October 10, 2014 – 7:51 am


Love the music but the politics leaves me cold. I don’t go to politicians to hear music and vice versa. Besides Neil [Young], when you are rich it’s easy to employ alternative methods of everything. America needs jobs, that pipeline would help a helluva lot of people.
- reader sluggo, in response to Neil Young’s Harvest The Hope Concert Against The Keystone XL Pipeline 2014 (click here)

Was it John Lennon’s Imagine? Or Bruce’s Born To Run? How about Laura Nyro’s Save The Country?

When a song reaches out and touches you, you tend to follow that artist. But when the same artist adopts a cause, whether it’s animal rights or saving the Earth, or giving peace a chance, or BandAid - and you don’t happen to share the same sentiment, what to do?

Can the artist be separated from their muse? Love the music, hate the artist? Just how indivisible is life and art?

Here’s a short list of musicians whose notoriety is sometimes forgotten but their music remembered. They all killed someone.

On January 4, 1970, The Who drummer Keith Moon accidentally killed his friend and bodyguard, Neil Boland, by hitting him with his car. Moon was trying to drive away from pub patrons who were harassing him, and he did not see his friend in the road. Moon was charged with Boland’s death, for driving without a license or insurance, and for driving under the influence. Though the death was ruled an accident, Moon pleaded guilty to the driving charges. He was haunted by the incident until the time of his own death in 1978.. - Ultimate Classic Rock (click here)

Phil Spector was charged with murder after killing Lana Clarkson with a guy. The first trial was labeled a mistrial, allowing Spector to go free. In 2009, after another trial, Spector was found guilty and sentenced to 19 years in prison. - Newsweek (click here)

Jim Gordon, drummer and protégé of the Wrecking Crew’s Hal Blaine, was renowned for his session work with The Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Alice Cooper, Joe Cocker and, most notably, Eric Clapton, with whom he co-wrote the Grammy-winning smash “Layla” in 1970.

Gordon’s strange behavior and violent outbursts began to manifest as early as 1969 (it was then that his father first urged him to seek help), although his schizophrenia went largely ignored and undiagnosed for several years. Auditory hallucinations plagued him, the most powerful of which involved his mother. Her voice would cause him pain, deprive him of sleep, starve him, and ultimately affect his ability to play the drums. On June 3, 1983, in an attempt to silence her voice inside his head, Gordon bludgeoned his real mother with a hammer and then stabbed her repeatedly with a butcher knife. Despite a well-documented history of mental illness, he was found guilty of second degree murder in 1984 due to a recently changed California law that restricted the insanity defense. Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life. - Rolling Stone (click here)

Born John Simon Richie in London, Sid Vicious was an aimless high school dropout who caught the eye of impresario Malcolm McClaren, owner of Sex, a Chelsea boutique that was the flash point for the burgeoning punk movement. It was here that McClaren formed the Sex Pistols, and when bassist Glen Matlock was fired, McClaren recruited Sid because he had the right attitude and look.

However, the band’s success was short-lived. Within a year of forming, Sid developed a crippling heroin addiction courtesy of his American girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Nancy, a groupie and former prostitute, was a woman vilified by the Sex Pistols and banned from their US tour. Nonetheless, Sid was smitten, and when the band fell apart the couple reunited and eventually settled in New York.

They lived in New York’s legendary Hotel Chelsea and Sid played a few local gigs, but the shows were a disaster. Now a full-fledged junkie, Sid could barely stand up, much less sing or play. As the couple financially and physically deteriorated, so did their relationship. They beat each other frequently and their major preoccupation became scoring drugs. On the night Nancy was murdered, friends and dealers dropped by the Chelsea. Witnesses reported that Sid was effectively passed out or, when awake, despondent and playing with his knife. Nancy made several attempts to score heroin, but was unsuccessful. The next morning, an anonymous caller alerted the front desk to “trouble in room 100.” When the paramedics and police arrived, they found Nancy dead in the bathroom. Sid was arrested for Nancy’s murder, but never made it to trial. He died of an overdose on February 2, 1979. - New York magazine (click here)

Varg Vikernes was an early addition to the burgeoning black metal scene in Norway. A former member of the band Mayhem, he is also a solo artist who still records under the moniker Burzum. However, he is known more for his rap sheet than his music.

Vikernes was rumored to be a skinhead prior to his involvement in black metal. After learning to play the guitar, he became a fixture on the scene and joined his first band, Old Funeral, at 17. A stint playing bass for the band Mayhem followed. As the scene gained popularity, several churches were damaged in seemingly unrelated arson attacks. Vikernes claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Norwegian press. However, he later denied any involvement in arson and said that he was “pulling the journalist’s leg” and merely promoting the black metal scene. He was arrested in connection with the fires but was soon released due to a lack of evidence.

Mayhem bandmate Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth owned Helvete, a black metal record shop in Oslo that served as a hangout for fans and musicians alike. After Vikernes’ arrest, fearful of scrutiny from the police and media, Euronymous closed the record shop and distanced himself from Virknes’. On August 10, 1993, Vikernes drove to Euronymous’ apartment to discuss a contract and a heated argument ensued. Euronymous was stabbed 23 times by Vikernes. Vikernes claimed that he killed Euronymous in self-defense, but his true motive is still unknown. Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison for Euronymous’ murder. He was paroled in 2009 for time served. - blackmetalmurders blog (click here)

Joe Meek was a maverick record producer and songwriter responsible for a string of hits in his home country during the early ’60s. He achieved international success with the Tornado’s “Telstar,” which was the first British single to reach #1 on the Billboard charts in the US.

By 1966 however, the cultural landscape had shifted, as had Meek’s fortunes. The hits were no longer coming and Meek’s debts were mounting, as were his legal issues. He had not only been accused of plagiarism (which insured that he would never see royalties from “Telstar” in his lifetime), but he had also been convicted on a charge of homosexual soliciting, which left him open to repeated blackmail attempts. On February 3, 1967, a depressed and increasingly paranoid Meek handed a note to his assistant Patrick Pink. It read, “I’m going now. Goodbye.” Meek then asked Patrick to fetch his landlady, Violet Shenton. When she arrived, Meek quarreled with Shenton and shot her before turning the gun on himself. - joemeek fan page (click here)

During their first US tour in 1984, members of Hanoi Rocks set up camp at Motley Crüe singer Vince Neil’s home near Redondo Beach for a few days of relaxation and partying. On December 8, Neil and Hanoi drummer Nicolas “Razzle” Dingley made a routine run to a nearby liquor store in Neil’s De Tomaso Pantera. Drunk behind the wheel, Neil lost control and plowed into an oncoming car, killing Razzle and seriously injuring the two occupants of the other vehicle. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail (of which he served 15), $2.6 million in restitution to the victims and their families, and five years probation. - Contact Music (click here)

Easy enough to say “Hate the crime, not the man”. But can you?

Your no B.S. comments will earn you a pass to free music.


More B.S. Contest No. 1 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 2 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 3 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 4 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 5 (click here)

Contest No. 01 / Contest No. 02 / Contest No. 03 / Contest No. 04 / Contest No. 05
Contest No. 06 / Contest No. 07 / Contest No. 08 / Contest No. 09 / Contest No. 10
Contest No. 11 / Contest No. 12 / Contest No. 13 / Contest No. 14 / Contest No. 15
Contest No. 16 / Contest No. 17 / Contest No. 18 / Contest No. 19 / Contest No. 20
Contest No. 21 / Contest No. 22 / Contest No. 23 / Contest No. 24 / Contest No. 25
Contest No. 26 / Contest No. 27 /

  1. 26 Responses to “THE MORE B.S. CONTEST No. 6”

  2. I would say that there was one musician left off the list whose music was played by the Beach Boys (on TV, I have the video), and who claimed that their manager promised a recording contract. Charlie Manson, who was scheduled for execution but got a reprieve when the current governor Jerry Brown appointed Rose Bird to the California Supreme Court, resulting in the elimination of the death penalty for a while, commuting Manson’s sentence to Life with possibility of parole.
    Evil intent sometimes takes up residence on the opposite side of the coin from brilliance and genius. It is the CHARACTER that one develops that helps determine the outcome.

    By Job Hunter on Oct 10, 2014

  3. Of course Charlie’s notoriety is not forgotten, but his music is. He’s kind of the opposite of the premise of the article.

    By Job Hunter on Oct 10, 2014

  4. This is an issue in case of murder. Phil Spector crafted the Wall of Sound but the artists he produced (Crystals, Ronettes) deserve to be remembered fondly as he deservedly rots in jail. But this extends to the horrors of child exploitation: Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Pt.2″ was a standard at sports events until his imprisonment for child abuse came to light. Hard hearing Billy Preston and especially Michael Jackson after their crimes. It requires appreciation of art to love their music beyond their creators because music provides a window into their lives to help provide it in ours.

    By Tony on Oct 10, 2014

  5. One that does fit the premise quite well is the strange sad story of Spade Cooley, the “King of Western Swing”. He was a superstar. He had a big band that performed country flavored Swing music at a ballroom at Venice Pier,CA on Saturday nights which was broadcast for 8 years in Los Angeles from 1948 to around 1956, and held a 75% share and won 2 emmys. His records were in the top 40. He became a national name due to the show being played through video transcription in towns all across the country. He appeared in 38 movies. He was Roy Rogers stand-in, among other roles. He had 3 children with his wife, and although they cheated on each other, he beat her to death in front of his child. He was spared the death penalty and was going to be released in Feb. 1970 after 8 years in prison, but just months before he was performing in a benefit in Oakland CA, stepped backstage briefly while the crowd was wildly applauding him, and he died right then of a heart attack at age 58.(per Wikipedia)

    By Job Hunter on Oct 10, 2014

  6. Everyone has an axe to grind. A bee in their bonnet. Something they want to get off their chest. Musicians are influenced by their feelings and what they believe in - and when they become high profile, what better opportunity to spout these philosophies to the masses. The listeners have their own minds and whether they like the music or the philosophies that is a subjective thing for each person. If people are moved by the artistes’ lyrics then they may well be sympathetic to whatever creed or political view that the artist has. Is this a good thing? It is for each person to decide - do you like the music? Yes. Do you agree with the philosophy? No. Do you still respect the artiste as a musician? Yes. Everyone’s happy.

    By daij on Oct 11, 2014

  7. Could never stand Vince Neil.

    By Nick on Oct 11, 2014

  8. I really try to focus on the music. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the crimes, but good music stands on its own.

    By Phil on Oct 11, 2014

  9. i dont know if i could ignore the news about someone whose art whether it be their music or their product in film or tv roles after they have been found guilty of a horrible act. like with the new story about stephen collins who i love from the first star trek film as capt dekker. i dont want to believe these stories. i dont wanna believe things i hear about pete townshend or gary glitter or lou christie or david peel etc. even when i have personally witnessed things myself. i could go on and on with names and atrocities but had i / we not known what they did or were accused of or found guilty of would their creative output be any less worthy of our attention and appreciation and enjoyment? should we all suddenly not purchase or listen to their music or watch their movies or tv shows anymore because of their crimes? where is that line? stealing candy? raping children? cleptomania? collecting pics of kids on their computer but never actually touching anyone? who says whats acceptable? at one time in certain environments and groups and religions pre marital sex or homosexual sex was punishable by death etc. our acceptance has become more lenient as time has gone by. so perhaps that line on our willingness to look the other way when it comes to different strokes and freedom to live ones life and hey just cuz he did this or that doesnt mean i cant like his art is still our option.
    some ppl collect killers artwork. like john wayne gacy or some of the other mass murderers. different things fascinate different people. some collect autographs of those people. if we can do that and maybe collect artifacts or things deemed and determined to be collectible that either belonged to them or pertained to them in some way then product they released as an expression of their abilities.. either music art or film tv appearances etc. isnt that different. it isnt as if we the listener or viewer are saying that we condone their behavior by owning their product. are we? i appreciate the talents of phil spector even if he did kill that woman. jim gordon wrote the coda to layla which is the most incredible part of the song. that troubled mind created such amazing beauty. how? i used that song as part of my wedding. as far as im concerned its the greatest love song of all time. the history of one of the men who created it that came 13 yrs after the fact cant alter the wonder of the song. how can i allow that? i wont.
    so in closing i must say that no.. the two can be related in positive and in negative ways but should not prevent one from owning collecting buying enjoying etc.

    By darth on Oct 11, 2014

  10. These are extremes, of course, but if we didn’t somehow separate the music from the artist - in any genre - there would be precious little music to listen to.

    By tajackson on Oct 13, 2014

  11. Ultimately, art is bigger than its creator. When Elvis Costello called Ray Charles “an old blind n***r,” many of us took a pause but decided that nothing could ruin the experience we had had with those early records so we kept right on listening! (Of course Elvis retracted his ridiculous remark eventually).

    By Jeremy Shatan on Oct 16, 2014

  12. I can separate the two, most of the time. A musician performs on stage or in studio. Who they are or what they’ve done is less relevant than the performance. Some deeds, however, may cross certain lines for people and make the artist off limits.
    The original comment about artists’ politics is different. An artist is inspired by their personal beliefs. It’s difficult to separate those beliefs from the art which was inspired by them. If I don’t want to hear an artist ramble on during a performance I’ll just use the opportunity to take a walk and get a beer!

    By steve22 on Oct 16, 2014

  13. sadly, most top musicians have never held a ‘real’ job, and know nothing of the daily grind. they have the luxury of easily earned money, and free time to espouse causes, while the rest of us have to just get on with work.

    By Liam NSW on Oct 17, 2014

  14. Ted Nugent is a possible example. The guy made some great rock and roll with the Amboy Dukes (I really don’t dig his solo stuff), but his over-the-top gun nut antics (among other things) make it really hard to listen to anything he recorded sometimes.

    For those who might agree with him, keep in mind the problem I have is not his views, but rather that I know anything about them without asking or really trying to find out.

    By mackdaddyg on Oct 17, 2014

  15. Another issue is the accuracy of the available information. For example, do you stop listening to Jackson Browne because of his “alleged” TKO of Daryl Hannah?

    By Britinvdon on Oct 17, 2014

  16. not sure why Billy Preston would be denounced specifically. openly gay, he didn’t kill anyone. Maybe he picked the wrong 16 yr old Mexican boy?
    Very little detail available on this, but - all he got was forced into drug rehab and three months house arrest?
    doesn’t sound to me like the system felt he had tried to commit heinous crimes against nature.
    and it seems to me there are many addicted artistes out there and a hell of a lot who’ve “mistaken” a nominal juvenile for an adult.
    I reckon you have to be a homophobe prig to single out a gay guy from among thousands.

    On the whole - I believe we all are capable of terrible things. “By the grace of God” many of us avoid taking that fatal step. Perhaps we should embrace the good things done by some who strayed, and recognise that as proof most people contain an element of good.

    By the Real tony on Oct 18, 2014

  17. Phil Spector is a great American artist; his monumental achievements amount to much more than a production technique. He is responsible for so many great records through his songwriting and arranging as well as his recruitment and organization of superlative artists, both musicians and singers. It is a sad and unfortunate trend among pop culture watchers to denigrate Phil Spector as a person and demean his achievements. I would hate to live in a world without the great music he wrote, produced, and inspired.

    By James M. Duckworth on Oct 19, 2014

  18. Art survives the artist, I believe. Think of a writer as Celine, for example. No, art is one thing and the person who produces it is another. I guess otherwise we should avoid a lot of stuff.

    By frank on Oct 20, 2014

  19. gary glitter and leo sayer pedos even had some problems listening to pete townshend when he was caught doing ‘research’ on some pedoporn sites [and i love me some pete townshend]politics is a rich man’s game it profits the poor nothing. those that sing about injustice rarely do much more than boosts sales or promote tours or upcoming albums…tugs of heartstrings generally means a tug of the wallet. anthems are look at me songs i’m concerned i care i weep my limo’s waiting good night

    By woodpeckerdeadwood on Oct 20, 2014

  20. I try to separate the musician from the music, some times more successfully than others. If I didn’t listen to the music of artists whose politics, lifestyle, personality, etc., I found distasteful, I’d be cutting myself off from a lot of good music.

    By MrBill on Oct 20, 2014

  21. I never could stomach Jerry Lee Lewis after reading this 1984 “Rolling Stone” article about the suspicious death of his young wife and the subsequent cover-up. As Lyle Lovett once sang about forgiveness: “God will but I won’t.”

    By jania on Oct 23, 2014

  22. I can’t do Jerry Lee Lewis because of the pedophile thing. I wonder if my opinion of the music I listen to would change if my favorite artists were newly convicted of abhorrent crimes like pedophillia.

    By john on Oct 29, 2014

  23. I agree with frank, above on 10/20/14. Real art is bigger than the human being who create it. On a close look, no one is “normal”. As long as the work of the artist is worthy my attention, I can separate one from the other.

    By Belasco on Oct 29, 2014

  24. John should read the recent article and interview on Boing Boing with Jerry Lee Lewis’ teen bride. Turns out they were much in love and she had no idea why there should be a scandal.

    By bean on Oct 30, 2014

  25. bean, give a kid some candy something shiny and they’ll love you to death or until the candy runs out.great music from amoral folk ??? you buy they profit theyre allowed to continue lifestyle

    By woodpeckerdeadwood on Nov 1, 2014

  26. CRAP happens! Anyone can make a mistake and end up on the wrong side of a judge’s gavel. People shouldn’t be so quick to judge these artists for one incident they were involved. Their musical legacy is really more important.

    By GOLD MINER on Nov 15, 2014

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