For playing a gig in the middle of the day, in the middle of the freeway, on the top of a truck, and making every person on the 101 freeway (and YouTube) dislike them, members of the band Imperial Stars were sentenced Monday to probabtion and community service.
The band caused a near freeway shutdown on Oct. 12. 2010 when they parked on the 101 to rock out. The publicity stunt, recorded by the band's own cameras, blocked all but one lane of southbound traffic near Sunset Blvd for four hours.
Three band members pleaded no contest to a felony count of conspiracy and three misdemeanors for public nuisance and other offenses, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Dibble.
34- year-old Christopher Roy Wright, 32-year-old David Paul Hale and 33-year-old Keith R. Yackey were sentenced to three years probation and 35 days of community service. A restitution hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25.
At the time of the arrest, Officer Miguel Luevano told KPCC's Alex Cohen he thought the band may have been inspired by a 1980s TV movie:
I think the band once saw the AWESOME made-for-tv movie "The Great American Traffic Jam." During this cheesy flick from 1980, L.A.'s freeways become paralyzed with a series of accidents. A band on their way to a gig decides to put on a free show and then become local heroes. When I heard today's news, that film was the first thing I thought of... I was very saddened to see the movie isn't available on Netflix. I may just have to buy a VHS copy on Amazon! (listen to the audio)
Band member Keith Yackey spoke with KPCC's Alex Cohen after the incident, and said the band was motivated by wanting to bring awareness to child homelessness in America.
"We were thinking we needed to do something big to grab the attention of the American people to this cause of the 1.5 million homeless children," he said. (listen to the audio)
Imperial Stars - Traffic Jam 101 "OFFICIAL VIDEO"