Thursday, September 21, 2006


EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Willie Nelson's stash

When Willie Nelson's bus was searched on Monday in Breaux Bridge, LA on Interstate 10, a "routine traffic stop" turned into a drug bust. Louisiana state troopers found more than a pound and a half of marijuana (0.7 kg) and more than three ounces (91 grams) of psilocibin mushrooms. See photo above

The 73-year-old Nelson's was traveling west after performing at the Hank Williams tribute concert in Montgomery, AL on what would have been Williams' 85th birthday. The day before he headlined the Austin City Limits festival.

The online Post Chronicle reports: "Our friends spoke with a spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police who said, 'The tour bus was stopped on a common interstate vehicle inspection, and when the trooper approached the bus door a strong odor of marijuana was detected. The occupants were not brought to jail because it was not accepting [inmates] on misdemeanor charges.'"

The 73-year-old Nelson (pictured above) was charged with possession of both substances as were his older sister Bobbie Nelson, 75; Tony Sizemore, 59; Gates Morre, 54; and David Anderson, 50.

One of Nelson's recent albums, Countryman, featured a pot-leaf on the cover. The country singer is on the Advisory Board to NORML. Allen St. Pierre, NORML's executive director, stated: “This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."

The source of the stash photo is the Louisiana State Police news release, dated Sept. 18.

The Smoking Gun, Mediabistro, Gawker, Defamer, Best Week Ever, Jossip, Nerve, We Smirch, Stereogum and Mollygood have all posted the photo on their sites.

Recommended reading: Bill Maher's column at Huffington Post, Wichita Eagle blog editorial and Rick Cusick's High Times interview with Willie, which refers to the red heart tin seen in the stash photo.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Bonghitters end season on high note

The last three Septembers the Bonghitters have been invited by VNU (the publishing company that owns Billboard and many other trade magazines) to join them on Randall's Island for a day of softball, BBQ, beers, buds and remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy. Yesterday, High Times' slugging stoners arrived by bike and car with supplies aplenty looking forward to what has become the traditional last day of the softball season.

Coming into the game with a solid 9-5 record, the Bonghitters were sharp throughout, starting quickly with a 3-run 1st inning. VNU came back with 2 in their half. For the next 4 innings the game was a pitcher's duel. Then in the 6th, Jeremy Allen drove the ball high and long over the rightfielder's head for a 3-run HR. VNU, however, answered with 3 runs to close the gap to 6-5 going into the final 7th inning. With a runner on 1st and 2 out, VNU's leadoff hitter lined the ball between 1st and 2nd, but Bonghitter first-baseman Dawnja reached to her right and neatly backhanded the ball on the fly to end the game and season.

Afterwards, VNU coach Don Salkaln and others spoke about 9/11, and then we all planted bulbs for all those who died that day and with hopes of peace someday in the world.

Here's a recap of the Bonghitters' 10-5 season:

Apr. 27: Bonghitters 12, Business Week 8
May 4: Bonghitters 8, The Onion 6
May 9: Bonghitters 12, The New Yorker 4
May 25: Bonghitters 13, Vanity Fair 4
June 1: Bonghitters 9, WNYC 2
June 22: Bonghitters 17, DC Comics 12
July 1: VNU 11, Bonghitters 6
July 6: Vanity Fair 8, Bonghitters 5
July 13: Business Week 12, Bonghitters 4
July 17: WNYC 6, Bonghitters 5
Aug. 3: Bonghitters 12, DC Comics 5
Aug. 9: Bonghitters 11, Trader Monthly 5
Aug. 12: Wall Street Journal 12, Bonghitters 4
Aug. 31: Bonghitters 10, Rolling Stone 6
Sept. 9: Bonghitters 6, VNU 5


Thursday, September 07, 2006


Black cloud over the Crowes

Two original members of the Black Crowes - guitarist Marc Ford and keyboardist Eddie Harsch - have left the band within the last week.

Ford's departure was announced on Sept 5. by band manager Peter Angelus: "Yesterday, the Black Crowes were notified by Marc Ford's attorney that Marc was quitting...effective immediately. Two days before the start of the fall tour, which begins on Sept. 7, the Black Crowes' attorney received a fax from Marc Ford's attorney immediately terminating his agreement with the Black Crowes... I am not going to comment on the timing of this notification or the way Marc has elected to handle his personal and business affairs with the Black Crowes; however, I will state as a matter of fact that this is not the first time that Marc Ford (pictured at left) has breached his agreement with the Black Crowes."

Angelus added that Ford's contract requires he give four months' notice. He was replaced by Paul Stacey, who played guitar and co-wrote songs with Chris Robinson's solo band, New Earth Mud, in 2004. Stacey also mastered the band's upcoming double cd, The Lost Crowes, which is scheduled for a Sept. 26 release. It contains songs written between 1992 and 1994, such as "Wiser Time" and "Conspiracy."

Ford actually replaced Jeff Cease as the band's guitar player for their second and best album, 1992's Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. He played on Amorica and Three Snakes & a Charm before being fired by the band in 1997. Ford rejoined the Crowes in 2005 after the band's two-year hiatus.

Harsch's tenure with the band was much less contentious. He too joined the Black Crowes in 1992 for the Southern Harmony album. When I interviewed Chris Robinson for a High Times cover story that year, Harsch accompanied us as the designated joint roller. At one point during the interview, he asked me, "Is there anything new and organic that we haven't tried yet?"

On Aug. 29, the band simply stated that Harsch (pictured at right) left for "personal reasons." However, his replacement, Rob Clores (he's played with Rich Robinson, Jesse Malin, Southside Johnny and the John Popper Band), disclosed on his MySpace page that "my opportunity comes as the result of Ed's unfortunate circumstance. I have never met Ed, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for him - and I am truly saddened by his health situation. If the band could have its way Ed would still be there. Let's send positive vibes his way." He, nor anyone else close the band, has stated publicly that Harsch is suffering from a particularly ailment.

All of this turmoil comes just weeks after lead singer Chris Robinson and his movie-star wife Kate Hudson filed for divorce. Hudson is reportedly carrying on an affair with her You, Me and Dupree co-star Owen Wilson.

And who could forget my ugly spat with the Crowes over press ticketing. Bad karma is a bitch, right?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Damian Marley & Ben Harper burn one down

A rainy night didn't prevent rising reggae star Damian Marley from providing sparks in last night's opening set at SummerStage in Central Park. With umbrellas in the air, the youngest Marley brother mixed originals and his father's tunes in an hour-long performance. I arrived just as he embarked on a Marley medley - "Crazy Baldheads" > "War" > "No More Trouble."

He finished with songs from his two Grammy-winning albums: "In 2 Deep," "It Was Written," "Road to Zion" and his 2006 hit, "Welcome to Jamrock." Unlike his more traditional older brothers Ziggy and Stephen, Damian merges roots and dancehall styles. He's thoroughly conscious and clearly has leapt to the top of the Marley family tree.

Backstage after his show, Damian signed the June '06 High Times issue that featured him on the cover and uttered the kind words, "Give thanks," when a spliff was deposited in his palm.

Harper's 2-and-1/2-hour-long set dragged at times, but peaked with his ganja classic, "Burn One Down." The two bands return to Central Park tonight. Weather is expected to be mostly cloudy with temps in the high 60s.

This review is also available at

My review of Ziggy Marley's latest cd, Love Is My Religion, appears on page 88 of the Sept.-Oct. issue of Relix. Check it out!


Sunday, September 03, 2006


Boston Freedom Rally - 9/16

I've attended every Boston Freedom Rally since 1994. It's the East Coast's biggest and longest-running pro-marijuana event. This year's Freedom Rally is next Saturday, Sept. 16 in Boston Common. Starting at high noon and running until 6 pm, bands and speakers will serenade the crowd with music and messages. I'll be among the many speakers. If you live in Boston or anywhere nearby, you should make it your civic duty to attend the Freedom Rally.

Boston Freedom Rally is organized by MASS CANN/NORML. Make a donation today!

Friday, September 01, 2006


Bonghitters get Stoned

On the night of MTV's Video Music Awards, Rolling Stone staffers chose to play softball instead. It was a pretty shrewd decision for two innings, as they took a commanding 6-1 lead against the Bonghitters in Central Park. But then High Times' slugging stoners rallied for 6 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Three more runs in the 6th made the score, 10-6. Rolling Stone didn't score again.

Web editor Mike Gianakos and Jeff Hemley had 2 RBI each, and Rick Reta (8-3) got the win.

The Bonghitters (10-5) finish the 2006 season on Sept. 9 vs. Billboard/VNU.

This story is also available at


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