Do The Stones Use Drugs? 'Never'

The band categorically denies so-called "bust" in Kingston

Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, court, bust, cannabis, rolling stones
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Marianne Faithfull and her companion Mick Jagger crossing Malborough Street after coming out of court on December 18, 1969.
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LONDON — "Mick Jagger and the four Rolling Stones were charged with making use of narcotics at drug parties in a luxury villa on the French Riviera," the London Daily Mail had reported. The Stones were released on "provisional freedom," the story continued: "This means they can travel but have promised to return to Nice for trial. By the time the story reached America, "three or four" Stones were being charged with "illegal use of heroin."

"It's all a lot of garbage," an incensed Mick bellowed, when reached by phone in Kingston, Jamaica. "There's been no arrests at all, and no mention of heroin by anyone. They've really got me pissed off [the police], they're crazy you know. It's a whole new experience for me dealing with that mentality. They don't think like you and me. We wouldn't have been involved at all if we didn't go back there to answer their damn questions. We got drawn into it."

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On Monday, December 4th, Jagger, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman flew to Nice to answer questions at an informal investigation. "The judge asked us a whole slew of questions about whether we knew certain people and whether we ever used drugs," said Mick. "I told him, no, never." The four were allowed to fly back to Jamaica. The next day, London papers reported that arrest warrants had been issued for Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, the German actress (Performance), who lives with him at his villa.

Through a press release issued on Wednesday, Keith, also in the West Indies, said: "The first that I heard of the warrant for my arrest was when I read it in the papers this morning." This may not be completely true; the warrants referred to allegations of some 18 months ago. Sources explain that two men arrested for dealing "50 grams of heroin" in spring 1971 stated that they had attended parties at Richard's home. But how heroin got into any stories broadcast in America remains a mystery even to the UPI and Reuters reporters. They had quoted "police sources" but were unable to trace back through confused networks of stringers in the French Provinces exactly who those police were. They have killed the stories.

Jagger issued a press statement of his own:

" . . . Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor and myself deny categorically that we have been charged by the French police with possession of or use of heroin. It has never been suggested that we used or bought heroin. The four or us were not freed on provisional liberty because we have never been arrested on any charge."

Jagger secluded himself in a hotel room in Kingston. The stories had thrown their recording schedule off by at least three days, he said. He sounded somewhat frantic over the phone. "You'll have to excuse me, man, this whole thing's got me going crazy, I haven't been to bed for three days with all this flying back and forth to France."

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"Why do you think this is happening to you?" we asked. "Do you think they're trying to get you out of the country?"

"I don't know, I think maybe they're trying to keep us in the country. I mean, I haven't even been in France except this last time in over a year. I've been living in and out of Los Angeles since the middle of '71.

"The police over there had this idea that we were all living in this one place over there. They couldn't understand that Charlie and Bill and Keith and Mick Taylor and me all live in different places."

"What are the charges against Keith?"

"I don't know. I don't even know if there are any. You see, the laws are different over there; they don't have to charge you with anything, they can just call you in. But none of us heard anything about heroin except what was in the papers. What's happening is they're trying us in the press before they figure out whether they really want to try anybody or not. I'm afraid they might want to guillotine us."

"Does Keith plan to go back to Nice?"

"I think he's crazy if he does. I wouldn't go."

This story is from the January 4th, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone.


From The Archives Issue 125: January 4, 1973