Wu-Tang Rapper Remorseful Over Alleged Attack

ODB expresses regret; stops short of accusing fellow Clan members of beating label employee.

Though he wasn't there at the time of an alleged attack by his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members on an employee of the label they are signed to, rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard recently expressed remorse over the incident, explaining, "Sometimes we humans have that devil within us."

Commenting on the investigation into seven members of the nine-member Clan who have been accused of beating up a Loud Records employee last August after a show, ODB told Addicted to Noise in an exclusive interview Tuesday that there may not have been a need for a police investigation into the incident had he been around that night.

"Sometimes emotions supersede intelligence, you know," ODB said, in the only comments from a Wu-Tang member concerning the alleged attack since the weeks following the incident. "Sometimes we humans have that devil within us that raises, I guess, and controls somehow -- and you know, makes us do things." (interview excerpt)

The Staten-Island-based group, who have sold millions of copies of their two albums, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Wu-Tang Forever, have had little to say in the past three months about the night of Aug. 29, when the Clan members were alleged to have beaten their label's employee backstage after a concert in Tinley Park, Ill.

Now, ODB, one of two Clan members not at the performance, has

come forward to express his remorse for what happened there -- although he

remained guarded about details of what exactly took place behind the closed

doors of the band's dressing room at the New World Music Theater.

"I wish I was there, maybe a lot of things like that wouldn't happen," he said when asked about the police probe into the alleged beating, which has since been suspended. (interview excerpt)

The 29-year-old rapper went on to say that the other members of the band

regretted the incident as well, and suggested that had he not skipped that show, perhaps there would be nothing to investigate. Later he apologized directly, although without explaining what he was apologizing for or conceding that the Clan was responsible for the incident. "I'm sorry for what my crew members did, or whoever was there when it happened," ODB said.

Peter Frankel, an attorney for ODB and other members as well as a spokesman

for Clan, said he could not comment on the rapper's remarks.

Jessiah Styles, 24, a promotions and marketing director for Loud, alleges

that several members of Wu-Tang, excluding ODB and GZA, held him on the floor of their dressing room on that night in late August while Method Man kicked him repeatedly in the head. He asserted in a police complaint that the band was angry with him for revealing the location of their after-party during an interview with a Chicago radio station that he claims he did not know was being broadcast.

In October, Styles filed a $2 million civil suit against the band members concerning the alleged attack. A criminal investigation has been placed on hold because Styles has demanded to have an attorney present when interviewed by police, who say such a condition is unacceptable.

Dan Touhy, Styles' attorney, said Ol' Dirty Bastard's comments support his

client's position. "In other words, this guy's not denying that it did happen, and he's probably in a position to do that," Touhy said. "It's consistent with what we've been saying: A) that he wasn't there; B) that his fellow group members were there; and C) that they committed some type of act of violence."

Touhy cautioned, however, that ODB is not a defendant in Styles' suit, and

any comments he made about the incident would be regarded as hearsay and

thus most likely inadmissible in court.

Prior to ODB's statement, the only word from a Wu member on the

Tinley Park occurrence came from group leader RZA at MTV's Video Music

Awards in September. "I don't really know what happened," RZA told MTV,

despite the fact that he was alleged by Styles to have been in the dressing

room at the time of the beating. "I heard it was a fight there," he

continued. The rapper/producer went on to claim only that he had

heard about Styles' accusation from industry insiders, and that several

group members weren't present that evening.

Following the Chicago-area performance, the Wu-Tang Clan left their

successful and critically-acclaimed tour with Rage Against the Machine. The tour was only about half completed at that point. The group cited "personal reasons" for their departure. Rage guitarist Tom Morello said he does not know whether Styles' claims are accurate. "I was at Tinley Park and I don't know, I didn't see anything going on," Morello said. "The dressing rooms are kind of in different corners, I have no idea. I think that it's pretty clear that whatever may have happened at Tinley Park had nothing to do with them dropping off the tour."

Meanwhile, a criminal investigation into the events at Tinley Park remains

at a standstill as Styles and local police continue to work out the details for filing a formal complaint. Touhy said he offered to arrange a conference call among

Styles, who is resting in New Jersey, himself and police. Investigators

contend they want to speak to Styles alone and in person.

"Our normal course during an investigation is to interview our victim,"

said Tinley Park Investigator Steve Vaccaro, who has been handling the

matter. "We're under no obligation to have a civil attorney present during

an interview. Generally, we've found having an attorney present would

cause a disruptive atmosphere for the victim."

Touhy asserted that Styles wants to pursue a criminal investigation. "[The

police] should be taking steps to do whatever they can to make sure that if

someone violated the law, they should be subject to the penalties that the

law provides," Touhy said. "It doesn't seem to me that they're doing that."

Asked how the band as a whole has responded to all the controversy, ODB added, "We reacted just the way anybody else would react -- hard feelings... you know what I mean. We learned how to adjust to things and how to pick things up... We love our fans, not even our fans, we love the world, we love the world, you know what I mean, like the Beatles did." (interview excerpt)

[Thurs., Nov. 20, 1997, 5:30 p.m. PDT]