Todd Harrell of 3 Doors Down: Photo via AP/D’Iberville Police Department
Let’s face it: in recent years, there have been some musicians who’ve proven themselves to be pretty awful people. Lostprophets singer and admitted child sex offender Ian Watkins immediately comes to mind. Before him there was ex-Murderdolls, ex-Dope, ex-Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen who, in less than one month’s time, was charged in coast-to-coast incidents where he had sex with different underage girls — even kidnapping one of them. Earlier this week, As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis pled guilty to attempting to hire an undercover agent to murder his wife.
Nowadays, artists are getting jailed for some of the dumbest shit imaginable. Remember a couple summers back when then Coheed and Cambria bassist Michael Todd got busted en route to the band’s gig opening for Soundgarden at the Comcast Center? Dude not only used the old, “I’ve got a bomb if you don’t give me all your Oxycontin” at an Attleboro Walgreens, but in his not-so-thought-out escape plan, he flagged down a passing taxi to use as the getaway vehicle.
What about Creed singer Scott Stapp? Not for musical crimes against humanity. And not for that time he got into the most un-rock and roll fight ever when he brawled with 311 in a Baltimore hotel bar on Thanksgiving. Nor when he was charged with being drunk and disorderly while attempting to board a Hawaii bound plane from LAX the day after he got married. The worst, by far, is when Stapp was arrested on a domestic violence call that resulted in an aggravated assault charge following an incident where he threw a bottle of Orangina at his wife’s head — and missed. Beyond the ignominy of being a self-professed high school baseball star who now apparently has such poor aim, who the fuck knew Orangina still existed let alone that anyone still drinks it?
Then there’s Stapp’s colleague in tepid alternative rock, 3 Doors Down bassist Todd Harrell, who somehow finds himself in the unique position of being both an awful person and awfully stupid individual. Following the success of the insufferable hit single “Kryptonite” in 2000, Harrell made one bonehead move after another — all of which reeked of senseless and undeserved entitlement.
During a 2002 party at his Mississippi home, Harrell spotted a man with a tape recorder and lost it, knocking out the guy’s teeth and leaving him requiring stitches, resulting in an assault charge. Beyond the fact that even at the peak of 3DD’s popularity no one gave a shit what the bass player had to say enough to record it, it turns out the 49-year-old victim had been in a debilitating car accident that resulted in a continued decline in his short-term memory which led him to carry around the device to assist in remembering conversations.
Two years later, Harrell was once again feeling privileged when he dropped some change into a coin operated newspaper box outside a Mississippi (always Mississippi) convenience store, opened up the door and took three newspapers instead of one. A 53 year-old newspaper carrier saw this go down and called him out on it, which led to an enraged Harrell repeatedly punching the man in the face and “kicking him in the groin.” Cue up another simple assault charge.
Harrell chilled out for a few years until 2012 when he began a string of impressive driving under the influence lapses in judgment. And by “impressive” we obviously mean “pathetic.” The first came in July of that year when he rolled through a Mississippi intersection without stopping and rear-ended a pickup truck.
The next DUI, which happened last April in Tennessee, was much more severe. Harrell was speeding down a stretch of Interstate when he clipped yet another pickup truck, causing it to run off the road, flip over and kill the driver. After being arrested and admitting to consuming hard cider (!) along with prescription pills Lortab and Xanax, he was also charged with bringing controlled substances into the jail. Sheriff’s deputies found a plastic bag hidden in his sock that contained eight Xanax pills, 24 Oxycodone pills and four Oxymorphone pills. Those were pretty inconsequential compared to the vehicular manslaughter, a charge which still hangs over his head while the courts move at the typical snail’s pace.
Cut, now, to an episode just last week, and Harrell finds himself once again staring down a DUI rap. This time police in — where else — Mississippi found him “slumped over the steering wheel” of his vehicle at an intersection. Charged not only with DUI but under the influence of another, undetermined substance, he was freed on cash bond.
What does the rest of 3 Doors Down think about all this? They’ve kicked him out of the band for good and roundly denounced his poor life decisions.
According to management, after he was, “Suspended from the band and not allowed to participate in any 3 Doors Down performances, pending the resolution of criminal charges filed against him last year in connection with [the vehicular manslaughter charge],” the outfit “has extended Todd’s suspension indefinitely. We take this action to protect the image and integrity of the band.”