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News:
Uncle Kracker Speaks Out About Assault Conviction
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

After a couple months of laying low following a plea-bargained misdemeanor assault conviction in North Carolina, Detroit area musician Uncle Kracker says he's "seen the dust settling already."

"It's the worst thing on Earth to know that somebody can rip you out of your hotel room and take you to jail...all in a matter of minutes," Kracker, whose real name is Matt Shafer, said Monday in some of his first public comments since the incident occurred in August.

"It's pretty awful. Pretty brutal. I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

The 33-year-old Harrison Township resident was arrested on Aug. 17 and charged with criminal sexual assault after allegedly touching a woman inappropriately at a nightclub following a performance. It made national news and his mug shot was all over the Internet the following day.

The charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor, and five weeks later he agreed to pay a $1,500 fine, was given a year's probation and ordered to undergo alcohol counseling.

"I got pretty railroaded down there, to tell you the truth," Kracker says now. "I'm not completely happy I didn't do the trial. I know why I didn't do the trial, and I still wouldn't go to trial. My attorney down there was, 'Look, Matt, you don't want to come here (and) sit on trial in front of 12 people, (in) North Carolina.' It's a mess, y'know?"

Kracker said his wife, Melanie, stood behind him throughout the ordeal. "She's been a complete soldier, not even a flinch," he said. "Anybody that knows me knows I'm not going up (women's) skirts. It just doesn't happen."

Talking to his three young daughters was harder, Kracker said.

"I pretty much just told them the truth," he recalled. "I told them their dad was in a bar in North Carolina, he'd had a couple too many drinks, he bumped into some woman, she grabbed him and started yelling at him, he told her to go 'F--- herself,' she socked him in his mouth and he slapped her back.

"Then he went to jail and it was pretty dumb of him. I would never lie to my kids."

The bad publicity cost Kracker two high-profile Detroit area performances -- at the Detroit Grand Prix and at the city of Warren's 50th anniversary celebration -- but he does not think the episode will have any long-term consequences.

Kracker is currently preparing for his annual Thanksgiving night concert at the Emerald Theatre in Mt. Clemens, and he's recording more material for his long-delayed fourth album, "Happy Hour," which is slated to be released in mid-2008.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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