Photo courtesy of Willie Nelson
Country music legend Willie Nelson—a.k.a. America's most beloved stoner uncle—just gave GQ's Chris Heath one hell of an interview, during the course of which he peered out from behind his famously Zen smokescreen and dropped a couple of bombs. Besides ruminating on his own weird sleeping habits, Nelson also casually confirmed a rumor that's been following the Red-Headed Stranger around for decades—that he smoked weed on the White House roof with then-President Jimmy Carter's son.
As the article notes, "Nelson has told this story in his autobiographies and cagily acknowledged it in endless TV interviews. In his 1988 autobiography he describes being up there “with a beer in one hand and a fat Austin Torpedo in the other,” enjoying a view you can get from nowhere else of how Washington’s principal streets fan out from the White House. In the 2015 version he describes “a friend of mine who happened to be a White House insider” coming to his bedroom door at the end of the night and offering him a private tour, which took them to the roof." His pal then pulled out a joint, and the rest is history.
The identity of said White House insider had never been revealed, and the story itself faded into the colorful patchwork of Willie lore, joining his various outlaw exploits and ganja-tinged adventures to become just another small part of his legend. When Heath brings up the incident, though, and mentions his theory about who that friend had been—Chip Carter, the president's middle son—Nelson finally gives up the ghost, remembering, "We were there, and there it was, and why not, you know? And they have a great view from the roof.” He's still not sure how the story got out, and that part, at least, remains a mystery. An awkward phone call to Chip—now known as James Earl Carter III— himself down in Georgia confirmed the story. Carter sheepishly explained, "Well, he told me not to ever tell anybody," before hanging up.
So, not only has Willie Nelson smoked Snopp Dogg under the table and signed on to launch his own marijuana brand, Willie's Reserve, he once burned one on the roof of the goddamn White House with a Presidential spawn. Don't act surprised, though; he's not an outlaw country hero for nothing.
Kim Kelly is staying lit on Twitter - @grimkim