Alt-country outfit SUSTO reflect on bonds and LSD on new song “Hard Drugs” — listen

Band of Horses- and Lumineers-approved band previews its upcoming album

Sometimes friendships are a product of convenience or coincidence, and made stronger with concerted time and care. Then there are those that are forged through tribulation and a shared sense of suffering, and thus immediately built to last, like two pieces of metal melded together in the heat of a fire. Charleston alt-country outfit SUSTO are well-versed in the latter type of brawny bond, as it’s the focus of their latest single, “Hard Drugs”.

Honest and reflective, it’s a song about a harrowing emergency involving LSD and the way such incredibly vulnerable situations can not only bring people together, but also test the foundations of their relationships. “We took you to the urgent care, they turned us away/ You had an outstanding balance, we couldn’t pay/ You started crying,” frontman Justin Osborne recalls solemnly. Take a listen below.

In a statement to Consequence of Sound, Osborne offers up a full recount of that night, one that clearly has had a lasting impact on him and the rest of SUSTO:

“‘Hard Drugs’ is a song about friendship. This whole band, and all the stories within our songs have been born out of friendships and relationships. I moved to Charleston to get away from my past and to find new people to be around. I had turned away from religion, as had many of the people I found myself living with. That can be a difficult thing to do, if you were raised within a rigid belief system. A lot of us were in the same boat and lack of direction combined with a lack of real income led us towards substance abuse and addiction. It all sounds really dark in hindsight, but I actually remember these times fondly. We have all cleaned up mostly and the same friend group remains pretty tight knit, those of us who made it through those years together.

This song in particular is about one of my all time best friends. She is such a sweet and genuine person and we have lived our lives closely together. There was a time when she was seeing a guy that really disliked our group of friends, said we were a bad influence; maybe he was right about that in some ways, but we always had so much love for one another regardless of our bad habits. The guy was verbally abusive to her and it was hard to watch, so it caused contention. I wrote this song during that time when we weren’t seeing much of each other because I missed her a lot, we all did.

The subject matter I chose reflects on some experiences we had together as young adults. Specifically, the substance abuse we all dealt with (and still do), plus a traumatic medical emergency that happened to us one day on the way to the beach. We had all taken LSD the night before and were in a weird “day after” place when this situation arose. We stopped in for some food before hitting the beach and my friend went to the bathroom and never came out. Eventually we went in after her, realized something was terribly wrong and rushed her to an urgent care. She was bleeding a lot in the lobby but they wouldn’t see us because she had an outstanding balance and we were all to broke to pay it, even collectively. We cried together. Then we got in the car and drove towards the ER, it started pouring rain. We got there and they quickly found her a bed because she was bleeding so much. I vividly remember them moving her from the first bed and it being soaked in blood, I was scared, we all were. Eventually she was stabilized and everything was ok again, but needless to say we were all pretty shaken by the whole thing. It was a few months later that she started dating the aforementioned guy and we grew apart for a while, thats when I really started reflecting on our friendship and processing what happened…enabling me to write the lyrics for the song.

We are great friends again, and I’m so thankful for this person. She’s like my sister.”

“Hard Drugs” is taken from SUSTO’s upcoming album, & I’m Fine Today, due out January 13th via Missing Piece/Caroline. In support, the band — which has previously hit the road with Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Iron & Wine — will tour the US next year alongside the likes of The Lumineers and Shakey Graves. Find those dates beneath the “Hard Drugs” single artwork below.

“Hard Drugs” Single Artwork:


SUSTO 2016-2017 Tour Dates:
12/10 – Columbia, SC @ The Music Farm *
12/31 – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Music Hall ^
01/13 – Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre
01/14 – Wilmington, NC @ Bourgie Nights
01/17 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
01/18 – Baltimore, MD @ The 8×10
01/19 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
01/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
01/21 – Washington, DC @ DC9
01/24 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
01/25 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
01/26 – Portland, ME @ One Longfellow Square
01/27 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
01/28 – Northampton, MA @ The Parlor Room
01/30 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel
02/01 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
02/02 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
02/03 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
02/04 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern
02/06 – Appleton, WI @ Mill Creek
02/07 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
02/08 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
02/09 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
02/11 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
02/12 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
02/28 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theater #
03/01 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
03/02 – Sugarland, TX @ Smart Financial Theater #
03/03 – New Orleans, LA @ UNO Lakefront Arena #
03/04 – Mobile, AL @ Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
03/08 – Duluth, GA @ Infinite Energy Arena #
03/10 – Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse #
03/11 – Cleveland, OH @ Wolstein Center #
03/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Petersen Events Center #
03/16 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena #
03/18 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre #
03/19 – Quebec City, QC @ Videotron Centre #
03/21 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre #
03/22 – London, ON @ RBC Theatre #
03/24 – Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena #
03/25 – Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Bradley Center #
03/28 – Winnipeg, SK @ MTS Centre #
03/30 – Saskatoon, SK @ SasTel Centre #
03/31 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place #

* = w/ Futurebirds
^ = w/ Shakey Graves
# = w/ The Lumineers


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