The music world has had more than its share of criminal behavior. From Leadbelly to Johnny Cash to Tupac, some of our greatest musical heroes have been guests of the state on more than one occasion. Yesterday, rapper Flo Rida was ostentatiously arrested on suspicion of DUI and driving on a suspended license after being pulled over for driving erratically in his $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4. In honor of the fresh charges, here is a list of famous artists who really never should have been let out of jail after all the crazy shit they did.
Given the multiple offenses and lethal nature of one of them, once-and-future Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil shouldn't get to take a free breath ever again. In 1984, Neil was partying it up with some friends from the band Hanoi Rocks, when he and drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley drove out to the liquor store to restock. Neil lost control of the car and hit another in oncoming traffic, killing Dingley and injuring two in the other car. He managed to escape with just 30 days in jail (of which he served 15), probation, community service and monetary damages. Most people would thank God and the ghost of Johnnie Cochran with that deal and never get in trouble ever again. In the past decade, though, Neil has been arrested for assaulting a record executive, allegedly choking a sex worker and slamming her into a wall and suspicion of drunk driving and destruction of property after a boozy incident in Vegas. And let us not forget perhaps his worst crime of all in the 2000s: The Surreal Life.
Usually, rappers with legal problems face quotidian gang-related charges like drug possession, weapons offenses, etc. DMX has those under his belt, but he is that rare artist who explores practically uncharted territory. Aggravated assault? Check. Parole violations? Check. Animal cruelty? Check. Criminal mischief, menacing and criminal impersonation for attempting to carjack someone while claiming to be a federal agent? Triple check. DMX has really raised the bar for drug-addled, maniac millionaires, and he probably should be in a full-time psychiatric institution. Where is he now? On his way out of prison on July 1, with a new single to drop the next day. He is also planning to follow his dream of becoming a preacher. God bless America.
Allegedly peed on and banged a 13-year-old girl and filmed it. Allegedly.
Former singer in German female foursome No Angels (billed as “the biggest-selling Continental European girl group of all time”), Benaissa sold millions of records in the early- to mid-2000s. She struck out on her own in 2006 with solo album Schritt fur Schritt (Step by Step), which achieved moderate critical and commercial success. Her personal life, however, did not fare so well. She had a daughter at the age of 17 and went through a rocky relationship with an African soccer star. Sadly, she had also contracted HIV. This did not stop her from having unprotected sex with several men over the course of the period of years, and one contracted the virus from her. Since 1988, this has been a crime in Germany, and she was duly charged with causing grievous bodily harm. Somehow, she managed to receive a two-year suspended sentence and community service for the potentially deadly nondisclosure.
Glam rock icon best known for a song without any real lyrics (jock jam ne plus ultra “Rock and Roll Pt. 2”), the former Paul Francis Gadd recorded and performed to dwindling attention in the 1980s and 1990s. He suffered from alcoholism and was thrice convicted of drunk driving, losing his license for ten years. Not much was heard from Glitter until 1997, when he was arrested for possession of child pornography after brilliantly taking his laptop (chock full of thousands of pics of naked kids) into the computer store to be fixed. He ended up doing four months in prison for that offense, leaving the country on his yacht upon his release.
He eventually made his way to Cambodia, but was chased out for alleged sexual abuse of minors. Finally, he got to Vietnam, where he was charged with raping two girls (aged 10 and 11), which could have earned him a date with a firing squad. He was convicted on lesser charges of committing obscene acts with minors and sentenced to three years in prison. Glitter is now persona non grata in most of Asia and living out his days as a sad joke on the UK Sexual Offenders List.
R&B singer, dancer, actor and all-around superstar Brown was on top of the entertainment world in early-2009. At just 20 years of age, he had gone multiplatinum in music, appeared on television and in films like Stomp the Yard and was dating the gorgeous fellow star Rihanna. Things were not all perfect in their relationship, however, and the LAPD responded to a call about a violent episode. As the story leaked, it became clear that Brown had gone beyond a normal spat and had, in fact, beaten Rihanna savagely and threatened her life.
The pictures of her post-battery showed a severely bruised face and shocked his fans and the general public. He plead not guilty to felony assault and making criminal threats. Later, he accepted a plea bargain in which he accepted the felony conviction, five years' formal probation and community labor in lieu of jail time. In California, felony assault is punishable by up to four years in prison. We're certain that his wealth, fame and legal team had nothing to do with the sentencing.
Fang were some of the original Berkeley punks when they formed in 1980. The group was more experimental and just plain weirder than most of their politically-charged compatriots in the early hardcore scene. As they continued their progression, singer Sam McBride fell into the depths of heroin addiction. One strung-out night in 1989, he strangled girlfriend Dixie Lee Carney after an argument. The wayward musician eventually was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, but ended up spending only six years in prison. Upon his release, McBride legally changed his name to Sammytown and attempted to restart Fang. Lineup changes (including the addition of former Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin) did little to turn things around, but McBride's story goes to prove that people are willing to forget just about anything in the name of rock & roll.