We are dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at a moment when The Rolling Stones frontman, Mick Jagger, stood up for individual rights. The legendary tales of Jagger and his band of brothers usually involve three key ingredients: sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. The group are, unlike any other, synonymous with having a good time, so this good cause was one close to their hearts.
With a catalogue of songs devoted to the aforementioned triumvirate of anarchic legendary, it’s no wonder that Mick Jagger and the rest of the band soon became the target of police chiefs looking for a famous (if not fairly easy) arrest. Soon enough, the band were being hounded by the authorities and the tabloid press in equal measure as they all tried to jump on the bandwagon and grab a bust.
The clip below shows the band’s frontman and mouthpiece clearly fed up with his current situation of constant confrontation with the police and media. Instead, Jagger decided to take a stand after The Rolling Stones’ 1967 drug bust and made an impassioned, intelligent and morally sound speech in defence of the rights of individuals to do as they please.
With hindsight, we know that the drugs-bust in question was, it turns out, a set up between the police and the tabloid press (who were viciously targeting Jagger et al at the time) to snare the group and gain some precious shine for the arrests. They didn’t do it alone, there was one keystone to the whole construction, the infamous David Schneiderman, AKA The Acid King.
As Open Culture reports, 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 even claimed to work for the CIA, MI5, among other secret agencies—an all-round mystery man.
Whether The Rolling Stones were set up or not, the fact remains that the band were caught red-handed. Alongside bands the Moody Blues and The Who, the group had been snared doing something they probably did quite often but definitely shouldn’t be doing. That said, Jagger took the nature of bust as an infringement on his civil liberties and expertly defends himself as such in the press conference that followed.
If it were to happen today, in today’s social climate, the singer would’ve taken to the press conference to lay apology over apology, and be planning his highly-publicised trip to rehab. But here, back in 1967 with the band at what would be the relative start of their trajectory, Jagger stands up for his and everyone else’s rights.
When Jagger speaks about the undue press interest as well as the parallels of alcohol abuse to drug abuse. He is most proficient when he speaking about being a role model. He highlights that he has never promoted any particular ideology; drugs, religion or otherwise. “I’ve never done that. I don’t consider myself knowledgable enough or a responsible enough leader.”
It’s a side to Jagger you rarely see but when that we shouldn’t ever forget. Watch the clip below of standing up for the rights for individuals.
Simon Wells explains in far more depth the story behind the drugs bust below:
Source: Open Culture