By Jake Brennan
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Murder, infidelity, suicide, arson, overdose, religious cults, drug trafficking; this podcast explores the alleged true crime antics and criminal connections of musicians we love like Jerry Lee Lewis, Beck, The Rolling Stones, Tay K-47, Tupac Shakur, Mayhem, Van Morrison and many more. Why? Because real rock stars are more like feral, narcissistic animals than functioning members of society and that is precisely what makes them so damn entertaining. If you love true crime and you love music then get ready to love this podcast.
||ExplicitSpade Cooley: Jealousy, Torture, Murder||Spade Cooley was one of the Postwar America’s biggest celebrities and most talented musicians. He was also a violent, drunk and homicidal psychopath who had no heart. Mean, jealous, abusive and almost totally driven by the deep seeded insecurity that he wasn’t good enough for any of the women who flocked to see him in concert, on television and on the movie screen, Spade Cooley couldn’t bare the thought of his wife with another man so he he did the unthinkable and what followed was at the time, the trial of the century.||10/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitRick James: Superfreak, an Understatement||Rick James may have been born into a life of crime but he was determined to make his way in life through music. He intimidated George Clinton, inspired Prince and more than likely saved Jim Morrison’s life. Rick James was rock ‘n roll’s Zelig. He was also sex-crazed, dangerous and heavily addicted to crack cocaine. Three traits that led to two separate arrests for the kidnapping and torture of two different women. Listen to this episode of Disgraceland to hear the tale of the one and only Superfreak, Rick James.||10/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBig Lurch: Hip Hop Cannibal||Big Lurch, didn’t just rap about standard hip-hop culture; he rapped about serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and horror movie villains like Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger and in the process contributed to a sub-genre of hip-hop called, “horrorcore”. He also smoked way too much PCP. So much so that he could not separate his horrorcore lyrics and the horror movies he watched from reality. The result? Unspeakable. Not just murder. Cannibalism.||10/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitKeith Moon: Rockstar Excess and a Dead Chauffeur||Keith Moon of the Who was the prototype for rock drummers. Both onstage and off. His drumming was wholly unique. Like his bandmates behavior, it was violent and like his personality it was electric. Everyone loved Keith Moon aka “Moon The Loon” and it seemed that people never tired of his always hilarious and sometimes violent, drunken hijinks until one fateful night when a crew of British skinheads took issue with the drummer’s rockstar excess. The results were disastrous.||10/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMarvin Gaye: Father, Father There’s Too Many of Us Dying||Marvin Gaye was born into a God-fearing home to a sweet, wholesome mother and crossdressing, philandering, pentecostal preacher who ruled his children with an iron fist. Despite his tense upbringing, Marvin Gaye found his calling - music - and used it as his ticket out of his repressive home life. He chased away his shame and followed his muse to the top of the charts; through a sea of cocaine and sex, becoming one of the biggest and most gifted entertainers of all time before sinking into addiction and depression and ultimately winding up back at home with his parents. A move that would prove to be more devastating than any of his volatile sexual relationships and more deadly than any drug he’d ever taken.||9/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitGG Allin: Live Fast, Die (Plus Bonus Michael Alig Interview)||GG Allin, the notorious transgressive punk rocker pushed the limits further than anyone before or after him. For GG, there were no limits. No laws. He lived and performed well outside the boundaries of the mainstream and saw himself as the leader of what he called, "The Rock 'N Roll Underground" for whom he pledged he would one day make the ultimate sacrifice: commit suicide on stage. Listen to this episode of Disgraceland to hear about GG Allin's final days including his last television appearance with famed club kid, Michael Alig, another Disgraceland subject, who, when he heard about this episode offered to come on the show to be interviewed. Buckle up, Sickos. To quote GG, "talk is f*cking cheap".||9/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBrian Jones: To Be On Your Own Like A Sinking Stone||Brian Jones invented “The World’s Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Band”, The Rolling Stones but would find himself kicked out of that band just a few years after helping rocket him and his bandmates to international success. He was ousted because of his excessive drug use and his abuse of women and shortly after bottoming out, Brian Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool under somewhat mysterious circumstances.||8/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJohnny Paycheck: Pardon Me, I've Got Someone to Kill||Lots of country music stars wear the black hat but none of them wore it with more authenticity than Johnny Paycheck. Johnny Cash may have bragged about shooting a man “just to watch him die” but Johnny Paycheck actually pulled the trigger. He was a true outlaw and totally hardcore. Hardcore honky tonk.||8/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitFrank Sinatra: Frankie Is the Reason... That the Presidents Dead||Frank Sinatra had it all. Then lost it all. Then got it all back tenfold. He was a man of extreme talent, confidence and insecurity. And he had powerful and dangerous friends. He orchestrated some of the greatest music ever made and he also orchestrated an alliance between one friend, mob boss, Sam Giancana and another friend, John F. Kennedy that would help the latter win the white house and in the end prove disastrous for Frank and the country.||7/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMotley Crue: Sex, Drugs And Holy Sh*t, How Are These Dudes Still Alive?||Motley Crue frontman, Vince Neil totaled his Ford Pantera on a beer run and took the life of his friend Razzle Dingley, drummer for Hanoi Rocks in the process. Bassist, Nikki Sixx survived multiple heroin overdoses. Guitarist Mick Mars walked away from a blackout drunk drowning and drummer, Tommy Lee lived through his own Caligula-like Sunset Strip sexcapades. Motley Crue, a degenerate band of death cheating rock gods has us asking, “how are these dudes still alive?” Maybe, they’re the undead. *Producer's Note: Please consider a donation in the memory of Ian Kennedy. Ian, a member of the Disgraceland family left us too soon recently. A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help his daughter and wife and can be linked to here: https://www.gofundme.com/for-sophie-and-michele-kennedy||7/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJohn Lennon (Part 2): “The phony must die, said the catcher in the rye”||John Lennon was a walking contradiction: a violent pacifist and a creative genius marred by creative inconsistency. He was gunned down just as he was getting his groove back by Mark David Chapman, a self-loathing narcissist obsessed with his contradictory hero, John Lennon, Lennon’s musical rival, Todd Rundgren and J.D. Salinger’s angsty, Holden Caulfield from The Catcher In The Rye. Hear how all of these factors and more contributed to the musical icon’s senseless murder in a two part Disgraceland episode.||7/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJohn Lennon (Part 1): "John Lennon, I'm going to kill you, you phony bastard."||John Lennon was a walking contradiction: a violent pacifist and a creative genius marred by creative inconsistency. He was gunned down just as he was getting his groove back by Mark David Chapman, a self-loathing narcissist obsessed with his contradictory hero, John Lennon, Lennon’s musical rival, Todd Rundgren and J.D. Salinger’s angsty, Holden Caulfield from The Catcher In The Rye. Hear how all of these factors and more contributed to the musical icon’s senseless murder in a two part Disgraceland episode.||7/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJames Brown: Papa's Got A Brand New Bag... Of Meth.||What happens when the hardest working man in show business takes a break? Idle hands are indeed the devil’s workshop. This episode will detail James Brown’s scorching career as well as the scorching high speed chase he led cops on that led to his arrest and jail sentencing for drugs and firearms.||6/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMichael Alig: If a Club Kid Kills, Stuffs the Body in a Box and Tells The World About It Will Anyone Listen?||In March 1996, “King of the Club Kids”, promoter Michael Alig, after appearing on TV’s Geraldo and on the cover of New York Magazine, bashed his friend and DJ, Angel Melendez in the head with a hammer, who died quickly. His body was then dismembered and stuffed into a duct taped cardboard box. Alig proceeded to tell any one of his friends from the raging 90s NYC club scene who would listen, what he had done, but the problem was, Alig’s well known, over the top depraved behavior was such that no one believed him. “Has anyone seen Angel?” “He’s dead. I cut him up and put him in that box over in the corner…”||6/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitTupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.: The Media Did It||Who killed Tupac? Who killed Biggie? The answer has been right there out in the open for years. This episode looks at the lives and deaths of both rap superstars, the east coast/west coast beef and the media’s culpability in driving a highly sensationalized narrative that ultimately led to the murder of both men.||6/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBob Marley: Rasta Vigilante||Bob Marley is known as the peace and love reggae superstar but the truth of who he really was is a bit more complicated. After gunmen raided his home, putting bullets into him, his wife, his manager and his guitar player, Bob managed to live but the lives of his assassins - all of them - were eventually brought to violent, horrific ends. And their killers were never found. Many think the perpetrator was an angry young man from the Trenchtown ghetto who those who feared him called, “Screwface” aka, Bob Marley, Rasta Vigilante.||5/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitTay-K: A Nationwide Manhunt and Art Imitating Life||The Arlington, Texas rapper was involved in two killings by the time he was 17. Arrested on murder charges and placed under house arrest until hearings were to take place, Tay-K sawed off his ankle bracelet and announced to the world via twitter that he was going out on the run. He made it from Texas all the way to New Jersey where he recorded his most infamous song, “The Race”, detailing his time on the lam. The song’s lyrics and video blurred real life and art and quickly went viral garnering over 100 million downloads. It also worked as a set of clues for authorities to use to piece together the young fugitive’s whereabouts. The viral nature of the song and video, the ensuing twitter phenomenon and infamy surrounding the young fugitive also caused tipsters to come out in droves and eventually led to Tay-K’s arrest.||5/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitThe Rolling Stones: Sleeping With the First Lady and Trafficking Heroin||In the 1970s, the world regarded The Rolling Stones as an insular band of hedonistic and glamorous pansexual junkies. But all of the trouble they’d stirred up during the 60s and early 70s would be dwarfed by the mess they would cause in Canada in 1977. Up until that point Keith’s constitution, the band’s money and collective luck had been enough to fend off destruction, but the scandal they embroiled themselves in touched the highest levels of government, threatened to destroy the band and their so-far indestructible guitar player, Keith Richards.||4/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitLisa "Left Eye" Lopes: Hit Me Again and I'll Burn Your House Down||TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was known as “the crazy one”. She did, after all, burn down her NFL playing boyfriend, Andre Rison’s mansion. But given the fact that it was done after what was then one of many domestic assaults, Disgraceland chooses to view Left Eye as a bad ass… and not "the crazy one". This episode digs into what really happened that night, who Lisa Lopes really was as a person and the details surrounding her own premature death.||4/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitVan Morrison: Astral Weeks, Movement and Murder||In 1968 Van Morrison was hiding out from the New York City Mafia in Boston, Massachusetts. Recently the victim of a physical attack from a Genovese crime family member, Morrison was desperately trying to piece together a band to complete what would become his landmark creative statement, Astral Weeks. One of the musicians who would help him achieve this goal; a young, handsome guitar player from Emerson College named, Rick Philp would mysteriously go missing and eventually wind up dead. Disgraceland pieces together this story using, as one of many sources, the recently released, critically acclaimed book, “Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968” by Ryan Walsh.||4/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitNorwegian Black Metal: Satanic Rebellion, Murder and Worse||Never has there been a more extreme form of musical rebellion than Norwegian Black Metal. The genre’s founding band, Mayhem, its sister act, Burzum and supporting cast of musicians with names like, Necrobutcher, Hellhammer and Dead horrified Norway in the early nineties with supreme acts of terror, satanic ritualism, murder, arson and cannibalism. By the time the ashes settled and the corpse paint chipped away, numerous band members would be dead or in jail, convicted of arson and or murder… and a new generation of young metalheads would find their way to satanism through blast beats and dead notes.||3/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSam Cooke: An Insatiable Libido and a Justifiable Homicide||Sam Cooke was a lot of things: soul superstar, civil rights champion, whip smart entrepreneur but he was also a serial womanizer with an unbridled libido. On December 11, 1964, Sam Cooke, was shot to death by Bertha Lee Franklin, manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, CA. Franklin killed Cooke in what was ruled by the courts to be a justifiable homicide due to Cooke’s unruly, drunken behavior that involved him holding another women captive in his hotel room and allegedly raping her earlier in the evening. With full appreciation of the MeToo moment we are currently all living through as a culture, Disgraceland, with fresh eyes, looks into this crime and the successful effort by Sam Cooke’s family and powerful music industry colleagues to salvage his legacy and reputation by personally discrediting his victim.||3/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSid Vicious: Love Kills... Even a Mother's Love?||It’s long been believed that punk rock icon, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose. However, new evidence suggests that his overly affectionate and increasingly dependent mum gave him a fatal hotshot in a final, maternal act of mercy. Listen to find out why.||2/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJerry Lee Lewis: The Killer and Getting Away With Murder||The night before, Jerry Lee Lewis’ 5th wife died, she made a phone call to her Mom. She told her that she was thinking of leaving the rock and roll pioneer, but that he wouldn’t let her. Then, she made a second call — this one to the sister of her high-school sweetheart, making plans for the sister to come take her away from Jerry Lee later that month. Then… in mid-sentence the phone went dead. The next day, Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis was found dead. Neatly placed on top of a perfectly made bed in the newlywed couple’s guest room. Despite the bruises on her body, the blood under her fingernails, the scratches on her husband’s hands, and the mountain of other physical and anecdotal evidence, the death was ruled an accident. Did Jerry Lee Lewis kill his wife and get away with murder?||2/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitDisgraceland Season 1 Trailer||DISGRACELAND is a new true crime podcast about musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly. Jerry Lee Lewis’ 5th wife? Dead. Sam Cooke 3AM in a seedy motel? Dead. Sid and Nancy? Dead. Why? Because musicians are crazy. Because insane things happen to them. Because we love them. And because we let them get away with it. Murder! Suicide! Religious Cults! Tupac! Beck! The Stones sleeping with the first lady — wait… what? If you love true crime and you love music get ready to love DISGRACELAND.||8/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
“Thank god” for domestic abuse?
I enjoyed the inaugural episode... until I didn’t. He strikes a bizarre tone in the end, explaining that Jerry Lee Lewis is still living and performing music, before ending with “and thank god for that.” Just struck me as a weird statement to make, coming right on the heels of Brennan’s OWN insinuation that Lewis brutally murdered his wife. I don’t thank god for anyone who mauls women. Period. Very tone deaf.
Needs more substance
Style over substance. Relies on clever turns of phrases and a dramatic performance than meaty content. I wasn’t bored, but at the end I thought, “is that all there is?” And sorry, he pronouncement, (paraphrase) “ we like our rock stars to be bad” is an insult and to wife who was killed (possibly two). I don’t think a simple “we like them to be bad” explains why he wasn’t charged/investigated. This is fine to explain a James Dean persona, but not a potential killer, and seems like a brush off or an easy ending.
Great concept—but maybe cite sources?
This is a great idea for a podcast, and I enjoyed the Jerry Lee Lewis episode enough to want to learn more. That’s when I found Richard Ben Kramer’s extremely long 1984 Rolling Stone article on Jerry Lee Lewis and the mystery of his fifth wife’s death, and realized that this episode had been 80% a straight-up regurgitation of that article. I realize the second-tier true crime podcast industry is based on recycling Wikipedia articles and other readily available internet sources, but this seemed like a particularly egregious example, and I felt the host should have given more credit to his source.