10 Musicians Who Committed Serious Crimes

The dark side of rock ‘n’ roll.

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10 Musicians Who Committed Serious Crimes

Yes, you have your favorite bands, your favorite songs, and albums, favorite videos, go to live shows, but behind the careless and fun image of rock ‘n’ roll, you can sometimes find something really unpleasant and disturbing. Those who became stars overnight were in danger of falling into drug and alcohol abuse, and some of them went even further and completely spiraled out of control.

Maybe you like some of their music, but behind all those riffs, melodies and lyrics there sometimes can be a total monster you know nothing about. Here we will go a bit into musicians who committed serious crimes. Whether or not you will still listen to their music after reading this is up to you.

GG Allin

Allin is definitely one of the most shocking personas in rock music. Besides his well-known defecating on the stage, which even became a regular thing on his shows, GG Allin was arrested in 1989 for assault on one of his female fans. The woman claimed that he tortured and raped her and even cut her and drink her blood. Allin didn’t deny this happened but stated it was a consensual act. He was sentenced and served 16 months in prison.

Sid Vicious

At the time punk started taking over the scene in 1978, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie) woke up in a hotel room to find his girlfriend Nancy Spungen lying dead on the bathroom floor with a stab wound on her abdomen. According to the bassist, two of them got into an argument the night before and stated that he did stab her but without an intention to kill her. He even claimed that he doesn’t completely remember the night and that Nancy even fell onto his knife during the quarrel.

After the incident, he was arrested and attempted suicide two times. After being bailed out and waiting for the end of his trial, Sid Vicious overdosed on heroin in early February 1979. A lot of things concerning his death are not really clear since his mother Anne Beverley allegedly admitted to injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin on the night he died. His mother also revealed the note she found in Vicious’ jacket, stating that he and Spungen had a death pact.

Chuck Berry

Before becoming one of the most important figures in rock ‘n’ roll, Berry was arrested for armed robbery in 1944 which earned him a three-year sentence. After being released, he settled down and had a decent life.

However, by the time 1950s were at their end and Berry was an acclaimed star, he was arrested for taking a 14-year-old girl and driving her across the state borders and allegedly having sexual relations with her. After a few trials and appeals Berry served 20 months in prison.

Bård Guldvik Eithun - “Faust”

Norwegian drummer known by the nickname of Faust was a member of black metal band Emperor. So one August day Faust was walking through a park and a man named Magne Andreassen approached him, clearly intoxicated and started flirting. At one point Magne offered Faust to go to the woods to which he agreed on and then ended up stabbing the man he just met 37 times and even kicking his head while he was lying down on the ground.

The drummer admitted to the crime but found it strange that he actually killed somebody. Faust also stated that he felt no remorse at the time. In 1994 he was sentenced to 14 years and served 9 years and 4 months. He continued writing and recording music after being released from prison.

Varg Vikernes

Now known by his new name Louis Cachet and YouTube channel Thulean Perspective, Burzum mainman Varg Vikernes could easily be the single reason why your parents were not in favor of you listening to black metal as a kid. Besides being involved in burning at least three churches, Varg was responsible for killing Mayhem guitarist Øystein Aarseth, known as Euronymous. During 1993 two of them were not in the best of relations, and Burzum mastermind went over to Euronymous’ apartment and stabbed him 23 times. According to Varg Euronymous planned on killing him first and still to this day claims to have done this in self-defense. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison which is a maximum penalty in Norway.

And here he is, after hearing the verdict.

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Besides being one of the most important figures of blues music, Huddie William Ledbetter is also known for the crimes he committed. In 1915 he was convicted of carrying a gun and was sentenced to work in a chain gang. He managed to escape and found work under a different name. In 1918 he murdered one of his relatives while fighting over a woman and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. His good behavior in prison and a song he wrote to Governor Pat Morris Neff led to him being released after serving the minimum of 7 years.

Tim Lambesis

As I Lay Dying frontman and leader of Austrian Death Machine project Tim Lambesis went through some significant changes in life during his career as a musician. In 2012 he told his wife he is no longer interested in being with her and openly revealed that he no longer believes in God and has an extramarital relationship. Next year he decided to hire someone to kill his spouse for which he was arrested and sentenced to 6 years. He was released on parole in late 2016.

While serving his sentence, Lambesis complained that prison doctors have neglected him by denying him anastrozole, a drug he needed to for the withdrawal of steroids. This resulted in gynecomastia or enlarged breast tissue.

Ian Watkins

Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins was charged with his notorious crimes in late 2012, and one year later he plead guilty. He was not only in possession of child pornography but also planned on having a sexual intercourse with a 1-year-old child. This came as a great shock to both the band members and fans, and Lostprophets quickly disbanded.

Watkins was found guilty and sentenced to 29 years in prison with eligibility for parole after two-thirds of the time served. He is currently serving his sentence in HM Prison Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England.

Vince Neil

The lead singer of Mötley Crüe was known for his wild behavior, but the worst thing that he did was when Hanoi Rocks members came to visit him at his home. When the party heated up, Neil and Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley decided to go to the liquor store. While Neil was driving he lost control of his vehicle and hit the oncoming car which had two people in it who suffered serious injuries and brain damage in the collision. Razzle, who was in the vehicle with Neil was killed and the singer was charged vehicular manslaughter and DUI. His level of alcohol in blood was 0.17 which is far above the limit in California. Neil was sentenced to 30 days in jail of which he served 15, 200 hours of community service and $2.6 million in reparation to the victims of this crash.

His other crimes include punching producer Michael Schuman, assaulting a sex worker at Moonlight BunnyRanch, assaulting a soundman on Mötley Crüe show and various others.

Dave Holland

Longtime Judas Priest drummer, who recorded six studio albums with the band between 1980 and 1988, was found guilty of attempting rape of a 17-year-old boy with learning disabilities who took drum lessons from him. In 2004 he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Holland claimed his innocence throughout his sentence.

Judas Priest in 1984 with Dave Holland on the right:

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

    How Watkins is not facing life sentence is beyond me
    Sick fucks like him should be chemically castrated or put to death.
    IMO the death penalty would be a waste - Rotting away under life imprisonment is a far worse punishment than death, particularly in isolated confinement.
    I agree, rotting in prison is a worse punishment, but at the same time, imagine the money being wasted on him by doing that. Taxes going to keeping him alive and well in prison? They could at least use him for purposes of science. Testing new pharmaceuticals, stun guns, bullet proof vests, ejection seats, air bags, new equipment for checking the prostate, you know, shit like that. 
    Maybe, but human testing is ethically dubious, particularly considering the large amount of people on death row who later turned out to be innocent. That, and capital punishment is also very expensive (iirc, a death row case costs about $90,000 more) It's probably better to not stray beyond the grey zone that is life imprisonment
    Good point! I'm wasn't being fully serious in the comment either. I suppose an "lol" at the end would have better helped articulate that. What I think is really insane is that it costs $90,000 to kill someone on death row? Do you know how much it costs for life in prison? 
    My bad, irony is kinda difficult to detect online when you only have text to go on - I think you might have misunderstood the other thing though, it doesn't cost $90,000 to execute a prisoner, and to be fair, I've also messed a bit up with my memory. Some quick research shows that it costs approximately 740,000$ to imprison someone (it varies of course, depending on the felons age and if their sentence changes), where as it costs approximately $1.26 million to have someone on death row and execute them. The $90,000 figure comes from the average extra cost on taxpayers for a person on death row.
    Too expensive. Just murder them savagely.
    Capital punishment is actually far more expensive than a life in prison. It's not the 1700s, and England isn't some 3rd world country, they can't just put a rope around their neck and call it a day. The amount of paper work, trials, court time etc that would need to be invested for capital punishment is a gigantic pain in the ass and waste of tax payers' money than just giving them an orange jump suit and throwing them in a cell. But don't worry, most criminals in prison don't take too kindly to child molesters and rapists, they'll do far worse things to him than capital punishment ever could.
    And those expensive appeals exist for a reason: the USA has a bad track record with actually convicting the right people in death penalty cases.  One state- Illinois- implemented a moratorium on its death penalty after they had 13 DNA exonerations from Death Row in the same period of time they had executed 12, even with all those other legal safeguards in place. An error rate in death penalty cases of greater than 50% is at least a good argument againsr greasing the skids. A few years ago in the state where I live, the governor disbanded a commission that was weeks away from concluding that an executed man had been convicted on evidence derived from junk science. If we are so bloodthirsty that we won’t be honest with policing the death penalty process so that flaws can’t be identified and changed, it’s a tool we shouldn’t be using.
    At least he didn't kill anyone. Vince Neil on the other hand killed a man and got out in 15 days, that's really fucked up.
    At least Vince Neil didn't plan to rape a fucking baby. 
    It's not about planned/did not plan. A person died because of his irresponsible action, and being drunk is not an excuse. Although Watkins is responsible for horrible things, one can recover from rape, but no one have ever recovered from death.
    I agree, most of the sentences in this list are kind of fucked up actually
    He should be under the prison... living in a fucking hole that the guards just randomly throw food into if they remember. Or thrown into gen pop and let the big, beefy inmate motherfuckers split the dude in half.
    He will have to be protected for the rest of his sentence. Gen pop will maul him.
    Watkins should never be allowed out of prison in my eyes.
    Agreed. Soon as I see a puck or even think of Lost Prophets I get a shutter in my gut.
    What do you mean a puck? I'm American, and the term only applies to hockey for us.
    How the fuck did Vince Neil only get 30 days?
    Because he was a fucking famous white musician.
    Yeah, that’s why. Cause he was white. I suppose OJ Simpson was a White guy too just with a really good tan. I think being famous is the right answer, nothing more nothing less.
    King Bluesy
    I think there was a group of black rappers doing quite a lot whom never got shit for any of it around the same time
    Wow. I had no idea GG Allin was such a lowlife just from listening to music. I definitely wont be listening anymore. Thanks UG.
    Just by looking at the pic of Dave Holland, I'm starting to think he must be guilty. Creepy lookin f**k. But I have to say, after looking into the Sid and Nancy case a lil bit, I'm pretty sure the man's innocent.
    Two men came to Sid and Nancy's place to buy drugs or some shit. Sid+Nancy were high as shit, passed out. Nancy woke up when the two men were about to steal things, she started freaking out so they stabbed her. Sid woke up and thought he did it while high.
    Preeeeetty sure those aren't the only serious crimes Chuck Berry did...didn't he also get busted much later on (the '90s I think?) for putting cameras in the women's restroom toilets at a restaurant he owned (or something to that extent)? Yikes!
    I don't hate a lot of people but Ian Watkins makes the list. Can't listen to Lostprophets now thanks to him.
    I hate that mother fucker so much but I’ve found myself in a moral conundrum with LostProphet’s music. I really love some of their songs. I mean their album “Start Something” is very good even to this day. So I feel weird for liking it because Ian is a scumbag, but I also know the rest of the band is innocent. SO I really don’t knw how i should feel about it.
    You can like the music and dislike the criminal that made it. I mean if this list is anything to go off of, every time you listen to Johnny B Goode you're enjoying the music of a child molester
    The rest of the band are lovely people. It's just that the idiot had to be on vocals. I don't want to hear his voice.
    I hope Watkins gets a broomstick shoved so far up his ass it comes out his mouth with his intestines. Sick piece of shit.
    His level of alcohol in blood was 0.17 which is far above the limit in California.
    Far above? What is the limit in California? -21.6?
    0.17 is over double the level of intoxication in most states. So yes, far above.
    It's .05 where i live therefore Neil would have been more than 3 times over if he got busted where i live currently.
    BirdsintheTrap · Nov 05, 2017 08:54 PM
    .08 is the legal limit in NC. .17 is significant. There are teenagers who have been sentenced 50 year sentences with no parole, and were less intoxicated than him.
    GG Allin should be in prison right now IMO.
    No use putting an already dead man in prison
    Haha! Didn't even know he was dead. Wow, shows how much I know about the guy
    Yeah he died of a heroin overdose in 93 or 94 i believe. Or sometime in the earty 90's.
    He died in mid '93 after a concert. There's a video of the gig - he only got through two songs before the power went out, then took a walk around the city where the gig was held (I think it was New York) before going to a house party with two fans, where he OD'd on heroin. One reason he was so crazy was because he came from a dysfunctional family - his dad thought he was the second coming of Christ, so he gave him the name "Jesus Christ" (his mum had it changed to Kevin when he was 4 or 5).
    No Ice-T? I'm not sure but I think he confessed that he used to do some serious shit back in the day.
    Yeah and I thought what about Snoop Dogg, but then I also thought about the title, which has the word "musician" in it. So yeah, as far as I know, Ice-T isn't a musician, and I know that Snoop isn't. 
    What did he do? I’m genuinely curious, not trying to be internet sarcastic or anything.
    I think it was some of the "usual" gangsta-type stuff, but he also claimed to have been a bank robber at some point. If it's true, that is.
    What about Nickelback, for the murdering of multiple ears all around the world?
    Fuck Watkins, and fuck Dave Holland. Vince Neil is an idiot, but he's a saint by comparison.
    It's kindahow many people idolize Sid. He was a drug fiend, couldn't play his instrument (the easiest to play in that genre even), didn't write anything, and murdered Nancy, before basically killing himself. Great idol there. What's to like, his sneer?
    "His level of alcohol in blood was 0.17 which is far above the limit in California." A note to the author: This article is written very poorly.  You need to proofread your work and check for grammatical errors.   Is it possible that English is not your first language?  If so, then my apologies.  I don't mean any disrespect if that is the case. Otherwise, you need to shape up your writing skills a bit.  
    Have you never read a UG article before? All he/she missed was a comma, you're being a bit if a Nazi.
    Well. This is a website in English (with no other choice of language) and even if an article is submitted by volunteers, it should be 99% correct (with the occasional misstypes and stuff like that). Shouldn't need to be sorry for expecting good grammar out of an English speaking site.
    Just feed Watkins' corpse to pigs. Anyway, Varg did not stab Euronymous 23 times - that's a lie propagated by the (((media))).
    "i swear, officers. he fell into the knife in my hands. and those three churches? they just caught fire when i looked at them!" you're just upset because your hero is a bitch who didn't have the guts to face his opponent when he wasn't sleeping
    I thought for sure Charles Manson would be on this list, but I guess he was technically never a professional musician so fair enough.
    As much as I agree Tim Lambesis is an utter arsehole you can't deny he WAS As I Lay Dying. Just look what happened when he went to jail, Wovenwar sucks. Looking forward to see what he does next. Just won't pay for it. Scumbag.
    With a bland generic name like Wovenwar, they probably sound exactly like what their name would entail.
    I saw a comment below about how Vince Neil's crimes are worse than Ian Watkins'. If anyone is in doubt about Watkins' deserved place on this list, I'd suggest reading the judge's comments regarding the case:  http://rockrevoltmagazine.com/wp-content/uploa... I warn you - it's extremely graphic and you enter at your own risk, there's no unreading it once you've read it. 
    Im starting to think there is a pattern between Black Metal, Attempt of Murder (or murder) and stabbing somebody 23 times
    "thou shalt stab to twenty-three. No more. No less. Twenty-three shalt be the number thou shalt stab, and the number of the stabbing shall be twenty-three. Twenty-four shalt thou not stab, nor either stab thou twenty-two, excepting that thou then proceed to twenty-three. Twenty-five is right out. Once the number twenty-three, being the twenty-third number, be reached, then, thou shall take a photograph of he whom have been stabbed twenty-three times, who, being naughty in thine sight, shall snuff it and be used as an album cover." 
    What about James Brown and his cocaine-fueled kidnappings and rape?
      [h]Bård Guldvik Eithun served a little over 9 years for stabbing a man he did not even know 37 times....Damn![/h]
    Chuck Berry, continued (from Wiki): "In 1990 he was sued by several women who claimed that he had installed a video camera in the bathroom. Berry claimed that he had the camera installed to catch a worker who was suspected of stealing from the restaurant. Though his guilt was never proved in court, Berry opted for a class action settlement."
    someone should 'sort' that watkins guy out. (I won't even capitalize his name, doesn't deserve it)