June 3, 2009 — John Rich caught a lot of attention with his hit "Shuttin' Detroit Down," but he's apparently not too happy with night spots shutting down either.
John caused a stir at closing time Tuesday morning at Nashville's Café Coco when he refused to give up his unfinished beer, the entire incident unfolding in front of a policeman and a crew from WKRN-TV. John went to the low-key establishment late, challenged a singer to do the national anthem, then asked for the performer's guitar. John proceeded to start up a Roger Miller song, but when the server tried to collect John's alcohol as the café closed, John got belligerent and threw his bottle off the patio and into the street. The officer who watched it all did not arrest John, but he did demand John leave immediately.
The server told WKRN John was "a very unpleasant person," calling him "pompous and arrog ant and completely out of line, like nobody else's rules pertain to him."
Perhaps John was teed off over legal proceedings that occurred earlier. Jared Ashley, a former "Nashville Star" contestant who's involved in an ongoing feud, filed a new 79-page lawsuit against John, more than doubling the size of a prior 30-page document. In addition to assault and harassment charges, the new suit also adds a defamation claim after John issued a statement last week saying Jared had demanded $2.9 million to drop their court dispute. Jared has accused John of threatening him on several occasions and punching him in the jaw in March. John filed his own countersuit saying Jared defamed him.
John turned himself in for arrest last week and paid a $3,000 fine. But Jared's representative says the $2.9-million story is a complete fabrication by John.
Big & Rich are slated to tour this summer, though the suit is likely to dog him along the way. John got in another skirmish in Los Angeles last fall when he was accused of smashing a beer bottle in a rock musician's face, leading to another lawsuit.