Colourful character and legend of sixties funk/psych Sly Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of cocaine possession.
The Guardian reports that the 68-year-old was arrested back on April 1 when police in Los Angeles allegedly discovered rocks of cocaine in his clothing. The arrest and subsequent charges were not reported until last week, with the first arraignment having to be postponed due to Stone’s heart problems.
Peter Knecht, Stone’s lawyer, told the court in Los Angeles that the drugs belonged to the driver of the car that Stone was travelling in, not the singer himself, saying, “A lot of musicians hang out with people who have drugs. How are they supposed to know?”
Knecht went on to suggest that the Stone was being victimised because of his many transgressions over the years, saying, “You can’t punish a guy for what he did 40 years ago, 30 years ago.”
The Dance To The Music singer was convicted of cocaine possession in 1987.
This latest brush with the law is potentially a severe impediment to the comeback that Stone – real name Sylvester Stewart – was about to launch. After years of drug abuse and living in seclusion on the dole, he announced recently that a new album entitled I’m Back will be released on August 16. The record is said to include contributions from Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Bootsy Collins, Jeff Beck and Ann Wilson of Heart.
Back in his heyday, Stone was arguably a forerunner of psychedelic funk pioneers Parliament/Funkadelic. Below is a clip of him in action.