30 Most Embarrassing Rock-Star Arrests - Rolling Stone
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30 Most Embarrassing Rock-Star Arrests

Wang-waving! Naked driving! And oh so much marijuana.

Trashing rooms. Exploding toilets. Driving a Lincoln Continental into a hotel swimming pool … while naked. When rock stars get arrested, they really go big. (And that was just Keith Moon! In a single night!). Here's 29 more of the most humiliating times big stars got busted.

frank zappa

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Frank Zappa

In March 1965, a used-car salesman approached Frank Zappa, then a 24-year-old struggling musician and composer, and offered him $100 to produce a sex tape for a party. A gig being a gig, Zappa and a go-go dancer friend spent an evening recording fake squeals, grunts and bedspring squeaks onto a cassette. An easy payday — except for the fact that the used-car salesman turned out to be Sergeant Jim Willis, Vice Investigator of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office. Zappa was busted on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit pornography, and cops raided his Cucamonga, California recording facility, Studio Z. His sentence was ultimately reduced to just 10 days of jail time — still enough, as it turned out, to earn Zappa draft exemption from Vietnam as a convicted felon. Which possibly helped pave the way for a career that boasted more than its share of truly filthy musical moments. One can only wonder what Sgt. Willis must have thought of "Bobby Brown". . .

Yngwie Malmsteen

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Yngwie Malmsteen

In August 1993, a SWAT team was sent to the Miami Shores, Florida home of Yngwie Malmsteen after Elaine Potter, the mother of his then 19-year-old girlfriend, Amber Landin, accused the Swedish guitar god of holding her daughter hostage while equipped with a small arsenal of firearms. She also claimed Malmsteen pointed a shotgun at her and threatened her life. After a tense four-and-a-half-hour standoff, Malmsteen surrendered and was ushered out of his house by police — wearing only sunglasses and a bathrobe open to his stomach. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and jailed on $7,500 bond. But that's about as far as thing went: Landin, who later became his wife, gave a statement to the police denying she had been held against her will or assaulted. Which explains why, as the bathrobe-d Malmsteen was being cuffed and carted off, the Associated Press quoted him as saying, "I have no idea what's up."

peter buck

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Peter Buck

In April 2001, the usually mild-mannered Peter Buck boarded a British Airways flight from Seattle to London and proceeded to, according to prosecutors at a later trial, drink 15 glasses of wine, flip over a service cart, get stuck between seats, dump yogurt on himself and a crewmember and assault various flight attendants, including choking one with his necktie. Upon landing at Heathrow Airport, the R.E.M. guitarist was arrested on two counts of common assault, as well as for being drunk on an aircraft and damaging British Airways crockery. Buck quickly issued a public apology, claiming he had downed a strong sleeping pill and had no recollection of what had occurred after. He also had some famous friends come to his defense: Among the big names that testified at the ensuing trial was Bono, who called the incident "ridiculous." Many people no doubt would agree.

wendy o. williams

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Wendy O. Williams

In January 1981, Plasmatics provocateur Wendy O. Williams was arrested after a gig at Milwaukee's Palms nightclub for simulating oral sex and masturbation — with a sledgehammer. Williams was charged with obscene conduct, but that was only the beginning of her problems. A scuffle broke out during the post-show arrest, resulting in Williams and her manager, Rod Swensen, receiving a beating at the hands of policemen. Williams earned an additional count of battery, but photos taken of the assault led to all charges against her ultimately being dropped. Which allowed the singer to carry on practicing her particular brand of performance art: Just days later, Williams was nabbed in Cleveland, again for simulating a sex act onstage — only this time while wearing a bra made of nothing but shaving cream.

Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne has pulled a lot of outrageous stunts in his career — biting the head off a bat; snorting up a row of ants like it was insect cocaine; covering Black Sabbath's "Changes" with his daughter, Kelly — but one of his most notorious exploits didn't actually happen. According to legend, following a show at San Antonio's Convention Center on February 19th, 1982, the self-proclaimed Prince of Fucking Darkness whipped out his wang and whizzed on a wall of that most beloved of Texas landmarks, the Alamo. Which wasn't exactly the case. In reality, the Ozzman was actually across the road from the famous mission, next to a 60-foot cenotaph commemorating the Battle of the Alamo, when he urinated on the sidewalk. . .while blitzed out of his mind. . .and wearing one of his wife (then girlfriend) Sharon's dresses. Osbourne was summarily arrested and charged with public intoxication. As a bonus, he was also slapped with a decade-long ban from performing in the good city of San Antonio.

Wes Scantlin

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Wes Scantlin

Though post-grungers Puddle of Mudd have been out of the public eye for roughly a decade, in recent years the band's frontman, Wes Scantlin, has managed to garner plenty of press ink through a series of arrests that include charges of cocaine possession, public intoxication and domestic violence. But his biggest hit in this realm came in July of last year, when, after fighting with his neighbor, electro-pop artist Sasha Gradiva, Scantlin grabbed a sledgehammer and smashed up a cinder block wall he felt had been erected on his side of their shared property line, and then attacked her patio with a buzz saw. Scantlin was charged with felony vandalism but remained indignant that it was Gradiva, and not he, who was guilty of disrespecting property boundaries. "My neighbor vandalized my house," Scantlin told TMZ, "so I had to take action."

Flavor Flav

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Flavor Flav

Early in the morning on December 6th, 1996, Public Enemy hypeman Flavor Flav was arrested after two officers in the NYPD's Street Crime Unit observed him riding his bicycle against traffic on Grand Concourse Ave. in the South Bronx. Which, on its own, doesn't exactly warrant a trip to the slammer. What will send a man straight to jail, however, is the fact that, at the time of the incident, Flav had two pounds of weed stuffed into the pocket of his jacket. For Flav, the charge of third-degree criminal possession of marijuana came just a year after a bust for carrying a .380 semiautomatic handgun and three vials of crack. And just where did that arrest take place? In the South Bronx, on Grand Concourse Ave.

Kid Rock


Kid Rock

In what reads like a perfectly executed PR stunt for a man who made his name as a badass redneck rapper, Kid Rock spent a day in jail on a simple battery charge after being involved in an early morning brawl at, of all places, a Waffle House. Following a gig at the Tabernacle in Atlanta in October 2007, the artist and his entourage were enjoying breakfast at one of the restaurant chain's area locations when another patron, Harlen Akins, exchanged words with a woman in Rock's crew. A fight ensued — and was caught on Waffle House security cameras — though Rock claimed he only argued with Akins and never physically assaulted him. Nevertheless, a jury later awarded Akins $40,000 in compensatory damages, of which Rock was ordered to pay a portion. Rock later explained what exactly went down at the WH during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show: "One thing led to another," he told DeGeneres, "windows were broken, and, you know, cussin' and fussin', the mud, the blood and the beer. . ."

GG Allin

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GG Allin

GG Allin claimed to have been arrested more than 50 times in his lifetime, but one of his most infamous busts came on February 18th, 1992, after a gig with his band, the Murder Junkies, at Austin's Cavity Club. Like most Allin performances at that time, the show quickly devolved into horrific spectacle, with the singer naked and covered in his own blood and feces. Austin's finest were eventually called to the scene, where one policeman, according to a filed report, witnessed people "running away from the stage gasping and covering their faces." Another concertgoer gave a statement attesting to the fact that "the band member that was nude threw feces. . .striking him [in] the head." Allin himself was sent to nearby Brackenridge Hospital to be treated for a self-inflicted head wound. From there it was on to central booking, where he was arrested — and later extradited to Michigan — on an outstanding warrant stemming from a parole violation for an assault charge.

Izzy Stradlin

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Izzy Stradlin

Suppose you're on an airplane cruising 30,000 miles above ground and you really need to use the bathroom — and they're all occupied. What do you do? If you're former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin, caught somewhere between Indianapolis and Los Angeles with a few too many Bacardi and Cokes in your system, you declare, "I'm not waiting any longer," unzip your pants and urinate on the carpet of the plane's galley. For good measure, Stradlin also spent his hours on USAir Flight 350 on August 27th, 1989, verbally abusing the stewardesses and lighting up cigarettes in a non-smoking section. When his plane touched down at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, two policemen boarded and arrested Stradlin for interfering with the duties of a flight crew — a federal offense. But, as Guns N' Roses' then-publicist explained, "Relieving himself in the galley was just [Izzy's] way of expressing himself."

Michael Todd coheed and cambria

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Michael Todd

On July 10th, 2011, just hours before Coheed and Cambria were scheduled to take the stage at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts, the band's bassist, Michael Todd, was giving a solo performance at an area drugstore. Upon walking into a Walgreens, he showed a pharmacist a text on his phone indicating he had a bomb and would blow the place to bits unless he was given OxyContin. Todd left the store with six bottles of pain pills, then hailed a cab and returned to the venue, where police tracked him down and arrested him on charges of armed robbery and possession of a class B controlled substance. Needless to say, Todd did not join his band mates onstage that night — or, for that matter, any other night. Within hours of his arrest, Coheed and Cambria announced a replacement bassist for the remainder of the tour dates. Less than a month later, Todd was out of the band for good.

marilyn manson


Marilyn Manson

On the night of July 30th, 2001, a 25-year-old security guard named Joshua Keasler unwittingly became a star in Marilyn Manson's dope show. While working the front of the stage at Michigan's DTE Energy Music Theatre during a Manson performance, Keasler was grabbed from behind by the singer, who then proceeded to use the guard as his own personal stripper pole, spitting on him, wrapping his legs around his neck and rubbing his g-string clad crotch on Keasler's head. Manson was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery and criminal sexual conduct, the latter of which can carry a multi-year jail sentence. But a judge later reduced the sexual conduct charge — a fourth-degree felony — to one of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, reasoning that, at least in his estimation, Manson hadn't gained any sexual gratification from the act.

george michael

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George Michael

Despite decades of hits, George Michael is today as known for exposing himself to undercover officer Marcelo Rodríguez in a Beverly Hills park bathroom as he is for singing "I Want Your Sex." Regarding his arrest on April 7th, 1998, Michael later explained to MTV how he knew something odd was afoot: "Once [Rodríguez] got an eyeful, he walked past me — went straight past me and out," he said. "I thought maybe he just wasn't impressed." The singer pleaded no contest to a charge of lewd conduct, and was ordered to pay a small fine and perform community service. The incident also led to his publicly coming out as a gay man, as well as a thoroughly entertaining video for his song "Outside," in which he mocked the bathroom bust — and was consequently sued for $10 million by Rodríguez, who alleged that he was slandered in the process.

Sebastian Bach

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Sebastian Bach

Sebastian Bach may no longer be a youth, but he's clearly still capable of getting wild. In November 2011, the former Skid Row frontman was charged with assault, mischief and possession of marijuana after a night out drinking at Riley's Olde Towne Pub, in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. Things went south after Bach and his friends asked the bar's musical act, a local artist named Josh Gontier, if they could sing a few songs. Upon being rebuffed, the crew began heckling Gontier, and Bach pelted him with ice cubes. Riley's owner Jim Kakouros asked the singer to leave, and he complied — but not before smashing his glass of wine on the floor. A scuffle then erupted, ending with Kakouros putting Bach in a bear hug — and Bach biting him on the hand. Kakouros later requested that Bach undergo a court-ordered rabies test. In his own defense, Bach told a news outlet, "You can go to Friendly's with your grandma and she could drop a glass of water on the ground — nobody tackles her!"

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