Touring is a pain in the ass. You’re stuck in a van or bus with the same smelly people, day in/day out. You have to do your job every single night in front of a whole room full of people, even when you’re sick, tired, hungover, or just generally don’t feel like it. And on top of that, you also have to deal with every dickhead heckler, comedian, and amateur videographer in the audience. It's enough to make anyone crack. Just ask Justin Bieber. Or Billy Corgan. Or Billy Corgan again. So naturally, once in a while, you’re gonna have an off night on stage. Here is a list of musicians having off nights...
You want to feel bad for Courtney Love in this video, really you do. Because why would someone buy a ticket to her concert just to hold up a picture of her dead husband? It’s a real dick move. But then Courtney goes and handles the situation with the grace of a bag of old Andrew Dice Clay CDs. “I have to live with his shit and his ghost and his kid,” she says, hinting at the fact that maybe she is not the A+ mother we all believed her to be? She then goes on to blame Dave Grohl before storming off stage, only to return to the chant of “The Foo Fighters are gay!”
Speaking of Dave Grohl, he stopped in the middle of whatever radio-friendly rock song he was playing to tell a striped-shirt-clad fan to stop fighting and get the fuck out. “You don’t come to my show and fight, you come to my show and fucking dance, you asshole!”
If you’ve ever seen a toddler throw a fit because it’s past his bedtime, then you should already be familiar with Billie Joe Armstrong’s legendary tantrum at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in 2012. After Green Day got their set cut short to make room for Usher, Billie dropped the f-bomb almost as many times as America has had to hear that stolen intro on “American Idiot.” He reminded everyone that he’d been around since “fucking nineteen eighty fucking eight” and that he “is not Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers” before smashing his guitar and tossing the mic. He checked in to rehab two days later. Eyeliner is a hell of a drug.
Like Green Day, Unwritten Law were also not thrilled about having their set time cut short and took it out their aggression by doing karate on their instruments, which actually did the audience a favor by sparing them the sound of that wimpy-ass chorus on “Cailin.”
Boy, it’s easy to make fun of Staind. Not just easy, fun too. So when a video surfaced of the lead singer going on a rant at a festival, the internet collectively went up to the attic and came down holding a box labeled “Jokes from 1999.” But then there was a surprise twist: The singer epically tore down some dickbag for groping an underage girl in the audience. So uh, never expected to say this but: Fuck yeah, dude from Staind! Men who use women stagediving as an excuse to cop a feel are the biggest sacks of shit at concerts. Followed by people who take vertical videos.
What the fuck, DJ Kap? Get your shit together!
This is—without question—the greatest video on the internet. Maybe even the greatest thing that ever happened in human history. What could be better than the Piano Man losing his shit, flipping his piano, destroying a microphone, and kicking someone, all while being a consummate professional who doesn’t miss a single beat on “Sometimes a Fantasy?”
Some Pearl Jam fan in ‘98 seemed to have mistaken Eddie Vedder for a toll booth and started hurling quarters at him. Eddie unloaded on him with a flannely wrath.
Queens of the Stone Age
It’s unclear if Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme also got quarters thrown at him, but he definitely got something thrown at him because despite having a 102 degree temperature, he unloaded a slew of insults on some kid that would make George Carlin blush, before having security hold the kid up so he could pelt him with something.
And rounding off this trifecta of musicians who don’t appreciate having stuff thrown at them is Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, back in his spaghetti hair days. He got pelted with rocks and walked off stage two songs into the band's set to the protest of no one.
You might think that because d-beat legends Discharge are old as music itself, it’s OK to fuck with them. You’d be wrong. Some mohawk kid found out the hard way recently when he threw a bottle at singer Rat Martin, who came into the crowd and one-punched the dude right in the ear. Let that be a lesson to you: If you go to a Discharge show, Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Throw Nothing.
Guns N’ Roses
Did you honestly expect Axl Rose to not make a list of musicians losing their shit on stage? Hell, there’s an entire compilation video devoted to him being pissed off just between the years 1988 and 1993. But here’s a prime pissed-off Axl gem.
Speaking of Guns N’ Roses, Slash doesn’t give a shit who you are. If he’s in the middle a ripping guitar solo, you’d better fuck off and let him do his thing. Even when Michael Jackson tried to get Slash to wrap up his solo, he continued to shred his way into oblivion and the King of Pop had no choice but to rage-dance his way through it.
Asshole audience members are annoying enough to deal with, you don’t need your own bandmates turning on you too. But when the Ataris’ drummer wasn’t playing up to the caliber you’d expect from a three-chord pop punk band who plays songs about Claire Danes, singer Kris Roe turned on him and threw the entire drum kit at him piece by piece.
Oh Ben Weasel. The guy spent decades building a fanbase with his dozens and dozens of perfectly crafted pop punk songs. And it all went up in flames when he started throwing punches at female fans at SXSW. People have never looked at Screeching Weasel the same since. Hitting women will do that to a career.
Most musicians on this list who turned on their audience have threatened to come out into the crowd and “beat the shit out of them” or “beat the fucking shit out of them” or possibly even “beat the mother fucking shit out of them, asshole!” But Garbage’s Shirley Manson didn’t do that. She just reminded whoever was spitting on her that she has the power to command all the men within a 10-mile radius to attack the loogie-hurler: “I’ll get all these men, including my own fucking crew, to come find you, take you outside, and fuck you up like you ain’t never been fucked up before.” So yeah, probably not the best idea to fuck with Shirley Manson. Especially when she’s on her period.