The excess of rock n roll stars is legendary. Booze, women, drugs, and even lack of sleep are all taken to staggeringly new heights, but arguably, the juiciest piece of celebrity gossip is the fight. I personally haven’t thrown a right cross since first grade so, I’m forced to live vicariously through my alpha male friends and various celebrities. Sadly, fisticuffs involving musicians are a rarity, but that doesn’t mean historical lore isn’t filled with numerous examples of drunken frontmen bitch slapping one another.
Thanks to Kid Rock’s sissy backhand, the topic has been given renewed interest, and we, here at Music Blend, fully intend to take advantage of the enthusiasm. So, without further ado, here are the five greatest fights in Rock N Roll history..
TOP 5 ROCK N ROLL FIGHTS
5. Vince Neil Vs Guns N Roses
The Backstory:. During the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, former Guns N Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin reportedly hit on Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil’s wife. After the incident was reported to Neil, the enraged frontman vaulted on stage and cold cocked Stradlin all up in his face. Within a few seconds, security had broken up the altercation and each man headed out for a long night of boozing.
Aftermath: A few days later, an infuriated Axl Rose appeared on MTV and challenged Vince Neil to a parking lot brawl. The offer was soon accepted, but a location could never be agreed upon. Axl’s revenge never took place and both men parted bitter enemies. They reportedly still hate each other, and if God has a sense of humor, he’ll send a chance meeting and a few beers to each of them.
Why You Should Care: Believe it or not, these two idiots were quite possibly in the two most popular bands of the late 1980s. Today, it would be like Chad Kroeger of Nickleback and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy throwing haymakers. I’m getting excited just thinking about those two effeminate douche bags socking each other in the eyeballs right now. Neil clearly gets the decision on account of throwing the only punch, but had Axl and Vince ever squared off, I’d have to give the edge to Motley Crue. At the time, betting odds seemed to be heavily in Axl’s favor, but how do you bet on the man that wrote “November Rain?” That doesn’t make any sense at all.
4. Richard Cole Vs A Red Snapper
The Backstory: July 28th, 1969. Legendary band Led Zeppelin was performing at the Seattle Pop Festival. The foursome had just released Led Zeppelin I, and they were on their way to becoming the biggest band in the world. After their performance, madman drummer John Bonham and road manager Richard Cole decided to bring a few groupies back to the hotel room. They all began fishing outside the hotel window and into the lake just below. After a few minutes, someone caught a red snapper, and Cole decided to suffocate the fish inside one of the girls...well, red snapper. After a few minutes, the animal finally lost the altercation, and they may or may not have eaten the fish.
Aftermath: According to popular legend, the woman came numerous times much to the delight of Bonham and Cole. Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge filmed the entire low-budget porno, but sadly, a copy of the tape has never been made available to the public.
Why You Should Care: I think this one is pretty obvious actually. Groupies have been around since the days of Mozart, but I’ve never heard of any quite as go-with-the-flow. The woman has never been identified, but the story gives up-and-coming bands something to shoot for.
3. C.C. Deville Vs Bret Michaels
The Backstory: Shocker: another altercation that happened at The Video Music Awards. During the height of Poison’s glam metal reign, lead singer Bret Michaels and guitarist C.C. Deville (B.F.F’s) each plunged into a spiral of debaucherous drug use. The addictions came to a climax at the VMAs when neither could remember what song was supposed to be played. Both men dove into different chart toppers, and the resulting performance can only be termed a complete disaster. As Poison exited stage left, bitter words turned into punches and the two former friends beat the living shit out of each other.
Aftermath: The incident led to a lengthy hiatus for lead guitarist C.C. Deville, but thankfully, he and Michaels are once again good friends. It’s way more enjoyable to watch two close buddies duke it out than strangers. There’s just so much pent-up frustration and hatred that usually boils over, causing a skirmish free of rules and full of eye gouges.
Why You Should Care: Reportedly, the incident took place in front of Eddie Van Halen and Cindy Crawford, with the latter nearly eating a few misfires. I should probably make an eating disorder joke here, but I like the model and don’t want to blow any chances down the road. Just insert your own (joke...not red snapper).
2. Robert Johnson Vs A Scorned Husband
The Backstory: Robert Johnson is the greatest musician you’ve never heard of. Determined to become the best Blues singer in the world, he picked up a guitar at age sixteen and was reportedly booed off stage. He sojourned on but found little success for the next few years. Then he dissappeared. Like a ham sandwich in front of Mama Cass, the guitarist simply vanished. A little more than a year later, Johnson returned to the Mississippi Delta, having reportedly sold his soul to Satan in exchange for ungodly talent. For the next few years, he traveled around the South, playing gigs and boning every woman he saw. I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, the party was short lived and the Devil finally caught up to him on August 16th, 1938. The legendary musician had been poisoned by a local club owner whose wife found Johnson particularly appealing.
Aftermath: No one was ever convicted of the mysterious poisoning, but the club owner is rumored to have confessed decades later as he was nearing death. One of Johnson’s only recordings was discovered in the 1960s, and he quickly gained a cult following that included Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. The former even called him the greatest Blues musician who ever lived. The acclaim even led to his induction into The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.
Why You Should Care: This story has literally everything: Pacts with Satan, obscure poisons, unfaithful wives, and kickass music. Do yourself a favor and go buy a Robert Johnson CD. Warning: Cinema Blend is not responsible for the life-altering Blues phase you will go through after listening to his disc.
1. Jackie Wilson Vs An Entire Audience
The Background: A former boxer, Jackie Wilson was as ferocious off-stage as he was gentile and talented on. The “Baby Workout” crooner performed during the height of segregation and accordingly, his crowds were split right down the middle. During a legendary set in the late 50s, Jackie heard an audience member shout out a racial slur. Without thinking, Wilson vaulted off the stage and began peppering the bigot with rights, eventually knocking him off a chair and onto the floor. An angry mob of whities soon surrounded the singer, but the scorned frontman fought off the racists before security broke the altercation up.
The Aftermath: Wilson rolled with a dangerous crowd and was eventually shot by a former lover and convicted of tax evasion. The story doesn’t end there, though. Jackie eventually got his life together before having a heart attack mid-song in front of a capacity crowd. He laid in the hospital for almost a decade in a complete vegetative state, but long-time friend Elvis Presley (and later his estate) paid for all the medical bills and the funeral.
Why You Should Care: A lead singer jumped off stage and assaulted an entire crowd of angry racists at the height of racial tensions in America. That’s just too badass for words.
Nominated but didn’t make the cut: Shannon Hoon’s Pee Vs A Crowd Member, Marvin Gaye Vs His Dad, Carnie Wilson Vs Food, Karen Carpenter Vs Anorexia, and Suge Night Vs Vanilla Ice