Tabloids and celebrity gossip websites exploit celebrities’ every move to appease the bloodthirsty public, producing coveted documentation of the individual’s every move, whether it’s pictures of a boring salad lunch, hidden camera photos of drug consumption at a party, a voice recording of a tell-all telephone call, documentation of every arrest, or a tired looking morning at the airport.
As a result, the public eye watches the intimate details of these celebrities like specimens in a human zoo, and rock stars have become entertainers both on and off the stage. Since the lifestyle of ‘Drugs, Sex, Rock and Roll’ is endemic to their nature, the antics of rock musicians are usually enthralling – and most expected. But sometimes, just sometimes, one of them really cracks under all the pressure of fame and having gratuitous amounts of money. Here are fifteen newsworthy rock stars whose plunge off the deep end set them apart from all the other just sort-of crazy ones.
Courtney Love – Hole
After losing relevance as a drug-addled rock musician, Courtney Love moved on to bigger and better things: dragging her daughter through the incoherent, dog faced mud that is Love’s dramatic and mentally unstable tendencies.
17 year old Francis Bean was removed from Love’s custody in 2009 pending an investigation regarding Courtney’s alleged drug abuse, misappropriation of funds belonging to her daughter [theft], and assault. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, Courtney proceeded to air the crap out of it on Twitter.
“I hate to sound cold but any kid of mine who pulls this shit has lost her position. She was deceptive, she lied and she’s lying to herself. My daughter is not always honest. She is clearly deluded if she thinks she can buy her grandmother a small house in L.A. I’d love to see how that works. She thinks she has all this money. The point is, I have all the money she has.”
The amount of crazy that is Courtney Love could easily form a thick dissertation no one would read. Was she ever relevant? Okay, maybe for a minute.
Pete Doherty – The Libertines & Babyshambles
Singer of indie sensation Babyshambles’ Pete Doherty was recently arrested while attending his own hearing in court to fight reckless driving and DUI charges. For having drugs in his pocket. He’s in a video with Amy Winehouse singing and talking about a box of baby mice they clutch in their crack stained fingers. Here’s a picture. Behold the meth muppet. Doherty recently commissioned a marble statue of himself being crucified amongst what is supposed to be a symbolic background of newspaper clippings bearing his name.
Punk singer/songwriter GG Allin was notorious in and essential to the 80′s punk scene. Known for his unpredictable and usually violent life performances, GG Allin was born as “Jesus Christ”. No, really. After relocating from New Hampshire to NY to pursue his musical career, GG Allin often bragged about causing physical harm to his fans at shows, claiming that anyone attending should be prepared or even eager for injury. Signature stage moves included shitting himself, pissing all over the place, cutting up his body, spraying any and all body fluids into the audience, violently and indiscriminately attacking attendees, always getting naked, breaking everything in sight, and being generally frightening. Here’s an unfortunately low quality video [from the biographical documentary Hated] of Allin at one of his spoken word performances. He’s screaming, ranting, and punching himself in the head until a girl from the back yells something in protest. His reaction is ridiculous. Dude was definitely crazy.
Dead – Mayhem
Adopting the moniker ‘Dead’ because he was obsessed with the idea of belonging to an otherworldy dimension, vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin of Norwegian black metal band Mayhem was always described as withdrawn and remarkably depressed. Before performances he would bury and then dig up his stage outfit in order to look more, well, Dead. He kept a dead bird in a plastic bag to sniff like a drug so he could sing [or growl] ‘with the stench of death in [his] nostrils.’ Dead moved, with the rest of his band, into a secluded cabin in the woods to write Mayhem’s second album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, in 1994. It was there the deeply disturbed front man slit his wrists and, wasting no time, followed it up with a shotgun blast to the face. His suicide note read ‘please excuse all the blood.’
Euronymous – Mayhem
Euronymous, legally named Ã˜ystein Aarseth, was the guitar player for Mayhem and had known band mate Dead for only two weeks at the time of his suicide in the band’s cabin. Euronymous found the body himself and, before calling the police, departed to purchase a disposable camera. Upon returning, he rearranged part of the room and took pictures of the dead Dead, one of which was later used as the album cover of a bootleg Mayhem release called Dawn Of The Black Hearts. Rumor has it that after his photo op, he cooked and ate some of Dead’s brains. A second rumor [which was later confirmed by fellow band mates] claimed Euronymous went so far as to craft necklaces out of the skull fragments. “Hey, what’s that?” “Dead.” It’s so punny!
Kurt Cobain – Nirvana
See: Courtney Love.
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Lots of screaming and the occasional healthy dose of physical assault is normal if you’re a member of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Lead singer Anton Newcombe didn’t fall off the edge so much as he claimed stake there years ago, nestled under a rock of neurosis and eccentricity in the deep end of the pool. Like everyone else on this list, Anton abused drugs and alcohol to an extent where it was impossible to tell his addiction apart from a possible or probable mental illness. A 2004 documentary titled DiG! reveals the story of Anton’s singlehanded sabotage of BJM, as well as their rivalry with his former best friend’s musical endeavor, The Dandy Warhols. The documentary was different from other musical biographies in the sense that it reached beyond fans of BJM thanks to the story told by Anton’s ridiculous antics, which unfolded much like a surreal tale of…well…a remotely successful 35 year old drug addict prone to random temper tantrums and breakdowns. Anton, known for recruiting and firing band members often and at random, can be seen sabotaging his own record label showcase in DiG! by punching his guitarist in the head for playing a song incorrectly.
Sid Vicious – Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols’ front man Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend, leaving her in the bathroom of a hotel room to die while he embarked on a mission to acquire more methadone. After his arrest, he was transferred from jail to Bellevue psychiatric hospital, where he attempted to commit suicide by slitting his wrists but failed. Vicious successfully committed suicide only a day after his release when he overdosed on heroin in his girlfriend’s apartment, leaving a note in his pocket referring to a death pact he had made with deceased wife Nancy.
Steven Tyler – Aerosmith
Steven Tyler’s recent antics include canceling an entire tour after falling off the side of a stage in a drug induced stupor and breaking a shoulder, and quietly returning to addiction rehab for the fourth time while simultaneously reaching retirement age. As I gazed upon the ever shifting folds of his face in a recent picture, wondering how much more offensive he could possibly look, I realized but one thing: Steven Tyler isn’t crazy. He’s just old. And a drug addict. Hooray!
Ike Turner – Musician
Ike Turner was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the part he played on the record “Rocket 88.” His lunacy has earned him a spot on this little corner of the internet as an incredibly violent drug addict with enough money to support all his habits, vices, and violent whims. Turner is notorious for committing despicable acts of abuse on his wife over a period of years – beating her, pouring hot coffee on her, and burning her with cigarettes are all documented claims in Tina’s tell-all autobiography. Besides the cruel and sometimes tortuous spousal abuse, he has admitted to spending over 11 million dollars on drugs in under fifteen years. Spending upwards of 30k on cocaine a day, Turner would fill champagne buckets with the stuff and let his guests feast on the open faced coke buffet. After repeated drug-related arrests,and losing his studio to a fire in 1982, Ike finally cleaned up his act in the mid nineties. He died of unknown causes in in California residence in 2007.
Sakevi Yokoyama – Gism
Gism was a Japanese Punk Hardcore band from the 80s most notable for their low-range vocals that were generally unheard in punk music at that time. Rumored to be a member of the Yakuza, lead singer Sakevi was known for his violence toward audience members at shows. He’s hit his fans with the mic stand, waved lit flares at their faces, and even chased a few with a flamethrower.
Jim Morrison – The Doors
This one has no comic element. The Doors’ frontman Jim Morrison was always eccentric, abusing drugs and alcohol in adolescence and claiming an experience he had as a child in which he witnessed a car accident left him with another person’s soul inside his body. As The Doors rose to fame, Morrison’s debilitating alcoholism continued to ravage him. His disease began to diminish his talent, and in 1971 he moved to France to continue his writing. He died the same year of an apparent heroin overdose and was found in the bathtub of his apartment. No autopsy was ever performed, but former friends of his would later come forward to claim that he originally overdosed in the bathroom of a nearby nightclub, but was carried home and placed in the tub by drug dealers and pals to cover it up.
A man who needs no introduction. The King dominated the American pop music charts for decades before succumbing to cheeseburgers and prescription pills. Although most people are aware of the manner in which Elvis died, few realize how much his manager had to do with it. Colonel Tom Parker was a domineering, greedy dutchman with the legal name Dries van Kujik. Since he was an illegal immigrant in America and could not travel out of the country, he nixed any European tours Elvis has the opportunity to embark on. Parker signed Elvis into d-rate movie deals, commandeered the production of an album [butchering one of Elvis' songs in the process] and tried to force The King into a television performance in which he would dress up as Santa Claus. Elvis had had enough. The performance happened with Elvis dressed in a striking black leather outfit, looking like a million bucks. Sadly, his comeback performance did not secure his rise back to stardom and perfect health. Instead, his demise was met while fat, unhealthy, and hunched over on a toilet bowl about a decade later.
Jim Gordon – Derek and the Dominos
The lesser known Jim Gordon was a session drummer for musicians like The Beach Boys and Eric Clapton. Gordon’s career began at the young age of seventeen when he started playing for The Everly Brothers in 1963. Gordon quickly became so busy playing clubs by night and recording as a session musician by day that he virtually had no free time at all. About a decade later, something in Jim Gordon snapped. Gordon had illusions of his mother’s voice invading his head, cruelly demanding he starve himself. His newly developed mental illness grew inside him in the form of a violent rage, until he made a final attempt to stop the soul crushing hallucinations by stabbing and bludgeoning his mother to death in 1983. Because he was diagnosed with schizophrenia during his trial and not earlier, Jim Gordon was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for murdering his own mother with both a hammer and kitchen knife.
Bonus: DMX – Rapper
DMX is no ‘rocker’ but definitely deserves a spot on this list after his latest run-ins with the law. DMX was one of the most famous rappers in the early 00s. His music was featured in soundtracks for Any Given Sunday ["My Niggas"] and The Fast And The Furious ["Rollin'"], but he was also known for his roles as an actor in movies like Exit Wounds, Belly, and Romeo Must Die. But even at the peak of his success, DMX seemed to find trouble wherever he went. His strange and often sad arrest history is so bizarre it deserves its own timeline.
1998: Arrested after a stripper alleged she was raped by DMX. No evidence was found and charges were dropped.
1999: Arrested during the Hard Knock Life tour for an alleged stabbing. Charges were dropped.
2004: Arrested after attempting to steal a car outside JFK airport in NYC. DMX claimed to be an FBI agent and demanded the car for top-secret FBI ‘business’. Seriously. He used fake sirens to pull the vehicle over and sped off after the owner refused to hand it over. Parking lot attendants denied DMX’s request to open the gate, prompting him to drive through it. Police reported he was under the influence of valium.
2004: Just weeks after the FBI incident, DMX was arrested for speeding and driving with a suspended license.
2005: Arrested for crashing his SUV into a woman’s vehicle, which was subsequently pushed into a police car.
2006: Arrested on a flight from NY to London for refusing to wear his seatbelt and becoming abrasive when told he must.
2008: Barricaded inside his bedroom in attempt to deter a raid, DMX came out of his pillow fort when the SWAT team showed up. Police found guns, drug paraphernalia, multiple cars with incorrect or mismatching license plates, and sixteen pit bulls. Three of the sixteen were dead, and one of three had been lit on fire.
2008: Mild in comparison, DMX was arrested for failure to appear in court and driving with a suspended license.
2008: Arrested after giving a false name during a hospital stay and shirking a $7500 hospital bill.
2009: DMX showed up an hour and a half late to his own performance at a charity concert and threw a fit when security refused to let him perform. Here’s a video of him and his crew fighting with the guards.
The progression of DMX’s photographs over the years could be an anti-drug abuse ad. Check it out: