This Week in Rock History: Eminem's Mom Sues, Eno Quits

Plus: Neil Diamond gets raided for drugs, Marvel launches KISS comic

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This week in rock history, Brian Eno quit Roxy Music, Neil Diamond got raided, Marvel Comics launched a KISS comic, Pearl Jam met with tragedy at a festival and Eminem's mom sued him.

July 2, 1973: Brian Eno quits Roxy Music after clashing with Bryan Ferry
Roxy Music just wasn't big enough for the both of them. Singer Bryan Ferry and synthesizer player Brian Eno initially seemed cut from the same cloth – both were artsy young men with glamorous predilections – but their bitter personal rivalry ultimately led to Eno's departure.

One of England's most popular experimental bands, Roxy Music were greatly influential in the country's burgeoning glam rock scene – the same that yielded David Bowie and T. Rex. Eno, who joined the band in 1971, performed with Roxy Music on two albums: their 1972 debut (which featured the hit single "Virginia Plain" and hit Number 10 on the U.K. charts) and 1973's For Your Pleasure. He was a brash, popular member of the band, and introduced much of their whimsical influences. Soon after the release of the For Your Pleasure, exhausted from quarreling with the mercurial Ferry over the management of the band, Eno quit the group. He was replaced by keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson, who contributed to two of Roxy Music's most critically acclaimed efforts, Stranded (1973) and Country Life (1974). However, Eno fared pretty well himself – he continued to follow his experimental leanings as a solo artist and has become a prolific, celebrated producer and musician.

June 30, 1976: Police raid Neil Diamond's home for drugs
On the eve of Neil Diamond's much-publicized launch show for the new Aladdin Hotel in Los Vegas, 50 police officers raided his California home for drugs, spurned on by an anonymous tipster who told them about an enormous stash of cocaine. Instead, the cops found a half-ounce of marijuana in total – a miniscule amount, but enough to order the famously affable Diamond to enroll in a six-month drug education program.

Diamond later told the press that he was scarred from the raid and the invasion of his privacy. He and his wife sold their sprawling city home and moved to Malibu after the incident. Ever the pacifist, the adult contemporary singer/songwriter did make one winking concession to the raid later that year: At the Band's farewell concert, the legendary "Last Waltz," he joined the group and many other celebrity guests onstage for a spin on Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."

June 30, 1977: Marvel Comics launches a comic book based on KISS
The legend goes that the members of KISS poured their own blood into the red dye used to print their first Marvel comic book. But unlike most rock myths, this one is true – and even has photographic evidence.

The KISS comic book was an inspired gimmick from the start. Marvel Comics – home to Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk – published a full comic adventure starring the hard-partying "Rock and Roll All Nite" troupe, imagining them as (libidinous) superheroes. Slapstick humor abounded, as did Gene Simmons's understandable battle strategy of wagging his tongue at his enemies. It also included a concert photo centerfold.

Marvel released a second, body fluid-free KISS comic book in 1979. At least, it's body fluid-free to our knowledge.

 

June 29, 2000: Nine men were trampled to death during Pearl Jam's set at the Roskilde Festival

Denmark's Roskilde Festival, one of the largest annual music events in Europe, took a deadly turn in 2000 during a set by Pearl Jam.

On the second day of the festival, as Eddie Vedder and his bandmates performed in front of an estimated 75,000 fans, a sudden crowd surge toward the stage resulted in the deaths of nine men in the audience. Twenty-six more people were seriously injured. Though the crowd dispersed in panic afterward, police concluded later that several of the men fell and died of suffocation under the rushing mob. Crowd-surfing was also cited as a reason why many people stumbled and fell inside the pit.

The tragedy alarmed the European music community, as Roskilde was renowned for its peaceful nature – the festival had operated without major incident since forming in 1971. England's Glastonbury Festival was cancelled in 2001, and organizers of Roskilde and other festivals dramatically ratcheted up their security efforts.

Pearl Jam penned the single "Love Boat Captain" (on 2002's Riot Act) as a tribute to the victims. The Roskilde Festival held a memorial to the nine men at the opening of its 2010 season.

June 29, 2000: Eminem's mother sues him
When Eminem cracked, "My mom smokes more dope than I do" on his breakthrough single "My Name Is" (from 1999 debut The Slim Shady LP), it made him a rap phenom. Then his mother tried to ground him – to the tune of $10 million.

Upon the gargantuan success of The Slim Shady LP, which sold over 4 million copies seemingly overnight, Eminem's mother, Debbie Mathers-Nelson, filed a $10 million lawsuit against her son, claiming slander and defamation of character for comments he made about her on the album and in interviews.

Mathers-Nelson's legal progression was a confusing one. After filing the suit, she claimed that she never intended to do so and that her attorney had orchestrated the suit without her knowledge. Then she expanded her defamation suit into two related lawsuits, the second for another $1 million, before agreeing to a settlement of $25,000. Then she insisted that she had been pressured into settling. Finally, in 2001, Macomb County, Michigan, Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski ruled that Mathers-Nelson's former attorney, Fred Gibson, was entitled to almost all of that settlement amount. In the end, Eminem's mother received approximately $1,600 from him.

Eminem was largely absent from the legal back-and-forth, but maintained that his lyrics and press statements about his mother were completely true. He joked about the lawsuit as it was unfolding in the song "Marshall Mathers" (off 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP): "My fucking bitch mom's suing for 10 million/ She must want a dollar for every pill I've been stealin.'"

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