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Behind Roger Stone’s unlikely, weed-fueled friendship with Smash Mouth
You never know who you’ll become friends with.
Roger Stone, the controversial Republican political lobbyist with a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, and Smash Mouth, the eminently likable Millennium rock band that’s synonymous with Shrek, come from very different worlds—nay, universes.
While Stone was trying—and failing—to convince Donald Trump to run for president in 1999, Smash Mouth released “All Star,” a song that has become so inextricably linked to internet culture that parodies of the track have their own active Reddit community, r/smashups.
Eighteen years later, Stone, who disputed Trump’s claim that he fired him from his latest campaign, is using Twitter to support legalizing weed and, in the process, has developed a bizarre online friendship with Smash Mouth.
For the uninitiated, Smash Mouth is a Californian rock band whose songs “All Star” and “I’m A Believer” (a cover of The Monkees’ 1966 original) featured on the soundtrack for 2001’s Shrek. Smash Mouth is so fond of pot that it once released a song called “Stoned,” featuring the lyric: “I’m gettin’ stoned and what’s wrong with that?”
Stone made his appreciation for the band public on July 23, when he tweeted: “Personally I am a big fan of @smashmouth,” and immediately triggered an onslaught of obvious “All Star” puns (“You ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed”) and understandable confusion. Minutes later, @smashmouth responded with a simple “Thanks Roger!”
Personally I am a big fan of @smashmouth
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) July 24, 2017
— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) July 24, 2017
The band’s short reply belies an emerging friendship that has even resulted in direct messages between the band and Stone, according to an interview with Smash Mouth by the Daily Dot.
Smash Mouth manager Ron Xepoleas said it was Stone who first caught the band’s attention. On April 2, the 64-year-old shared a blog post that used quotes from the Bible and Thomas Jefferson to attack Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for his “adherent to outmoded thinking on marijuana.” Stone also tagged @smashmouth. He might be a lifelong conservative who calls Richard Nixon his mentor, but Stone is a staunch supporter of legalizing the drug.
As the inevitable wave of confusion began, the band stepped in to clear things up, admitting that yes, it was Stone’s support for marijuana that had brought the unlikely pair together. But as Smash Mouth’s bassist Paul De Lisle told the Daily Dot, the band’s appreciation for Stone goes deeper than a single blog post.
“We’ve had family and friends ask us why we replied to Roger Stone’s tweet about liking us so favorably. They all assumed we didn’t know who he was and sounded concerned. lol [sic],” De Lisle said. “But to the contrary. We know he was a Trump campaign adviser and we know he supports legal marijuana. He started the U.S. Cannabis Coalition.”
Stone launched the United States Cannabis Coalition in June. In a YouTube video, he said he was starting the nonprofit in response to Sessions and John Kelly, the former Homeland Security secretary whom Trump appointed chief of staff on Friday, for taking steps to enforce federal law in the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana. The drug is still illegal under federal law.
Stone said the organization is “a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, and including libertarians and others, advocating that the president keep his promise to support state-mandated marijuana,” referring to statements Trump made several times during his campaign. Stone said the group also asks that Trump “take the historic opportunity to change marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug, where it’s classified [by the Drug Enforcement Agency] with heroin, LSD, and other truly dangerous drugs.”
Smash Mouth’s Twitter account, which Xepoleas said is run by all of its members and is overseen by the band’s management, made it clear that they share Stone’s disdain for Sessions. On June 14, @smashmouth tweeted a report that the Secret Service had changed its policy to accept new recruits who have previously smoked marijuana, writing: “What about this Mr Sessions? All bad people? Or the people who protect you?” The band tagged Roger Stone.
Stone and the band are so agreeable, they have even discussed the drug in private. Xepoleas revealed that Stone and the band have spoken via direct message. Describing their conversation, he said: “It was light, [Stone] digs the band and the band told him thanks for starting the U.S. Cannabis Coalition.”
Stone did not respond to several requests for comment from the Daily Dot.
However, De Lisle suggested the band’s appreciation for Stone starts and ends with the Republican’s support for legal marijuana. “A pro-marijuana advocate who has access to the president. Politics aside, Roger Stone is an interesting dude. That’s all, nothing more to it,” he added. “We’re not very political in nature.” De Lisle added a caveat: “Heck, I’m Canadian anyways.”