Sure we worship the ground they walk on a lot of the time, and spend our hard earned on their music and gigs; but even the most loyal of fans can sometimes question the behaviour and activity of their favourite rock stars. Add in a rock star’s proclivity for drugs, booze, groupie shagging and the massive egos they develop – but still sometimes you wonder. Just what were they thinking?
These days a byword for being busted lip synching, the manufactured act were the toast of the music business with hits such as ‘Girl I’m Gonna Miss You’ and ‘Blame It On The Rain’ picking up a Grammy Award and several American Music Awards. However, it was when a pre-recorded track skipped as they played ‘live’ for MTV at the end of 1989 that their career began to unravel, before they admitted that they hadn’t sung on their album and hadn’t sung live. Unsurprisingly, the fans reacted by pretending they’d never existed.
Wild man drummer of The Who, Keith Moon was fond of a drink to say the least, however it was to prove his downfall on several occasions and ultimately led to his death. In 1970 it saw him kill his chauffeur as he tried to drunkenly escape a mob attacking his car outside a pub by taking control of the wheel. The car flipped, killing the driver.
As their single ‘Relax’ hit the charts and was set to hit number 1 around the world, the band unfortunately had the single banned by the BBC in the UK after the promo video featured S&M action and the cover of the single depicted a half naked couple decked out in S&M gear.
Beach Boy Dennis Wilson thought it might be a good idea to become friends with cult leader Charles Manson, who convinced him to work on songs together in 1968. They hit it off, before even sharing a house together. One of Manson’s songs ended up on the Beach Boys album 20/20, much to the horror of their record company after his now estranged friend Manson embarked on a killing spree the following year.
Metallica incurred the wrath of music fans worldwide when they became one of the first big artists to take a stand against file sharing website Napster, issuing copyright infringement notices against the company and getting Metallica fans banned from the site. The backlash from fans of the multi-millionaire band still lingers today.
No strangers to poorly thought out pronouncements, the band were playing at the disastrous Woodstock ’99, before deciding to incite fans to further riot, which in part caused 60 people to be hospitalized and millions of dollars of damage and looting.
Madonna perhaps let the fame go to her head just a tad in 1989 when for her ‘Like A Prayer’ video she performed in front of burning crosses and cavorted with black Jesus-like figures. Unsurprisingly the religious right in the US Bible Belt got a touch upset and her megabucks sponsorship with Pepsi ended rather swiftly.
Marc Hunter – lead singer of NZ/Aussie band Dragon saw the band’s US career effectively end on stage in Dallas, Texas in 1978 when after the audience rioted, he thought he’d retaliate by addressing the crowd of Texan good ‘ol boys and record company execs telling them that they were ‘faggots’.
Admittedly he’d become a right royal pain in the arse to have in the band, but the rest of Motley Crue decided that singer Vince Neil had to go in 1992. Cue the band experiencing a massive fall from favour with fans as they experimented with replacement vocalists. Eventually they saw sense and Neil was invited back in to the band in 1998.
The media can both make you and break you as The Vines’ front man Craig Nicholls found out in 2004. Playing a gig for radio station MMM competition winners at the Annandale Hotel, the unhinged front man kicked a photographer, labelled the 450 competition winners in the crowd "a bunch of sheep" and asked "can you all go baa?". The band's bass player walked off stage, and ultimately out of the band. In the meantime, their songs were banned by the station for years and their reputation with their fans took a massive battering.