Eddie Van Halen Had Speeding Ticket Cancelled Because The Police Captain Was A Fan
Guitar hero Eddie Van Halen has recalled how during a brush with the law for speeding he got off extremely lightly because the captain of the police officer who booked him was a Van Halen fan.
Eddie Van Halen explained to Car And Driver how he once picked up a speeding ticket for running with the devil, going hell for leather and driving at 95mph in a 65 zone.
Here’s the rub: Eddie didn’t have to face the consequences a mere mortal would have if they were caught burning rubber in such a reckless fashion because Van Halen is an ax-wielding rock god who’s best buddies with David Lee Roth and a big hit with men in uniform, especially the boys in black and blue.
As well as knowing his way around the fret board like a boss, Van Halen is also an aficionado of all things with four wheels, especially if they go extremely fast.
The keen petrol head owns a Lamborghini, a Porsche, two high-performance Audis, and a host of other machines guaranteed to take your breath away and leave a massive carbon footprint in the process.
The grizzled rock n’ roll veteran has even compared driving like a speed demon on the track to working up a storm onstage.
“The adrenaline rush is similar. You’re always pushing the edge, on stage live and driving on a track. But improvising at the drop of a hat is the biggest thing. There are no do-overs. If you spin out, you spin out. If you mess up live, you smile your way through it or improvise quick, just like if there’s an accident in front of you or somebody’s trying to pass you.”
When asked what his most memorable ride was, Eddie Van Halen didn’t hesitate to recall the time he was offered by Audi to test drive the V-10 on the Sonoma Raceway and “just go crazy.”
“So (my wife) Janie and I drove up in her Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. It’s a long drive and we’re doing about 90, 95 in a 65, and I get pulled over and the guy writes me up for a ticket.”
“I’m going, ‘The last thing I need is a speeding ticket for that much over the speed limit.’ We get home and I get a letter from my office; the patrol guy who gave me the ticket, his captain voided it. He said, ‘You don’t give Eddie Van Halen a ticket,’ and I had a letter to prove it. The letter came straight from the captain.”
So there you have it. When you live life in the fast line, the normal rules don’t apply.
Yet not all rock stars have had a fan in a high place to help them out when they’ve fallen foul of the law.
Take Doors frontman Jim Morrison, for example. The hell-raising, hard-drinking, and poetry loving Lizard King, had an anti-authoritarian streak which run eight miles wide and which stood out like a sore thumb even in the counter-culture of the 1960s.
Arrested for disturbing the peace, being drunk and disorderly, inciting a riot, and public obscenity were all par for the course for Morrison, but it was his Miami arrest on March 1, 1969 which dug a real hole for the doors singer.
Charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, indecent exposure, public profanity, and public drunkenness, Morrison was looking at serving some hard time. Ten years of it to be exact.
Yet before the state could bury their public enemy number one in the murk and mire of penal servitude, he died in a Paris bathtub in 1971 and would be charged with “suspicion of public drunkenness” no more – an accusation Morrison had leveled at him during his last brush with the law.
He may now renowned as a plummy and dashing knight of the realm, but Mick Jagger once served a couple of days of a three months sentence in Brixton prison for possessing amphetamines.
Jagger was let out early when Times Editor William Rees-Mogg, penned an editorial asking who “breaks a butterfly on the wheel” or some such flowery nonsense. Jagger’s partner in crime, Keith Richards, wasn’t so lucky and had to serve a full two months. I guess Keef’s face just didn’t fit.
An intervention for Jagger on behalf of a bastion of the establishment may have saved the Rolling Stones’ singer’s bacon, but no one was on hand to aid Paul McCartney when he found himself very much a damsel in distress during his Tokyo bust in January 1980.
When custom officials found almost a half-pound of pot in Macca’s luggage, he ended up spending nine days in jail before being deported. Someone should have told that boy the 1960s were done and dusted and the synthetic and designer 1980s had begun.
Of course, when you’re talking about rock n’ roll jailbirds, it would indeed be a crime of omission not to mention the Prince of Darkness himself – Mr. Ozzy Osbourne.
In 1965, Ozzy was known simply as John, a teenage Brummie who ended up serving seven weeks at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for failing to pay fines for a burglary conviction. Oh the indignity!
Ozzy was arrested again in 1982 for attempting to urinate all over the Alamo whilst wearing a dress. How grunge! The heavy metal maverick went for bust in 1989 when he ended up behind bars for attempting to kill his wife Sharon. As Spinal Tap used to say, “This one goes one louder.”
In 2014, Scorpions drummer James Kottakm was banged up in Dubai for a month after being accused of offensive behavior and insulting Islam. The Scorpions stick man allegedly drunk alcohol, flashed his middle finger, bared his butt, and snarled, “What is that disgusting smell?” at a group of Pakistani and Afghan passengers in a Dubai airport.
Compared with Chuck Berry, most other rock n’ rollers are petty criminals in every sense. Old Chuck has done some serious bird.
Driving around with “No Particular Place to Go,” has landed Berry in some serious hot water. In 1944 he did four years for armed robbery. In the 1960s, he did three years for violating the Mann Act, and in 1979, he did a further four months for tax evasion. Roll Over Beethoven!
The late, great Arthur Lee was a lot cooler than most rockers, if less well-known, but the lead singer of Love also did a lot more jail time than your average wannabe bad boy.
After he fired a.44 Magnum outside his Los Angeles apartment in June 1995, cops raided Lee’s home and found a box of 500 armor-piercing bullets. Suspecting him of being a potential cop-killer or terrorist they locked him up for a 12-year-stretch, of which Lee served six. Ouch!
So it would appear “fast Eddie” should count his blessings that he wasn’t caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the Van Halen ax-man would have found himself in a rather unpleasant environment where everyone is constantly all revved up with nowhere to go.
Now get your motor running…..
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]