Some of rock’s most entertaining stories are tails of rock stars storming off stage for laughable reasons. Here are some of the best examples, from Kings Of Leon to Plan B.
Kings of Leon were forced to abandon a show in Missouri for a novel reason that raised much mirth in 2010, namely that they were getting covered in pigeon doodoos. "So sorry St Louis,” they tweeted. “We had to bail, pigeons shitting in Jared's mouth and it was too unsanitary to continue.”
It doesn’t take much to make Morrissey leave the stage. In fact three little letters will usually do it, namely BBQ. Moz has a strict ‘no dead flesh’ policy at venues he plays, but unable to enforce such provisos at a huge festival like Coachella, Moz was heard to say "I can smell burning flesh... and I hope to God it's human," before taking off.
Jack White’s not a man easily wound up… I beg your pardon, he is. According to the Detroit Free Press, White became “visibly displeased with the standing crowd’s lack of intensity in what he wanted to be a symbiotic affair” when he played there last year, and so he walked off. To be fair be did come back and then play a 10 song encore. Creative types, huh?
Joey Bada$$ walked off stage at Field Day Australia recently having played one track, ‘95 til Infinity’. Eyewitnesses said Bada$$ struggled his way through the first number, then “stormed off frustrated” to give his voice a good kicking backstage.
Eric Clapton walked off stage in Glasgow in 2014. Slowhand was apparently having technical difficulties, but he failed to communicate this with his fans. One person tweeted that Clapton’s behaviour was “embarrassing and insulting, especially regarding the price of tickets.”
Rob Zombie annoyed fans when he walked off after 10 minutes at a show last July, only issuing a message to remaining fans within the venue via a screen at 10 to midnight, complaining of a sore throat. Cue: loads of booing.
Kanye West is given to stopping songs on stage and ranting like a loon about how he and his wife are persecuted celebrities, but he caused particular offence in September 2014 when he stopped a show in Sydney to complain about two people not dancing. Both turned out to be disabled.
Elton John in hissyfit shocker. Not! During one of Reg’s residency shows at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas in May 2012, the singer was evidently upset with something behind the scenes, shouting that “Someone in my production team is fucking fired!”. He also threw his water on stage four times. The bitch, as he'd say, was back.
It’s nice work if you can get it. Azealia Banks annoyed fans when touring Australia in 2013 when she did a 25 minute show, a 15 minute show, one no show and then 90 seconds in Melbourne before she stormed off. That’s 41 and a half minutes of stage time folks. “Sorry to all the festival-goers in Melbourne!!!!!,” she tweeted. “See ya tomorrow in Brisbane!!!!!”
Axl Rose doesn’t just have on stage strops, The G’n’R mofo causes riots when he’s feeling particularly agitated. In St Louis in 1991, Axl jumped into the crowd in order to wrestle a camcorder from a man taping the show. Back on stage he yelled: “Thanks to the lame ass security I’m going home,” and threw down his mike. Big trouble then erupted in the theatre.
While playing in Birmingham, Rihanna went walkabout and got up close and personal with her fans. One cloying devotee with a firm grip may have wished they hadn’t held her hand so tight as she wandered by offering her outstretched limb. The singer turned and violently clattered the offender with her microphone before walking away casually.
Billy Corgan is the kind of guy who left to his own devices in a room would fight himself. No need with a full auditorium though! At one gig in 2008, Billy called one of his critics on stage who duly said into Billy’s mic: “Last night’s show fucking sucked”. “By the way, I like that song you wrote,” retorted Billy, “‘Take Your Dick Out Of My Ass And Stick It In My Mouth.’”
Plan B has worked hard to carve out his name as a star, not a supporting artist, so he was no doubt planning to use his slot before Eminem at Slane Castle to win over the Rap God’s fans. This didn’t exactly work out, leading the Londoner to call the Irish audience the "tamest fucking crowd of my life." He added: "You should feel ashamed. No fucking mosh pit, not one fucking mosh pit."
Holding up a pic of Kurt Cobain at a Hole gig is one way to rile his widow, Courtney Love. Understandably miffed, the volatile singer let rip. “I’m not Kurt,” she barked. “I have to live with his shit, his ghost, his kid every day. Throwing that up is stupid and rude and I’ll beat the fuck out of you if you do it again.” Love briefly left the stage but later returned.
The Killers are nice Mormon boys, so any bad behaviour would be something of a surprise. At a gig in the Manchester Arena in 2012, Brandon complained about his throat after struggling through four songs, and petulantly announced that he was going off to drink some Chinese remedy tea. Okay, not petulantly. The rock ‘n’ roll eh?
Jim Morrison’s final gig was certainly one for the scrapbook. Not content with being charged for exposing himself at a gig in Florida the year previous, in New Orleans Jim drunkenly forgot the words and in a rage smashed his microphone to little pieces before leaving the stage never to return again. A few months later, in Paris, he would leave the building altogether.
In 1985 Dee Dee Ramone got hit in the head with a flying red pump, and the red mist descended. Stopping ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ mid-song, he jumped into the crowd and gave some poor unsuspecting random a leathering. Well, there was a 1 in 20,000 change they were the one who threw the shoe.
Fergie of Black Eyed Peas shame caused a sensation not so much with a meltdown but more a trickledown, when she famously pissed her pants after arriving late on stage without a having taken a toilet break first. At first she denied it, preferring people to believe she had overactive sweat glands in her trousers. Later she told Blender: “It was horrible, but whatever. It happens.”