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A&E | March 30, 2006 Vol. 6, No 12
(April Fools' Day)

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Free Honky?

by Sam Baltrusis


What: JD Pinkus with Honky
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 4
Where: Sluggo's, 2403 W. Cervantes St.
Cost: $5
Details: 435-1541 or

JD Pinkus, former bassist for the Butthole Surfers and outspoken voice box of the southern-fried power trio Honky, fought the law and the law won.

At least, that's how the rumor goes.

"It happened in Walton County, somewhere near 'De-fuck-you' Springs," says Pinkus, obviously still frazzled by his run-in with the DeFuniak Springs police department. "All three of us were arrested and I ended up having to spend the night in jail."

It's early morning Wednesday, Feb. 22 and Pinkus was hauling ass down I-10 after his Honky crew—guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf and drummer Kenny Wagner—had to step up to the plate during the throw-down rock show at Sluggo's the night before.

Ruyter Suys, frontwoman of the Atlanta-based sleazabilly outfit Nashville Pussy, fell ill and unexpectedly pulled out of the evening of redneck decadence.

"It was one of those nights," recalls Pinkus, phoning from the road near his home in Austin, Texas. "Ruyter never misses a show."

With Suys off the bill, Honky was thrown on stage as the headlining act.

"I remember playing the old Sluggo's with our original Honky lineup ages ago," he says. "At first, I was worried that they wouldn't let us play because Ruyter was sick. But we had friends drive in from New Orleans and it ended up being such a great night."

After an evening of high-fives and post-show revelry, the 38-year-old musician remembers feeling euphoric, while his Honky brethren were sailing down the highway heading to their next gig in Tampa.

Then came the blue lights.

"We were pulled over for speeding," remarks Pinkus. "Someone was driving a little too fast and we were concerned with some of the things we had in the car."

The guitarist/vocalist says his bandmates voluntarily handed over "some goods" to the police and they were told that they would face possible misdemeanor charges.

"Then they went through my bag," he says, recounting the evening with a matter-of-fact tone. "A friend of mine had given me some Tylenol 3 because I had been in a wreck not too long ago. They said it was a felony and they made me

spend the night in jail for possession of a controlled substance."

His arrest report, obtained by the Independent News from the Walton County Clerk of Court, verifies his claims.

"Pinkus did unlawfully possess a substance, codeine, without being doctor prescribed," the report reads. "Pinkus had knowledge of the substance (and) this is in violation of F.S.S. (Florida state statutes) and occurred in the city of DeFuniak Springs."

The veteran musician, who sports a hillbilly goatee and elaborate tattoos on his arms, says he's used to attracting police attention.

"I've been doing this since I was 17," he says, referring to his days as the bassist for the Butthole Surfers. "I always had issues with border crossings. Usually, we would take all the hash and eat it before crossing, so we were always in bad shape when we were crossing the border."

Pinkus, who is celebrating Honky's 10th anniversary and earning positive reviews for the band's current release "Balls Out Inn," says he's had to drop trou several times.

"I've had trouble in Vancouver," he says. "I've been strip-searched in Vermont. I mean, I never had any charges against me. Coming back from Holland one time I did admit to smoking but said I wasn't stupid enough to bring it back with me. The guard had me strip down and I was naked in the Houston airport."

The musician jokes, "I had nothing up my ass. But it was somewhat satisfying that someone had to look up there."

Getting back to the possession of a controlled substance charges, the Walton County Sheriff's Office says it's a hardcore felony.

"He's wearing an orange jumpsuit in his mugshot," responds Donna Shank, the jail's public information officer. "That's usually reserved for serious cases."

Slotted to rehash his Honky performance at Sluggo's on Tuesday, April 4, Pinkus says he planned to do his "Florida swan song" right before his then-scheduled court date on Wednesday, April 5.

Then, the charges were dropped.

"I think it was divine intervention from some higher-ups that my friend knows," comments Pinkus about the recent development with his case. "I don't have any proof, but I do know they had evidence and now they say they have lack of evidence. So, somebody must have been in our court, somewhere."

After the IN checked, it discovered that the State Attorney's office dropped the case last week, citing "insufficient evidence."

Pinkus says he's elated about the recent outcome but he's not holding his breath.

"We heard that the charges were dropped over the phone," he says with a laugh. "Until I get the paperwork saying that I'm free, I'm not going to rest."

The 38-year-old insists that Honky will perform at Sluggo's on Tuesday, April 4 because "he's a man of his word."

But, he warns, his crew will probably be in a celebratory mode.

"That's part of the beauty of us because people in Austin come to our shows on a regular basis because they don't know which Honky they're going to see," Pinkus says, adding that his group is prone to the occasional drunken performance.

"Will we be able to get through the show or will the lead singer be face down with two black eyes?" he jokes. "Don't laugh, it's happened before."


The arrest of Honky's frontman, JD Pinkus, reminds us of a local police run-in that happened more than a decade ago.

Way back in '94, when L.A. punk rockers Total Chaos released its debut "Pledge of Defiance," the hardcore heathens ripped Pensacola's then thriving live music scene a new one.

Rob Chaos, veteran hell-raiser and Total Chaos' frontman, remembers the decade-gone Sluggo's show with a sort of misty-eyed nostalgia.

"Our bass player was arrested that day," he says, recalling the specifics of his first P-town show with a unwavering fondness reserved for those important rites of passage—like graduating high school and turning 21.

"There was some kid in the parking lot about to be arrested and, to make a long story short, my bassist somehow got into it and started harassing the cops," he recalls in an interview with the Independent News last year. "The police tried to arrest him and he struggled. Before I knew it, they threw him on the ground, handcuffed him, held a gun to his head and hauled his ass off."

Joe E. Bastard, Chaos' notorious bad boy bassist, quit the band several years ago. "He's got four kids now," Chaos says. "He just couldn't do it anymore—the touring and stuff."



JIM MORRISON Jim Morrison, legendary frontman of the Doors, was clearly a man ahead of his time. In 1969, Morrison was arrested after a concert in Miami for exposing himself to the audience and using profanity. In '63, a college prank at FSU earned him this infamous mug.

R. KELLY Singer R. Kelly was arrested in Miami in 2003 on a warrant charging him with 12 counts of possession of child pornography. No, we don't want to know what's in his closet.

SCOTT STAPP Former Creed vocalist and current soloist, Scott Stapp, was arrested by Florida cops in July 2002 and charged with reckless driving after his SUV ran off the road before swerving back. He was released after posting a $500 bond.

YANNI New Age musician and infamous pianist, Yanni, was arrested this month by Florida cops in Palm Beach and charged with domestic abuse after allegedly fighting with his live-in girlfriend.