This is why drugs are bad, kids. So very, very bad.
Sly Stone’s multiracial, multi-gender group Sly and the Family Stone put out some of the best soul, funk and R&B music of the 1960s and 1970s — classics like “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”
Just four years ago, the 68-year-old legendary musician was living in a house in Napa Valley that had its own vineyard. But today, he calls a van parked on a Los Angeles street “home.” A kindly retired couple feeds him at least once a day and lets him use their shower.
How in the hell did this unspeakably sad thing happen?
A bad combination of overspending, financial mismanagement and a substance abuse problem seems to have drained Stone of his considerable wealth.
The New York Post reports:
Today, Sly is disheveled [and] paranoid, [claiming] the FBI is after him [and] his enemies have hired hit men. He refuses to let The Post into his camper, but, ever the showman, poses flamboyantly with a silver military helmet and a Taser in front of his Studebaker.
The singer claims his money troubles escalated in 2009, when his royalty payments stopped flowing after Stone accused his manager, Jerry Goldstein, of fraud. Stone says he was tricked into signing a rotten contract with Goldstein in 1989, giving the manager control of his finances in exchange for a weekly paycheck.
Last year, Stone sued Goldstein for $50 million, alleging fraud and 20 years of stolen royalty payments. (Contributing to the singer’s dire financial situation, he foolishly sold his valuable music-publishing rights to Michael Jackson for a reported $1 million in 1984.)
Goldstein did not return calls seeking comment.
Stone continues to record, using a laptop in his van. He said, “Please tell everybody, please, to give me a job, play my music. I’m tired of all this s–t, man … I see all the guys playing those old songs. Let these guys know, like Lady Gaga, let me come in, just let me come in and pay me if you like it.”
Come on. Somebody out there, clean him up and put this man back in the studio and on stage where he belongs. I can’t stand the thought of the guy behind some of my favorite songs ever living like this.