It’s 10 years this week since Pete Doherty was arrested for burgling Carl Barât’s flat, putting a whole new spin on intra-band struggles. Here are 19 more internal squabbles that ensured making sweet music together wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been.
The Stone Roses reunion was nearly over before it had really got going when a gig in Amsterdam in June 2012 ended in a shambles. It all started because Ian Brown wanted to play an encore. Well, you don’t do that in the Roses. You play ‘I Am The Resurrection’ and go home, which is what Reni did. Brown’s response? “What can I say? The drummer’s a c***.”
The Rolling Stones have had their tensions. A good one was after a gig in Amsterdam in the mid 80s, when Mick Jagger had been out all night on the sauce and whatnot, and returned at 5am demanding to see “my drummer”. His drummer (Charlie Watts, obviously) eventually turned up and laid him out flat, adding the rejoinder, “I’m not your drummer – you’re my fucking singer.”
Good God, where do you start with Oasis? Probably at the end, in 2009, with Liam nearly taking Noel’s face clean off after swiping at him with a vintage guitar. The fitting culmination of a decade and a half of top-drawer bickering.
The famously volatile Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre once managed to get into a scrap with his own band at a Kentish Town Forum gig in 2008 that ended with the police getting involved. No charges pressed though. Except for the charge of ROCKING’N’ROLLING WITHOUT A LICENCE.
A band of mod bruisers like The Who could never stay sweetness and light for too long, and yes, so it proved. One set of fisticuffs in 1973, during the recording of ‘Quadrophenia’, saw Roger Daltrey wallop Pete Townshend so hard that the guitarist suffered temporary amnesia. That’s his story anyway.
It’s a wonder that brothers Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks managed to hold the band together for so long, what with their proto-Gallagher sibling tiffs. One classic saw Ray stab Dave in the chest with a fork – something to do with a stolen chip. But other members of the band had issues with Dave too, with drummer Mick Avory once throwing a cymbal at his head.
Everyone’s pal Billy Corgan saw a fresh dawn for the mothballed Smashing Pumpkins in 2007, but he hadn’t reckoned on one teensy problem: all of his bandmates hated him. James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky said “No thanks” and only Jimmy Chamberlin agreed to jump on board again. For a bit. Within a couple of years he bailed out too. Or was he pushed? He and Corgan can’t agree.
The Followill clan has always been handy – you wouldn’t want to rustle any of their cattle. At T In The Park in 2009, their feistiness turned inwards and Kings Of Leon apparently had to be held back before they tore strips off each other.
How about Van Halen? The American poodle-rockers enjoyed frosty internal relationships in the 80s, which came to a head when guitarist and nominal leader Eddie Van Halen asked Kiss’s Gene Simmons to replace Dave Lee Roth on vocals. Gene demurred but Eddie would eventually boot Dave out a few years later, although Dave insisted he went of his own accord. They’re all pals again now though.
It’s hard to imagine why Fleetwood Mac fell out so often in the 70s. Columbian marching powder’s normally a recipe for harmony, isn’t it? Incidents are too many to mention, but the affair between Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks must’ve been hard for Nicks’ former beau Lindsey Buckingham to swallow. Daresay John McVie wasn’t chuffed at wife Christine running off with the lighting director either.
And you thought they were all united behind the Girl Power facade. Not so. The Spice Girls had their share of spats, usually between the two Mels. “Me and Melanie B used to get a bit pushy-shovey,” revealed Mel C, “but I don’t think anything’s ever been thrown. No injuries inflicted on each other – only mental scars!” You and us both, Mel.
Clash of the egos, here. Sting thought he was the leader of The Police but drummer Stewart Copeland never got the memo. Instead he broke one of Sting’s ribs with his knee. And told him never to make eye contact with him. Still, they had loads of number ones and sold millions of records so, frankly, who cares?
The evil green stuff drove a wedge between the members of My Bloody Valentine in the early 90s. Shields found himself on the receiving end of a five grand monthly retainer from Island Records, who were hoping for him to come up with the next ‘Loveless’. But the inertia that followed led to disillusion from Shields’ fellow band members and one of the longest hiatuses in pop history.
Sometimes the stories are just sad. During the recording of 2003’s ‘Think Tank’, Blur lost patience with guitarist Graham Coxon’s alcohol problems just as he grew weary of where the band were headed. A mutual sundering then, but one tinged with regret. Still, everything’s ok now though, right?
More Stonesy fun, this time between Mick Jagger and fellow Glimmer Twin Keith Richards. Their friendship was always testy, but it reached a nadir in 2010 when Keef suggested Mick wasn’t exactly blessed in the pants department. Serves him right for showing his pal. Fortunately, they still find a way to keep The Rolling Stones in one piece.
And more warring ‘twins’, this time Toxic Twins Steve Tyler and Joe Perry of US cock-rockers Aerosmith. They’re another pair who’ve managed to hold it vaguely together through thick and thin, but while performing deep philosophical piece ‘Love In An Elevator’ in 2010, Perry shoved Tyler off stage. Ah, the japes.
This one’s a bit after the fact, but the reformed En Vogue hit the rocks in 2012 when the R&B quartet divided down the middle in a disagreement over, um, musical differences – Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson on one side, Cindy Herron and Terry Ellis on the other. “Yup Terri n Cindi r evil” tweeted Jones in a very modern scrap.
Brotherly love part three. Sullen Scots pair Jim and William Reid of ‘The Jesus And Mary Chain’ took internecine surliness to pigheaded levels during the recording of their 1998 ‘Munki’ album: they refused to speak to one another. For eight years. They’re back together now, with only the occasional fist fight to interrupt the familial bliss.
What’s been eating Sugababes for the last 15 years? Initially it was Keisha Buchanan, who first-out-the-door Siobhan Donaghy called a “bully”. Donaghy’s passage through the band wasn’t helped by Buchanan and Mutya Buena’s secret language, but Buchanan found the boot on the other foot when it kicked her out in 2009. Now the original trio, MKS, love each other very much. What’s this we’re hearing?