Five years ago this week, Tommy Lee was sitting behind bars. Police took the Mötley Crüe drummer into custody after responding to a call from wife Pamela Lee, who accused him of assaulting her in the couple's Malibu, California, home. The actress reportedly suffered injures to her hand and back but refused medical treatment. The tattooed rocker was held in lieu of $1 million bail — twice the normal amount for such an offense, because he was on probation for attacking a photographer outside a Los Angeles nightclub.
Meanwhile, the Smashing Pumpkins were having their own legal woes. The rock band's label, Virgin, had filed suit against the Pumpkins in response to the band's assertion that it was done with its recording contract. Four months earlier, Billy Corgan and company informed the label that they would not be delivering any more albums, citing a California labor code that limits personal service contracts to seven years. It's the same code that was earlier invoked by Toni Braxton against LaFace Records and would later be cited by artists ranging from Courtney Love to Incubus.
Virgin's suit sought to recover damages for each undelivered album as well as compensation in the form of interest and legal costs. A spokesperson for the band declined to comment on the legal wrangling but told MTV News that the band's nearly completed new album would still be released on Virgin, despite the Pumpkins' earlier assertion.
A year before, the melancholy alt-rockers had sued their publishing company, Chrysalis Music, for "declaratory relief, rescission and damages for breach of contract," as well as "slander of title," among other claims. The Pumpkins claimed their 1992 contract with Chrysalis was for four albums and was void, and that the company continued to receive money for a fifth disc and was wrongly demanding the publishing rights to two more.
In more optimistic news, Warren G was broadening his horizons in 1998. His G-Funk record label had just joined forces with independent film company New Regency Enterprises ("L.A. Confidential," "Pretty Woman") and its affiliated Restless Records label. The multimillion-dollar deal gave the rapper's label wider distribution through BMG and put G-Funk one step closer to being more than just a label.
Teamed with New Regency, Warren G had an avenue to move into film work as an actor or a producer of films and soundtracks. "This is a dream come true for me," he said in a statement. "It opens the door to many different areas of the entertainment business." To that end, the rapper also signed on with United Talent Agency, the management team behind Jim Carrey, Sandra Bullock and Drew Carey.
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