CHUCK BERRY TRAGIC TRUTH
The original bad ass rock & roller is what he was. Jail? Been there. As a youth, he was sent to reformatory school for three years for pulling off an armed carjacking with a pair of buddies. In the 1960’s for taking a 14-year old girl across state lines for sex. Again in 1979 for tax evasion. Again in 1990 for drugs when they found $122,000 in cash, 2 ounces of pot, some hash and a shotgun at his house. During that raid cops also found tons of porno videos, slides and books from the 60’s on, some featuring what appeared to be underage girls. Then there was the time in 1987 when he allegedly installed hidden cameras in the women’s restroom at the Southern Air restaurant in Wentzville after he bought it in 1987. A camera was evidently behind the toilet seat, another was above the toilets with a view of the contents during the seconds after the women stood but before they flushed. The recordings were found and had been edited and spliced together to create “toilet tapes” that showed hundreds of women and girls in the act of relieving themselves. Sometimes the frame is frozen for a few seconds, lingering on moments that he must have considered particularly stimulating. After the women sued he settled for $830,000 in a class-action suit filed by dozens of women who claimed they had been taped using the bathroom, and also settled a similar suit filed by a former restaurant worker and another woman for $310,000. He was known as the “biggest cheapskate in rock & roll” mostly due to using local “pick-up” bands while on tour instead of hiring regular performers, often resulting in sloppy performances with the musicians he met just moments before hitting the stage. Bruce Springsteen has often told the story of playing for him at a New Jersey show, he met the star 3 minutes before they went on stage with not even a playlist given to the band. But 500 years from now they’ll listen to his song “Johnny B. Goode” and say this is one of the guys who started rock & roll. His songs were stolen from him during his entire life by white performers, most of whom never paid him a dime. He lived from October 8, 1926 to March 18, 2017. Despite all his flaws Chuck Berry was a great one.