Rock bands of the classic era were always trying to see if the guy from The New York Times would do drugs with them. That was me. It was the late 60s/early 70s.
I pretty much looked like them. I had the clothes, the hair, and the general look, which went “this is too fucking ridiculous to be real.” But I had a press badge reading The New York Times, which in most cases meant that when I showed up at their hotel the heroin would go into the drawer with the Gideon Bible before they let me in the door.
There were occasional differences when the hard drugs remained on the mantle – predictably Dr. John and Sly Stone, but also Canned Heat. In the latter case, they were told only that the Times was coming to the hotel to meet them and probably expected a man in a suit. When I was let in the room they were sitting around with the hands in their laps, like good little parochial school boys. Bob Hite was sitting cross-legged on the bed, a long-haired Buddha with his trademark leather top hat placed carefully in front of him. Maybe someone tipped him off.
As soon as he saw me, Hite yelled “he’s a freak!” and whipped the hat off a bowl holding about a pound of weed.
Did I do drugs with rock stars? No. Except that time. Well, whaddya want? They knew I was coming and set the table. I was too well brought up to refuse their hospitality. As they say, breeding will out.
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