Seth Ferranti is an ex-con filmmaker who did 21 years in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD/cannabis offense after being on the run for two years and making the US Marshal’s Top 15 Most Wanted List.
He earned three college degrees in prison, including a masters, wrote 22 books on gangsters, drug lords, and prison gangs, founded a publishing house and website, Gorilla Convict, and started a career as a journalist writing for VICE, Penthouse, and others.
After being released in 2015, he started making films. He wrote and produced White Boy, which is currently on Netflix. He currently has numerous projects in production and development, including docuseries on the secret history of the LSD trade and Humboldt County’s outlaw growers.
When asked what inspired his Weedsday selections, Seth shared:
“I’ve been a stoner since the jump, smoked my first joint at the age of 13 and never looked back. I’m of the culture, and the music has always been a very important thing to me as I’ve smoked and celebrated this culture that has now come to the forefront of society. Even though I did 21 years in prison for weed and psychedelics, I feel justified now in what I was promoting. I was a trailblazer in this game….Just a little before my time and I suffered for it, but seeing where we are at now, it was all worth it. Here’s my top five official stoner songs. They go back a bit, but this is the history that should be recognized. It’s about the culture, not the industry that the Chad’s have co-opted.”
“EARACHE MY EYE” BY ALICE BOWIE (1978)
Cheech and Chong at their best, channeling David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and heavy metal. I fell in love with this song the first time I watched the classic stoner flick Up in Smoke with cannabis icons Cheech and Chong.
When I watched this movie in the 1980s cannabis was looked at much differently than it is today. It was the beginning of the War on Drugs era and obtaining weed back then was a whole different story.
The movie perfectly exemplifies what stoners were facing back then but in a comedic way. This song ends the movie and is the greatest stoner anthem ever written.
“PASS THE THOUGHT” BY BASEHEAD (1993)
The alternative Tupac, this group was ahead of their time. Basehead was a group fronted by singer/songwriter Michael Ivey that was based in Washington DC. This was alternative stoner hip-hop to the extreme.
I thought Basehead was going to be huge because their music fit my cannabis vibe and lifestyle so perfectly but they kind of faded into oblivion just like I did when I got sentenced to 25 years for a first-time, nonviolent cannabis/LSD offense.
Their music has always stuck with me: mellow, poignant, and direct, addressing issues that still haven’t been corrected.
STONED IS THE WAY OF THE WALK BY CYPRESS HILL (1991)
The classic stoner hip-hop song by perennial rap stoners Cypress Hill.
I used to rock this song as I hit the colleges and sold bud. This came out the year I caught my case and when I became a fugitive from justice and a Top 15 US Marshals List Most Wanted it was kind of like my theme song.
I would get stoned and strut around blasting this song on my boombox or in my Walkman with earphones, or on my car stereo. This was serious stoner music and expressed my attitudes succinctly.
HELICOPTERS BY ROD DEAL AND THE I-DEALS (1991)
Humboldt County is the Napa Valley of Cannabis and this song details the sacrifices they made championing the plant.
I’ve known about Humboldt County and the Emerald Triangle since I was a teenager in Southern California back in the mid-1980s. I smoked my first Humboldt bud back then and fell in love with the green sticky-icky frosty and dank sun grown bud that the area was famous for.
I was always chasing that kind bud even though the Mexican brick pot dominated those times. Eventually Humboldt County was militarized and targeted for growing 60% of the nation’s gross domestic product in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
This song explains what they went through.
FAMILY FELONY BY CAMO COWBOYS (2007)
Being an outlaw and growing and selling weed was a lifestyle not a criminal act.
I love this song by the Camo Cowboys, another Humboldt County/Emerald Triangle group that talks about the War on Drugs, how the DEA targeted outlaw growers in the region for cultivating a plant, and what life was really like for families in the mountains of Northern Cali.
I always tell people that despite the 21 years I did in prison, I was an outlaw not a criminal and this song expresses that sentiment exactly.