2015’s Weirdest Rock Stories
As 2015 comes to a close, your friends at Ultimate Classic Rock are taking a look back at the year that was — specifically, some of the best, worst and weirdest stories we've covered over the last 12 months. There was definitely no shortage of the strange this year — from a butt trial to a dog psychiatrist and a heavy metal underwear controversy, we've seen a number of oddball news items come over the ticker since Jan. 1, and we've compiled 10 of the more unforgettable entries below. Buckle up, because things are about to get weird ...
After enduring nearly a decade of legal drama stemming from an incident at a 2004 concert, Rick Springfield was cleared of allegations that he caused "serious, disabling and permanent injuries" by falling on a fan. Understandably emotional during the trial, Springfield bounced back quickly upon hearing the verdict, even photobombing a reporter on his way out of court.
The larger-than-life reputation that producer Kim Fowley cultivated during his career has only grown since his passing — and in some tremendously unappealing ways. Among the spate of unsavory stories that surfaced after Fowley's death was the disturbing suggestion that he'd planned on having his body used in a cover shoot for Girls and Corpses — only editors couldn't track it down after his wife went incommunicado.
Most Metallica fans have probably never wondered about Lars Ulrich's undergarment preferences — or at least they didn't until an odd-looking photo from the band's Rock in Rio USA performance surfaced, purporting to show Ulrich banging on the drums while wearing a thong. A rep quickly explained it was actually a trick of the lighting, and Ulrich hadn't been wearing any underwear at all — all of which was definitely much more than most of us ever needed to know.
Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil loves to party, but as we saw in an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap that found Neil switching partners with Nelson’s Gunnar Nelson, he also has a sensitive side — so sensitive, in fact, that he actually sends his dog to a psychiatrist and takes the doctor's diagnoses seriously enough to accept her relationship advice as an excuse to buy large chunks of jewelry for his girlfriend.
After you've spent 50 years fighting with Mick Jagger, you can have fun with just about anyone — or at least that's the lesson we took from this story about Keith Richards allegedly bonding with Justin Bieber after a chance meeting at a Caribbean bar. Things reportedly got off to a bad start, with the two asking one another "who the f--- are you?," but it all ended well, and at the very least, the spectacle had to be more entertaining than Goddess in the Doorway.
There really isn't any such thing as a "normal" murder, but the sad case of Leroy Smith III is something else entirely. Smith, standing trial for the murder of his father, insisted before a judge that the members of Slayer were somehow involved in the killing and with him in the woods forcing him to do their bidding when he committed the grisly crime. Unsurprisingly, the defendant has well-documented mental health issues, and was remanded to the custody of the state’s Department of Health & Human Services.
This is news from outside the world of classic rock, but it was too odd to ignore when it happened, and it's definitely too strange to leave off our list of 2015's Weirdest Rock Stories. Bay Area punk veterans Dead Kennedys gave one couple — and the folks in the audience — a night to remember when they ended up providing a live soundtrack for a bout of public intercourse that took place on stage during one of their concerts. "Of course, we don’t condone this activity in our establishment and security stopped it right away," said a club rep. "This is certainly a first for us."
Paul McCartney raised the eyebrows of many rock fans this year when he collaborated with hip-hop superstar Kanye West on a handful of tracks, but we're betting it was McCartney who was truly surprised by their time together — specifically when West used his close proximity to the former Beatle to ask, "What was p---y like in the ’60s?"
Plenty of bands would love to have Duff McKagan playing bass onstage with them, but only one would think to wrap him in head-to-toe leather and put him on a leash. That honor goes to Faith No More, who reportedly gave the Guns N' Roses veteran one of the best seats in the house when they signed him up for gimp duty on a tour stop earlier this year.
Many people might scoff at the idea that it's possible to actually be addicted to music, but it's no laughing matter for the Swedish man who was diagnosed with the affliction this year — ending a 10-year quest to have his condition classified as a handicap. Armed with a doctor's note that tells employers he "feels compelled to show his heavy metal style," he's now free to exercise his right to rock. Ron Keel was not available for comment.