As far as anti-establishmentarian rock’n’roll props go, getting arrested onstage must be right up at the top. Earlier in his current tour, Canadian grit-rocker (or purveyor of “Jizz Jazz”, his own words) Mac DeMarco (above) was apprehended by the authorities in front of a live audience after his set at UC Santa Barbara last month got allegedly – albeit characteristically – out of hand. A crowd-surfing DeMarco was hoisted up into the venue’s ceiling beams, where he proceeded to climb towards the venue’s second floor before returning to the waiting men-in-uniform onstage. In honour of such mischief, Will Stokes presents a selection of musicians who have encountered the long arm of the law as a result of their on-duty antics.
Anton Newcombe / The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Straight Up And Down
At Los Angeles’ The Knitting Factory in 2000, the frontman took it upon himself to silence a heckling fan with a good old fashioned kick to the face. Shortly afterwards Newcombe could be seen locking himself and a cameraman in the venue bathroom in an effort to delay his fate, and appears in Ondi Timoner’s tour film Dig! murmuring “they want me dead. I know for a fact: it’s over […] Today is a wonderful day to die”, before being led away by police. He survives to this day…
Axl Rose: / Guns ‘n’ Roses: Don’t Cry
Perhaps not known to be the most affable (or punctual) of frontmen, Axl Rose punched a security guard while onstage in 1987 at a show in Atlanta. After being given the opportunity to redeem himself by apologising to the staff member in question, Rose responded with a simple “Fuck you!” Sure enough, the singer soon found himself heading downtown.
Odd Future – Oldie
Seemingly, barely a day goes by for the folks at Odd Future without some sort of controversy. However an in-store appearance at Boston’s Newbury Comics in 2011 stands above the rest. The apparently wristband-controlled event ended up inciting a riot, with Tyler, The Creator and two of his entourage seen jumping from rooftop to rooftop while shouting insults at the attending police. Rap’n’roll!
Jim Morrison / The Doors – Riders On The Storm
While backstage at a concert in Connecticut in 1967, Jim Morrison and a “female friend” were told to leave by a security policeman who didn’t recognise the Doors frontman. Morrison resisted and was restrained with the help of a can of mace, eventually able to take the stage after the show was delayed. Morrison later recounted to the crowd the tale of his run-in with “the little blue man in the little blue cap […] the little blue pig”, prompting in the police – apparently stung by the insult – to shut down the concert and take Morrison in.
Wendy O Williams – Goin Wild
While onstage with punk outfit Plasmatics in January 1981, Wendy O Williams was restrained forcefully after simulating several lewd acts with a sledge hammer onstage. So forcefully restrained, in fact, that she had to receive stitches above her right eye in the wake of the incident, which also saw her charged for battery on a law enforcement officer. Plasmatics fans flocked to witness Williams’ trial, and the charges were later dropped after a photographer revealed images depicting the excessive force employed by the fuzz.