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The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Sleaze

By: Chuck KlostermanO.J.’s got nothing on these people. From pedophiles tocrackheads to the world’s worst friends, partners, and parents,rock stars have legendarily distinguished themselves as the answerto the question: “How low can you go?”

O.J.’s got nothing on these people. From pedophiles to crackheads to the world’s worst friends, partners, and parents, rock stars have legendarily distinguished themselves as the answer to the question: “How low can you go?”

Sleaze is part of the rock’n’roll experience. You can’t escape it–it’s all around us. Whether it’s sticking to the bathroom walls of CBGB, pouring off the jukebox inside your local strip club, or pulsing through the heart of that girl with the nose ring who works at your favorite record store, sleaze is the viscous gravy that keeps rock’n’roll lubricated. Men and women crave its dark power; newspaper headline writers rhyme it with the phrase “the Big Easy” when writing about Mardi Gras. Skid Row once used the band Sleeze Beez as their opening act, and they were pretty awesome, despite the fact that they appear to have misspelled their own name on purpose. Sleaze is (quite literally) the shit. Yet sleaze is not universal. Our Founding Fathers did not constitutionally assert that all men were created sleazy. Certain rock stars take sleaziness to a higher plane of existence. Certain artists are transcendently sleazy. And those people deserve special recognition. So here they are. Please wash your hands after reading this article.

10. Christina AguileraThe Britney who gives it up Best described as: Icky Claim to eternal infamy: Seemingly covered with a quarter inch of Crisco at all times, Aguilera used the album Dirrty to reinvent herself as the prom queen who suddenly decided to spend 20 minutes in the broom closet with every guy in shop class. In a recent interview, she discussed how–at age 11–she dreamed of getting her period.All you really need to know: In a 2003 Maxim photo spread, Aguilera covered a nipple with the following: her forearm (twice), her palms (thrice), and her hair (four times). An inflatable inner tube was also employed.

9. Sid & NancyIconic heroin punk wastoidsBest described as: Born to dieClaim to eternal infamy: Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and his rage-aholic Philadelphia girlfriend Nancy Spungen were the sleaze power couple. There was no limit to their love (Sid said she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met and that he never wanted to have sex with anyone else), and there was no bottom to their depravity (he once described her as this girl “who licked out toilet bowls”). Sadly–and perhaps predictably–Nancy was eventually stabbed to death with a hunting knife while wearing only a bra and panties, and Sid is assumed to have killed her. Love is a battlefield. All you really need to know: When trying to prove that you didn’t murder your girlfriend, it does not help to tell the police, “I did it because I’m a dirty dog.” Nor does it help to fatally overdose on heroin a few months later.

8. Ted Nugent Madman; carnivore Best described as: Maniacal Claim to eternal infamy: Though best known today as a guy who’d rather be bow-hunting, the Nuge cut a wide swath through the untamed pubic hair of the 1970s. His crowning achievement occurred in 1978, when Nugent became the legal guardian of a 17-year-old Hawaiian girl in order to have sex with her. He argued that this legal loophole was actually less sleazy than the alternative, although this logic suggests that the possibility of not having sex with 17-year-old girls was never even considered. All you really need to know: “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” is only the second best song in Nugent’s catalog involving the word wang.

7. Jimmy PageGuitar god; theremin soloist; David Coverdale collaboratorBest described as: BloatedClaim to eternal infamy: One hates to criticize Page, the man who came up with the best riff in rock’n’roll history (“The Ocean”), lived in the U.K.’s most rock’n’roll residence (Aleister Crowley’s mansion), and wore the most rock’n’roll trousers ever sewn (those black bell-bottom “dragon pants” from The Song Remains the Same). However, he also had a legendary appetite for jailbait, unleashing a whole lotta love on doe-eyed model Lori Maddox when she was only 14. Back when the Beastie Boys weren’t self-righteous, they paid tribute to the Led Zep jedi on “The New Style”: “If I played guitar, I’d be Jimmy Page / The girlies I like are underage.” All you really need to know: In a 1985 interview, Page said, “I’ve never done anything a person didn’t want”; he later added, “I’ve done everything you’ve ever heard.”

6. Vince Neil Mötley Crüe vocalist; Corey Feldman foil Best described as: Desperate Claim to eternal infamy: The fact that Neil was addicted to sex and drugs doesn’t make him all that different from most other Los Angeles metal dudes. The fact that he had sex with the girlfriend of the man who had just signed his band to Elektra merely makes him stupid, and the fact that he forced a groupie to call her mother on a telephone lodged in her friend’s vagina merely makes him creative. But the fact that he taped himself having sex with a lesbian porn star out of professional jealousy toward Tommy Lee makes him indisputably sleazy. All you really need to know:Describing a drunk-driving accident (his pal Razzle died), Neil compared himself to O.J. Simpson.

5. Michael Jackson The craziest person who ever lived Best described as: Dangerously eccentric Claim to eternal infamy: Well, here’s the deal–there is no concrete proof that Michael Jackson is a pedophile. He did reportedly pay a family $25 million not to press molestation charges, and he did admit to sleeping in the same bed as the Culkin brothers when they were preadolescents, and he did build an amusement park on his ranch that appears to be nothing more than a way to lure nine-year-old boys into his lair. However, this is all speculation. It’s quite possible that he’s as normal as any other tree-climbing skeleton collector who sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber. All you really need to know: Jackson thinks the entire world would be better off if adults periodically slept with children. If you agree with this statement, you should probably put down this magazine and ask your prison guard if after lockdown you can write Jacko a letter of support.

4. R. Kelly R&B superstar; secret Aaliyah husband Best described as: Erotically scatological Claim to eternal infamy: Kelly is a triple threat: It’s been alleged that he enjoys having sex with underage girls, and that these alleged sexual escapades involve water sports, and that he seems obsessed with videotaping these escapades. A video exists that allegedly shows Kelly asking a girl (who may be as young as 14) to have sex with him while she calls him “daddy.” The video concludes with the smooth-voiced lothario urinating on her face. All you really need to know: Kelly’s latest album is titled Chocolate Factory.

3. Gene Simmons EntrepreneurBest described as: Hyper-lecherousClaim to eternal infamy: Did you ever know a dude who was always trying to convince his girlfriend to pose naked for a photograph? And did you ever know a dude who actually succeeded at that goal? And did that success immediately make you question what kind of woman this guy finds attractive? Okay, excellent. Now multiply that by 4,600, and you have Gene Simmons. All you really need to know: While taping a segment of National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, Simmons told esteemed broadcaster Terry Gross that she should “confront life” and greet him with “open legs.”

2. Ike Turner Musical genius; misogynistBest described as: SinisterClaim to eternal infamy: Ike Turner turned Tina Turner into a superstar. He also beat her into submission and went to prison on drug charges. Fans of the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It will recall a scene in which Ike (Laurence Fishburne) pummels Tina (Angela Bassett) with a shoe. Real-life Ike denies the film’s accuracy, but in a 1999 interview, he mentioned whipping Tina with a coat hanger.All you really need to know: In his autobiography, Turner insists that he lost his virginity at the age of six to a 45-year-old woman named “Miss Boozie”

1. Courtney Love Model/actress; stripper/waitressBest described as: Irrepressible and/or deplorableClaim to eternal infamy: At virtually every opportunity (and over the span of her entire life), Courtney Love has epitomized both the depravity and the glamour of sleaziness. Whether shoplifting Kiss T-shirts, setting apartments on fire, working as a stripper in Guam, dating whichever rock artist seemed poised for fame, reportedly shooting heroin while pregnant, threatening to kill journalists, lying constantly, using her dead husband’s unrecorded material as leverage in her own legal quandaries, or simply showing off her fake breasts for no reason whatsoever, Love has always taken the lowest possible road. No musician has ever displayed such unadulterated guile. As a young girl, she scribbled in her notebook the names of pop stars she intended to become friends with; it should surprise no one that this actually worked. All you really need to know: There is no evidence that the Hole album Live Through This was written mostly by Kurt Cobain, nor is there any evidence that Love played a role in Cobain’s 1994 death. In fact, there’s no reason to even make such accusations. So we won’t.