10 times rock bands have destroyed their instruments, their environment, each other

Breaking your guitar was considered a rite of passage in rock, sending this beloved Fender to the grave in a rain of strings and frets – but some bands go even further, wreaking havoc not only on their guitars, but also on stage, record label bathrooms. or each other.

With so many broken guitars to choose from over the years, here are just 10 examples of many famous rockers who got a little too excited along the way, making music history and leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Who’s Pete Townshend smashes his ax, Keith Moon responds

In 1964, a new generation of instrument destruction was born. Out of frustration and perhaps embarrassment, Pete Townshend began smashing his Rickenbacker guitar to pieces, only for the neck to shatter on the ceiling of the Railway Tavern in Harrow.

“So I smashed that guitar and jumped over all the pieces, then I picked up the 12 string and continued like nothing had happened,” he said in issue d ‘April 1980 from Sound International, “and the next day the place was packed.”

The antics only accelerated from there, including their ‘My Generation’ performance on The Smothers Brothers, September 15, 1967. Keith Moon filled his battery with explosions which, when they exploded at the end of the show, caused Bette Davis to pass out and caused Pete Townshend’s tinnitus to appear.

The Yardbirds’ Jeff Beck gives in to the overwhelming temptation of the guitar

Townshend’s antics quickly spread and soon after, they inspired a scene from Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film. Explode. While the role in question was inspired by Townshend, Eric Burden was asked to play it, but when he declined, the role went to now legendary guitarist Jeff Beck.

Although he was apparently a little worried about breaking a guitar at first, he ended up breaking the shit out of a Gibson 175 before throwing it into the crowd. The film won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1967 and was described as a “mod masterpiece” by Playboy Magazine – worth breaking a few guitars at the time.

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Jimi Hendrix burns the Who

While he had played in the United States for years, it was in the United Kingdom that James Marshall Hendrix first started to gain recognition, and also where he picked up some of his guitar antics. It was back in the United States, however, where these antics would propel him up the charts.

The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were both scheduled to play at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, both were relatively unknown in the United States at the time, and both knew this festival was a great opportunity to blow up. United States. Neither act wanted to follow the other, but it was ultimately Hendrix who took the stage after The Who on the last Sunday of the festival. With The Who having already blown audiences away with their guitar crash, Hendrix knew he needed something special – something beyond the simple crash of another poor guitar – and here is where his sadly sounded. famous guitar burn incident took place.

Nirvana finds peace in the crash of the guitar

Early on in Nirvana’s career, Kurt and Krist were inclined to take shit out of the band’s outfit. After years of difficult life, Nirvana finally began to be successful when they signed with DGC in 1990, and in 1992 they were toast the music world at the MTV Awards – but that didn’t change their inclination. for chaos.

Unfortunately for Krist, even when you’re a rockstar you’re not immune to gravity, as Krist found out at the awards night when he got a little too enthusiastic and made a sacred fall. Similar destruction ensued in the “You Know You’re Right” clip, which gives an indication of why DGC was starting to worry about the amount of money it was spending on equipment.

The Sex Pistols assert their dominance

You can’t really write a list like this without including the most lawless of all (at the time, anyway), the Sex Pistols. “In fact, we are not in music. We’re in chaos, ”proclaimed guitarist Steve Jones in their very first interview, which appeared on NME in early 1976 after a window of support for Eddie & The Hot Rods at the Marquee Club in London, during which they played. smashed the headliners’ equipment.

However, the guitar crash was less of a priority for the Sex Pistols than the crash in general, and their antics included breaking the toilets in A&M offices (part of the debauchery that caused them to quit the label seven days after they were signed), and even smash a beer mug in the face of Patti Smith’s brother, Todd. These days John Lydon whips the butter and says nice things about Her Majesty the Queen. Go figure it out.

Paul Simonon of the Clash enters rock history

Apparently, Paul Simonon only broke his bass once, but that time was enough for Pennie Smith to snap one of rock ‘n roll’s most iconic photos, a photo that featured on the front of Elvis-inspired cover of The Clash for London Calling, and was even inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

Performing at the New York Palladium on September 21, 1979, Simonon became so frustrated with the lack of crowd interaction (due to the venue’s fixed seating) that he blew up and smashed the shit still in love with his Precision Bass.

“We used to get cheap mud flaps from CBS,” he said after the incident. “They were newer models, quite light and not very substantial. But the one I broke that night was a great bass, a Fender Precision, (it cost around) around £ 160 (272 euros), one of the older heavy and solid models, so I regretted to to have broken it.

Jerry Lee Lewis burns his piano – in the 1950s

Jerry Lee Lewis is credited with being the man who changed the perception that the piano was not a rock ‘n’ roll instrument. Jerry was supposed to be taller than the king of rock’n’roll, Elvis Presley, and at the end of 1957 when he found out he would be supporting Chuck Berry he decided to set his piano on fire at the end of his set. leaving Chuck to follow an act that couldn’t be overcome.

While leading a wild and often controversial life, at 81, Lewis is the only surviving member of Sam Phillips’ million dollar quartet which also included Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

The Vines are freeing themselves … and very, very loose

We don’t know if anyone has been the face of the guitar crash in the past two decades as The Vines Sydney’s Craig Nicholls. As one of the “The” bands of the time (The White Stripes, The Hives, The Strokes), they were hailed as the saviors of rock at the turn of the century, earning them their faces on the Rolling Stone cover in 2002. – the first Australian band to do so since Men At Work in 1983.

The Vines always had a soft spot for Nirvana (and started out as a Nirvana cover band), so it was only a matter of time before Craig started tormenting the stages with his guitar. Even the legendary David Letterman was not safe, as the group took the opportunity to completely melt live on American television, to the point that their huge hit ‘Get Free’ became almost unrecognizable. Maybe not the best way to sell records, but definitely memorable.

Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore continues the carnage

Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple picked up the torch of torture on the guitar in the ’70s, smashing and burning her way through the United States and Europe with far too many incidents to name – her career has become a great way of war. At this point, there didn’t really seem to be any particular reason for Ritchie to break his guitar at any chance, other than sheer fun. And why not, eh?

Even The Arcade Fire comes into the picture

The Arcade Fire’s Win Butler complements some of the acts that have been the face of instrument destruction over the years, proving that you don’t have to be in a rock, punk, or grunge act to take your frustrations out. on your beloved instrument. – you can also play in a happy indie orchestral band!

Here’s a short clip of Win Butler on Saturday Night Live smashing his acoustics and, in keeping with the wiser tone of their records, the slow, deliberate destruction is perfectly in sync with the song’s final beats – almost graceful, really.


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