For most of us, not turning up to work for a fortnight because you “need a bit of me time” would land you in line at the Job Centre sobbing hysterically into your P45 faster than you can say “what’s my eBay login, again? I need to sell off all my earthly possessions OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE.” Pop stars though if you hadn’t noticed aren’t much like us regular folk. Here are eight musicians and their bizarre (and sometimes spurious) excuses for missing gigs.
The ‘Harvest’ songwriter had to cancel an entire European tour, including an appearance at Glastonbury, in 1997 after cutting his finger while making a ham sandwich. “I’d have eaten the thing in one piece if I’d known that cutting it in half would jeopardize the tour,” Young said in a statement announcing the cancellation. “It’s macaroni and cheese from now on.”
Joe Strummer risked bankrupting the Clash by canceling an April 1982 tour of the UK at the height of the punks’ popularity. Friends and family fretted for the frontman when he disappeared soon before the tour’s start, till it emerged he’d fled to France, grown a beard and run the Paris marathon rocking his new hirsute look.
Former Smiths man and militant animal rights campaigner Morrissey pulled a scheduled show in Dresden, Germany in 1999 after learning the venue was a converted abattoir. True to form, ten years later he stomped off stage at Coachella because he could smell meat, refusing to go ahead with the rest of the performance. “I can smell burning flesh … and I hope to God it’s human,” he told fans.
The Manchester Britpop pioneers were almost forced to cancel an entire US tour after Liam Gallagher had ‘forgotten’ to buy a house in 1996. “Liam had actually made it to the airport in England,” remembers Noel, “and as I’m getting on the plane he’s getting off because his wife called, saying, ‘‘We need to buy a house.’’ Now, what they were doing for the previous three months is anybody’s guess. Probably picking gnats out of each other’s hair like monkeys. The first gig was a 16,000-seat arena, and the singer’s not turned up.”
Kings of Leon
Another troublesome show in St. Louis, Kings of Leon abandoned a show half-way through in July 2010 after pigeons began “shitting in [bassist] Jared’s mouth” according to drummer Nathan Followill. “Don’t take it out on Jared, it’s the fucking venue’s fault,” he tweeted after fans reacted angrily to the set being cut short. “You may enjoy being shit on but we don’t.”
The ‘Black Panties’ singer’s time on tour with Jay-Z in promotion of their ‘Unfinished Business’ collaboration album ended prematurely in October 2004 when a member of Hov’s entourage pepper-sprayed him for behaving ‘erratically’. The assailant may have had a point – at the tour’s St. Louis stopover, Kelly allegedly assaulted a lighting director mid-show, left the venue and went to a local McDonalds were he began to serve food to patrons at the drive-thru, according to court papers.
Everyone’s favourite angsty fashionista rap agitator canned the second night of his ‘Yeezus’ tour in Seattle earlier this year five hours before he was due onstage, citing ‘unforseen circumstances’. The next day news emerged he was engaged to marry Kim Kardashian, prompting angry speculation among fans he’d cancelled the show specifically to propose to the reality TV star on a whim.
Brian Harvey’s plans to revive his music career with a string of UK shows were put on hold when the singer ran himself over after falling out of his own car in 2005. The former East 17 star later admitted he had eaten too many baked potatoes, had opened the car door while in motion to vomit and fallen out, suffering serious spinal injuries.