South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) headliner Willie Nelson is best known for two things; making and performing some of the country’s most enduring music, and weed. Lots and lots of weed. Millions of fans annually flock to his performances to enjoy both, including other famous marijuana enthusiasts, occasional smokers, and first-time potheads.
After participating in the Dripping Springs Reunion of 1972, Nelson started his own Austin-based music festival the following year. Playfully called “Country Woodstock,” Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic quickly became a staple of the Texas music scene. It also provided a public platform for the musician’s then-unorthodox stance on marijuana.
Nelson opts for vaporizers instead of joints these days, but this hasn’t dampened his support of numerous state and nationwide legalization campaigns. Nor has it lessened how often he smokes, gets arrested, and who he smokes with. What follows are some great stories from musicians about getting high with Willie.
Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion?)
While promoting his collaborative album Heroes in 2012, Nelson talked to GQ about the recording process, a recent vacation he took to Amsterdam, and his good ol’ pal Snoop Dogg, who went by the moniker “Snoop Lion” at the time. The two musicians joined each other in the Netherlands capital for some “coffee:”
GQ: Speaking of Snoop, I hear you shared some time together in Amsterdam.
Willie Nelson: Yah. I was in Amsterdam and I got a call from Snoop and he was, I think, in New York or somewhere and didn’t have anything to do. So he just flew over and we hung out for a few days.
GQ: I assume you two frequented a few of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops?
Willie Nelson: We had a cup of coffee or two [laughs]. We got to be good buddies.
Both men told the same story on CNN, along with a little elaboration from Snoop in the above interview with Piers Morgan.
Rolling Stone garnered all sorts of extras for its September 2014 issue dedicated to Nelson. One of the funniest entries came from fellow singer-songwriter Dave Matthews, whose own live show closely models Willie’s own (many audience members light up, and the stands better resemble the stars.) Of course, Matthews told stories about getting stoned with his friend:
I remember the first time that I met him, the band and I got on his bus and he started rolling joints and passing them around the bus. And at some point, I got this sort of warm dull hum in my head I think everybody was sharing. We’d been chattering, and I don’t know how many joints had been going around the bus, but he raised his hand and said, “Is everybody high?” And then everyone laughed. It was a great moment.
An even greater moment came when Matthews gave his mother, a longtime fan of Nelson, a photo of Willie with the members of the Dave Matthews Band:
Every time I go to visit my mom, who is a huge Willie Nelson fan – as much for the person as for his music – there’s a photograph that we took on the bus and he just looks as bright-eyed as ever, but the rest of us just look as if we are so fucking high. But my mom proudly displays this photo of me cross-eyed on Willie’s bus.
Like any good parent, Matthews’s mom overlooked her son’s poor photographic preferences and kept the photo up. Then again, because she’s such a Nelson fan, she probably forgot Dave was in the picture.