"That's what ya get for dealing the killer weed," laughed state narcotics agent Jerry Van Raam at the 11 members of the Grateful Dead household he and his agents had rounded up into the Dead's kitchen.
The Good Ole Grateful Dead had gotten it. Eight narcotics agents, followed by a dozen reporters and television crews, raided the Dead's house at 710 Ashbury Street on October 2nd. A little after 3:30 in the afternoon, two members of the band, Pigpen and Bob Weir; their two managers, Rock Scully and Danny Rifkin; their equipment manager, Bob Matthews; and six friends had been busted on dope charges.
The cops carried no warrant and broke in the front door even after being denied entry. Danny and Rock weren't in the house, but were yanked from the porch when they came strolling by after the reporters had arrived. As well as members of the band, the police confiscated the files, money and phone books of the band and of the Haight Ashbury Legal Organization, whose offices are in the Dead's house.
While the narcs did their work, a rooting section gathered across the street from the house and, like a Greek chorus, filled the air with a running commentary on the proceedings.
Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl weren't home at the time of the bust. Drummer Bill Kreutzmann and bassist Phil Lesh live elsewhere, but Phil's old lady, Florence, was at 710 and was handcuffed to Weir on the way to the Hall of Justice.
After six hours in jail, the dastardly 11 were released on bail. On October 23rd, they return to the Hall of Justice for a preliminary hearing. Their chances look good. In the meantime, they showed up at their bail bondsman's office the cold morning after the arrest, were arraigned in Court (where Rock was arrested again on the additional charge of maintaining a house where narcotics were used), and had a press conference.
The press conference was held in the Dead's living room, filled to capacity with a tangle of microphones, television cameras, lights, wires, notepads, soundmen, reporters and photographers. Danny opened it with a statement:
"The arrests were made under a law that classifies smoking marijuana with murder, rape and armed robbery as a felony. Yet almost anyone who has ever studied marijuana seriously and objectively has agreed that marijuana is the least harmful chemical used for pleasure and life-enhancement.
"The law contains an even greater evil. It encourages the most outrageously discriminatory type of law enforcement. If the lawyers, doctors, advertising men, teachers and political officeholders who use marijuana were arrested today, the law might well be off the books before Thanksgiving. The law creates a mythical danger and calls it a felony. The people who enforce the law use it almost exclusively against individuals who threaten their ideas of the way people should look and act.
"Behind all the myths is the reality. The Grateful Dead are people engaged in constructive, creative effort in the musical field, and this house is where we work as well as our residence. Because the police fear and misinterpret us, our effort is now interrupted as we deal with the consequences of a harassing arrest."
Questions and answers followed, much like a Beatle press conference. In response to "How long did it take you to grow your hair that long, Danny?" Rifkin said, "We've always figured that if we ever held a press conference, the first reporter who asked a stupid question would get a cream pie in his face, and you're him."
A huge bowl of whipped cream was ceremoniously produced, to everyone's obvious delight including all the reporters except the one. He cringed and Danny, taking pity, spared him. After the conference was finished, cookies, coffee and cake were served and the predictable jokes made.
Rolling Stone didn't leave. We adjourned to the porch to take a few pictures of one of the most beautiful bands in the world.
Notice all the rifles. Pigpen has a big collection. If he had been thinking quick, he would have been prepared for all eventualities.
Dig Jerry: he's Big Man on Campus. Who else has a T-shirt like that? Jerry said that if they put out a warrant for his arrest — which so far they haven't — he would beat them to it and go down to the Hall of Justice voluntarily to surrender, carrying a white flag.
Oh, yeah. Ever see a picture of Phil wearing those dark glasses before?
(by Jann Wenner, from Rolling Stone, November 9 1967)
* * *
NARCOS BAG GRATEFUL DEAD
The Haight-Ashbury pad of The Grateful Dead — San Francisco's reigning "acid-rock" band — was raided yesterday by State narcotics agents and two members of the group were booked on marijuana charges.
They will appear in court this morning.
The raid on the Dead's 13-room Victorian house at 710 Ashbury Street also led to the arrest of the group's equipment manager, two business managers and six girls — ranging in age from 13 to 22. The two recording stars bagged were Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan, the Dead's lead singer, and Robert Weir, a rhythm guitarist.
It was uncertain yesterday afternoon if charges would be filed against the three other members of the group not actually present at the house at the time of the raid — Jerry "Captain Trips" Garcia, the lead guitarist, Phil Lesh, the bass player and song writer, and Bill Sommers, the drummer.
Of the eleven taken down to the station, all were free on $500 bail a few hours after their arrests.
The bust was pulled by State agents and San Francisco police at three in the afternoon, and was described by State Narcotics Bureau Chief Matthew O'Connor as the start of a stepped-up attack on Haight-Ashbury marijuana traffic.
O'Connor said the Grateful Dead raid was made because other investigation "kept turning up the address 710 Ashbury as a supply source."
He said the five state agents and two city inspectors confiscated over a pound of marijuana and hashish.
The chief described the scene as follows: "They were processing some marijuana in the kitchen by running it through a colander — to get rid of the stems and seeds."
Some hippie acquaintances who were in the house when the raid came but who were released, walked across the street and sat on the sidewalk to watch the proceedings. When the first person came out of the house in handcuffs, one girl yelled a familiar 12-letter epithet at the officers.
But it had little effect, and the eleven hippies were put in a paddy wagon, taken to city prison and booked on one charge each of possession of marijuana.Most recently the Grateful Dead have been playing at the Straight Theater in the hippie district. The managers of the theater have lately delighted Hashbury by side-tracking a city ban on further dance halls in the area. They call themselves a dancing school.
(from the Stanford Daily, 4 October 1967)
* * *
The Stanford Daily is a slightly-rewritten copy of the SF Chronicle article from the day before:
ROCK BAND BUSTED
COPS RAID PAD OF GRATEFUL DEAD
Two members of the Grateful Dead - the lively San Francisco group responsible for such rock hits as "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl" - were busted on marijuana charges yesterday.
The raid - on the Dead's way-out 13-room pad at 710 Ashbury Street - also led to the arrest of the group's equipment manager, two business managers, and six girls, variously described as "friends," "visitors," and "just girls."
The 3 p.m. foray by State agents and San Francisco police was described by State narcotics bureau head Matthew O'Connor as the start of a stepped-up attack on Haight-Ashbury marijuana traffic.
[ . . . ]
Arrested . . . were Ron (Pig Pen) McKernan, 22, The Dead's flamboyant, long-haired singer; rhythm guitarist Robert Weir, 19; Robert C. Matthews, 19, the equipment manager; and the business managers, Rock Scully, 26, and Daniel Rifkin, 23. All - including the six girls - were later released on $500 bail.
O’Connor, the State narcotics chief, said he was not sure whether charges would be filed against the three other members of The Dead not present at the pad — lead guitarist, Jerry (Captain Trips) Garcia, 24; Phil Lesh, 27, bassist and song writer; and Bill Summers, 21, the drummer.
[ . . . ]
O'Connor said the Grateful Dead raid was made because other investigations "kept turning up the address of 710 Ashbury as a supply source."
He said the five state agents and two city inspectors confiscated over a pound of marijuana and its big brother, hashish.
"They were processing some marijuana in the kitchen," he said, "by running it through a colander to get rid of the seeds and stems."
[ . . . ]
The hippies who were released walked across the street and sat on the sidewalk watching the proceedings. When the first person came out of the house in handcuffs, one long-haired girl yelled a familiar 12-letter epithet at the officers.
But it had little effect and the ten hippies were put in a paddy wagon, taken to city prison, and booked on one charge each of possession of marijuana. . . .
(excerpt from the SF Chronicle, 3 October 1967)