Belligerent Justin Townes Earle Arrested in Indianapolis

Justin Townes Earle’s Thursday night (9-16-10) performance at Radio Radio in Indianapolis apparently went horribly wrong, with Earle getting in verbal altercations with the audience and venue staff, reportedly trying to start fights and breaking things, and eventually taking it outside where he continued to taunt audience members until he was eventually arrested.

“Sorry for missing the radio Louisville. I was in jail! We will be making the show at headliners though. Free again!!!” Earle posted on his always entertaining Twitter Feed on Friday afternoon, while angry fans posted their disapproval with Justin’s behavior on his website:

“What I saw in Indianapolis the other night…flask on stage, bitching about the crowd, asking for drugs at a record shop, smashing up the club, starting fights, and getting arrested, looks like someone has relapsed and needs to check himself back in again!” said Sandra.

“I feel completely ripped off after spending my hard-earned money to see his show in Indianapolis last night. He was wasted and belligerent. After the show we encountered him on the street. He was bitching and ranting about the audience! The same audience that paid $15 each to see him!” James posted.

Earle seemed anything but contrite, later posting on his Twitter feed, “Oh and Radio Radio in Indy and all it’s staff can kiss my fucking ass! I think the Felice Bros. Would agree.”

The problems apparently started with banter between the crowd and Earle according to Sherry who was in the front row:

…someone yells out how sexy Josh (Hedley – the violin player) is. JTE and Brynn just laugh and JTE says, “I love it!” At one point another fan yells out “Freebird” and JTE, (humorously) says “Fuck Freebird, I fuckin hate Lynard Skynard!” Then someone yells “Take off your shirt” his response was “you fuckin take off your shirt!” He starts singing Can’t Hardly Wait and all of a sudden some dude throws his shirt on stage and It lands on JTE’s guitar. JTE throws it down, looks at the dude very irritated and pissed off and says “FUCK YOU!”

He very angrily finished the song……trying to keep his composure and dropping his capo between songs, they finish with (the song)Walk Out. They then “walk out” with no encore…

Sherry also stated that an audience member put the aforementioned flask on the stage, and only recalls JTE taking one drink. Other audience members state that Justin and opening act Jessica Lea Mayfied complained about the sound in the venue, and that the audience was loud.

“”The crowd was larger and very noisy. . .The sound was awful. I have been to a dozen shows at Radio Radio and I don’t remember anything like this. It sounded like the band was underwater.” Says Rob.

Speaking to louisville.com the next day, Earle confirmed that assault and battery charges were filed against him by Radio Radio, and that a physical altercation broke out after the venue decided to dock his pay. They also reported that Justin’s bass player Bryn Davies was AWOL from the band for the Louisville show.

Earle was docked $200 for trashing the dressing room, breaking a mirror, and some tables and chairs.

According to My Old Kentucky Blog, Justin hit the owner’s daughter with a closed fist, and that he resisted arrest until the police were able to pin him down and arrest him. The owner’s daughter had been reportedly working the merchandise table for Earle that night.

IndyStar.com obtained a copy of the police report and states: “Radio Radio owner David “Tufty” Clough said Earle smashed a table, a lamp and a mirror in the venue’s basement dressing room. Clough’s daughter, Cheyenne Caperton, said she was hit by Earle’s closed fist when she attempted to stop the musician from assaulting her father.”

On Tuesday Earle released a statement through his label, Bloodshot Records:

“Unfortunately, reports surfacing online about the incident in Indianapolis are not accurate.  I have been advised by counsel that I should not comment on a pending criminal matter, but suffice to say that I am looking forward to having my day in court.  I would also like to say that I oppose violence against women in any form.”

Justin has been charged with two counts of ‘battery with injury’, one count of  ‘resisting law enforcement,’ and one count of  ‘public intoxication.’

He has an initial court date of October 18th.

View Justin’s Inmate Report From The Marion County Sheriff

On Wednesday afternoon (9-22) it was announced that Justin Townes Earle was canceling his current tour, and checking himself into rehab.

Information will be added to this story when they become available and can be verified.

Thanks to Saving Country Music lieutenants Nick Lindsay and Chris Miller for information on this story.

For those of you that think I delight in this information, you are more than wrong. I am heartbroken by it. I hope that Justin can find the inner strength to regain his control, and resume blessing the earth with his gift of music; music that made me believe in him as a singular talent that had the ability to unite the disparate elements of roots music through song.