It was the non-guitar smash heard ’round the world: Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong went off on a tirade against the iHeartRadio Music Festival for cutting their time short and Justin Bieber for being Justin Bieber over the weekend. Band management later announced that he would be undergoing treatment for substance abuse.
The video of his some-century breakdown has already been watched hundreds of thousands of times, which is approximately the number of “is he punk or not?” conversations said video launched. It certainly didn’t help that footage of the performance was streaming online, disappointing those who really wanted to hear “Stuart and the Ave” instead. It’s just the latest in a long line of musician meltdowns that have been captured on video, some dating back to the horrible-sounding pre-Internet days. Here are 10 of the most notable.
Band: Guns N’ Roses
Scenario: Axl Rose does not like Guns N’ Roses concerts being taped; this is what happens if Axl Rose sees you taping a Guns N’ Roses concert.
“Take that! Get that guy, and take that!” Rose yelled to security after spotting a camera pointed in his direction. Unfortunately, security took longer than Axl would have liked, so he took matters into his own hands. “I’ll take it!” Rose yelled, and hurled himself into the crowd to claim the offending camera. Axl was eventually hauled back onto the stage, where he hurled insults at the venue’s security crew before tossing his mic and fleeing the stage. The drama didn’t end there. When the house lights went up 10 minutes later, fans rioted, damaging the venue and sending 60 people to the hospital. (Via)
And they didn’t even get to “My Michelle.”
Scenario: Wavves frontman Nathan Williams is typically a laid-back guy — he certainly smokes enough weed that should be, going so far as to actually sell grinders at his shows. But between a faulty soundboard and just being in an overall sh*tty mood due to the demands of touring, he and his band went a little nutso at one of the world’s best festivals, Primavera in Barcelona:
At 3:00 a.m. sharp, having dodged their share of bottles and even a shoe (neither Nathan nor Ryan was hit, although Nathan likely made impact with some unlucky attendee upon forcefully returning the latter object back to the crowd), the show mercifully came to a screeching halt: Ryan ran offstage, throwing his drumsticks at Nathan. Infuriated, Nathan screamed into the mic, “Come back here, motherf*cker, we’re not done yet!” Immediately, stage crew appeared, breaking down Ryan’s kit. “F*ck!” Nathan shouted, “Stop doing that!” They didn’t, so Nathan decided the show must go on. Helplessly, he strummed his guitar again, clearly intent on playing another song. But as he stepped back to the mic, he realized it had been cut. As the crowd booed, the house lights came up, and a defeated Nathan Williams threw his hands up and left, along with the few remaining attendees. (Via)
Nathan has since apologized and Wavves has become a tight touring band, but he’ll always be known as That Guy Who Broke Down Once.
Band: The Smashing Pumpkins
Scenario: Billy Corgan has faced plenty of hecklers in his post-Adore days, and after a disastrous first night during a New York City residency, the pumpkin smasher invited a “fan” onstage.
The next day, Billy acknowledged the elephant in the theater by inviting a disgruntled attendee of Thursday night’s show onstage. “Last night’s show f*cking sucked,” the kid complained. “We’re all good,” offered Billy, adding this juvenile rejoinder after the fan exited the stage: “By the way, I like that song you wrote — ‘Take Your D*ck Out Of My Ass And Stick It In My Mouth.’ It was a big hit in Europe.” (Via)
Billy Corgan, sucking impolitely.
Band: Ashlee Simpson
Scenario: If you don’t think blaming your band after dancing a jig because a national TV audience just found out you’re lip-syncing to a prerecorded vocals isn’t a meltdown, you’re probably one of the 18 people who bought Ashlee Simpson’s last album, Bittersweet World.
Band: Amy Winehouse
Scenario: This clip speaks for itself. Knowing what we know now makes it especially hard to watch.
Band: Kings of Leon
Scenario: As the lead singer of 2011’s best band, as voted by White Female Secretary Weekly, Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill faced a lot of pressure. During one show in Texas, he suffered a particularly memorable (I’m so sorry) MELTdown.
“I’m about to fall down here because I’m so goddamn hot.” After asking the crowd to help him sing, then informing them he was going to go “vomit” and come back, the 29-year-old singer said, “I’m gonna drink a beer and I’m gonna come back out and I’m gonna play three more songs.” Much to the crowd’s displeasure, Caleb — who recently got married to a Victoria’s Secret model — never returned and his brother Jared and cousin Matthew were left to apologize for it all. “Caleb’s just a little unfit to play the rest of the show,” one said. “We love you guys so much…I know you guys f***ing hate us. I’m so sorry.” (Via)
Still less embarrassing than the pigeon sh*t thing.
Band: The Who
Scenario: Kids, if anyone asks you to do gorilla tranquilizers, here’s why you should say no.
On the 1973 Quadrophenia tour, at the Cow Palace arena in Daly City, California, Moon ingested a large mixture of tranquillisers and brandy. In a 1979 interview, Townshend claimed that Moon had consumed Ketamine pills. During the concert, Moon passed out on his drum kit while the band was playing the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The band stopped playing and a group of roadies carried Moon offstage. They gave him a shower and an injection of cortisone, then sent him back onstage after a thirty-minute delay. However, Moon passed out for good during the song “Magic Bus” and was again removed from the stage. The band continued without him for a few songs. Finally, Townshend asked the audience, “Can anyone play the drums? – I mean somebody good.” A local drummer in the audience, Scot Halpin, came up and played the drums for the rest of the show. (Via)
Band: Sly and the Family Stone
Scenario: Booking Sly Stone to play a gig is always a risky move. Even at the peak of his success in the 1970s, he was erratic and often didn’t show up to scheduled concerts; in the 2000s, he lived in his van. But Coachella organizers hoped for the best, and got the worst:
Instead of diving into one of his many timeless hits, he launched into a diatribe about his 50 million dollar lawsuit against his former manager, Jerry Goldstein, saying, “I didn’t know I was being stolen from,” as well as something about now being able to buy his own shoes. Then he sat down on the edge of the stage and sang a preview of a new song – which ended when he rolled back and laid down on the stage.
“Stand.” “Family Affair.” “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” The band and back-up singers soldiered on admirably through what should have been a gloriously funky trip down memory lane. But every time it was Stone’s turn to sing, the audience held its breath. He chimed in here and there – sometimes making it through a verse, but never finishing an entire song. There were moments when he sounded like Sly Stone. There were other moments when he sounded like that guy who sang “Pants on the Ground” on “American Idol.” It didn’t help that he was experiencing technical problems with his keyboard, or that the microphone kept feeding back when it wasn’t flopping in his face. (Via)
Band: Courtney Love
Scenario: To be fair, I’d be upset if someone showed me a picture of my dead partner, too.
After spotting a fan holding a photo of her late husband, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, Love went off, stating, “I don’t need to see a picture of Kurt, asshole, and I’m going to have you f*cking removed if you keep throwing that up…I’m not Kurt — I have to live with his sh*t, his ghost, his kid every day. Throwing that up is stupid and rude and I’ll beat the f*ck out of you if you do it again.” Love left the stage briefly, returning after guitarist Micko Larson led the audience in a chant of “Foo Fighters are gay.” (Via)
You had me until you threw your kid under the bus, Courtney.
Band: Notorious BIG
Scenario: This isn’t so much a meltdown as it is funny, but had to include it.