Alabama Shakes Member Arrested on Child Abuse Charges

Steven William Johnson, the drummer for the Grammy-winning rock group Alabama Shakes, was arrested on child abuse charges on March 24 in Alabama. A Limestone County Grand Jury indicted the 35-year-old musician on charges of willful torture, willful abuse, and cruelly beating or otherwise willfully maltreating a child under the age of 18, reports WHNT. Alabama Shakes went on hiatus in 2018, and lead singer Brittany Howard has since started focusing on her solo career.

Johnson was taken to Limestone County Jail and his bond was set at $21,500. His arraignment is scheduled for April 7. Details on the new charges were not immediately available. Johnson was previously arrested in September 2019 on a misdemeanor charge of violating a protection from abuse order, AL.com reported at the time. A judge issued the protective order earlier that year after his ex-wife accused him of threatening and harassing her. In the written request, his ex-wife accused him of breaking into her home, choking her, and stalking her. They divorced in 2018 after over three years of marriage.

In March 2020, Johnson pleaded guilty to violating the protection order, reports WHNT. In April 2019, Johnson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief after he damaged a man's door in Athens, Alabama. He was sentenced to two years of probation in that case.

Alabama Shakes was made up of Howard, Johnson, guitarist Heath Fogg, and bassist Zac Cockrell. They shot to fame with their first studio album, Boys & Girls, which included the hit single "Hold On." They released their second album, Sound & Color, in 2015. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for "Don't Wanna Fight" and Best Alternative Music Album for Sound & Color in 2016. In 2018, they won Best American Roots Performance for "Killer Diller Blues" from The American Epic Sessions documentary.

The group has been on hiatus since 2018. Howard began focusing on a solo career and released her first solo album, Jaime, in September 2019. Earlier this month, the album was nominated for the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy. She was also nominated for Best R&B Performance for "Goat Head," Best American Roots Performance for "Short and Sweet," and Best Rock Performance for "Stay High." She won the Grammy for Best Rock Song for "Stay High."

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In a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone, Howard left the door open for reforming Alabama Shakes. "We're a family," Howard said at the time. "Those are my bro-bros for life. But right now they're just letting me do my thing. If I did the same songs and the same everything, I'd be so miserable. I'd be so bored. I wouldn't care about heaps of cash, swimming in a cash swimming pool. It does not matter to me." The group has not commented on Johnson's arrest.