Sly Stone came up with a craft plan when he and George Clinton had no cash to get drugs: He took advantage of a dealer's appreciation for Sly and the Family Stone.

“Since we had toured [together], Parliament had put out some bigger albums and then Funkadelic had, and George had started a thousand offshoot bands, too,” Stone writes in an excerpt from his upcoming memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), “but he was starting to burn out from juggling it all: acts, labels, tours, money, drugs.

Stone describes Clinton as “a trip. I always thought of him as a human cartoon. If there was a way to make an experience more fun, he would find it. He was funny on his own, and together we were even funnier. If I wanted money to score, I didn’t have to lie and say that I was buying equipment or giving a girlfriend money for clothes. I would just come right out and ask: ‘Can I star?’”

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Then he and Clinton encountered a dealer “who knew every song from every Family Stone record.” When they wanted to buy drugs from him, it took longer than with other dealers because of the amount of detailed questions he asked about Stone’s work.

“One afternoon on the way over there, George and I realized that we didn’t have money for dope,” Stone says. “When we got there, I didn’t wait for the dealer to start talking about my music. I went in on it myself, and then I hit him with a bonus: ‘We’re light,’ I said, ‘but I’ll give you a copy of the album I’m working on as collateral. You can’t listen to it, but you can keep it safe for me.’”

Drug Dealer Had to Respect Sly Stone’s Trick

Stone “went out to the car and came back with a tape. I think his hand was shaking when he gave us the drugs, he was so excited.”

On the way back home, “George congratulated me on thinking fast. ‘Good idea to give him a copy of the record.’ ‘What record?’ I said. He was staring at me like I forgot something that had just happened,” Stone wrote. “‘You know,’ he said. ‘The tape. The music.’ ‘There’s no music on there,’ I said. ‘There’s nothing. It’s empty.’”

Stone said he didn't know “how long George laughed, but it seemed like it was the whole ride home. He eventually told the dealer, who wasn’t even mad. ‘You have to respect that,’ the dealer said.”

Stone’s Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) is set to be published on Oct. 17 by Auwa Books.

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Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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