It’s something of a cliché to bring up this quote nowadays, but Hunter S. Thompson really did it say it best: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
Thompson’s quote is often taken at face value. Some see it as the esteemed Doctor of Journalism once more flying the freak flag high in the name of chaos. Rather, it seems to encompass the low-grade nihilism, spinning moral compass and money-hungry bites that emanate from the jowls of the industry’s top dogs.
That being said, once you’re in the system it’s not hard to go a little mad yourself. We’ve all snickered behind our hands at outlandish tales of world-famous female singers demanding all kinds of luxuries backstage lest the show not go on. Mega-jets, ice sculptures, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. It’s all in the brochure.
Alas, there are times when the ivory towers of some of rock and pop’s biggest names are scaled by malevolence and violence. After long-forgotten-about One Hit Wonder Afroman put the brakes on his career by assaulting a female audience member this week, we thought we would revisit other times famous musicians have lost their minds.
Axl Rose vs the World (Part 894)
Guns N’ Roses’ infamous frontman carved out something of a side career for himself as an antagonist of life itself. When he wasn’t cussing out his rivals from the stage, calling out journalists who he perceived as against him on his own records and busy slicing and dicing both Guns’ membership and legacy, he once brought the city of St Louis to a standstill.
This frankly hilarious video and incident ended up causing a riot that caused untold amounts of damage. For those not sure, Axl was angered by an audience member taking photos and decided this was the best course of action. His opinion on smartphones must be worth listening to…
Bjork – Not So Quiet After All
The diminutive Icelandic singer and performer, best known by many for It’s Oh So Quiet, surprised us all by lashing out and attacking a reporter in Bangkok Airport in 1996.
Prior to the incident, Bjork had complained of being hounded by paparazzi and in this instance, took umbrage with what she claimed were other journalists were trying to speak to her young son who was traveling with her.
Although privacy, particularly for children, must be respected by and in the media, Bjork’s approach was heavy handed, literally and figuratively. Still, airline food can bring out the worst in people sometimes.
Bjork summarily apologized to the reporter in question, who consequently declined to involve the police. All’s well that ends well.
Miguel & The Hulk Hogan Leg Drop
Fans of professional wrestling will have been grading the moves that were on display at the 2013 Billboard Awards show.
Miguel (no, neither have we), while treating us to a tepid performance replete with a number of off-key notes, decided a rather ambitious leap to another part of the stage was in order. The result? A devastating leg drop on an unfortunate audience member that leaves us with shades of one of the WWE’s biggest stars.
Khyati Shah, a 21-year-old exchange student from New Zealand, was the recipient of Miguel’s ill-advised foray into the squared circle. As you would expect, she didn’t take the situation as lightly as Miguel.
Peter Buck & His Own Personal Remake of Die Hard 2
R.E.M. were never known for the debauchery, preferring instead to espouse the benefits of veganism, democratic politics and other causes over the course of their 30-plus year career.
Their sparkling reputation was almost shattered when guitarist Peter Buck had something more deadly and potent than a mild case of Air Rage.
Buck, far more famous for his stellar musicianship as opposed to the usual rock n’ roll tropes, caused shock with his arrest in April 2001. He was charged with two counts of assault, criminal damage to the airplane, disobeying the lawful command of the plane’s captain and being drunk and disorderly. Quite the rap sheet for one flight.
Buck’s activities, which included grabbing a stewardess, brandishing a plastic knife, trying to put a CD into a cabin trolley and shouting “I AM R.E.M.!” when challenged, caused much amusement to the monkeys in the peanut gallery. The day was saved, as usual, by Bono, Lord Of The Universe, after a character witness statement dazzled them so much that time itself became suspended. Maybe.
Buck’s public reputation survived intact, proving that good behavior is a rehabilitation concept understood outside of the rule of law too. But don’t worry, Mr Buck… everybody hurts sometimes (SORRY).
Danzig – Hung On A (Right) Hook
Former Misfits frontman and potential parody Danzig got more than he bargained for when he was downed like a sack of shit thrown off a rooftop by a fan backstage.
To be honest, there’s not much else to say about this one. Danzig picked a fight was summarily taught a lesson. BOOM.
Of course, if you’re looking for the numero uno of fan… erm… interaction, then look no further than the terrifyingly unpredictable (yet predictably dead) G.G. Allin. Very NSFW, all that stuff so, you know, be careful.