Matthew McConaughey is now an author, with his new memoir Greenlights set to be released on Oct. 20.
In an excerpt from the new book published by The Times, McConaughey describes what went down in 1999 when he was arrested at his home in Austin, Texas while stoned, naked and playing bongos.
After a solid 32 hours of partying, McConaughey writes that he was winding down at 2:30 a.m. “It was time to smoke a bowl and listen to the beautiful African melodic beats of Henri Dikongué play through my home speakers. It was time to stand over my drum set and follow the rhythm of the blues before they got to Memphis, on my favourite Afro-Cuban drum. It was time for a jam session,” he explains.
“What I didn’t know was that while I was banging away in my bliss, two Austin policemen also thought it was time to barge into my house unannounced, wrestle me to the ground with nightsticks, handcuff me and pin me to the floor,” McConaughey continues.
“’Ohhh, looky who we got here,’ the ’roided-up cop with a crew cut, who looked like a Nebraska Cornhusker himself, said as he read the driver’s licence he picked up off my coffee table,” he writes.
“Then he picked up the bong. ‘And looky what we got here. Mr McConaughey, you are under arrest for disturbing the peace, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest,’ he proudly stated while squatting atop me, knee in my back.”
To which McConaughey responded, “F*** you, motherf***er! You broke in my house! F***, yeah, I resisted!”
That was when the officers decided to take him in, and tried to cover the naked actor with a blanket. McConaughey wasn’t having it.
“’Ohhhh no!’ I barked. ‘I’m not putting s**t on! My naked a** is proof I was mindin’ my own business!'” he writes.
“They escorted me out of my house through the courtyard entry on the way to the street. Still naked and reluctant to submit to the inevitability of my predicament, I got relative, and decided it would be a clever idea to run up the walls left and right of the gated passageway and do a somersault backflip over the Cornhusker cop who was guiding me from behind,” McConaughey continues. “My thinking was that in mid-flight, while upside down in the air, I would assume a pike position and then slide my cuffed wrists under my butt and up and over my legs, then stick the landing behind the Cornhusker, now with my fettered hands in front of me. My rationale at the time was that after pulling off such an extraordinary Houdini-like stunt, the officers would be so impressed that they would abrogate the arrest and set me free. I know, stupid, but remember, I’d been celebrating for 32 and a half hours straight.”
Things did not work out as he had planned. “Before I’d taken three steps up the wall, the Cornhusker body-slammed me back down onto the brick footpath,” he adds, writing that by that point there were “six lit-up cop cars and about 40 of my neighbours” in front of his home, with McConaughey once again refusing a blanket to cover his nakedness, which he believed to be “PROOF of my innocence!!”
McConaughey’s lawyer was Joe Turner, “the same attorney who successfully defended Willie Nelson years earlier in a possession case,” and he spoke on McConaughey’s behalf in court.
“Judge, we all agree that this situation got out of hand very quickly, but you also gotta understand that these policemen literally broke into this man’s house while he was playing some bongos in his birthday suit!” Turner told the judge. “The resisting arrest was self-defence! I suggest you dismiss it altogether and my client will plead to the class C violation of a sound ordinance as he was indeed bangin’ on those bongos pretty damn loud for 2:36 in the morning.”
“Deal, case closed,” the judge agreed, with McConaughey paying a $50 fine.
“Two days later, BONGO NAKED T-shirts were all over Austin,” McConaughey concludes.
Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights will be released on Oct. 20.