Being meaningfully creative on a regular basis is hard. Duh. Not being creative when you really want to be is even worse; art failure is heart failure, as they say. Perhaps this is why artists, musicians, writers, and, OK, humans create rituals designed to unleash that very special thing we know is in us somewhere. That beautiful noise that has no sound or that image that knows no words is curled up tight in the hideout at the backs of our brains while we wish it would just reveal itself in a communicable form. Summoning the rock gods to inspire the music within us can be quite the task—after talking to several bands, it seems the roads to creativity may involve rituals that range from the scientific to the wildly superstitious.

It’s rumored that Billy Corgan had a rule that his banddudes were not allowed to have sex on the day of a show, and for good reason—letting go of that load means lower energy levels for guys. Women, on the other hand, have reported feeling more energized and creative postorgasm. A certain Chicago musician inspires lyrics by jumping up and down for hours while listening to mixes through headphones, thus inducing the production of endorphins, which boost creativity. “It is conducive to vivid image creation,” he says. Similarly, my song ideas come to me while I’m walking and nowhere near my instruments. That makes sense, I guess—the scientists say that your brain chemistry changes after you walk two miles.