The Long Arm Sees All: Ten Musicians Arrested in Texas
Snoop Dogg's most recent mugshot
When Snoop Dogg was issued a citation for marijuana possession at a border checkpoint outside El Paso last week, the world reacted with shock and disbelief. We had no idea this beacon of sobriety -- the same guy who penned "Smoke Weed Everyday" - could act so out of character.
Of course, Texas is famous for some of the most forehead-smacking arrests in music history. From country crooners getting into honky-tonk bar fights, to hippies and rockers busted for drugs, we've collected the top 10 most fitting arrests. One thing's for sure: If musicians want to further their lawbreaker reputations, our fair state will help them out.
Johnny Cash, El Paso, 1965 Charge: attempted narcotics smuggling Cash is the archetypal country music outlaw. As such, he struggled with substance abuse throughout much of his life, and was arrested seven times on misdemeanor charges. Cash's El Paso arrest came after he was stopped by narcotics agents at the border, suspected of smuggling heroin from Mexico. After a search of the car turned up massive amounts of prescription pills but no heroin, Cash received a suspended sentence. Nearly a half century later, rapper Baby Bash, incarcerated for marijuana possession in El Paso, bragged about staying in the same jail as Cash.
Vince Neil, Dallas, 2004 Charge: aggravated assault Neil used up his luck with the law when he escaped manslaughter charges after the 1984 car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley. He's been arrested twice more for DUI and four times for assault.The sound man at Gilley's Dallas was on the receiving end of one such assault in 2004, when Neil rendered him unconscious for 45 minutes following a fistfight. Note: It's not the sound guy's fault that your voice is shot.
Carlos Santana, Houston, 1991 Charge: marijuana possession In 1991, hippie guitar legend Santana was arrested at the Houston airport for possession of five grams of marijuana. He claims he "forgot to dump his bag" on his way back into the States from Mexico. Santana has long been an advocate for legalization, so his arrest came as a shock to absolutely no one.
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Paul Wall, El Paso, 2011 Charge: marijuana possession Another shocking arrest from a guy who wrote a song titled "Smoke Weed Everyday." (Although it's not a cover; Wall's tune samples Snoop's mentor, Dr. Dre.) Houston rapper Wall, whose legendary mixtapes helped bolster the screwed and chopped scene of the early 2000s, was booked for possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone, along with fellow rapper Baby Bash. Bash bragged on Twitter about staying in the same clink as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash; Wall kept his famously shiny grill shut about the incident, simply stating the charges were bogus.The rappers were freed on $300 bail.
Steve Earle, Dallas, 1987 Charge: assaulting a police officer In the late '80s, Earle was abusing heroin and Dilaudid and had established a reputation as one of the most difficult stars in the industry. So it came as no surprise when he was arrested in Dallas on New Year's Eve, 1987, for assaulting security at his own show. The real surprise came later, when the integrity of the security guard was called into question. The guard, an off-duty cop who choked Earle with his nightstick after a fight between Earle and a friend, had been investigated for misconduct 14 times during his career. Earle would go on to accumulate a host of arrests that were his fault, maintaining his legend.
Ozzy Osbourne, San Antonio, 1982 Charge: public urination, defiling a national monument Ozzy was up to his usual drug- and alcohol-fueled shenanigans during his1982 tour with Mötley Crüe. After a show in San Antonio, wife Sharon hid his clothes to keep him from leaving his hotel room and causing trouble. Undeterred, Ozzy stole one of Sharon's dresses and took to the streets. His subsequent need to take a leak spawned the second-most famous event that's ever taken place at the Alamo. Ozzy was promptly arrested and banned from San Antonio, though the ban was lifted in 1991, after he donated a large sum to the Alamo's caretakers.
David Crosby, Dallas, 1982 Charge: possession of cocaine and illegal firearms Crosby already had a reputation as a hippie trainwreck with a taste for freebasing and firearms when he was busted at Cardi's in 1982. Dallas police found a small amount of cocaine on Crosby's person, as well as his trusty .45, which he carried as a result of paranoia brought on by John Lennon's death two years prior. Crosby appealed the Dallas charge, but while the case was being decided, he was arrested again in California. Out on bail, and facing jail time in Texas, Crosby decided to head to Costa Rica on his yacht. Unfortunately, it had been neglected during years of drug use. A defeated Crosby finally turned himself in to Texas authorities in 1985. In prison, he found the sobriety he'd failed to attain on the outside and since his1986 release, Crosby has been mostly sober; other than a pot charge in the early 2000s.
Billy Joe Shaver, Lorena, 2007 Charge: aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in a prohibited area Shaver's life reads like one of his hardscrabble ballads. In 2007, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Seems the legendary singer, then aged 69, got into an argument with a patron at Papa Joe's Texas Saloon in Lorena, right outside Waco. According to Shaver, the man pulled a knife on him first. The man claims Shaver acted unprovoked. Witnesses say they heard Shaver ask, "Where do you want it?" before pulling a gun and shooting the man in the face, then stating, "Nobody tells me to shut up." In a classic example of art imitating life, the scene was revisited in several country songs: Shaver's own "Wacko from Waco" and Dale Watson's tribute, "Where Do You Want It?"
G.G. Allin, Austin, 1992 Charge: outstanding warrants in Michigan Known for self-mutilation and defecating onstage, G.G. Allin lived to shock people, through his stage antics and lyrics. He was arrested 52 times in his life, mostly for indecent exposure and public lewdness. Although Allin is recognized more for his insane live act than his music, he'd gained a degree of notoriety by 1992, the same year he claimed he would commit suicide on stage on Halloween. Allin had racked up several warrants for indecent exposure when Texas police finally cornered him after a show in Austin. He was extradited to Michigan to serve prison time for these offenses, and died of a heroin overdose a year after his Austin arrest, to the surprise of no one.
Willie Nelson, Texas, 1974-2010 Willie loves Texas, and Texas loves Willie, but he's run afoul of the long arm a few times. His first pot bust came in Dallas, 1974. Twenty years later, in 1994, he was busted in Waco for possession of one joint. In 2010, Willie was busted at the border, in the same town Snoop's bust occurred in. His only out-of-state infraction came in 2006, while Willie was on his way to Texas from Louisiana to attend Ann Richards' funeral. His love-hate relationship with Texas lawmakers has sparked much discussion; he usually gets a slap on the wrist, and lots of folks ask why the law bothers with an affable septuagenarian in the first place. Still, many other Texans get serious drug charges brought upon them for similar offenses. Willie's case gets to the heart of the legalization debate, which doesn't appear to be nearing a resolution any time soon.
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