The Band’s Huntsville Alabama Show Resulted in 2 Fans Being Injured & Suing the Band
Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they take a look at the time the band played Huntsville Alabama and turned around and sued the band for injuries sustained during a 1985 concert.
As part of Motlye Crue’s 1985 Theatre of Pain tour they would play a show in Hunstville, Alabama that would result in several fans turning around and suing the band. Today let’s explore what happened.
By 1985 Motley Crue were out on the road touring behind their third record Theatre of Pain. Recorded in the aftermath of frontman Vince Neil’s trial for manslaughter and drunk driving the album marked a noticable stylistic shift towards a more glam rock sound. By this point in time Motley Crue were establishing themselves as one of the top rock bands in the world ss they were selling millions of albums there live shows were becoming more theatric incorporating pyrotechnics. But for some fans it would be too heavy.
During a September 27, 1985 show in Huntsville, Alabama. Two teenage fans claimed they were injured by pyrotechnics during the band’s show. The incident happened three songs into the band’s set during their performance of Shout at the devil. 13 year old Robbie Millerwas struck in the face and lost his eye. Miller was given a ticket to the show by his parent in celebration of his birthday. Another teen, David Wright of had his lip split by the same object that hit Miller. Miller would require reconstructive surgery on his eye that would restablish it to about a ⅓ of it’s original size. The pair of teenagers would lawyer up and file a civil lawsuit against the band, the city of huntsville, the production and security company working the show.
Miller sought damages of $2.2 million for his eye injury while Wright sought $400,000,
Lawyers for the injured speculated that the objects that struck their clients were dry ice from motley crue’s stage show., But an attorney for Motley Crue. told jurors there no explosives were used on stage that could launch objects through the air. A lawyer for the band would state the two teen-agers and i quote ″got hurt out there … and we can’t explain it, but it did not come from special effects.″
The lawsuit wouldn’t go to trial until 3 years after the show in 1988 in nearby Athens.
The associated press hilariously reported at the time of the trail in 1986 “Heavy metal rock concerts were not a familiar subject to many of the prospective jurors. About 10 said they simply do not like rock music, and two asked to be excused for religious reasons.”
Bassist Nikki Sixx would be the only member in attendance to testify on the band’s behalf. The sleepy little town of 160,000 brimmed with excitement as upwards of 300 fans, some of which skipped school lined up outside of the court house hoping to catch a glimpse of the rockstar. The bassist had to be moved between hotels as fans soon learned where he was staying and were harassing him for autographs. Motley Crue employed a lawyer named Patrick Lamar who in addition to defending the group also was responsible for driving Sixx to and from the courthouse He would recall to Al.com how one day a convertible pulled up next to them filled with topless women trying to get the bassists attention. He would recall “I thought, ‘Well, isn’t that interesting. That’s probably his everyday life.
A young fan who was at the courthouse on an unrelated matter noticed Sixx and was able to get his autograph. The picture of sixx signing the girl’s autograph appeared on the front page of the May 10, 1988 issue of a local newspaper. The girl’s name was Melissa Stephenson who would recall to enewscourier “(Kids) were piled there in the hallways of the courthouse. The kids were dodging the cameras because they knew they were supposed to be in school.”
Defense attorneys would have a table-top sized model of the Theatre of Pain tour stage built by a company in California to use during the trial. Unfortunatey while the model was being shipped from California to Alabama it would be damaged. It would have to be glued back together by the defense attorneys. The trial would last about a week, after which the five male, seven female jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. Mötley Crüe would reach an out-of-court financial settlement with both teenagers. Motley Crue for their part would give their defense attorney Patrick Lamar a platinum album