In memory of Jim Morrison: 8 shocking rock ‘n’ roll moments

Today, March 1st 2019, marks an important anniversary in rock and roll. It might not be the one you think.

No, it’s not the day The Beatles landed in America, sending throngs of Beatle maniacs into a screaming frenzy upon their arrival. It’s not the date Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon, an album that would stay in the album charts for 17 years. It is, in fact, 50 years to the day that The Doors frontman Jim Morrison allegedly exposed himself to a stunned Florida crowd, all the way back in 1969.

Granted, this may not seem like the most shocking thing by today’s standards, in which skin, sex and nudity are at times a key part of an artist’s performance or identity. During the hazy days of the late 60s, however, this alleged lewd act was a national story in both music and mainstream press. Morrison himself was arrested over the incident, which he denied having taken place. The question of did he/didn’t he continued well after the untimely death of the singer in 1971 – but Morrison was eventually pardoned nearly four decades later by Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Guilty or not, this act of supposed rebellion is one that will go down in history as one of the more memorable moments in rock history. In the years that followed, there have been countless moments on stages throughout the globe that have shocked the audience and – indeed the world.

8 – The Sex Pistols swear on live TV, 1976

Another example of a moment that may be considered tame by today’s standards, but when members of legendary punk band The Sex Pistols turned the airwaves blue back in 1976, it caused mass outrage and made the group into public enemy number one.

As a last-minute replacement for Freddie Mercury, forced to cancel due to toothache, the punks appeared on tea-time tell programme Today. Continuously needled by presenter Bill Grundy, the group referred to the host as a “dirty old sod” before dropping a tirade of obscenities, including the F bomb. The show quickly went off air, and the Sex Pistols cemented themselves in musical infamy.

7 – Billie Joe Armstrong loses his cool , 2012

Green Day frontman Billie Joe smashed his guitar into smithereens during the iHeart Radio Music Festival during a performance of the band’s biggest hit “Basket Case”.

The singer, triggered by a production cue, cut the song short, declaring “I’ve been around since f–king 1988, and you’re gonna give me one f—ing minute? You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m not f—ing Justin Bieber, you motherf—ers.” Before destroying his guitar and throwing his microphone into the crowd. The singer entered drug rehabilitation in the days following the incident.

6 – Nirvana play the wrong song, 1991

At the height of their fame, Nirvana were arguably the biggest band in the world. But an appearance on The Jonathon Ross’ show proved that they weren’t going to be selling out and playing nice as part of their newfound fame.

Scheduled to play their chart-topping tune Lithium, the grunge band instead launched into their much punkier, much less famous song Territorial P-ssings before destroying their equipment and the stage. A shocked Ross jokingly reminded the audience at home Nirvana were available for “children’s birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.”

5 – Liam Gallagher Throws a Plum, 2009

Okay, so this one didn’t happen in front of the cameras or an audience, but the backlash from this rather bizarre incident is one that left the music world reeling, and worthy of a mention.


The Gallagher brothers in happier times (Credit: Paula Torres Rey)

Minutes before heading onstage to play in front of an eagerly awaiting crowd, rock ‘n’ roll’s most notorious brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher were involved in a heated argument that would lead to the end of one of the world’s biggest bands. When tensions continued to rise, Liam reportedly swung a guitar at brother Noel before throwing a plum in his direction. Arguably the straw that broke the camel’s back, that night’s performance was cancelled, and Oasis were no more.

4 – Ozzy Osbourne bites a bat’s head off, 1982

No stranger to controversy, former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne was onstage in Des Moines, Iowa when a bat emerged at his feet, flung from the crowd.

Thinking the bat to be made of plastic, Osbourne picked the animal up…. and bit the creature’s head off. Fans in attendance looked on in horror as the rocker finished his set, before being whisked to a nearby hospital room for rabies shots. The incident led to a ban of performances containing animals in the arena, and is still one of the most talked-about controversies in rock history today.

3 – James Hetfield goes up in flames, 1992

In 1992, two of the biggest bands in the world were playing a double headline show in Montreal – Guns ‘n’ Roses and Metallica. However, when Metallica frontman James Hetfield accidentally engulfed himself in flames, it triggered a series of very unfortunate events.

During ballad “Fade to Black”, Hetfield misjudged his step and stood directly in the way of a 12-foot flame as it burst into the air – a part of the band’s impressive pyrotechnic show. The fire melted the strings on Hetfield’s guitar, the skin on his right arm, and incinerated his eyebrows and parts of his hair. The group were forced to cut their set short to a sea of boos. Guns n Roses were set to take the stage and save the day, when….

2 – Axl Rose triggers a riot, 1992

Guns ‘n’ Roses took to the stage after Metallica cut their set short, and seemed ready to rescue the show. However, the rock megastars ended up leaving early themselves.

Infamously late Axl Rose took to the stage two hours after Hetfield was rushed to hospital. Complaining of sound issues and a sore throat, Rose walked off nine songs into the set, telling fans this would be the group’s “last show for a long time.” Furious fans then took to the streets of Montreal: overturning cars, smashing windows, looting local stores, and setting fires. Altogether, the riot caused more than $500,000 worth of damage to the city – which would be closer to $1 million in today’s money.

1 – Dimebag Darrell’s onstage assassination, 2004

By far the most shocking and tragic moment on this list, and perhaps in musical history is the Damageplan shooting in Columbus, Ohio that left four dead and seven injured.

Just two songs into their set, gunman Nathan Gale took to the stage of metal band Damageplan, featuring legendary brothers Darrell and Vinny Abbott of Pantera. Gale first shot and killed guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell, then fired upon the other band members and tour crew. The incident landed on the anniversary of Beatles legend John Lennon’s death, another musician gunned down by a supposed fan.

To this day the incident remains the largest mass killing in Columbus history, and led to security measures increasing at shows around the world, many of which are still in effect. Darrell was honoured in 2007 with a space on the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame.

For more try these EN4 News articles about problematic musicians.

Bruce Springsteen announces UK return

Springsteen is know as the “the Boss”. Photo Credit: Craig O’Neal

Legendary singer Bruce Springsteen has confirmed he will play a string of concerts across the UK in 2019.

Though no confirmed shows have been announced as of yet, Springsteen recently announced it was “time to get back to my day job”, confirming his return to musical form with a new studio album with his E Street Band.

A new studio album would mean the first new material released by the artist since 2014’s “High Hopes” however “Springsteen on Broadway”, a greatest hits performance covering Bruce’s mammoth 46 year career will premiere on Netflix December 15th.

Springsteen last toured the UK in 2016, which included a stop at Glasgow’s Hampden stadium. Known for his mammoth performances, the singer played for over three hours at the famed football stadium.

Bruce and the gang will be well rehearsed for next year’s dates, currently playing five nights a week as part of the Broadway shows in New York City. Though Springsteen turns 70 next year, it seems the iconic American hero is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

St. Vincent announces Edinburgh show

Art-rock band St. Vincent have revealed that they will be bringing the MASSEDUCTION tour to Edinburgh this year.

This is after having no previous Scottish dates on the first UK leg of the tour last year.

MASSEDUCTION is the sixth album from the Texas based rock band, with previous releases including five solo records, and a collaboration with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. The album was released in December last year, and was subsequently named The Guardian’s top album of 2017.

St. Vincent Tour Poster. Credit: St. Vincent on Twitter.

Annie Clark (lead singer of St. Vincent) is renowned for her live presence which has been paired with inventive visuals on previous shows. Unlike preceding album tours however, MASSEDUCTION has seen her remove the live band off stage and present herself as a solo act instead.

St. Vincent will play three dates in August this year. One at the Edinburgh Playhouse on the 26th, Leeds O2 Academy on the 28th and finishing at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge on the 29th. Pre-sale has opened for the Leeds and Cambridge dates, and more details can be found on St. Vincent’s Twitter. No word yet on when tickets for the Edinburgh date will go on sale.

Brainstorm: The Orwells America’s punk rock future

For most bands these days success certainly does not come quickly or easily. Yet Illinois garage rock starlets, The Orwells, have enjoyed an explosive start to their career. A new album, Terrible Human Beings, is released on 17th February. Featuring production from Jim Abiss, who’s work ranges from the Arctic Monkeys debut to Adele’s world conquering 21, the album will be followed by the first UK tour kicking off in Glasgow on the 1st March. First forming 2009, whilst still in high school they had a demo picked up by local blogger Justin Gage who signed them to his Autumn Tone label.


The Orwells, the Illinois five piece kick off their UK tour in Glasgow on March 1st


After graduation from High School, a well-received first album was released, although it failed to get much traction. In 2014 they released their second LP Disgraceland. Appearances followed on Later…Live With Jools Holland and a memorable appearance on The David Letterman Show, in which the crowd demanded and encore. Along with this lead single from Disgraceland, the thumping anti-capitalist punk of “Who Needs You” gained some much needed exposure when included on the GTA V soundtrack. So far so good for The Orwells, who still have an average age of only 23.

However more than their age its the music that sets The Orwells aside. Rough and ready punk and garage rock, played with an intensity and maturity bands with years more experience fail to live up to.

With Terrible Human Beings we find a band ready to push this initial success into a new level. The four tracks released already on streaming sites show a newfound level of creative scope. Buddy, is a short sharp punk work out. Clocking in at under one and a half minutes they crash through it in the care free style reminiscent of the Misfits or Ramones. Yet at the other end of the spectrum lies the seven-minute epic Double Feature. A slow burn rock groove that builds into a thrashing guttural finale, a difficult move to pull off for a band known for short raw songs, yet its a step in a different direction they hand with aplomb.

The album was recorded at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, creating a sound the band describe themselves as one of “mutilated pop songs”. For Terrible Human Beings, enigmatic lead singer Mario Cuomo stated, “we wanted to make songs that at their core are catchy and pretty, then slash them up.”

Along with the swampy rock of Body in the Bayou their other pre-album release is a direct tribute to the Pixies, in both lyrics and style, with “Black Francis”. Guitarist Matt O’Keefe makes no issue of denying the inspiration, “The Pixies were an obsession when we were writing this album. I think that’s where a lot of trying to make the songs and the guitar parts very simple was coming from, because the Pixies are kings of that. We’ve always been a simple band, but this time it was about trying to keep everything straightforward, nothing flashy.”

With their first full UK tour kicking off in Glasgow at Stereo on the 1st of March and taking in seven dates across England ending in London on the 7th, The Orwells will be looking to make a impact on UK shores this spring.

      Double Feature – The Orwells latest release from the upcoming album Terrible Human   Beings

Brainstorm : BRAINWAVE Mini Mix

Here’s a mini mix of the best music so far this month, from the tape deck of the saddest reactionary around, Peter Carson.

1.Hand Habits – All the While
2.Padillion – My Way
3.You’ll Never Get to Heaven – Images
4.Cray – Infinity Signs
5. 아버지 – Voices
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