused as to what to do with the album. Sleep refused to have the album released in any edited form which led to a deadlock between London and the band. The members of Sleep have mixed feelings whether the album should have been released in general. Cisneros felt it should not have been released while Pike was content with its release, saying "We did all the work so why leave it sitting around?". Ultimately, despite promo cassettes (Which were also enclosed with a VHS with the "Dragonaut" music video) and CDs being made in 1996, London Records ultimately declined to release the album at all. Eventually the album's non-release among personal tension between band members led to Sleep's dissolution in 1997.
Sometime before the band's dissolution, Sleep grew tired of waiting on London Records and opted to self-release it unofficially in 1998 with artwork by Arik Roper. In late 1998 and January 1999 respectively, Rise Above Records and The Music Cartel would issue an official version of Jerusalem with identical audio to that of the unofficial release. The version enclosed here has the song bridged into a six-part song rather than one full piece. The band themselves aren't too fond of this version, with Billy Anderson refusing to acknowledge it.
The 2003 Edition of DopesmokerEdit
In 2003, Tee Pee Records announced that they would be re-releasing Sleep's Jerusalem under it's original title Dopesmoker. The version of the album titled Dopesmoker was released on April 22, 2003 by Tee Pee Records on compact disc and vinyl with a 63-minute running time, new mastering from the original tapes and new artwork by Arik Roper. Cisneros spoke positively about the 2003 Dopesmoker release, saying "I don't think the Dopesmoker thing is the exact version that we submitted, but that's the closest one that's come out of the four. If I had to pick a favorite, that would be it." A shortened instrumental version of the song (Cut down to 3:29) were used in the film Broken Flowers by Jim Jarmusch. Jarmusch stated that he was a fan of Sleep and listed them along with Earth and Sunn O))) as an influence for creating the film.
The songs aren't directly credited anywhere on the CD or vinyl versions. As a bonus, a previously unreleased and unrecorded live version of the song Sonic Titan is presented after Dopesmoker finishes. While some sites list it as a live-in-the-studio track, it actually culls from a live recording when Sleep played at 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley on 17 October 1992. Portions of "Sonic Titan" along with another unrecorded song known as "Hot Lava Man" were worked into sections of Dopesmoker.
The 2012 Edition of DopesmokerEdit
In March 2012, Southern Lord Records announced plans for a deluxe reissue of the album, adding of the pending release that "The audio is clearer, louder, and at last brings a true representation of Sleep's hour-plus Weedian chronicle". The reissue features new artwork by the band's artist Arik Roper, a recording mastered from the original studio tapes by From Ashes Rise guitarist Brad Boatright, and a live version of the song "Holy Mountain", recorded at the I-Beam in San Francisco in 1994. This version of the album reached number 14 on the Top Heatseekers chart.
The live version of Holy Mountain stems from a live performance on 28 May 1994. Sonic Titan from the 2003 reissue also appears, albeit only in the vinyl, cassette and japanese 2CD versions.
The 2012 version is also notable for containing a "riff-chart" the band used in the process of recording along with live photos from the 90s. The "Morris" riff as named after Iron Man guitarist Al Morris III while "Iommi's Vault" towards the end is named for Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, a musician the band idolizes.
The vinyl pressings from the Southern Lord edition are as follows, 2000 of the initial pressing having holographic jackets. All vinyl editions can be sourced at Discogs
- 7 May 2012 - Green Translucent vinyl (x3500)
- 7 May 2012 - Picture Disc (1000; 500 via SL mailorder, 500 via the band for live shows.)
- 7 May 2012 - Black vinyl (x1500)
- 7 May 2012 - Clear vinyl (x2000; European distribution exclusive)
- 7 May 2012 - Purple vinyl (x4000)
- October 2012 - Translucent Blue vinyl with holofoil jacket (x1000)
- 2013 - Clear vinyl w/ Green Haze (x1000)
- 2013 - Green and Purple swirl (Indica) (x2600)
- 2013 - Green Cassette (x1000)
- 2013 - Brown, Black and Tan swirl (Hasheeshian) (x2000)
- 2014 - Black vinyl (x3000)
- 2014 - Green/Black Splatter vinyl (x4000)
- 2015 - Green/Purple mix (Sativa) (x3000)
- April 18, 2015 - Picture Disc (Second Press) (x2000)
- 2016 - Black Vinyl (x????)
- 2016 - Transparent Green Vinyl (x????)
- 2016 - Clear/Green, Green/Black Splatter (x????; made on overages.)
- 2016 - Opaque Green (x????)
- 2017 - Orange Swirl & Light Blue (x420; Newbury Comics Exclusive)
- 2017 - Transparent Green (x????)
- 2018 - Silver (X300; Southern Lord 20th Anniversary Release)
- 2018 - Cassette Reissue
- 2018 - "Cornetto" (x500; Silver/Green Vinyl with Holographic Jacket)
- 2018 - Hazy Light Brown (x500; Holographic Jacket, Newbury Comics Exclusive)
- 2018 - Hazy Translucent Green (x1500; Holographic Jacket, Indie Retail Exclusive)
- 2018 - Black Vinyl (x300; Holographic Jacket)
- 2019 - Orange Translucent Vinyl (x1000)
- 2020 - Black Vinyl (Unknown Amount)
- 2020 - Clear Green Vinyl (Unknown Amount)
Dopesmoker started appearing in live form sometime around 1994. Typically the song would be performed with most of its sections in a 21 ~ 25 minute span. Because of this the band's sets at the time would only comprise of two or three songs, the other songs mainly being tunes from Sleep's Holy Mountain.
In 2009 when the band performed its reunion shows in England two short sections of Dopesmoker were placed into the set along with the entirety of Sleep's Holy Mountain and unrecorded song Antartican's Thawed.
Since 2010, Sleep have worked parts of Dopesmoker into their setlist, mainly the early sections and closing the set with the "Cultivator" section (Though some setlists also list an "Improved Morris" section as well.). Hank Williams III had also been known to cover portions this song live with his "Attention Defecit Domination" set along with the Sleep song "Holy Mountain".
- 1. "Jerusalem" – 9:26
- 2. "Jerusalem" – 8:26
- 3. "Jerusalem" – 9:01
- 4. "Jerusalem" – 10:28
- 5. "Jerusalem" – 5:45
- 6. "Jerusalem" – 9:03
- 1. "Dopesmoker" – 63:31
- 2. "Sonic Titan (live)" – 9:36
- 1. "Dopesmoker" – 63:34
- 2. "Holy Mountain (live)" – 11:35
- 3. "Sonic Titan (live)" – 9:17*
NOTE: Sonic Titan was a bonus track on the vinyl and cassette editions of Dopesmoker. Notably, the Daymare Recordings issue of the album in Japan featured Dopesmoker on one disc and both live tracks on a separate disc.
- Sleep – Producer
- Billy Anderson - Producer, Engineer
- David Sardy - Remixing
- Philp Hayward – Assistant Engineer
- Doug Henderson – Assistant Engineer
- Fred Kervorkian – Editing
- Adam Muñoz – Assistant Engineer
- Arik Roper - Artwork (Bootleg edition only)
- Sleep – Producer, Liner Notes, Riff Chart
- Billy Anderson – Producer, Engineer
- Mark Keaton – Mastering
- Arik Roper – Artwork
- Drunken Monkey - Layout
- Sleep – Producer, Liner Notes, Riff Chart
- Billy Anderson – Producer, Engineer
- Brad Boatright – Mastering
- Arik Roper – Artwork
- ↑ Willamette Week Move That Dope, accessed 27 March 2018
- ↑ Willamette Week
- ↑ DiscogsAccessed 3 September 2016
- ↑ Setlist.fmAccessed 3 September 2016
- ↑ The PrpAccessed 3 September 2016
- ↑ Setlist.fmAccessed 3 September 2016.
- ↑ DiscogsAccessed 3 September 2016
|Current Members||Al Cisneros • Matt Pike • Jason Roeder|
|Past Members||Chris Hakius • Justin Marler|
|Albums||Volume One • Sleep's Holy Mountain • Jerusalem • Dopesmoker • The Sciences|
|Live Albums||Sleep Live at Third Man Records|
|Extended Plays & Singles||Volume Two • The Clarity • Leagues Beneath|
|Associated Bands and Artists||Asbestosdeath • Dejection, Unclean • Om • High on Fire • Neurosis • Kalas • The Sabians • Shrinebuilder • Denver Colorado 09.05.10 • Billy Anderson • Arik Roper • David V. D'andrea|