A memorable publicity stunt from a little-known band from Orange County that left freeway traffic snarled for miles in Hollywood is also leaving the musicians involved quite a bit poorer.
The three members of the self-described “hard-core hip hop band” Imperial Stars were ordered to pay $39,000 in restitution to the California Department of Transportation for the band’s 2010 takeover of the 101 Freeway.
The group blocked lanes on the freeway on the morning of Oct. 12, 2010, crawling atop a truck outfitted with speakers, promotional material and barbed wire to perform a song titled “Traffic Jam 101.”
Television news helicopters swirled overhead, drivers fumed, and authorities tried to force the band members down and off the road.
Two years later, the band members were sentenced to three years’ probation and 35 days of community labor after pleading no contests to one felony count of conspiracy, one misdemeanor count of public nuisance and two misdemeanor counts of resisting, obstructing or delaying law enforcement officers.
On Monday, Christopher Roy Wright, 34, David Paul Hale, 32, and Keith R. Yackey, 33, pictured below in court in 2011, were ordered to pay $39,350.39 to Caltrans.
During the 2010 stunt, the band parked its truck across three of four southbound lanes near Sunset Boulevard. By the time the impromptu concert was shut down, the truck’s driver had fled with the keys to the vehicle, which was eventually towed away.
LA firefighters had to hoist a ladder to the edge of the truck, and the Imperial Stars crawled down.
Band members had insisted the stunt was meant to raise awareness for homeless children.