Remember Pete Doherty’s blood paintings? A selection of these gruesome artworks went on sale in 2006 via a London art gallery. They were daubed using a combination of Doherty’s own blood and that of his former James Mullord, who said: “He was very careful, he used a new needle.”
In using blood as an artistic tool, Doherty follows in the footsteps of Nick Cave, who was once spotted on a London tube train writing a letter using the blood in a hypodermic syringe he’d just ripped from his arm. Has the man never heard of a biro?
Rock star blood can also have a promotional value – as demonstrated by turbo-capitalist rockers Kiss in 1977, when they launched a comic book printed with their own bodily fluids. The four band members had their blood extracted and mixed with red ink, which was then used to print a one-off collectable Marvel/Kiss comic. Hmm, we’ll stick with The Beano if it’s all the same.
The Doors’ Jim Morrison was another eager blood-spiller. In 1970 he married a pagan “priestess” called Patricia Kennealy. At the ceremony they cut each other’s wrists with daggers and mixed their blood. After Morrison’s death, Kennealy dubbed herself The Lizard Queen and wrote a string of swivel-eyed science-fiction novels. Talk about highly-strung.
Still, when it comes to sick behaviour, Morrison was a novice compared with Ozzy Osbourne at his druggy peak. Everyone knows the story about Ozzy biting a head off a bat, onstage in 1982 (he thought it was a fake one). Less well known is the time he snorted a line of fire ants in a bid to impress Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. Oh dear.
It’s the most disgusting moment in festival history: at Reading 2002, Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato shat into a carrier bag and hurled it into a crowd full of horrified, hungover Sunday morning punters. “You’re going to see a lot of shit on this stage today,” the singer told the audience. “You might as well see some more.”
What is it about US alt-rockers and shitting into things? During one tour in 1992, Faith No More frontman Mike Patton defecated into the hairdryer in the dressing room of support band L7, ensuring the all-female act would get a revolting surprise when they came to get ready. What a card, eh?
GG Allin always crops up in features on the most shocking moments in rock, but it’s hard to overstate just what a sick freak he was. Right up until his death from a heroin overdose in 1993, the punk rock shouter liked to neck laxatives before gigs so he could crap all over the stage. He also cut himself, and spoke fondly of teenage groupies urinating into his mouth. Joe McElderry he was not.
Still, at least GG Allin slid around in faeces of his own making. Poor My Chemical Romance had to contend with other people’s. It’s well known that the pop-punks were bottled at Reading 2006 – but not all the missiles were liquid. According to guitarist Frank Iero, when they left the stage they had to slalom between a distressing collection of Number Twos.
“I can’t sing, I’ve fucked my face up!” So yelped Muse’s Matt Bellamy after head-butting his own guitar at a gig in Atlanta in 2004. The resulting injury was spectacularly gory. In a memorable phrase, an eyewitness told NME: “It looked like someone was pouring water down his face constantly, but it was blood.”
Imagine playing guitar with such ferocity you impale your own hand on your guitar. Astonishingly, that’s exactly what happened to The Who’s Pete Townshend during a gig in 1990. He pierced his hand on the axe’s whammy bar while performing his trademark windmill move. The guitarist recalls: “I looked down and thought, ‘Shit!’” Which is understandable in the circumstances.
Speaking of piercing body parts, The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman somehow managed to penetrate his own kidney at the 2006 NME Awards. The intoxicated star took a swan dive onto Kaiser Chiefs’ wine bottle-strewn table, with agonizing results. He wound up in hospital, and later confessed: “It was a messy night. I nearly died twice.”
Here’s one that’s both gross and profoundly disturbing: Keith Richards once told NME that he’d snorted his dad’s ashes with cocaine: “He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow,” said the Stones survivor. “My dad wouldn’t have cared. It went down pretty well.”
Chuck Berry’s scorching guitar licks helped popularise rock’n’roll in the ‘50s. Later in life, however, Berry’s reputation was sullied somewhat when he was sued by several female customers at the St Louis restaurant he owned. They claimed he’d set up video cameras to spy on them in the women’s toilet. Classy, huh? The case was settled out of court.
They do things differently in France. In 1984, pervy singer Serge Gainsbourg scored a major hit with a song called ‘Lemon Incest’, a duet with his then 13-year-old daughter Charlotte, containing lyrics that appeared to endorse paedophilia. In the accompanying video, the pair reclined on a bed in a state of undress. Weird. Recently Charlotte has referred to the song as a “provocation”.
Gun-loving rightwing rocker Ted Nugent is no stranger to controversy. His first wife Sandy divorced him, accusing him of “bizarre sexual practices”. In 1978 he took a shine to a 17-year-old girl, Pele Massa. Owing to the age gap, he was unable to marry her – so he adopted her instead, becoming her legal guardian. That’s a bit odd really, isn’t it?
Bland US arena-rockers The Dave Matthews Band have churned out a lot of shit in their time – literally. In 2004, the driver of their tour bus dumped an 800lb payload of sewage into the river below, while driving over a bridge in Chicago. Slight problem: a boat full of tourists was passing below the bridge at the time, and a number of pleasure-seekers got covered in rock star effluent.
You may not have heard of Three Dog Night, but they sold million of records in the seventies. Their biggest claim to fame? Singer Chuck Negron (pictured right) had so much cocaine-fuelled sex, his penis exploded. At least, that’s what he claims in his autobiography. Horrifyingly, the phrase “hot dog in a microwave” crops up.
After all these gross acts of indecency committed by men, let’s redress the gender balance with this delightful tale: at the 1992 Reading Festival, L7 guitarist Donita Sparks hurled a used tampon into the crown, uttering the immortal words, “Eat my used tampon, fuckers!” That’s a line you won’t hear at a Laura Marling gig any time soon.
Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas – she’s so glamorous. Or at least she was, until the world saw this picture of her sporting an embarrassing wet patch at a gig in 2005. Still, at least she was brave enough to ‘fess up to the toilet mishap, telling The Daily Record: “We were jumping around and my bladder just started you know …”