Rock Stars vs. The Police

I think 1967 was the first time an arrest happened at a rock show, on stage. 1967, The Doors, New Haven, Connecticut. And in Miami, he wasn’t arrested until after the show, until people complained. Jim Morrison definitely wouldn’t take any BS from authority.

While, AFAICT, he was never actually arrested while on stage, rock pioneer Chuck Berry had many run-ins with the law (and went to prison three times). In fact, he formed one of his early bands in the 1940s, while he was in a Missouri reformatory, serving time for armed robbery.

Sting isn’t that tough but watch out for Andy.

The entire Grateful Dead and their retinue — plus Owsley Stanley — were busted in New Orleans, January 1970, for possession of weed, acid, and various other (non narcotic) drugs. Oddly enough, they were staying at the same hotel where the Jefferson Airplane were raided and arrested just a couple weeks earlier.

The event was memorialized in Robert Hunter’s lyrics for “Truckin’”

Police generally have enough sense to not arrest people in the middle of a hostile crowd. That said, Arthur Scargill was arrested while he was giving a speech to the TUC.

Paul McCartney had repeated run-ins with the law over cannabis possession and cultivation in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably in 1980, when Japanese customs officials found pot in his luggage, and detained him for ten days before deporting him.

I always thought that Scargill was a terribly underrated musician. :wink:

Keith Richards (of course). But his biggest bust didn’t happen on stage, although plenty of early Stones shows (before anyone outside of England ever heard of them) were shut down by the police, mostly because of out-of-control crowds.

Keith’s memoir, Life, is informative and entertaining, and Keith is a natural-born raconteur, but he is sometimes a bit clueless about real life. He did seem to think, at least a little, that the police in Toronto were being unfair to him, and hassling him, when they busted him with an ounce of heroin. After all, it was just his personal stash.

Hell, for Richards, that probably isn’t even a day’s worth. :eek:

Jim Morrison got nuthin’ on The Prisonaires

Here are some later examples of performers going too far for The Man.

Pete Townshend was arrested post-performance after he kicked a policeman in the cojones. The unfortunate cop had come onstage to make an announcement to clear the venue due to a fire next door, and Pete did not appreciate the interruption.

Not an on-stage incident, but The Who and their road crew were all arrested due to some hotel antics in Montreal in 1974. John Entwistle recalled their incarceration in his song “Cell Number 7”.

From a slightly different angle, there was also the police officer who entered a venue to shoot and kill the man who had just murdered Dimebag Darrell and several other people. :frowning:

In the summer of 1993, some co-workers and I were talking about concerts we’d attended, and one young man, who had lived in Austin, TX for a while, sheepishly said, “I saw GG Allin.” As the only person there who had heard of him, I replied, “All I know about GG Allin is that every time he performs, he always ends up getting arrested. What does he do onstage, or do I want to know?”

Co-worker: “Oh, he shits onstage…”

Other co-workers: “You are lying!”

CW: “…he sticks his microphone up his butt…”


Mr. Austin got another job, and the day after he quit, I read in Rolling Stone that Allin was dead. Too bad; I would have loved to have been the one to share this information with him. When asked why he went to this show, he replied, “I just wanted to find out if the guy was for real.”

Oh, I know he didn’t get arrested at EVERY show, but close enough.

and Stewart is CIA legacy…

That was the reason why the warrant out for Jim Morrison came 4 days after (which is a bit excessive) in Miami (but was told when The Doors were in Jamaica)

CIA and OSS… Jaco Pastorious always called him a spy, or would throw “That CIA agent” (I think one of the times are those 10 short home videos where he plays, listens, and kinda interviews… Drinking)

Jagger and Richards were busted at Keith’s home Redlands in 1967 for some assorted pills and allowing weed to be smoked on the premises. Both were arrested, detained, sentenced for a year to prison. They were shipped out immediately. I think Jagger did ONE day and Keith might have done THREE but still…they were prisoners not knowing their fate.

Smash cut to 1972 while on tour in the US. Again Jagger and Richards were arrested in Boston (some airport trouble) right before a show. I believe the Mayor of Boston personally showed up spring them from the can so the show could go on. He didn’t need riots and fires and understood the wisdom of delivering these hoodlums.

The following years, Richards was busted for all kinds of assorted drug related crimes in England. A funny bust happened in US in 1975 in Arkansas of all places. Keith and his buddies opted to view the “real south” in a car while on tour in the US. Apparently they stopped for gas and as they left, the driver spun his wheels a bit more than the local sheriff liked. Pulled them over, found knives, alcohol and other infractions. Marched them into jail. Work got out and Teenagers surrounded the building with fans. Sheriff quickly realizes he’s got somebody famous. Turns out, he was a good guy and worked a release with their lawyers over the phone. Before letting them go, he asked for pictures. The Stones abide. But his most notorious bust happened in Canada in 77’ when he and his junkie wife Anita brought shitloads of luggage through customs while looking and acting as gypsies. Didn’t take long for the Royal Mounties to suspect trouble. They found a huge amount of heroin and then his troubles really begin. Looked like the Stones could have ended then and there. He was retained while the rest of the band flew on back home without him. Dark days.