Ten Most Notorious Rock Star Crimes

From DUI to ruthless murder, they've done it all. There was even one guy who regularly smeared feces on his face.

Ultimate Guitar

Rock music and trouble with the law sometimes just seem to go hand in hand, as there are so many cases of rockstars getting arrested it's easy to lose count.

Possesion of illegal substances and DUI are expectedly the most common type of misconduct, with notable mentions stretching all the way from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.

Recently, the case of Tim Lambesis and his arrest on charges of soliciting the murder of his wife stepped into to the center of public attention, making us remember some of the past cases of musicians getting arrested.

As you might have guessed, the more specific, you might say shocking stories were the first ones that popped up. Some of them are disturbing, others just plain ridiculous, but they all inarguably stand out. So buckle up and check out our picks of 10 most memorable arrests of rock and metal musicians.

Chuck Berry arrested for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines for "immoral purposes"

It's only right that the ultimate rock 'n' roll bad boy, the one and only Chuck Berry, gets to kick off our list. More than a decade before he rocked the world with "Johnny B. Goode," Berry started getting in trouble with the law way back during high school years. In 1944, he robbed three Kansas City stores and then stole a car at gunpoint with a group of friends, just to be arrested and convicted afterwards. But his most well-known run-in with the law occurred in 1959 when he was arrested on charges relating to transportation of a 14-year-old girl across state lines for allegedly "immoral purposes." Following a two-week trial, Berry was convinced to five years in prison, but ended up serving only one and a half after filing several appeals.

"Layla" co-author Jim Gordon stabs his mother to death

Although he isn't exactly a household name, Jim Gordon was one of the most renowned session musicians of his time. He worked with such greats as Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker and the Beach Boys. During the '70s, he was a part of Derek and the Dominos and is listed as a co-author of the legendary "Layla" tune, alongside Clapton himself.

But Gordon was also severely mentally ill, as he developed schizophrenia and started hearing voices, including the one of his mother. Unable to sleep or function normally, he even went on to starve himself, but the biggest outburst was yet to come. So in 1983, he attacked his own mother with a hammer and ended up fatally stabbing her.

During the trial, drummer was not allowed to use the insanity defense and was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. According to the latest Rolling Stone report, Gordon was denied parole until at least 2018 after last month's (April 2013) hearing.

Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols allegedly murders his girlfriend Nancy Spungen

The case of the infamous Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious who allegedly stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death is shrouded in mystery. As the story goes, Vicious supposedly woke up on the morning of October 12, 1978, to find Nancy dead on the bathroom floor. Her death was caused by bleeding from a single stab wound in the abdomen area.

The bassist was arrested on murder charges but didn't live long enough to see the end of trial as he died of heroin overdose on February 2, 1979. Many stories circulate Vicious' death, one being that his mother Anne Beverley injected him with a fatal dose of heroin on the night before his passing, which she supposedly confessed right before her own death in 1996.

After Sid was cremated, his mother allegedly found a suicide note in his jacket, saying, "We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye."

Ozzy Osbourne arrested for urinating at the Alamo dressed like a woman

It's just one of those things that can only happen to Ozzy. The year was 1982, and the legendary Black Sabbath frontman was drunk. Very drunk. He was also wearing a dress. Why? Because his future wife Sharon has hidden all of his clothes, of course. So anyway, as it often happens when you're drunk, Ozzy had the urge go to the bathroom.

As you might have expected, he picked the worst possible place and ended up urinating on the memorial erected in honor of those who died at the Alamo, right across the actual iconic building. Once he was arrested, Osbourne got banned from San Antonio for a decade.

The disturbing story of GG Allin

GG Allin was definitely one of the most vile and sinister musicians in the history of rock music. Born as Jesus Christ Allin (just the name pretty much tells you all about his father) in 1956, his life was all but normal from the very beginning. He performed with several bands, including the Murder Junkies, the Jabbers, the Scumfucs and many more, but remained best know for his degenerate live performances, which included physical and sexual assaults on members of the audience, as well as Allin swallowing laxatives and defecating on stage.

Possibly the most disturbing aspect of his shows was the fact that he used to smear the vomit and feces he excreted over his face, which would shock the audience to say the least. During one of his performances in late 1989, Allin was arrested and charged with "assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder" of his female acquaintance. After pleading guilty, GG spent over a year in prison, but continued with the same behavior once he was released.

This can clearly be seen in the "Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies" documentary, which shows Allin stripping, defecating on the floor, throwing feces on both himself and the audience, as well as breaking a woman's nose during a New York performance. Although he kept promising he would take his own life onstage, Allin died of a heroin overdose on June 28, 1993.

Varg Vikernes convicted for murder of Mayhem guitarist and the arson of churches

As possibly the most notorious metal musician of all time, Varg Vikernes took musician misconduct to a whole new level. Apart from being involved in numerous church burnings, Burzum mainman committed his biggest crime on August 10, 1993, when he murdered Mayhem guitarist Euronymous by stabbing him 23 times.

Although he entire story behind the murder will always remain unknown, Vikernes gave his own explanation via official website, saying that Euronymous was planning to kill him on the night of the murder, making his actions self-defense.

Varg was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to 21 years in prison, a maximum jail penalty in Norway. As the verdict was pronounced, he was photographed with a malevolent grin on his face, with the photo itself becoming his best-known image.

Marilyn Manson charged on sexual assault after rubbing his crotch against security guard's head

During a 2001 concert in Oakland County, Michigan, shock rocker Marilyn Manson gave security guard Joshua Keasler quite an experience. Dressed in a panty hose, Manson jumped the guard by wrapping his legs around Keasler's head and then started rubbing himself against it.

It goes without saying that the guard wasn't thrilled, so the fact that he sued the singer comes as no surprise. After pleading no contest, Manson paid a $4,000 fine and settled the lawsuit under undisclosed terms.

Sebastian Bach arrested after biting a pub owner

If Sebastian Bach wants to have a glass of wine, you'd better let him have it, or you might end up getting bit. Back in 2010, former Skid Row frontman got into a dispute with the pub owner in Ontario, Canada, after being asked to leave shortly after midnight. The singer wanted to take the glass of wine with him, and when he was told he couldn't, he responded like a real man by biting the owner's left hand.

Actually, he first smashed the glass against the floor, but those are just details. Anyhow, Bach was detained by the staff until the arrival of police, who found a small amount of marijuana on him, ultimately resulting in charges of marijuana possession, mischief and assault.

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins charged with child sex offences

In one of the more recent stories, Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins got arrested in December 2012 on charges of six child sex offenses. The charges included conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a one-year old girl, as well as possession of indecent images of children and extreme animal pornography.

The shocking arrest left both the fans and the band speechless, while the singer went on to deny all charges. The case has later been adjourned until May 2013, with the trial date set for July 15. Not many new details have surfaced recently, so there's definitely more to come on this one.

Randy Blythe's manslaughter trial

The story of Randy Blythe is likely the one you are most familiar with here. As one of the biggest stories of both the past and current year, the case of Lamb of God frontman started back in 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic when a 19-year-old fan named Daniel Nosek stormed the stage. Once the singer threw Nosek back into the crowd, the fan landed badly and sustained injuries which proved to be fatal.

Blythe was arrested on June 27, 2012 on manslaughter charges, while the trial began on February 4, 2013. The entire rock community gave a great deal of support throughout the case, demanding the singer's release. Blythe was ultimately found not guilty after the three judge panel has acquitted him of all charges on March 5, 2013.

The entire trial had a great impact on Blythe, who said that he is "in no way, shape or form a happy man." The verdict was expectedly met with immense relief, while Blythe earned a great deal of respect for the way he handled his case.

So as we said, these stories are bound to grab almost anoyone's attention and just make you wonder what exactly has been going on in their heads. There are probably a few more cases worth mentioning, so if you know any, feel free to share them in the comments.

142 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vince Neil killed some people with his car didn't he? Like...more than once? I don't remember.
    Yeah didn't he tell the judge he couldn't go to jail because he had to be on tour? I remember hearing something along those lines
    One of these is not like the others. Rsndy Blythe does not deserve to be on this list.
    If you're going by that logic Ian Watkins doesn't deserve to be on their either. He hasn't been charged.
    You're right I just saw the article skimmed through it and saw that on facebook they used Randy's picture for the thumbnail. So not cool.
    Randy was found not guilty because there was no evidence to convict him. It's the fault of the venue and the security that the guy died.
    Try reading or proof reading at the least. You could write articles for ug! It clearly states that Ian was charged with 6 counts. I think you meant convicted. Posession of child pornography is a serious offense but beastiality porn is something that I was not aware of. It does however state that he tried to arrange a sexual encounter with a 1 year old in which he is not actually being charged with molestation so there is no evidence to support my previous statements lashing out at him as a molester but possession of the material is an offense which is still serious. The guy needs mental help, clearly. Most people of his financial stature would simply go to Thailand or India to pay for sex with a minor where the police can easily be bought. It's almost as if he knew he was sick and wanted help.
    Damn right! Randy is a man, if not *the* man. And he is also a family person. He is not a psychopath or a sick perv or an idiot or a drunk\junky. He faced his charges and possible mistakes like a responsible person. He does not belong on this list!!
    I think we're missing the point of the article's topic. It says "most notorious", meaning well-known. It doesn't necessarily mean their crime was awfully bad or even proven/convicted.
    It's good to know that you know him on a personal level. Thanks for enlightening us!
    Wether or not this is notourious and sometimes incorrect (which is common for UG) it is rediculous to glorify this or to see it as going hand in hand with a music genre. This shouldn't be on here, just as everything on MTV nowadays shouldn't be on MTV.
    They probably put it on there because the kid DID die, but they're still wrong for putting it on here since it was ruled in favor of Randy.
    It does, the word 'notorious' is one of those great words. It literally means 'famous for a bad reason.' He was involved (key word here not pointing fingers) in a manslaughter and he became famous for the wrong reasons. I wouldn't have been able to tell you his name before all this happened. Seems to me a bit worse than Oz pissin' on the Alamo
    Nero Galon
    Only heard about GG Allin now, wow was that dude messed up.
    "Allin's funeral became a low level party. Friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth." WTF
    GG Allin is the only artist(?) that I would not allow my children to listen to. Don't watch any GG Allin performances.
    Just saw a video of him naked on stage taking a crap and smearing it over his face. Couldn't help noticing, but the guy has like the tiniest penis ever lol
    Haha! I remember thinking that too. Maybe that's why he was so angry and felt the need to deficate on the floor and then force women's faces into it.
    Phil Spector murdered someone AND threatened half of the rock and roll hall of fame with some sort of weapon at some point.
    How about Vince Neil killing Razzle from Hanoi Rocks in 1984? The way he got off is ridiculous. He is a lucky lucky man.
    It sounds weird with Chuck Berry ( but he was 19 at the time ) still it's a bad thing . Also Blythe doesn't deserve to be on here
    Berry also allegedly installed video cameras in the women's bathrooms of restaurants he owned so you know...
    Hands up who is now searching for the GG Allin documentary?
    Fun fact- Todd Phillips who directed Old School and The Hangover directed the GG Allin documentary
    "Berry was convinced to five years in prison" Yes, he was convinced indeed
    Well, Varg is here, of course he is. Gotta love the dude, gets out of jail, and gets caught with explosives. " Vikernes went on the run after being granted a short leave. He stopped a car in Numedal. Inside it was a family of three, who said that he hijacked the car at gunpoint. About 19 hours later, police stopped the car in Romerike and arrested him.[52] The car contained knives, a gas mask, camouflage clothing, a portable GPS navigator, maps, a compass, a laptop and a mobile phone.[51] Police also found a handgun and an AG3 automatic rifle in a cabin in Rollag, where Vikernes had hidden during his escape"
    What about that As I Lay Dying guy? That one seems recent and relevant.
    >Tim Lambesis' case should be added later on. >Recently, the case of Tim Lambesis and his arrest on charges of soliciting the murder of his wife stepped into to the center of public attention, making us remember some of the past cases of musicians getting arrested. No one forgot about him, man.
    Sleeping in
    What the heck, UG? I was almost sure that Randy being found not guilty made him innocent of his "crime". Can we please not have him listed as a "Rockstar Criminal"? Seriously...
    Long Distance
    Don't forget Johnny Cash and his '65 drug arrest. Changed his image, career and music forever!
    Does anybody remember ex-Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen and his child sex offences? He was actually pleaded guilty, unlike that Watkins dude.
    The Ian Watkins case is so messed up. I mean you just don't make stuff up like that, there has to be some amount of truth in it.
    Sooooo stoked to see GG on this list. If only for it being the 1 list he'll ever make Dude was a serious freak show. I'm still traumatised from watching his doco's 10 years ago.
    Can someone define "extreme animal pornography" for me? Seriously, how is that not extreme enough?
    This is the internet. Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to. If you do want the answers, Google is your... Er... Friend... I suggest clearing your browser history afterwards.
    Do you really want to know? I'm not sure that anyone in their right mind would want to know that.
    Anything about GG Allin or the whole black metal scene in Norway in the 90's trumps everything.
    Ozzy's attempted murder on Sharon was dropped, but I think that's a little worse than whizzing on the Alamo.
    I'm Glad to see that they didn't put the As I Lay Dying singer on this list
    His case is not closed yet.
    They still have Ian Watkins case
    Yeah im baffled that Ian is on here, neither of them have been convicted yet so they shouldnt be on here. Speaking of which when i saw the title i thought "Well somewhere on this list is gonna be Tim"
    Gaahl of Gorgoroth should be on here. He tortured a man for 6 hours and collected his blood in a cup while threatening to make him drink it.
    He didn't want the blood on his carpet, that was all, obviously. I mean if he says it, it must be true.
    it seems everybody forgot the frontman of dissection
    Yeah, a lot of ****ed up stories in black metal, just that deserves a list of its own
    I didn't, but they did put Varg up there. He killed a guy and burned down churches. Jon Nodtviedt kept his crimes to murdering a homosexual man for hitting on him. No churches were burned in his case. So Varg won out.
    Charles Manson, he was a musician and is one of the most notable killers in history. He didn't make the list? Marilyn Manson got his name from his for a reason. Also didn't know about Chuck Berry's incident. GG Allin scares me like no other. He makes everyone else seem pathetic by comparison. I mean look at him and compare him to Marilyn Manson.
    So Varg was actually dim enough to think that stabbing another person 23 times would count as "self-defense"? Disgusting Nazi a-hole. Also, I would have taken Randy off the list since he was proven innocent and put Dave Holland, Judas Priest's old drummer, on there instead... he was convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting (on several occasions) a mentally handicapped 17-year old who he was giving drum lessons at home.
    Varg said the numerous cuts on Euronymous was the result of him smashing through a glass door.
    Had to upvote you. The downvote seemed harsh just for citing what someone else (a Nazi ****-knuckle) had claimed in his defense!
    Sammy Mantis
    I'm pretty sure Chuck Berry also got busted for hiding cameras in the women's restrooms at a restaurant he owned.
    Mr Winters
    Ian Watkins' case is not closed. He might be innocent for all we know (and I hope he is).
    I like the fact it is just "Conspiracy" meaning there is no evidence he has done anything at all. Just hearsay which is inadmissable in court. Yet his name is ruined forever as they made no attempt to keep things quiet until the end of the case which is what they should have done. The only feasible explination I can think of for not hiding his name is hoping someone will come forward to say "He molested mah baby"...
    Um, as the person above mentioned, conspiracy does not mean hearsay, or that there is no evidence. It simply means charging a person for intending or planning to commit a criminal act. There can be evidence to support such planning and I doubt they would have pressed charges with no evidence whatsoever. If someone walks onto a plane with a bomb they would be charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder even though there was no 'evidence' they had actually committed such an act. I understand the point that we should not judge anyone who has not been fairly tried and convicted but to claim the prosecution are building a case based on hearsay is ridiculous.
    There is no way this would have been kept quiet even if his name was held back. Hes a (well was) high profile frontman in a pretty big band, someone would spill the beans, they always do...
    Mr Winters
    If this had happened during the Fake Sound of Progress or even Start Something days it wouldn't have had nearly as much repercussion.
    That's not what conspiracy means. And there's no way he'd be in this much trouble without evidence. It's a very serious accusation and they don't go after people for it unless they have a fair amount of evidence.
    My friends dad is high up in the Welsh police and he said that it's pretty strong evidence against him which sucks, especially for my friend as she was such a big fan
    Ye i'd like to say that the case isn't decided yet but having the evidence on his laptop which was protected with a password is pretty damning evidence.....which sucks
    how about the old singer for escape the fate? he was in a brawl that lead to the death of another guy
    Ronnie? Dunno that seems almost childish compared to some on this list =/
    Vince Neil served one month in jail for Vehicular Homicide. In 1984 that was about average for killing someone while driving drunk. He had to do a Rock Against Drugs commercial too. People started to crack down on DUI, now you will serve much longer.
    He only served 15 days, got out early for good behaviour.
    I stand corrected. I should have said he was SENTENCED to one month. In my county you only get 1/3 off for good behavior...so I'm told Thank you.
    That picture of Varg creeps me the **** out. And I watched a video on GG Allin....That is so ****ed up.
    GG Allin... wow so i have no idea what to say about him.. Personally i have never heard of him and man reading that paragraph, im actually shocked and horrified =/ Well im not sleeping well tonight
    Jacques Nel
    YouTube this guy. Sick and funny at the same time. I can't find a show where he is not naked (vomit...)
    I guess "notorious" can mean either, but it's a little weird to me how the list alternates between bizarre/comical antics and disturbing violent crimes.
    If the list was also about crimes that matter less, Paul Gray (Slipknot) and The Rev (Avenged Sevenfold) should have been somewhere there...