When Aerosmith Bailed Out Pot Smokers

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Aerosmith '78 (crop)It was a rather typical late 1970s arena rock show. Aerosmith was playing a set of their mid-1970s classic rock hits like “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.” So naturally, the unmistakable scent of marijuana wafted through the air.

At the time, the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Memorial Coliseum was ahead of its time and even forbade smoking cigarettes. Perhaps that made it easier for local police to zero in on anyone who might light up a joint at a rock show. Whatever the case, on this day, as Aerosmith played the venue, some 30-plus pot smokers in the audience were busted for drinking beer and possession of marijuana.

Among the the cigarette criminals was singer Steven Tyler’s seamstress, who got popped for lighting up a cigarette while standing in the wings onstage. Tyler did not take too kindly to this and stopped the show to rant about the heavy-handed tactics of the Fort Wayne constabulary, referring to them as “scumbags” and “Gestapo.” As if to prove his point, the cops threatened to haul away Tyler and charge him with inciting a riot.

Related: 10 memorable rock concert riots

He also offered to bail out any fans who’d been busted. His generosity was accepted by 28 of those who were arrested. Sure enough, the next day, Aerosmith’s tour accountant came to court and paid out $4200 in bail and fines.

That’s one way to make sure that the, er, bond with your fans lasts forever.

And which band was the opening act… ?

Watch Aerosmith perform at Texxas Jam earlier that year

Related: Our interview with producer Jack Douglas on his Aerosmith years

Aerosmith’s farewell tour resumes in 2024. Click here for tickets.

Here’s one more from that 1978 Texxas Jam show…

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. Mike
    #1 Mike 5 October, 2023, 10:14

    I was at that Ft. Wayne concert. My friends & I were lucky enough to not get busted. I had seen Aerosmith several times before & knowing what a party group they were, we had plenty to get busted for. There were so many people the cops couldn’t bust everyone. One the best hard rock concerts I’d been to.

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  2. Jmack
    #2 Jmack 7 October, 2023, 13:09

    Cool story hard to believe that that was still an issue then, it never was when I went all the shows at different areas mostly New York Madison Square Garden, which I saw Aerosmith in 1976 but unfortunately they put on a pretty lousy concert very sloppy. As good as they are on record they have a reputation of putting on crappy concerts, not all but many.

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