It isn’t as amusing as it would be if there isn’t at least one ridiculous event that would give a rock star a bad reputation…or a bad police record. Drugs, booze, bad behavior, and more drugs. Rock stars do it all and then some, but just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Breaking the law still has consequences – meaning getting arrested and maybe even spending the night in jail, and of course, the embarrassing mugshot to prove it. Some have more regular encounters with the po-po than others (Axl Rose, we’re looking at you) but whether they’ve graced the station once or ten times, we always have that not-so-flattering mugshot that will circulate the internet for eternity.
Check out these 16 rock stars’ mugshots and find out what they’ve been charged with:
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The stoning of the stoned stones!
18 police officers appeared at the front door of Keith Richards‘ home in 1967 after receiving a tip that the Rolling Stones‘ members, front man Mick Jagger and guitarist Richards were having an acid trip during a party. They were busted for possession of narcotics, found after the premises were searched under warrant. They were then arrested along with Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithful. Ironically, Jagger and Richards were arrested the same day their supposedly comeback single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was released. Jagger received a three-month imprisonment sentence while Richards gets one year. After an infamous two-month trial, the sentences were dismissed on appeal.
Resident rock n’ roll bad boy Axl Rose has been having trouble with the authorities even before he was THE Axl Rose.
His mile-long criminal record dates back to his teenage years when he was still a young local delinquent named William Bruce Bailey (unofficially named himself W. Rose) in Lafayette, Indiana. The Lafayette local police has threatened to charge him as a habitual criminal with having more than 20 arrests as a juvenile delinquent, starting with stealing a bike. The list went on with public intoxication, battery, and assault. He has served three months in jail in his early years. The rift between him and the police continued onto his rock star life, even getting arrested while onstage in 1987 for physically assaulting a security guard (it’s also caught on tape).
There is a hilarious reason why Ozzy Osbourne was banned to ever set foot in San Antonio, Texas for ten years.
Let this scenario play in your imagination: a drunk vulgar Ozzy was wearing his wife Sharon’s dress one night before his concert in the said city. This drunk Ozzy in a dress was caught urinating at the Alamo Cenotaph monument, a sacred ground for Texans. Inevitably, he was arrested for public urination and intoxication. While being taken away to the station, Ozzy was desperately trying to explain the ridiculous moment, saying that he was wearing the dress at the time because his wife sharon had hidden his clothes. He also thought he was relieving himself on a pile of rubble instead of on the symbol of Texas pride. All of this actually happened in 1982. Ozzy was later released on a $40 bond and a lifetime ban from the city. Good thing he has a charitable heart though! Ten years later, Osbourne donated $10,000 to the Daughters of The Republic of Texas and his ban was finally lifted. In 2015, he went back to San Antonio with his son Jack, and apologized for urinating on Texas’ historical site.
Rock stars, especially those who have achieved legendary status early on, can be quite stubborn.
Take guitar legend Jimi Hendrix who refused to heed the warning that his band and entourage might get a possible drug bust once they land at the Toronto International Airport. Hendrix was to hold a sold-out concert in Toronto the night of May 3, 1969.While on the flight to Toronto, Hendrix’s promoter Ron Terry took him to the bathroom to get rid of suspicious substances that was on him. When Hendrix’s luggage reached customs, he was detained for illegal possession of narcotics after the authorities found heroin and hashish in his bags. Hendrix was temporarily released on a $10,000 bail so he could do the show but was required to go to trial a month after, facing a 20 year prison sentence. He was declared not guilty under the defense that he was not aware of the illegal substances in his luggage and that it might have been given to him by an unknown fan.
Smells like teen mischief
19-year old future Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was arrested on May 18, 1986 for “trespassing while intoxicated” in his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. Police caught a drunk Cobain climbing the roof of an abandoned warehouse at 618 W. Market Street in Aberdeen. He was later booked for “failure to pay, malicious mischief, and minor possession” on May 25, 1986, the date shown in his mugshot photos. A year earlier, he was also arrested for vandalism, writing “God is gay” and “Ain’t got no how watchamacallit” on the wall of a local Seafirst Bank building using spray paint. The grunge god sure was a menacing punk!
Is that a mugshot or an album cover?
Yup, they’re actually official mugshots of the legendary David Bowie taken in March 1976 when he was only 29 years old. Bowie was arrested along with Iggy Pop and two other companions for Class C felony marijuana possession as “about half a pound of marijuana” was found by the police in his Rochester hotel room. Bowie and his friends were taken to the Monroe county jail and was held for three hours before being released on a $2,000 bond. Bowie returned to Rochester after a few days of continuing to play concerts in Massachussets and Connecticut to plead not guilty of his drug charge and 15-year prison sentence in front of the grand jury. Bowie’s plead was effective as the jury dismissed his charges. Maybe they were charmed by his mugshot photo which looks like it was from a photoshoot. Nevertheless, David Bowie never performed in Rochester again. The mugshot photo was said to have been auctioned online for $2,700.
Just a couple of months before her death, Janis Joplin had trouble with the authorities in Tampa, Florida in November 1969 for yelling obscenities at police officers during her concert. When the show ended, Joplin was immediately handcuffed backstage and taken to the local jail where she spent approximately an hour behind bars. Joplin was booked in for “disorderly conduct” and for “using vulgar and indecent language”. She was released on a $504 bond and remained in Tampa for her hearing. Her charges were overturned under the defense of her right of free speech. The case closed in March of 1970 without her returning to Tampa. She died seven months after her case closed.
The young and the guilty
There’s not much information about Steven Tyler‘s first arrest when he was only 18 years old except that he was busted for possession of pot, and that he looks super guilty of it. A teenage, pre-fame Tyler was just probably exploring and having fun with getting high as many future-rock stars do before they can get away with it. Young Tyler obviously did not get away with it. He was taken to the local police station in Yonkers, New York in March 1967 after being caught in the drug bust. He probably didn’t learn his lesson too, because 16 years later, he was convicted of possession of cocain and narcotics paraphernalia which lead him to spend quite some time to think about that at the Betty Ford Clinic.
Thieves in the…Airplane
Prince Roger Nelson famously known as just Prince turned a little prank into a full police arrest. Prince’s keyboardist Dr. Fink had this random idea that they should get a megaphone as a stage prop in their next show. While boarded on the plane, Fink convinced Prince to take the airplane’s emergency megaphone placed in an overhead storage bin and hide it in his bag. Prince, who probably thought it was funny, did as Fink told him. Little did he know that another passenger would tattle on him to the flight crew. Taking emergency equipment from the airplane is actually a federal offense. A search was conducted on the plane and the megaphone, which is very difficult to obscure, was found on Fink’s stuff. Prince, being the accomplice, voluntarily accompanied his keyboardist to jail in Jackson, Mississippi where his mugshot was taken. No charges were filed, and the whole arrest turned into a fan meet and greet event at the police station. Prince just ended up signing autographs for the Mississippi police.
Flying high like an eagle.
Eagles legendary guitarist Glenn Frey was high and drunk one Spring night in Columbus, Ohio in May of 1973. Then 25-year old Frey was busted for drug possession and public intoxication by the local authorities resulting in this very stoned mugshot of him. No other information about his jail sentence was released. We don’t know who he was with at the time of his arrest, maybe notorious prankster and bandmate Joe Walsh pranked him into this, who knows. Whatever really happened during his heyday with drugs and alcohol, at least the internet will have this mugshot of Frey…forever.
Drunken flight gone terribly wrong.
The Doors frontman Jim Morrisson was arrested not just once, not twice, not even three times but six times in his short 27 years, usually caused by his alcoholism. His last arrest in 1969 before his death in 1971 almost caused an airplane to turn around to have him and his friend actor Tom Baker arrested. Morrison and Baker were on board a flight to Phoenix, Arizona from Los Angeles to see a Rolling Stones concert at the Veterans Coliseum – a venue that had Morrison banned just the year before for almost starting a riot after a Doors concert. Morrison and Baker were so drunk on the flight, they began to heckle the flight attendants to the point where the captain of the plane threatened to turn around to hand the two entertainers to the authorities. The flight landed in Phoenix to have FBI agents take Morrison and Baker into custody. Morrison and Baker faced charges that were only usually given to airplane hijackers: Felony charge of interfering with the flight of an aircraft, along with assault, and misdemeanour charges. Morrison faced a 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. After months of trial. Baker was acquitted and Morrison was dismissed with only a $300 fine.
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Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora was arrested in Laguna Beach after being seen weaving in his Hummer near the Pacific Coast Highway in March 2008. Sambora was pulled over for field sobriety test which he failed. Laguna Beach cops took him to the station for blood alcohol testing and was given a DUI charge. Sambora’s then 10-year old daughter with ex-wife Heather Locklear was with him in the car when he was arrested, along with his then-girlfriend and another girl who wasn’t identified. Sambora was released later that night on his own recognizance with a pending court date schedule. At least, we can see he kept his mullet haircut on point in this mugshot. But drunk driving with his kid in the car has him lose some points with his fans.
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The Mötley Crüe lead singer has quite literally had more brushes with the law than he’s had chart-topping singles. Let’s just put it this way: Vince Neil loves to drink booze. He’s had 3 DUI arrests, his first one driving into a fatal car crash, killing Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley. Neil was not only charged with DUI but with vehicular manslaughter as well. As if that wasn’t a big enough lesson to be learned for the notorious drinker, Neil was arrested again and again for public intoxication, misdemeanor, battery, and two more DUIs over the years. This smiling mugshot was taken under another DUI charge after scurrying his Ferrari along a Las Vegas highway. Neil pleaded guilty for drunk driving and was sentenced to 15 days behind bars.
photo credit: rcsd-splash-newsq103-albany
Former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent (who doesn’t exactly have the best parting relationship with his former bandmates) was taken into custody by the Rutherford country police after his wife Diane Cusano, 44, arrived at the station in 2011 bloodied and frantic, reporting about his husband allegedly assaulting her. Cusano accused Vincent of smacking her in the face and throwing her to the ground before dragging her through broken glass from the dining ware thrown during an argument the couple had over an alleged mistress. Sounds like an episode from an overly dramatized soap opera huh. It gets better (or worse) as police find four sealed containers containing dead dogs at the scene of the reported assault. Vincent was then arrested and booked for aggravated domestic assault with a $10,000 bond.