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The 8 weirdest musical arrests


Musicians famously aren’t traditional bedfellows with the law. For as long as time, rock stars have been getting arrested. while often this has been for heinous crimes, this article looks at some of the more peculiar misdemeanours committed.

During the hedonistic heyday of rock, certain artists walked around with an air of invincibility, and they felt like they were above the law. While they undoubtedly got away with many illegal acts because of their high status, it isn’t always the case. Like Al Capone, the catalyst for their downfall was unexpected.

Furthermore, the wild lifestyle musicians live while on the road isn’t synced into reality, and this can lead to bizarre circumstances, which sometimes can lead to an arrest. Moreover, disaster can strike once artists are thrown back into civilian life and live as they do on tour.

Below we look at times musicians found themselves getting into trouble for the law and remember the bizarre incidents which made you do a double-take when you first read about the story.

The weirdest reasons why musicians have been arrested

The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown

In 1998, following the demise of The Stone Roses, Ian Brown suffered a dramatic fall from grace when he was arrested after attacking a flight attended. He was on a British Airways flight from Paris to Manchester when he allegedly “threatened to chop off the hands of the stewardess after she mistakenly offered him duty-free in the club class part of the BA flight.”

Brown was sentenced to a four-month prison sentence and initially spent two weeks in a low-security prison in Kirkham in Lancashire. The singer was then transferred to Strangeways to serve the rest of his time before being released on Christmas Eve.

Boy George

In 2007, the reputation of Boy George was ruined overnight after it emerged he had falsely imprisoned a male escort in his flat in East London. The victim, Audun Carlsen, claimed he’d been handcuffed to a bed after the Culture Club frontman accused him of taking photographs from the singer’s laptop.

Carlsen also claimed to have been attacked before he managed to seek refuge at a local newsagent, dressed solely in his underwear. A judge sentenced Boy George to 15 months in prison and said he “deprived” Carlsen of “his liberty and human dignity without warning or proper explanation to him of its purpose, length or purported justification”. He was released after serving four months.

Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos

Franz Ferdinand were gearing up in 2005 to release their sophomore album, You Could Have It So Much Better, but frontman Alex Kapranos found himself arrested during a trip to Russia. The Scottish band had arrived in the country for a pair of shows in St. Petersburg and Moscow, which began with an unthinkable ordeal.

When he touched base at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, Immigration officers stopped him and informed the singer that they had noticed his name on a ‘no-fly’ list of passengers who aren’t permitted to travel from the States. Kapranos was even told he presented a “high-level security risk.”

The Russians explained that they couldn’t allow him to board any plane heading to the States. Thankfully, of course, this would turn out to be a case of mistaken identity. Kapranos later told The Times: “There were guys in uniform milling around. I could tell it was serious.”

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was arrested in 1965 after accepting a tempting offer from a fan following a performance in Chicago. After the show, a used car salesman approached him to make an audiotape of the musician making love for $100. At the time, he was skint and desperately needed the money.

Zappa faked the sex noises and accepted the offer. However, the following day when he handed over the tape, the guitarist was arrested for conspiracy to commit pornography, and the police took his studio of all documented material.

Furthermore, to compound his misery, it was also reported in the local news. An article from The Daily Report read: “Vice Squad investigators stilled the tape recorders of a free-swinging, a-go-go film and recording studio here Friday and arrested a self-styled movie producer”.

Richard Ashcroft

The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft was arrested in 2006 in the sleepy Wiltshire town of Chippenham. On a Monday evening, Ashcroft made his way into a youth centre while drunk, and he was accused of “disorderly behaviour”.

There were around 60 children who were all under 12 in The Bridge Centre, which Ashcroft tried to pay off. After people tried to escort him from the venue, he began to swear and be aggressive. Although, he did treat the police officer’s to a concert in the back of the cab as they drove him off to the station.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was arrested in Milton Keynes following a pantomime performance of Cinderella at the local theatre in 2009. She reportedly kept heckling throughout the show and allegedly shouted, “F*** Cinders, Prince Charming, marry me.” 

After being reprimanded by staff, she refused to sit down and then assaulted the front-of-house manager, Richard Pound. She was accused of pulling his hair, punching him and kicking him between the legs. Winehouse later appeared in court and was ordered to pay £85 in costs and £100 in compensation.

Pete Doherty

In 2019, The Libertines’ Pete Doherty was banned from driving after riding an electric scooter in the middle of the night. In his defence, Doherty was searching for one of his huskies when he was arrested in Kent.

The singer didn’t realise he was breaking the law and claimed the two officers who approached him for a selfie said it would be fine if he stayed on the pavement. However, other officers were less generous, and he soon had a date in Margate Magistrates Court.

Doherty pleaded guilty to both charges and another of driving a car without insurance. He received a £2,000 fine for each offence, totalling £6,000, and was given six points on his licence, taking him over the 12 point limit, which resulted in a two-year disqualification from driving.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne isn’t welcome in San Antonio in Texas after urinating on the city’s cenotaph while on tour. He’d been out drinking and thought he’d relieve himself, but, unfortunately, the police witnessed it all.

“We all have done things in our lives that we regret,” Ozzy maturely said at the time. “I am deeply honoured that the people of San Antonio have found it in their hearts to have me back. I hope that this donation will show that I have grown up.”

He was fined a small amount for the misdemeanour and banned him from performing in San Antonio for a decade.