Mick Jagger Defends the Rights of the Individual After His Legendary 1967 Drug Bust

Mick Jag­ger turns 70 today, and I think we can safe­ly say at this point that he’s going to stick with this rock star thing. But if at some point in his youth he had decid­ed on a dif­fer­ent career, he might have gone with “post-drug bust inter­view sub­ject” (or civ­il lib­er­tar­i­an activist). It’s a skill he prac­ticed often. Take the clip above, filmed after the leg­endary 1967 Stones’ drug bust after a News of the World arti­cle exposed the band’s recre­ation­al use, along with that of the Moody Blues and The Who. The bust, it turns out, was an L.A. Con­fi­den­tial-style frame-up between the tabloid and the police, and includ­ed the col­lab­o­ra­tion of a deal­er known appro­pri­ate­ly as “Acid King,” real name David Schnei­der­man. Accord­ing to Simon Wells’ exhaus­tive But­ter­fly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drug Bust, Schnei­der­man “remains prob­a­bly the most enig­mat­ic fig­ure in rock and roll folk­lore” and claimed to work for the CIA, MI5, and oth­er secret agen­cies (turns out this may have been true).

So the Stones were set up, which doesn’t mean they weren’t also real­ly high (hear Wells tell the sto­ry in detail in an author inter­view above). But they took it in stride, using the pub­lic­i­ty to sub­stan­ti­ate their image as rock and roll’s bad boys and send­ing the suave, vol­u­ble Jag­ger out on press jags, like the very strange pan­el inter­view with the show World in Action, from which the above excerpt comes, where Mick sits down with a cou­ple chap­lains and a cou­ple suits and defends the rights of the indi­vid­ual. Jag­ger proves him­self a very able spokesman for his generation—intelligent, poised, and yes, ridicu­lous­ly hand­some. He not only stood up to defend him­self in inter­views through­out the Stones’ tur­bu­lent drug-fueled hey­days, but he stood by his man Kei­th as well. Check him out below field­ing press ques­tions with aplomb for a slight­ly addled Richards after one of Keith’s drug tri­als.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mick Jag­ger Tells the Sto­ry Behind ‘Gimme Shel­ter’ and Mer­ry Clayton’s Haunt­ing Back­ground Vocals

Mick Jag­ger, 15 Years Old, Shows Off His Rock Climb­ing Shoes on British TV (1959)

The Rolling Stones at 50: Mick, Kei­th, Char­lie & Ron­nie Revis­it Their Favorite Songs

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Simon Wells says:

    Thanks for the cov­er­age Josh. It is quite a con­vo­lut­ed sto­ry — although methinks Mr Schnei­der­man warmed to his lofty asso­ci­a­tions with the illu­mi­nati of glob­al author­i­ty. From what I have gath­ered, the whole episode was the sole work of the grub­by News Of The World — and — being real­is­tic — if the author­i­ties seri­ous­ly want­ed to derail the Stones, they would have been far, far more effec­tive than what occurred at Red­lands. Indeed, it actu­al­ly prompt­ed the Estab­lish­ment to lat­er come out in favour of the Stones — an embar­rass­ment to the police who found them­selves under scruti­ny when the cas­es were dismissed/thrown out. But it’s a great sto­ry- but not what it seems. Thanks again, Best, Simon Wells

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