Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin were an act so heavily associated with marijuana culture that it’s difficult to imagine their names without conjuring of images of smoke-filled cars and stoner antics scored by nervous laughter. While that celebrity may have slightly faded over the years with a new generation of pot smokers, the pair shared their emblematic substance with celebrities who haven’t diminished much at all in reputation like The Beatles.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Tommy recounted the many famous musicians and other figures of the prime Cheech and Chong era that he ended up getting high with. Among the most famous are The Beatles, although he notes that one member didn’t ever actually toke with him.
“I’ve gotten high with every one of The Beatles except Paul – and he’s the only one that really was a pothead – and I saw top athletes smoking it. I would work out with Arnold Schwarzenegger when he first came over to America, when he was the golden boy of bodybuilding, and he was probably one of the healthiest guys on the planet. If someone offered him soda, he’d spit it out rather than drink it, but he would smoke a joint because he knew it was.”
The rest of Tommy’s “smoked with The Beatles” stories also read a bit differently when he fleshes out the entire scenario. In fact, the only one who ever actually got high with Chong was George Harrison. That fact, however, doesn’t make his stories involving The Beatles and marijuana any less fascinating for fans, particularly one about when he came upon John Lennon while ducking into a bedroom to smoke a joint at a house party.
“So I went in [the bedroom at this party] and lit up this big, old, smelly joint – the real stinky kind – and something caught my eye. There was a guy sitting on the floor by the bed, and it was John Lennon. So I walked over and I offered him a toke, and he refused because of his immigration problems. So he was sitting there in a bit of a funk, but on the floor. It was pretty funny… even though John never smoked any, I always tell people that I got high with John, because I did get high.”
On the more serious side of the spectrum, Tommy spoke about how another one of The Beatles never partook with him because of his struggle with alcoholism.
“Well, Ringo was always trying to get over alcohol. He was always on some kind of wagon. He was so sweet. He’d always give you big hugs and kisses. He was kind of weird, but again, I got high with him and Keith Moon. I think Keith Moon was there and Ringo, but Ringo turned it down because he was on the wagon. So again, I smoked in his presence.”
In addition to The Beatles, Tommy Chong also told stories about marijuana involving Joni Mitchell and Sly and the Family Stone — as well as discussed at length his time in prison for shipping a bong across state lines and the future of marijuana legalization.
[Image via Hulton Archive/Getty Images]