RNR News and Notes

On This Day in 1970: The Grateful Dead Were 'Busted Down On Bourbon Street'

“Busted, down on Bourbon Street,

Set up, like a bowlin’ pin,

Knocked down, it gets to wearin’ thin,

They just won’t let you be…” 




Iconic lyrics from The Grateful Dead song "Truckin".   But did you know they were inspired by a true story? 


On January 31, 1970 members of The Dead had a run in with the New Orleans Police Department - when they were arrested for drug charges after a performance at The Warehouse with Fleetwood Mac.


The incident was a little suspicious - with the police waiting for the band at the hotel after their show. 


Lenny Hart (Mickey Hart‘s father and the band’s then-manager) told  Rolling Stone:

“It was very peculiar, and it seems like they set them up. [The cops] were waiting when they got back from their concert. They had a warrant and had already searched the room when the band got back. Nothing was found on any of the people except stuff they had prescriptions for. Everything they claim to have found was in the room, they said. But nobody in the band knows where any of it came from. It wasn’t their stuff. The Grateful Dead are normally very cool and cautious.”



The late Jerry Garcia recalls the incident: 

“They had great fun with us, the southern cops. They had just what they wanted: hippies. Oh, boy.”


Hear his whole account below