Friday, August 13, 1999
Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

Motley Crue bassist arrested after concert
Las Vegas authorities accuse rocker Nikki Sixx of inciting a riot during a show at Mandalay Bay.

By Glenn Puit
Review-Journal

Bassist of the Year!Nikki Sixx, the bassist for rock 'n' roll bad boys Motley Crue, was arrested late Wednesday after police say he made statements about "flipping over cop cars" during the band's concert at Mandalay Bay.

Sixx's arrest is the second time in two years Motley Crue has clashed with Las Vegas police. Police and security had to stop a Crue concert for about 10 minutes in November 1997 when a riot broke out at the old Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts. Four people were injured, but no arrests were made in that incident.  

Sixx, 40, whose real name is Frank Carlton Ferrano, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center at midnight on one count of provoking a breach of peace, police Lt. Rick Alba said. A conviction of the misdemeanor charge could carry with it a fine of up to $1,000 and a sentence of up to six months. 

Alba said police warned the band before Wednesday's concert that any statements to the crowd of 8,000 that could provoke violence would result in their arrests. 

According to Alba, near the end of the concert Sixx beckoned to the crowd: "Every time we come to town the (expletive) cops tell us we can't be Motley Crue. If they don't like it, we can start flipping over cop cars like we did a couple of years ago."

A Motley Crue spokeswoman did not return calls to her Los Angeles office Thursday.

Three members of the band's road crew were also arrested, Alba said, when they attempted to stop Sixx's arrest. Alba said a scuffle broke out between officers and the road crew backstage at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, and one officer ended up being punched. He was not seriously injured. 

"Nikki Sixx didn't offer any resistance whatsoever," Alba said. "The situation was escalated by the ones who were trying to prevent the arrest."       

Charged with obstructing a police officer were Geoff Perren, 47, and Christopher Reynolds, 43. John Gabrielli, 44, faces charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. The hometowns of all four -- who each posted bail early Thursday after spending the night in the detention center -- were not immediately available.       

Alba  said the November riot at the Aladdin started because band members continually urged crowd members to become unruly. During that show, then-drummer Tommy Lee told fans they weren't required to stay in their seats, and front man Vince Neil reportedly called for the beating of a man who knocked down the band's guitarist.

"What they were doing then was inciting the crowd, and we decided we couldn't let that happen again," Alba said.

Police met with Motley Crue management at least twice to let them know arrests were possible, Alba said.

"With a riot in 1997, we realized this was a potential issue, so we had a number of pre-event meetings with the band and their managers," Alba said. "We told them they can't conduct themselves this way, that it is against the law and that this behavior won't be tolerated." 

Alba said once Sixx talked about overturning cop cars, some fans "started grabbing chairs and acting violently," so police decided Sixx's arrest was necessary. Officers waited for the band to complete the show, then went backstage and apprehended the bassist.

"We tried and tried to work with these people, and we understand how these type of events work," Alba said. "But these words and speeches, they do nothing but serve to provoke the crowd. They are breaking the law."

Mandalay Bay spokesman Gordon Absher said no chairs were thrown during the concert and no one was injured. The hotel's private security also worked the concert. 

"Everything that happened was between the band and police," Absher said. "And those who were in attendance had no idea anything even happened. From our perspective, everyone who went had a good time."

The arrests are just the latest legal troubles for the band, which realized success beginning in the 1980s with hits such as "Looks That Kill," "Shout at the Devil" and "Girls, Girls, Girls."

In 1983, Neil was driving drunk, crashed into another car, and killed his good friend and passenger, Hanoi Rocks member Nicholas Dingley. He was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated and was ordered to spend 30 days in jail, pay a $2.6 million fine and commit to 200 hours of community service. 

In December 1997, Sixx and Lee were arrested on assault charges during a concert in Phoenix. Authorities accused the two of tackling a security officer who was trying to restrain members of the crowd.

Lee entered into a plea agreement in the case and received a 30-day jail sentence, to be served concurrently with a six-month sentence for assaulting his wife, former "Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson Lee. As of fall of last year, Sixx's assault charge was pending.

And, in October 1998, a North Carolina security officer filed suit against Sixx and Lee, claiming Sixx directed a racial slur at him and assaulted him. That suit is also pending.

 

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