Thank you thank you thank you, Guthrie Thomas, and Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt, for the beautiful, cool Willie Nelson Rolling Stone guitar picks! So cool! A magazine cover on both sides.
photo: Erika Godring
by Kory GrowIn his Rolling Stone cover story, Willie Nelson said that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was welcome on his bus to get high properly “anytime” after reading her account of a bad experience with a marijuana-infused candy bar. Dowd took him up on the offer and penned her Sunday Review op-ed column about how welcoming and enlightening Nelson was, calling him her “marijuana Miyagi.”
“The same thing that happened to you happened to me one or two times when I was not aware of how much strength was in whatever I was eating,” Nelson told her. “One time, I ate a bunch of cookies that, I knew they were laced but I didn’t worry about it. I just wanted to see what it would do, and I overdid it, naturally, and I was laying there, and it felt like the flesh was falling off my bones.
“Honestly, I don’t do edibles,” he continued. “I’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, because I don’t enjoy the high that the body gets. Although I realize there’s a lot of other people who have to have it that way, like the children that they’re bringing to Colorado right now for medical treatments. Those kids can’t smoke. So for those people, God bless ‘em, we’re for it.”
“I thought the article was great,” Nelson tells Rolling Stone. “Pretty funny.”
In his Rolling Stone interview, Nelson had said that, after Dowd’s bad trip, “maybe she’ll read the label now.” In her column, Dowd wrote, “Nelson humored me as I also pointed out that the labels last winter did not feature the information that would have saved me from my night of dread.” (New labeling laws have since been passed in both of the states where weed is legal, Colorado and Washington.)
Elsewhere in the column, Nelson explained why he had started smoking weed in the first place. “I found out that pot is the best thing for me because I needed something to slow me down a little bit,” Nelson told Dowd. Referring to his past as a “mean drunk,” to use Dowd’s phrasing, he also said that if he had continued to drink heavily, “there’s no telling how many people I would have killed by now.”
Additionally, the country singer shrugged off California Governor Jerry Brown’s claim that America’s superiority would be threatened if everyone indulged in marijuana and humored a question about a time when he allegedly smoked a joint on the roof of the White House, during the Carter administration. “It happened a long time ago,” he said. “I’m sure it happened.”
As for possibly smoking pot in the Lincoln bedroom, Nelson told Dowd, “I wouldn’t do anything Lincoln would have done.”
Willie Nelson has a great little song called “Me and Paul” that he sang last night at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. “Almost busted in Laredo for reasons that I’d rather not disclose,” Nelson warbled. It was one of the highlights of a fun night that began with hanging out on Nelson’s bus.
Believe it or not, I’d never been on the bus until last night. Every time I tried in the past there was always some reason why I couldn’t get on. One night in Austin it was because Jessica Simpson and a few other celebs were on the bus.
My friendship with Willie Nelson dates back to when I worked at High Times. In 1990, he campaigned for pro-marijuana candidate for Kentucky governor Gatewood Galbraith. A team of us drove from New York to catch Nelson touring around the state with Galbraith, a tall lawyer who loved to remind people about Kentucky’s long history with hemp. I conducted the interview that became a cover story and Nelson’s second appearance on the magazine’s cover.
Several years later, I produced a benefit album for NORML called Hempilation. We weren’t able to track down Nelson for the first album, which came out in 1995. That one did so well we decided to do a sequel. Willie had to be on it.
One day I received a phone call in the High Times office from Willie Nelson. We’d sent him a Christmas and he called to say thank you. That’s the kind of guy Willie is. While I had him on the phone I asked him if he’d like to be o Hempilation. He said yes and suggested it include a version of “Me and Paul.” A few months later, his management sent us a live version, which ended up on the album.
Cut to 2009. By that time I’d left High Times and started CelebStoner. In December, Willie got arrested for marijuana possession in Texas. I sent him an email asking for a comment. He wrote back:
“There’s the Tea Party. How about the Teapot Party? Our motto: We lean a little to the left. Tax it, regulate it and legalize it. And stop the border wars over drugs. Why should the drug lords make all the money? Thousands of lives will be saved.”
The Teapot Party primarily exists as a forum on Facebook. The page now has 120k likes. The main focus behind the party, as Willie further explained in another email, “is to vote in people who believe the way we do and vote out the ones who don’t.”
Around that time, NORML rep Chris Goldstein began to help out with our nascent project. It’s been pretty much me, Chris and Willie pushing the Teapot Party’s pro-legalization agenda ever since.
So when Chris asked me if I wanted to take a ride down from New York to see Willie in Atlantic City on Sept. 19, I jumped at the chance. The last time the three of us spent any time together was at Farm Aid two years ago in Hershey. But this time Chris had a specific request: He wanted to interview Willie for NORML’s new publication, Freedom Leaf, which hired him as associate editor. I sent Willie a note and he responded, “Come on.” Willie’s tour manager John Selman took over from there. He left us tickets and wristbands, and greeted us at the backstage door. We were about to go on the bus.
The door swung open and we hopped aboard. Willie was in the back area, not yet visible to us. His usual seat in a booth facing the driver was vacant. On the table was a Mac Book. There was no noticeable smell of marijuana. In a minute or so, Willie walked in, greeted us warmly and took his seat. Willie’s not a tall man. He’s slight at 5-foot, 6-inches and weighs probably less than 140 pounds. His hair was set in his trademark braids, and his face had a reddish, healthy glow.
Read article, see more photos here:
by Scott Waltman
Willie Nelson will step onto the stage tonight at the Brown County Fair as an undisputed legend of American music who has released more than 200 albums, 15 of which have topped the charts.
He’s a seven-time Grammy winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
He’s the writer of Patsy Cline’s smash “Crazy” as well as many of his own hits, including “On the Road Again” and “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time.”
He’s sold more than 40 million albums in his home country alone.
He’s recorded with Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Paul Simon, Sinead O’Connor, Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings, Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Sheryl Crow and countless others.
He’s sold Bibles, spent a stretch in the Air Force and been in trouble with the law for failure to pay taxes and lay off marijuana.
He’s a fifth-degree black belt in the martial art of GongKwon Yusu and sometimes lives in a green community in Hawaii in a home that gets its energy from solar panels.
And he’s a vocal advocate of rural America, family farms and biofuels, issues that bind him to the residents of the corn-covered Dakota prairies almost as much as his iconic music.
Chuck Beck, director of communications for the Sioux Falls-based American Collation for Ethanol, said it’s nice for the biofuel and ethanol industry to have a proponent as popular as Nelson.
“It’s very helpful when you have advocates like Willie Nelson who have a broad stage and are well-known throughout the world and can talk about their (support) of biofuels,” Beck said.
The ethanol industry would like to expand in southern markets, in places such as Texas, Alabama and Louisiana, where country music is king. Nelson’s chatter about biofuels could be a boon to that endeavor, Beck said.
In 2012, under an agreement between Nelson and Pacific Biodiesel, a biofuel called BioWillie was made available at a retail pump in Maui, Hawaii. A previous Nelson-themed biofuel endeavor wasn’t particularly successful, but it didn’t cool Nelson’s support.
“Biodiesel seems to answer a lot of our prayers,” Nelson wrote in his 2007 book “On the Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and the Future of the Family Farm.”
“Not only can it help the U.S. economy, our unwanted dependence on foreign oil and the gasping environment, it could also help the family farmers out of this tragic dilemma they have found themselves in through no fault of their own,” he wrote.
“We hope his endorsement doesn’t go up in smoke,” Beck quipped.
Ah, yes. Consider that an acknowledgement of Nelson’s vocal support of the legalization of marijuana — a cash crop, of sorts.
While South Dakota will likely be one of the last states to ease marijuana laws, 21 states and the District of Columbia have, as of April 22, legalized pot in some way, mostly for medical use, according to the websitegoverning.com. It reports that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
Not a big drinker nowadays, Nelson doesn’t hide the fact that he regularly smokes marijuana.
“Cigarettes killed my mother, my dad, half my family, so don’t tell me about health when you’re talking about legalizing marijuana, because it’s not dangerous health-wise. I’m the canary in the mine, and I’m still healthy. Had I stayed with alcohol, I would have been dead or in prison somewhere today,” he said in a 2012 story published in The Guardian.
Nelson is also commonly quoted talking about the health benefits of medical marijuana and how legalizing pot could be a revenue stream for the government.
That might not be the type of talk that will garner tons of favor with South Dakota farmers and ranchers. But as a founder of Farm Aid, Nelson’s ag credibility is safe. And it’s not lost on ag-industry organizations.
Mike Traxinger, a Claremont-area native, is the corporate attorney for the Aberdeen-based Wheat Growers cooperative. He’s previously worked for South Dakota Farmers Union and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is a fifth-generation South Dakotan.
Given Brown County’s strong history of farming, it’s nice that the fair’s featured performer is an advocate of family farms and rural issues, Traxinger said.
His new job has given Traxinger the chance to return to the family farm. Without events like Farm Aid, that’s an opportunity that might not be available to many people, he said.
Traxinger said he might go to tonight’s concert. He said his parents, who farm near Houghton, are going.
Nelson appeals to multiple generations of music fans, many of whom make their living on the farms that feed the nation, Traxinger said.
That’s a point that doesn’t seem lost on Nelson, who also understands the importance of agriculture beyond rural states like South Dakota.
“The fight to save family farms isn’t just about farmers,” Nelson is quoted as saying on the Farm Aid website. “It’s about making sure there is a safe and healthy food supply for all of us. It’s about jobs, from Main Street to Wall Street. It’s about a better America.”
States that have legalized marijuana in some measure:
• New Hampshire
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• New York
• Rhode Island
Willie Nelson campaigning for Kinky Friedman during a 2009 stop in Plano.
Icons Willie Nelson and Kinky Friedman recently conducted a Texas Herbal Radio Network tour live from Willie’s bus, chatting about a passionate topic for the two Texans – Pot.
The legalization of marijuana, the cultivation of hemp, and the potential benefits to Texas’ small farmers were the main topics of discussion.
As the host of Notably Texan, I jumped at the opportunity to speak briefly with these two legends about their favorite green, leafy subject.
Willie Nelson’s new album “Band Of Brothers” is set to release in June, and Kinky Friedman’s hat is in the political arena once more with a runoff bid for Texas Agriculture Commissioner on May 27.
Notably Texan is heard weekdays from Noon-3pm, and Saturdays 7-Midnight on KETR.
It has been rough and rocky traveling for cannabis cowboys for most of the 40 years since “Me and Paul,” the hounded-by-the-Man classic in which Willie Nelson tipped off like-minded longhairs to the presence of narcs in Laredo. “If you’re staying in a motel there,” he warned dryly, “don’t leave nothin’ in your clothes.”
By Alan Scherstuhl
Thousands of miles, songs, and buds later, country stars at last aren’t hiding their drugs, or, in the case of Nelson compatriot Waylon Jennings, flushing the harder stuff down the john, as in the magnificently titled 1978 smash “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand?” A heap of recent hits and album tracks by the most mainstream of Nashville stars endorse pot both tacitly and with full-throated approval. Even a resolutely un-outlawish hunk like Blake Shelton went all-in with 2011’s “Ready to Roll,” a loping, blissed-out tribute to getting off work and getting high with your spouse.
“Ready to Roll” could have been a mid-’70s Wings hit, which isn’t exactly an endorsement. But its domestic warmth exemplifies how this still-illegal substance squares with Nashville’s celebration of traditional values: Male country stars are always singing about happily ever afters these days, and this song admits that long-term commitment doesn’t have to be dull: “Let other fools go paint the town,” Shelton sings, “We’ll just hold this sofa down/Till Monday morning rolls around.”
Other songs work a similar conservative take on liberal (or at least libertarian) drug use. In 2010, hip-hop–minded scowler Eric Church hit the Top 20 with the stomping “Smoke a Little Smoke,” a simple, stellar rap-rock lark that managed to be pro-pot and anti-Obama at the same time. Church sings about how he wants “a little more right” and “a little less left” and that “my definition of ‘change’ just ain’t the same” as the one in the air. At the same time, he’s perfuming said air with his own outlaw weed, which in this case helps link Church’s character to that American past liberals are ruining: “Dig down deep/Find my stash/Light it up/Take me back.” It’s both glorious and bonkers.
Church released a cleaned-up take of “Smoke a Little Smoke” for some squeamish radio programmers. (“Find my stash” became “find my glass.”) That wasn’t the case with likable Darius Rucker, whose cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show (and Bob Dylan) neo-standard “Wagon Wheel” hit No. 1 and racked up Grammys and CMAs despite Rucker declaring, on every country station in the U.S., that he enjoyed “a nice, long toke.” His voice, plump and rich as an amber stout, made it clear he considered this a moment to be relished. Just imagine how many kids sang along in exurban SUVs.
Lee Brice’s godawful Top 10 hit “Parking Lot Party” suggests you “light one up” as just one of the many ritualized behaviors involved in tailgating; Toby Keith’s weak-sauce “Weed with Willie,” from 2003, came too early to be an endorsement: In it, tough beef-slab Keith chickens out and vows he’ll never smoke with Nelson again. Meanwhile, recent cuts from Randy Houser (“They Call Me Cadillac”), Ashley Monroe (“Weed Instead of Roses”), Kenny Chesney (“French Kissing Life”), Kacey Musgraves (“Follow Your Arrow”), and many more tout weed as pleasure, relief, and symbol of freedom right up there with any other signifying cliche, The best is Brandy Clark’s “Get High,” a blessing and curse on the order of that old country standby, “White Lightning”: “All she can do is stare at the paint/That’s been peeling off the walls/A couple tokes and her troubles don’t seem all that tall.”
She sits in a stupor, feeling better and feeling worse, and any lover of drinkin’ songs will tell you there’s nothing more country than that.
[Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap]
Look what came in the mail! I ordered this cool Pure Willie jar from Willie Nelson’s website.
You can get yours, at www.WillieNelson.com. They do go fast, though — last year I ordered too late and they were sold out, so I jumped on one this year. They are really cute. And airtight.
Pot not included.
It only happens once a year… Willie Nelson’s website has a Four Twenty sale with cannibas related things. They do go fast, especially the glass stash jar.
Willie Nelson’s website is selling these shirts celebrating end of prohibition of sale of marijuana and hemp. There are shirts for Colorado and Washington.