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An Arresting Look at Famous Rockers

September 30, 2002

See pop choirboy Paul McCartney in the custody of Japanese authorities after being busted for marijuana possession. See hard-rock bad boy Axl Rose in a not-unflattering police mug shot taken when the Guns N' Roses singer was arrested in connection with assault and property damage after jumping into the crowd at a Milwaukee concert to stop a fan from snapping photos. See fugitive rock star David Crosby after being nabbed and charged with cocaine and weapons possession.

See them all starting Thursday at 10 p.m. in a new episode of the "VH1: All Access" series titled "Rock's Most Outrageous Busts!" Already famous for its "Behind the Music" profiles of the ups and downs of rock stars' lives, the channel digs deeper into the underbelly of pop music with a show that could have been called "VH1: Behind Bars."

It promises to be a feast for fans who can't get enough of musicians' walks on the wild side. To chronicle the travails of dozens of rockers, rappers and punks who fought the law and the law won, the show will use police logs, booking photos and court records, along with interviews of the lawyers who represented them, the officers who brought them in and the PR agents who struggled to put a positive spin on it all.

The show spans virtually the entire history of rock 'n' roll, from Elvis Presley's arrest in 1956 after a fight with two gas station attendants in Memphis, up through R&B singer R. Kelly's indictment in June on 21 counts of child pornography.

In between, it covers a gamut of offenses, some of which now sound quaint (Janis Joplin's 1967 arrest on two counts of vulgar and indecent language), some just plain bizarre (James Brown's infamous high-speed flight from police across two states in 1988, during which officers shot out all his tires) and some sadly sordid (Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, charged in 1978 for the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, after which he died of a heroin overdose while on bail awaiting trial).

The point? "Even if you're a big rock star, it's probably not a good idea to pack drugs in your suitcase or expose yourself in a public restroom," says executive producer Brad Abramson.

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