Breakin' The Law: 23 Rock Star Mugshots

Rock Star Mugshots

Johnny Cash may have based an entire career on his outlaw image, but his police record suggests he never a serious threat to public safety.

Arrested four times for crimes as various as picking the wrong flowers and accidentally starting a forest fire, Cash never spent more than a single night in jail, but it didn’t matter. Getting arrested was good for business, and that outlaw image was reinforced. His iconic San Quentin and Folsom Prison albums — both recorded before boisterous audiences at two of America’s toughest prisons — strengthened the bond further: Being on the fringes of crime paid.

It doesn’t always work like that. For every boozy misdemeanour there’s a serious felony, but for many musicians being arrested hasn’t hurt their careers in the slightest, and those unflattering mugshots that continually whizz around the web prove it.

Our gallery features highlights from 50 years of bad behaviour, and features serial offenders like Vince Neil and Jim Morrison alongside one-time arrestees like Prince, whose only crime was to accompany a band member to jail after he stole an emergency in-flight megaphone.

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Axl Rose. Arrested 1980 in Lafayette, Indiana. Possibly for stealing a bicycle, or for destroying someone else's. The record does not show.

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Prince. Arrested 1980 after his keyboard player Dr Fink stole an emergency megaphone from an airplane. Released without charge after posing for pictures.

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Johnny Cash. Arrested 1965 after hundreds of pep pills and tranquilisers were found in his luggage. He paid a small fine and received a suspended sentence.

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Kid Rock. Arrested 2007 for fighting after a post-concert meal at Waffle House. He was released on bond.

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Kurt Cobain. Arrested 1986 for trespassing while intoxicated - he'd clambered onto the roof of an abandoned warehouse.

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Scott Weiland. Arrested 2001 for battery. He spent 12 hours in jail, then returned to the stage that night. He was later fined and placed on probation.

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Willie Nelson. Arrested 2010 after A search of the bus produced over a pound of marijuana and just over three ounces of magic mushrooms.

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Quiz: Rock Star Arrests