HOLLYWOOD, FLA. -- Three members of a New York rock band and a nightclub owner were arrested Saturday after the band played songs from the 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" to protest censorship.
Too Much Joy performed for about 350 people at Club Futura to protest the arrests of three members of the controversial rap group two months ago in Broward County and to raise money for their legal defense.
"We played a game of constitutional chicken, and the group Too Much Joy lost," said Robin Blumner, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida.
Arrested on charges of participating in an obscene performance were band members Jay Blumenfield, 24; Alexander Smallens, 24; and Timothy Quirk, 25. They were released on $100 bond. If convicted, each faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The group's drummer, Tom Vinton, 24, was not arrested because he was not singing, authorities said.
Quirk and his friends grew up together in the wealthy town of Scarsdale, N.Y. The band has played together on and off since its members were in high school. They have two albums, "Son of Sam I Am" and "Green Eggs and Crack."
While they were playing in clubs in New York, a federal judge in June ruled that the 2 Live Crew's "Nasty" album was obscene. Four days later, the 2 Live Crew band members, who are black, were arrested at Club Futura for singing cuts from the album. Too Much Joy decided to find out if the sheriff would arrest its members, who are white, if the band played the same music.
Broward Sheriff Nick Navarro said he resented the suggestion that his deputies went after the 2 Live Crew because its members are black and would ignore Too Much Joy because its members are white. "I arrest anyone in Broward County who breaks the law," he said Saturday, "and you can quote me on that 150,000 times."
Four undercover sheriff's officers watched Too Much Joy's performance before deciding to make the arrests, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal.
"Band members had stated publicly that they intended to perform obscene material and they expected to be arrested," Leljedal said in a statement.
Club owner Kenneth Geringer, 34, was arrested on charges of promoting an obscene performance, officials said. He was released on his own recognizance.