Quincy Jones Reveals The Drug Ray Charles Had Him Hooked When He Was A Teen

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Quincy Jones has never been the type to hold back during interviews. Earlier this year, the famed music producer made headlines following a jaw-dropping interview with Vulture magazine. At the time, he outed several of his celebrity friends revealing things about their lives that many people would have only speculated. Now, he’s opening up about his friendship with Ray Charles. During a recent interview, Quincy recalled his teen years as an upcoming musician and explained how he crossed paths with Ray and Malcolm X.


Thursday January 01, 1970

Heroin and Malcolm X:
When Quincy Jones recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter, he described what it was like performing with some of music’s greatest legends back in the 1940s. He also recalled the night he was introduced to heroin. Quincy, now 85, also shared the name of the young hustler who sold them the drug. He was a guy by the name of Detroit Red back then, but today, we know him as Malcolm X.
“After we finished at the Washington Social Club and a couple of other ones, we’d all go down to Jackson Street to the Elks Club,” he explained. “That’s where all the bebop jam sessions were. Nobody got paid. We didn’t give a damn.
“When they finished playing they’d go over in the corner and they had it on their thumb. I just snuck in the line and got me a little hit.”


Thursday January 01, 1970

A Harsh Lesson Learned:


Thursday January 01, 1970

After being introduced to heroin, it didn’t take long for Quincy Jones to become addicted. Like many others who have tampered with the powerful drug, Quincy found himself spiraling out of control due to a five-month stint on heroin. He decided to put a stop to the addictive behavior after suffering a fall. Following the injury, Quincy was reportedly bedridden, but he learned a harsh lesson.

“The mistakes are what help you grow and learn,” he said. “[If I hadn’t fallen.] I would have been in New York, where I was hanging out with Charlie Parker. I would have been a junkie forever. Bird was always high. Thank god we did it and got it over with.”

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The latest news comes after Quincy Jones’ Vulture magazine interview where he discussed everything from Michael Jackson to Richard Pryor’s sexuality. At the time, Quincy was criticized for all the tea he spilled, and he ultimately apologized for goin’ a bit too far. He also admitted that the response to that interview was also a lesson learned. After what he described as a “family intervention,” Quincy Jones released a statement of apology.

“When you’ve been fortunate enough to have lived such a long and crazy life (and you’ve recently stopped drinking – three years ago!), certain details about specific events (which do NOT paint the full picture of my intentions nor experiences) come flooding back all at once and even at 85, it’s apparent that ‘wordvomit’ and bad-mouthing is inexcusable,” Jones elaborated in his statement. “One of the hardest things about this situation is that, this bad-mouthing had contradicted the very real messages I tried to relay about racism, inequality, homophobia, poverty… you name it. And of course I don’t want that. I have already reached out to my friends privately, but when you live a public life, you have a responsibility to be an example, and since I do lead a public life, I wanted to make a public apology.”

Hopefully, the latest interview doesn’t ruffle any feathers. According to Quincy, when it all starts “flooding back,” he just lets it all out.
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