At Baltimore's Harbor Court Hotel on Thanksgiving night, members of Los Angeles rockers 311, on a day off from their national tour, got into a fist fight with former Creed frontman Scott Stapp, in town to promote his solo debut, The Great Divide. 311 singer S.A. Martinez suffered a fractured knuckle as a result of the brawl, which the band says Stapp started.
"We had just finished dinner and were at the hotel bar to watch the Lakers game when Scott Stapp walked in being very loud and obnoxious," Martinez tells Rolling Stone. "In fact, one of the first things he said was that he loved to fight. So he started doing shots and breaking the glass on the bar, almost hitting one of our crew guys. My wife and I moved to a table and eventually Scott made his way over and sat down. He was looking for attention. Even before that, he had wadded up a napkin that he lobbed in our direction. It was pathetic, and we tried to ignore him, but it was impossible. Then he made a pretty disrespectful comment to my wife, which I'd rather not repeat, but in no uncertain terms, the word 'fuck' was used. That's when [drummer] Chad [Sexton] walked over."
"I had run into Scott that day," says Sexton. "We have some things in common, like the same producer, and we chatted for a few minutes. So knowing we got along earlier, I kindly asked him not to disrespect anybody and reminded him that we're all friends. That's when he sucker-punched me -- hit me right in the face."
"When Scott punched Chad," adds Martinez, "in the follow-through, he hit my wife so then I threw my punch. I think the last time I got into a fight was in the third grade, but it was an instant reaction on my part. [311 bassist] P-Nut also came over and he got sucked into it, opening up a scar on his right arm from a recent surgery. Scott went down, and his girl came over and sat on him to get him to stop, but he got up, enraged, still wanting to fight. After about five minutes, hotel security finally broke it up and kicked him out. Honestly, the hotel was really at fault for not kicking him out when he threw the first shot glass."
Later that night, Martinez went to a local hospital to treat what's called a "boxer's fracture." His right hand is now in a cast, but he was able to perform the following day in Baltimore. "It was different, because I'm used to holding the mike in that hand," he says. "Thankfully, I can still bust a move."
Ironically, before the situation escalated, Stapp had told the members of 311 that he was a fan, according to Martinez. "He was telling us how he'd been to a show of ours in Florida, where he got up on stage, and that he was so thankful that we didn't kick him off," says the singer. "He was saying, 'You had no idea that you guys being so cool to me would inspire me to start a band, and for me to sell 30 million records, win a Grammy, VMAs, Billboard Awards . . .' He just went on and on, like some drunk guy who wouldn't shut the fuck up, while we just wanted to watch the game."
In the end, 311 insist they were acting in self-defense and, according to Sexton, have gone public as a response to rumors to "tell what really happened that so there's no misinformation out there . . . We're very positive people. We've preached positivity on every record we've made. We don't have altercations like this ever. And we even wish Scott well."
For Stapp, this is not the first such incident. In April of 2001, while a member of Creed, he was involved in a bar brawl in St. Augustine, Florida. Witnesses told Rolling Stone at the time that Stapp threw a punch at a man who had taunted him.
When contacted by Rolling Stone, Stapp's representative had no comment on the Baltimore altercation. And according to the Baltimore police department, no charges have been filed.
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