When security cameras captured Kid Rock throwing haymakers at an Atlanta Waffle House in 2007, viewers could hardly resist rolling their eyes. Not only was it a knucklehead move, but it was the third time in two years that he’d gotten in legal trouble for slugging someone in public. Granted, famous musicians live wild and crazy lifestyles. But when they get arrested for dumb things, it compromises the fantasy for the rest of us. Here are some other musician arrests that made us shake our heads.
During a 1989 flight from Indianapolis to Los Angeles, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist could have used – ahem – just a little patience. Annoyed that the bathroom was occupied, Stradlin declared, “I’m not waiting any longer.” Then, according to an FBI agent’s report, he unzipped his pants and took a leak into the galley area, shocking passengers and a flight attendant. After Stradlin’s arrest, Geffen Records publicist Bryn Bridenthal appealed to the First Amendment, saying, “Relieving himself in the galley was just his way of expressing himself.” As part of his misdemeanor guilty plea, Stradlin had to write an apology letter to the USAir crew.
After a 1991 concert in Denver, the Black Crowes frontman squawked when a 7-Eleven clerk refused to sell him alcohol after midnight. As he was fuming, a fellow customer looked to her friend, Elizabeth Juergens, and said, “There’s the lead singer for the Black Crowes!” When Juergens replied, “Who are the Black Crowes?” Robinson whirled around and told her she’d know who the Black Crowes were if she didn’t eat so many Twinkies. Things got ugly from there, with Robinson spitting on Juergens before walking out with two cases of beer. The “Hard to Handle” singer later pled guilty to disturbing the peace.
Kid Rock got a little slaphappy in 2007. A month before throwing down at a Georgia Waffle House, he’d slugged Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee during the MTV Video Music Awards. But those incidents lacked punch compared to his 2005 arrest for clocking a strip club DJ. Rock was in Nashville for the funeral of artist-manager Merle Kilgore when he and friends decided to check out the views at Christie’s Cabaret. When DJ Jeremy Campos announced that the club was closing, one of Rock’s entourage shouted, “The DJ sucks!” Campos responded, “Shut up. This is my job. I don’t bother you when you’re digging in trash cans.” Kid Rock demanded an apology, and when he didn’t get one, he drilled the DJ. The fight resulted in a no contest plea and a lawsuit.
The heavy metal legend won’t have any problem remembering the Alamo. After word came out that Osbourne – who once proclaimed he had a preoccupation with defiling public shrines – had whizzed on the famous landmark before a show in 1982, some Texans were so angry, they reportedly launched into a mini-riot at the concert. Turns out Osbourne didn’t technically pee on the Alamo, scene of the state’s battle for independence in 1836: he relieved himself on a 60-foot cenotaph across the street. Still, a decade after his arrest for public intoxication, the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness made nice, donating $10,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who care for Alamo.
In 2007, 29-year-old Norwegian escort Audun Carlsen thought he was going to Boy George’s home for a naked photo shoot. He wound up handcuffed to a wall fixture and beaten with a chain. During Boy George’s trial, it was revealed that the two had dabbled in cocaine on the night in question. At some point, Boy George, who suspected Carlsen had hacked into his computer, announced, “Now you’re going to get what you deserve.” Out came the chains, basically writing the tabloid “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” headlines.
While visiting a pub in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, in 2010, the former Skid Row singer asked the pub’s musician of the evening if he and his friends could sing. The musician, Josh Gontier, told them to talk to the pub manager. Instead, they sat down and heckled Gontier. Bach threw ice cubes at him, according to the Toronto Sun, asking Gontier if he knew who the star was. Staff asked the group to leave, and when Bach was told he couldn’t take his wine outside, he smashed his glass against a front door. While waiting for police to arrive, pub owner Jim Kakouros put Bach in a bear hug, prompting Bach to bite his hand. Charges were dismissed. “America gets rock stars a little more than Canada does,” Bach later said.
A week before his band was scheduled to perform at a massive concert for peace, the R.E.M. guitarist went wild on 2001 flight to London. According to one witness, Buck had been “downing drinks like they were going out of business.” When the crew cut him off, he was not a shiny, happy person, pushing two crew members and hurling yogurt at a flight attendant. After a pilot radioed an air rage incident, Buck was arrested and charged with several offenses, including “criminal damage to a quantity of crockery.” Buck would later apologize for the incident in a statement: “I am very sorry for the incident, and, of course, very embarrassed about the whole thing.”
In 2000, Slim Shady was arrested for two separate gun-related incidents just hours apart. In the first, he pulled an unloaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol on Douglas Dail, road manager for Eminem rival Insane Clown Posse, yelling, “You want some of this?” A few hours later, a still-fuming Em saw his ex with a bouncer outside a Michigan nightclub. The bouncer, John Guerra, later said the rapper hit him in the head and face, shouting “I’m going to kill you!” as they struggled for the unloaded gun. Eminem later recreated the latter offense on a track titled “The Kiss (Skit).” He got probation for both incidents.
Running late for a flight in 2004, the rapper told a parking lot attendant at New York’s JFK Airport that he was an FBI agent before racing through a barrier. He then argued with another driver over a parking space, grabbing the man’s shirt in the process. In a case originally described as a carjacking, DMX pled guilty to reckless endangerment and driving under the influence of Valium. During his sentencing, he was forced to give up the SUV used in the offense. “I’ve got over 30 cars, but it was my first truck,” the rapper lamented afterward.
In July of 2011, the Coheed and Cambria bass player arrived in Massachusetts on a luxury tour bus. Hours before a gig at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, he walked into a local Walgreens and threatened to bomb the joint if he didn’t get pain pills. The pharmacist handed over six bottles of Oxycontin, and Todd caught a taxi to the Comcast Center. He was on the tour bus a little later when police caught up to him. As his band walked onstage, Todd was being booked and processed. He was sentenced to one year of home confinement.
Manson’s attorney admitted it was “in poor taste” when his client rubbed his junk on the head of a security guard in Clarkston, Michigan. But, he added, it wasn’t sexual misconduct, as the prosecution alleged. In a subsequent lawsuit, Joshua Keasler, 26, claimed Manson grabbed him from behind during a 2001 show and improperly touched him. As Keasler tried to escape, he claimed, Manson continued to “gyrate his hips, thighs and/or public areas against (Keasler’s) head, neck and/or face.” If convicted of sexual misconduct, Manson would have had to register as a sex offender. Instead, he pled no contest to being a disorderly person and assault and battery. “It’s a victory for art,” Manson said afterward.
Rose and his band Guns N’ Roses were performing at the Riverport Amphitheatre near St. Louis in 1991 when the singer saw a fan with a camera and went bonkers. “Hey, take that!” he ordered security. “Get that guy and take that!” Not pleased with the response, he dove into the crowd and started throwing punches. He made it back to the stage, saying, “Thanks for the lame-ass security – I’m going home.” Then the “Welcome to the Jungle” singer slammed down his microphone and left. During the riot that ensued, the police chief requested tear gas and fire hoses to help disperse the crowd. Rose was later charged with assault.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Hours after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated in November of 1976, the man nicknamed the Killer arrived at Graceland with a loaded pistol, demanding to see Elvis. Harold Loyd, Elvis’s cousin and security guard, rang the King, but Lewis’ former Sun Records cohort wisely declined to greet Lewis. Instead, the police did, providing Lewis his second run-in with the law in the same day.
Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx
During a 1997 concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, the two Mötley Crüe members turned on the security guards, believing they had manhandled their fans. One of the security staffers, African-American John Allen, claimed they shouted racial slurs at him and incited the crowd of more than 2,000 to attack him. He also said Sixx kicked him and spit on him. With wife Pamela Anderson in the courtroom, Lee pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of simple assault for pouring beer on Allen’s head. Sixx pleaded no contest to inciting a riot, simple assault and disorderly conduct. Allen’s lawsuit against them was later settled.
In 2007, Brown was already on probation for assaulting two manicurists at a Florida beauty shop. After purchasing a bottle of hair glue at the Queen Beauty Supply in Pembroke Pines, Brown went to a bathroom to try it out. After 15 minutes, store owner Hayssam Ghoneeim knocked on the door and said they were closing. Brown allegedly said, “I bought this glue, and I’ll do what I wanna do!,” then flung open the door, tried to squirt Ghoneheim with the glue and knocked over a shelf of spray bottles in a profanity-filled tantrum. Later, Brown – who’d been ordered to take anger management classes after the manicure incident – swatted at a cop, who said he was forced to use a takedown maneuver.