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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam (10/18/2017)

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Rock and reefer

We’re no prudes here at Celebrity Slam. We like to consider ourselves to be relatively sophisticated. Sure, we cast aspersions and judgment and all of that, but because we think it’s funny, not because we think we’re somehow above or better than certain behaviors.

Look, we can all agree that famous people do drugs. Not all famous people, of course. And not all of the drugs. But a lot of famous people do a lot of drugs.

And rock stars? Well, rock stars as a people do even more drugs than your average famous person. There’s a reason the phrase “Sex, drugs and rock and roll” is a thing – it’s because rock stars have an affinity for sex and drugs.

But right now, we’re just talking about the drugs. And not even the hardcore ones.

A pair of music legends recently got busted in separate incidents in North Dakota as they were making the crossing from Canada into the United States.

We’ll start with Melissa Etheridge. Back on Aug. 17, Etheridge was returning to the U.S. on her tour bus when it was stopped by the Border Patrol. When a K-9 unit detected possible drugs, customs agents searched the bus and found marijuana oil. Etheridge uses the oil to manage pain related to cancer and it’s perfectly legal … in California, where she lives. Unfortunately, in North Dakota it is still very much a no-no. And so she got booked for possession of a controlled substance. She got a mug shot taken (a rather delightful one that you should try and track down if you’re so inclined), pleaded not guilty and went on her way.

A few weeks later, on Sept. 9, 1970s rock legend Todd Rundgren found himself in a similar situation. He crossed the border in his tour bus and was stopped by customs agents. While he didn’t get busted by the K-9 crew like Etheridge, he still got searched – and they also turned something up. In his case, it was two vapes and containers with liquid THC.

Again, we’re totally not judging these people for their lifestyle choices. Far be it from us to begrudge someone like Melissa Etheridge the chance to use her method of choice to treat her pain. And if Todd Rundgren wants to get his party guy vape on, that’s absolutely his prerogative.  They can do what they want – and they should be able to.

But come on guys – crossing the border while holding? That’s a rookie mistake. You’re both smarter than that. You’ve been on the road for decades at this point – one would think you’d have maybe learned some basic truths by now.

Leaving aside how you may or may not feel about the legality of the substances in question, the truth is that the law is the law. You may not agree with it and it may be genuinely confusing to try and keep track of what is legal where and all of that, but still – that’s on you. It’s on you to know what’s OK and what isn’t.

Look, we have no doubt that you’ve crossed many borders with much worse stuff in your knapsack or guitar case or what have you. You’re both musical icons who have been doing the touring thing for a very long time. We’re not naïve – but neither should you be.

Basically, it’s kind of hilarious that you guys are getting busted for weed. Come on – Phish doesn’t even get busted for weed (and yes, we know that’s a lazy joke that takes advantage of certain stereotypes regarding jam bands in general and Phish in particular, but it’s not as lazy as taking a shot at Snoop Dogg or Willie Nelson, so take what you can get). This is like seeing your cool grandparents getting busted; it’s not like you’re angry or upset or even all that surprised, but you are just a little bit disappointed.

Again, it’s a very minor thing that you’ll ultimately wind up laughing off, another story to tell on the tour bus when you’re making your way between Midwestern cities or Canadian provinces. We can only hope that the important lessons were learned from this experience, including what we consider the most important one of all:

Find a better place to hide your stash.


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