Sometimes a damaging political story can be nipped in the bud even before the news cycle has taken so much as a quarter turn.

Take today’s fleeting allegation that ALP Shadow Minister Peter Garrett had once smoked a joint with Silverchair’s Daniel Johns and, ahem, U2’s Bono.

It all started with Johns being interviewed on the Triple J Breakfast show this morning (listen to the interview here):

He [Bono] buzzed me over to the house that he was staying at in Sydney and asked if I’d play the demos and it was really one of the most surreal moments in my life. It was me and Natalie and Peter Garrett and Bono laying on Bono’s bed smoking joints listening to Young Modern demos.

Young Modern, the latest Sliverchair album, was released in March this year. Which likely places the alleged bed-lounging-spliff-sharing incident around November last year, when U2 was playing in Sydney.

At the time, Garrett was shadow parliamentary secretary for reconciliation and the arts.

By late morning, a chastened Johns had taken it all back, citing the ”just kidding” defence:

”In an interview I did this morning on Triple J I made a stupid joke. It’s just been brought to my attention that some people in the media have taken my dumb joke seriously so I want to set the record straight. At no time have I ever “smoked a joint” with Bono or Peter Garrett. They are both well known to be very anti-drugs so that’s why I assumed everybody would know I was joking when I made that comment. Clearly that wasn’t the case and I feel sick that I might have caused embarrassment to two people who I admire so much.

”I was fortunate enough to once get to play them some of my demo’s but I swear that no joints were involved. I guess I felt a bit like a namedropper mentioning them on the radio so that’s why I added a silly throwaway joke. I accept that drug use is no laughing matter and I apologize sincerely for any confusion or harm I’ve caused. Just by the way, this is one of the reasons why I hate doing interviews. I really should just shut up and stick to singing.”

Garrett’s office had no further comment.