Poor Macaulay Culkin: the boy who started a joke band only to find out the whole world was laughing at him. And booing him. And throwing things at him. Earlier this week, the formerly cherub-faced Home Alone actor played in Nottingham with his pizza-themed tribute act The Pizza Underground, and they got doused in warm, sticky lager for their troubles. “Why are you throwing those?” he pleaded with the crowd. “I’d rather drink them!” He and his bandmates left the stage three songs later.
But Macaulay, heed this: you aren’t on your own. Other rockstars have braved the hurled projectiles before: beer, urine, wheelchairs, lollipops, pigeon faeces. Watch the following, and remember you are in exalted company.
Daphne & Celeste, 2000. Object: Wheelchair.(among others)
An act of utter cruelty, here, as the US bubblegum pop-dup – best-known for their hits ‘Ooh Stick You’ and ‘U.G.L.Y’ – were subjected to the Coliseum-like barbarity and bloodthirst of a vengeful Reading Festival crowd. Among the objects lobbed at them included coins, bottles, a frozen chicken and a wheelchair. “It was cool they were throwing stuff,” said Daphne/ Celeste afterwards in the video interview below (I have no idea which one is which, to be honest), but they’re not fooling anyone. And before anyone says it: Yes, they were utter shite – but did they really deserve that?
Cher Lloyd, 2012. Object: Bottles of urine.
Another ill-judged festival booking. X Factor irritant Cher Lloyd was plonked in front of the feral wolves of, erm, V Festival and was greeted with bottles of urine. “It’s hard enough being up here,” she told the crowd (and she has a point: would you be brave enough to entertain a crowd of thousands with nothing more than ‘Swagger Jagger’ for protection?). “But it’s not nice having bottles of piss chucked at you.”
50 Cent, 2004. Object: Bottles, mainly.
According to Reading And Leeds organiser Melvin Benn, 50 Cent had no-one to blame for his bottling but himself when he performed at the festival in 2004. “He brought the attitude on to the stage of being above better than everyone and having seen it all,” he told NME last year. “The crowd like their music and won’t be told what to like and what not to like.”
Panic At The Disco!, 2006. Object: More bottles.
We can also assume, then, that the crowd weren’t fans of Panic! At The Disco either – two years later, singer Brendon Urie was knocked out when a bottle clunked him on the head.
Morrissey, 1984. Object: Sausages.
Obviously, anyone who throws anything at a musician is a bit of a moron. It’s a stupid, cowardly and potentially dangerous thing to do. And especially throwing a bottle, because no thought need go into throwing a bottle – it’s in your hand and you lob it. Where’s the creativity in that?
Some folk, though, think carefully about their projectiles of choice. They’re still morons – just morons with a bit more aptitude for planning. Witness the chap who, so outraged at Morrissey’s vegetarian tub-thumping circa ‘Meat Is Murder’, decided to try and land a string of sausages in his gob at a show in Stoke. “They hit me in the face and part of them got in my mouth,” said Moz later. “They were a good shot, but they really missed the point. It was horrible. I had to just run off the stage and heave. I really vomited. Eating meat is the most disgusting thing I can think of. It’s like biting into your grandmother.”
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No video footage of this incident exists, but it’s an offal-based slight that the singer has seemingly never forgotten: in 2011, fans were searched for any meat products on their person, presumably to stop anyone repeating the stunt.
David Bowie, 2004. Object: Lollipop.
Presumably not the work of a maverick but well-meaning optometrist trying to turn Bowie’s eyes the same colour via the medical medium of the lollipop stick, but a silly Norwegian gig-goer who fancied trying to provoke the Dame. Bowie, inevitably, was not best pleased. “Do remember I’ve only got one anyway,” he snapped at the punter in Oslo. “Please keep your affection to yourself.” Is it any wonder he doesn’t fancy playing live anymore?
Kings Of Leon, 2010. Object: Pigeon muck.
Otherwise known as the Brave Coo Of St Louis, Mess In Missouri and The Feathered Revolt, in which some heroic pigeons decided to defend their land from the pesky Followill brothers. The band were bombarded with bird droppings from the Verizon Ampitheatre roof and stormed offstage, with Jared faring worst of all as a pigeon shat on his face.”So sorry St Louis,” said Matthew on Twitter afterwards. “We had to bail, pigeons shitting in Jared’s mouth and it was too unsanitary to continue. Don’t take it out on Jared, it’s the fucking venue’s fault. You may enjoy being shit on but we don’t.” Scat’s showbusiness, eh?
Josh Homme, 2008. Object: Bottle.
Of course, what else could Kings Of Leon have done? Confronted the pigeons? Challenged them to a fight? They were powerless to resist. But sometimes, musicians turn the tables and take a pop right back. Witness Josh Homme who exploded with rage after a fan threw a bottle at him at Norwegian Wood, showering him with insults, throwing an object back and then having him ejected from the crowd. “Miserable fucking c***. Go back to your mum’s house you 12-year-old dickless fucking turd.” Let’s be honest: no-one comes out of this one looking good.
Green Day, 1994. Object: Mud.
See, Josh Homme! We can all get along. We can all throw things and have fun. No-one has to get hurt. At Woodstock 1994, Billie Joe Armstrong decided to start a mass mud fight with the crowd, which sounds like a great idea. Although security did have to pile in when it got out of control. And Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt got boshed in the face by security guard who thought he was an over-zealous fan. And then Dirnt lost three teeth. On second thoughts: just don’t throw anything.