Vinnie Vincent Finally Explains His Side of 2011 Arrest: ‘I Wasn’t OK For a Long Time’
After staying silent on the subject for nearly seven years, former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent has explained his side of what happened on the May 2011 night he was arrested on suspicion of aggravated domestic assault.
Vincent's wife at the time accused him of smacking her in the face and dragging her through broken glass during an argument. Further suspicion arose when the bodies of four dead dogs were found in plastic containers in the couple's garage.
In a statement released at the time Vincent insisted, "please don't believe everything you read. I would never hurt anyone – ever. What has been reported is an absolutely inaccurate depiction of the events that occurred that evening. When it's time, the truth will be known."
Apparently it's time. "I never had a chance to defend myself," Vincent explained tonight at a Q&A session capping the second day of the Atlanta Kiss Expo, site of his first public appearance in over two decades. "I watched everybody just accuse me of the worst things I thought I could be accused of.
"I’m OK now. I wasn’t OK for a long time," Vincent declared at the start of his story. "I had a really bad marriage, the second marriage. It was a day that was surreal. Even to this day, it’s like, ‘that didn’t really happen, did it?' It was the culmination of 15, 16 years of two people that shouldn’t have been together."
Vincent went on to explain that his ex-wife – who he declined to refer to by name – suffered from addiction. "She began to take a medication. She took it too long and, in my opinion, she began to transform. Then she began to drink, and it was every day and it was more and more and more," he said. "We lived in this really secluded place. She worked, [and] this lawsuit [against his former Kiss bandmates over royalties] was consuming me. Everything was just crumbling. It was like watching this sinkhole just take everything down. She got more hateful, more drunk."
Eventually things got so bad that Vincent demanded she move out of their house after she purchased a gun – telling her he feared that "one day you’re gonna turn around and use your gun on me and kill me."
Unfortunately, Vincent said, she would still make regular and increasingly violent visits to the home: "Every seven days, three weeks in a row, she would come back, drunk, violent and angry and ready to make hell on earth come to life. She’d just force her way into the house, get into the house and literal hell would just completely unearth itself. I was just left dazed, how the f---ing hell can I survive this?"
This caused a problem with the numerous dogs the couple owned. "During the ’90s, we began to rescue and adopt all of these abused animals," he said. "If any dog was having a bad day, [we said] 'you know, come on home.' So, we had as many as we could take, we rescued everything we could rescue. Until the drinking got bad. Once the drinking got bad, everything else got bad."
Vincent said his ex-wife's abrupt departures after these violent visits would allow their smaller dogs to escape the house, leaving them vulnerable to attack by their larger dogs. "We had three or four dogs that were big dogs," he added. "They could not be out at the same times the little ones were out. You had to really be conscious of this, otherwise what eventually happened would have happened."
What he's referring to is just as horrible as you'd fear. "I’d be upstairs, and she’d leave through the downstairs door. Being completely intoxicated, s---faced, whatever you want to call it. She gets in her car, unaware that one of the little dogs followed her while the big dogs were out. About 10 minutes later, I hear the screaming of one of my dogs," Vincent said. "When you’ve got big dogs trying to kill a smaller dog, you’ve got sounds you just don’t wanna hear. I go out there and I find one of my dogs ripped to shreds, in pieces. It happened because of a very drunk, angry person. I reached her on her cell phone, I said, 'You left the door open and you killed this little soul!' I had to take this little dog, wrap it in towels and bring it in. The horror, if it was just too awful to explain in words."
It would not be the last time. The following week, Vincent said, "the same thing happens, only it is a different dog. Because it’s a routine, dogs are dogs, that’s what they do. When they see little dogs that aren’t supposed to be there they tear them to pieces. ... Week No. 3, the same identical thing happened again. These were my babies. I lost three dogs that I loved because of someone's intoxication."
So, why were the dog's bodies in the garage? "It was winter; the ground was hard," he said. "She didn’t want to be bothered with burying them. So, I wrapped them in towels. I put them in a storage tub. I couldn’t bury them until the ground was thawed."
Then on May 21, 2011 ("the day my world changed forever," Vincent noted), she returned "and it was violence times a thousand. The day began with violence, drinking, drinking, drinking and accusing me of things that I didn't do, and drinking more. She was attacking me with her fists. I remember having to hold her by her hair to stop her."
Vincent said he tried to distance himself from further conflict, and as he had done in the past, videotaped their argument to prove he wasn't doing anything wrong. "I went upstairs to get away from her, she followed me upstairs. I filmed her all the time," – and, he sarcastically noted, "she was always happy to perform for the camera.
"I knew that day my life was about to change, and I didn't know how the f--- it was gonna happen," Vincent said. "She was talking into the camera and said, 'You pulled my hair and dragged me!' But there was no blood on her, no anything. I had to film this because I needed some documentation. This was at about two, three in the afternoon. I filmed her walking out the door. She never came back."
Then around midnight, the police came. "I could not believe what was happening," Vincent said. "I see, I don't know, five or six cop cars out there – police, with rifles drawn. I walked downstairs; they frisked me. I remember asking one of the cops, 'Are you gonna kill me?' I was serious. They said, 'Shut up; no talking!'
"So, I get to the police station," Vincent said. "They process me. It was like three in the morning. They say, 'You're accused of this and that – domestic abuse. [There's] blood all over this person.' They said, 'Do you want to make a statement?' I said, 'No way.' I didn't want to say anything, because when you say 'I didn't do it' – you did it. I watched enough Perry Mason to know that people get accused of crimes they didn’t do."
While Vincent was being detained, he received a unexpected musical message of hope. "I’m laying on this really cold piece of metal. I can’t believe this is happening to me," he said. "But something really interesting happened. I’m trying to sleep. All of a sudden, there’s this music blaring, and I’m going, 'I know this music.' And I just hear this music blaring, and it’s 'That Time of Year' [a track from the Vinnie Vincent Invasion's 1988 album All Systems Go]. I remember hearing [someone saying], ‘We love you Vinnie; don’t worry!' I said 'Wow, nobody would believe this.'"
It was rather quickly determined that Vincent would not face charges regarding the dog corpses–partially, he said, because "she took full responsibility, oddly enough."
According to a 2014 Rolling Stone report, Vincent avoided a potential legal battle regarding the domestic abuse charges by agreeing to anger-management therapy. In return, the incident was expunged from the public record.
At the conclusion of the tonight's talk, Vincent surprised fans by strapping on an acoustic guitar and playing snippets of several songs. Highlights included a reunion with original Vinnie Vincent Invasion vocalist Robert Fleischman for "Back on the Streets," and a solo take on "That Time of Year."