Tales of Rock – 20 of the Craziest Rock Star Confessions

 

 

The best kind of wild rock 'n' roll stories are the ones that come from the artists' own recollections. Wild parties, drug binges, run-ins with the law and questionable romantic entanglements – these only scratch the surface of rock stars' wildest admissions. Read on for rock royalty's most lurid confessions over the years, in their own words. 

The best kind of wild rock ‘n’ roll stories are the ones that come from the artists’ own recollections. Wild parties, drug binges, run-ins with the law, and questionable romantic entanglements – these only scratch the surface of rock stars’ wildest admissions. Read on for rock royalty’s most lurid confessions over the years, in their own words.
DAVE SIMPSON, WIREIMAGE

Slash's 2007 eponymous biography contained plenty of eye-popping stories about his wild years with Guns 'N Roses, from the time he ran naked across a golf course during a drug binge to Axl Rose staging a sexual encounter in a recording studio to spice up their song “Rocket Queen." He explained, "We lit up some candles for atmosphere, then (the woman) and Axl went out into the live room, got down on the floor by the drum riser, and we recorded (their) performance," he recalled. "Enjoy it – it’s right there in the final mix."

Slash’s 2007 eponymous biography contained plenty of eye-popping stories about his wild years with Guns ‘N Roses, from the time he ran naked across a golf course during a drug binge to Axl Rose staging a sexual encounter in a recording studio to spice up their song “Rocket Queen.” He explained, “We lit up some candles for atmosphere, then (the woman) and Axl went out into the live room, got down on the floor by the drum riser, and we recorded (their) performance,” he recalled. “Enjoy it – it’s right there in the final mix.”
KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES

Unsurprisingly, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has enough crazy stories to fill a book. His 2010 memoir "Life" contained an anecdote from his younger years when he was driving his bandmates in his car, which was filled with hidden drugs. "I had a denim cap with all these pockets in it that were filled with dope," he said. "Everything was filled with dope. In the car doors themselves, all you had to do was pop the panels, and there were plastic bags of coke and grass, peyote and mescaline. Oh my god, how are we going to get out of this?" he recalled asking himself.

Unsurprisingly, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has enough crazy stories to fill a book. His 2010 memoir “Life” contained an anecdote from his younger years when he was driving his bandmates in his car, which was filled with hidden drugs. “I had a denim cap with all these pockets in it that were filled with dope,” he said. “Everything was filled with dope. In the car doors themselves, all you had to do was pop the panels, and there were plastic bags of coke and grass, peyote, and mescaline. Oh my god, how are we going to get out of this?” he recalled asking himself.
KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE

Richards, whose past drug use is well-documented, also famously admitted to NME magazine in 1997 that he ingested his father's ashes, which he mixed with cocaine. "My dad wouldn’t have cared," he said. "It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.” 

Richards, whose past drug use is well-documented, also famously admitted to NME magazine in 1997 that he ingested his father’s ashes, which he mixed with cocaine. “My dad wouldn’t have cared,” he said. “It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”
DOMINIC TARLE/EPA

The members of Mötley Crüe – Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx –collaborated on the 2001 autobiography "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band," featuring pithy stories like this one from Lee: “I announced to everyone that I was embarking on a solo tour. Not a music tour, but a tour of drugs and prostitutes.” 

The members of Mötley Crüe – Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx –collaborated on the 2001 autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” featuring pithy stories like this one from Lee: “I announced to everyone that I was embarking on a solo tour. Not a music tour, but a tour of drugs and prostitutes.”
J. KIELY JR., ASSOCIATED PRESS

"The Dirt" also featured an anecdote about Tommy Lee's debaucherous 1986 wedding to his second wife, actress Heather Locklear. "Rudy, one of techs, gave us the best toast ever: 'To Tommy and Heather,' he said, raising a champagne glass. 'May all your ups and downs be in bed.' Then he took the champagne glass and smashed it over his head."

“The Dirt” also featured an anecdote about Tommy Lee’s debaucherous 1986 wedding to his second wife, actress Heather Locklear. “Rudy, one of techs, gave us the best toast ever: ‘To Tommy and Heather,’ he said, raising a champagne glass. ‘May all your ups and downs be in bed.’ Then he took the champagne glass and smashed it over his head.”
MICHAEL TWEED/AP

Six years after &quot;The Dirt&quot; came out, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx published his own book, 2007's &quot;The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star,&quot; which recounted his descent towards rock bottom. &quot;There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control,&quot; he wrote.<br /> &nbsp;

Six years after “The Dirt” came out, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx published his own book, 2007’s “The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star,” which recounted his descent towards rock bottom. “There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control,” he wrote.
VALERIE MACON, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

One of rock 'n' roll's most shocking &ndash; not to mention cautionary&nbsp;&ndash; tales come from Marilyn Manson, who claimed in a&nbsp;1995 interview with High Times that he ground up human bones and smoked them.&nbsp;&quot;It was terrible,&quot; he said. &quot;It smelled like burnt hair, gave you a really bad headache and made your eyes red.&quot;

One of rock ‘n’ roll’s most shocking – not to mention cautionary – tales come from Marilyn Manson, who claimed in a 1995 interview with High Times that he ground up human bones and smoked them. “It was terrible,” he said. “It smelled like burnt hair, gave you a really bad headache, and made your eyes red.”
CHRIS PIZZELLO, INVISION/AP

&ldquo;It was (a decadent lifestyle),&rdquo; Manson told Spin in 2003 about his recording process. &ldquo;I think (collaborator Trent Reznor) felt unable to deal with it, and it crumbled our relationship. I would go to bed at 7 a.m., wake up at 4 p.m. and then begin drinking and doing drugs. The funniest point &ndash; which is something I just watched a videotape of &ndash; was a day when I wore only a blond wig, a Burger King crown and a paper towel tube around my (expletive). I walked around like that in broad daylight. To me, that&rsquo;s true rock &amp; roll, and I&rsquo;m not afraid to go there again.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &nbsp;

“It was (a decadent lifestyle),” Manson told Spin in 2003 about his recording process. “I think (collaborator Trent Reznor) felt unable to deal with it, and it crumbled our relationship. I would go to bed at 7 a.m., wake up at 4 p.m. and then begin drinking and doing drugs. The funniest point – which is something I just watched a videotape of – was a day when I wore only a blond wig, a Burger King crown, and a paper towel tube around my (expletive). I walked around like that in broad daylight. To me, that’s true rock & roll, and I’m not afraid to go there again.”

JACK FORDYCE / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Perhaps rock 'n' roll's craziest 21st birthday party belonged to The Who's late drummer Keith Moon, who recounted the night's&nbsp;bacchanalia at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, in a&nbsp;1972 Rolling Stone interview.&nbsp; &quot;By the time the sheriff came in I was standing there in (my) underpants,&quot; he recalled. &quot;I ran out, jumped into the first car I came to, which was a brand new Lincoln Continental. It was parked on a slight hill and when I took the handbrake off, it started to roll and it smashed straight through this pool surround [fence] and the whole Lincoln Continental went into the (Holiday) Inn swimming pool, with me in it. We&rsquo;d also destroyed a piano. Completely destroyed it. Reduced it to kindling. And don&rsquo;t forget the carpet. And the Lincoln Continental in the bottom of the pool. So I got a bill for $24,000.&quot;

Perhaps rock ‘n’ roll’s craziest 21st birthday party belonged to The Who’s late drummer Keith Moon, who recounted the night’s bacchanalia at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, in a 1972 Rolling Stone interview.  “By the time the sheriff came in I was standing there in (my) underpants,” he recalled. “I ran out, jumped into the first car I came to, which was a brand new Lincoln Continental. It was parked on a slight hill and when I took the handbrake off, it started to roll and it smashed straight through this pool surround [fence] and the whole Lincoln Continental went into the (Holiday) Inn swimming pool, with me in it. We’d also destroyed a piano. Completely destroyed it. Reduced it to kindling. And don’t forget the carpet. And the Lincoln Continental in the bottom of the pool. So I got a bill for $24,000.”
S. THORGERSON, ©HIPGNOSIS

Such hijinks are not solely the domain of men.&nbsp; Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick shared her own tales in her 1999 book, &quot;Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir.&quot;&nbsp;A sample: &quot;Having ingested the entire contents of the mini-bar in my hotel room before I arrived at the venue for the show, I stuck my fingers in this guy's nostrils just because I thought they'd probably fit.&quot;

Such hijinks are not solely the domain of men.  Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick shared her own tales in her 1999 book, “Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir.” A sample: “Having ingested the entire contents of the mini-bar in my hotel room before I arrived at the venue for the show, I stuck my fingers in this guy’s nostrils just because I thought they’d probably fit.”
REED SAXON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis detailed his history of bad behavior in his 2005 autobiography &quot;Scar Tissue. Recounting one example of excess, he and guitarist&nbsp;Hillel Slovak, a fellow heroin addict, were trying to steer clear of that drug while on tour.&nbsp;So instead they&nbsp;would drink copious amounts of&nbsp; Jagermeister because it &quot;gave us the feeling closest&quot; to that drug's high.&nbsp;The Jagermeister high was at least enough to prompt Kiedis to &quot;take off all my clothes in the motel and walk down the hall and knock on people's doors.&quot;&nbsp;

Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis detailed his history of bad behavior in his 2005 autobiography “Scar Tissue. Recounting one example of excess, he and guitarist Hillel Slovak, a fellow heroin addict, were trying to steer clear of that drug while on tour. So instead they would drink copious amounts of  Jagermeister because it “gave us the feeling closest” to that drug’s high. The Jagermeister high was at least enough to prompt Kiedis to “take off all my clothes in the motel and walk down the hall and knock on people’s doors.”
AMY HARRIS, INVISION/AP

Kiedis also recalled meeting a girl on tour in the mid-'80s and bringing her on their tour bus, only to have the encounter go terribly wrong. &quot;'I&nbsp;have something to tell you,'&quot; she told him.&nbsp;&quot;'My father's the chief of police and the entire state of Louisiana is looking for me because I've gone missing. Oh, and besides that, I'm only fourteen.' &quot; How did he react?&nbsp; &quot;I wasn't incredibly scared,&quot; he wrote, &quot;because in my somewhat deluded mind, I knew that if she told the chief of police she was in love with me, he wasn't going to have me taken out to a field and shot, but I did want to get her the (expletive) back home right away.&quot;

Kiedis also recalled meeting a girl on tour in the mid-’80s and bringing her on their tour bus, only to have the encounter go terribly wrong. “‘I have something to tell you,'” she told him. “‘My father’s the chief of police and the entire state of Louisiana is looking for me because I’ve gone missing. Oh, and besides that, I’m only fourteen.’ ” How did he react?  “I wasn’t incredibly scared,” he wrote, “because in my somewhat deluded mind, I knew that if she told the chief of police she was in love with me, he wasn’t going to have me taken out to a field and shot, but I did want to get her the (expletive) back home right away.”
FERNANDO BIZERRA/EPA-EFE

In a&nbsp;2014 Reddit AMA,&nbsp;AC/DC's Angus Young described the time&nbsp;his guitar amplifier caught on fire while he was recording his the solo for 1977's &quot;Let There Be Rock.&quot; &quot;Yes, it was on fire and I had to keep playing until the end, because my brother was in the control room, and yelling out 'KEEP GOING!' &ndash; so I had to keep going until the thing kind of went into meltdown,&quot; he wrote. &quot;And on this album, 'Rock or Bust,' we had the same thing ... my amp just went on fire. And I didn't even know! I thought it was a cigarette going. But (producer Brendan&nbsp; O'Brien) was shouting out, 'Ang, you're on fire!' &quot;<br /> &nbsp;

In a 2014 Reddit AMA, AC/DC’s Angus Young described the time his guitar amplifier caught on fire while he was recording his solo for 1977’s “Let There Be Rock.” “Yes, it was on fire and I had to keep playing until the end because my brother was in the control room, and yelling out ‘KEEP GOING!’ – so I had to keep going until the thing kind of went into meltdown,” he wrote. “And on this album, ‘Rock or Bust,’ we had the same thing … my amp just went on fire. And I didn’t even know! I thought it was a cigarette going. But (producer Brendan  O’Brien) was shouting out, ‘Ang, you’re on fire!’ “
WINSLOW TOWNSON/INVISION/AP

The drug habits of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry were so legendary, they became known as the &quot;toxic twins.&quot; In Tyler's 2012 autobiography &quot;Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?&quot; he recounted how Perry kept &quot;vials of coke with straws in them at the back of the stage, and when the lights would go out he&rsquo;d go over there like he was checking something or making a guitar change and (a roadie) would put the straw in his nose; he&rsquo;d take a hit, then the lights would come on again.&rdquo;

The drug habits of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry were so legendary, they became known as the “toxic twins.” In Tyler’s 2012 autobiography “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” he recounted how Perry kept “vials of coke with straws in them at the back of the stage, and when the lights would go out he’d go over there like he was checking something or making a guitar change and (a roadie) would put the straw in his nose; he’d take a hit, then the lights would come on again.”
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In his &quot;I am Ozzy&quot; memoir, &nbsp;Ozzy Osbourne revealed the cocaine-inspired original title of Black Sabbath's 1972 album &quot;Vol. 4.&quot; He wrote,&nbsp;&quot;For me, 'Snowblind' was one of Black Sabbath's best-ever albums &ndash; although, the record company wouldn't let us keep the title, 'cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn't want the hassle of a controversy.&quot;

In his “I am Ozzy” memoir,  Ozzy Osbourne revealed the cocaine-inspired original title of Black Sabbath’s 1972 album “Vol. 4.” He wrote, “For me, ‘Snowblind’ was one of Black Sabbath’s best-ever albums – although, the record company wouldn’t let us keep the title, ‘cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn’t want the hassle of a controversy.”
FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi elaborated on Osbourne's wild behavior in a 1992 interview with Guitar World. &quot;We were all in an elevator in this real plush hotel, and Ozzy decides to (relieve himself). As he's doing it, the elevator is going down to the reception floor. The door opens suddenly &ndash; and there's Ozzy with his pants around his knees. And all these people in fur coats are just staring at him with their mouths open.&quot;

Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi elaborated on Osbourne’s wild behavior in a 1992 interview with Guitar World. “We were all in an elevator in this real plush hotel, and Ozzy decides to (relieve himself). As he’s doing it, the elevator is going down to the reception floor. The door opens suddenly – and there’s Ozzy with his pants around his knees. And all these people in fur coats are just staring at him with their mouths open.”
RUSTY KENNEDY, AP

Iggy Pop detailed his raucous 1970s in the anthology &quot;Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.&quot; He noted that one time,&nbsp;he was confronted by Elton John in a gorilla costume, and was so high he thought Elton was a real gorilla. &quot;I'd taken so many downers the night before, they threw me in the bushes, just left me in the shrubbery next to the Days Inn. I woke up and I couldn't talk ... I could barely stand up, and that night Elton John came out onstage in a gorilla costume. I was like, 'Oh my god! What do I do?' I couldn't fight him.&quot;

Iggy Pop detailed his raucous 1970s in the anthology “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.” He noted that one time, he was confronted by Elton John in a gorilla costume, and was so high he thought Elton was a real gorilla. “I’d taken so many downers the night before, they threw me in the bushes, just left me in the shrubbery next to the Days Inn. I woke up and I couldn’t talk … I could barely stand up, and that night Elton John came out onstage in a gorilla costume. I was like, ‘Oh my god! What do I do?’ I couldn’t fight him.”
NAOMI RAHIM, WIREIMAGE

In his 2011 memoir &nbsp;&ldquo;Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,&rdquo; Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar (bottom left) detailed the band's&nbsp;infamous backstage changing areas, which the band and its crew referred to as &quot;sex tents.&quot; He shared more details in an interview that year with&nbsp;&nbsp;Boston&rsquo;s WZLX 100.7 FM. &quot;I&rsquo;d walk down there when Eddie (Van Halen) was doing his solo, but sometimes there&rsquo;d be four or five girls down there, which was to my order. Sometimes it was and the roadies were just like, &lsquo;Hey, these girls wanted to meet you.&rsquo; And I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;Here I am!&rsquo; &nbsp;You start changing your clothes because they&rsquo;re all sweaty. You have a 20-minute break, and it&rsquo;s like, next!'&quot;<br /> &nbsp;

In his 2011 memoir  “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar (bottom left) detailed the band’s infamous backstage changing areas, which the band and its crew referred to as “sex tents.” He shared more details in an interview that year with  Boston’s WZLX 100.7 FM. “I’d walk down there when Eddie (Van Halen) was doing his solo, but sometimes there’d be four or five girls down there, which was to my order. Sometimes it was and the roadies were just like, ‘Hey, these girls wanted to meet you.’ And I’m like, ‘Here I am!’  You start changing your clothes because they’re all sweaty. You have a 20-minute break, and it’s like, next!'”
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sting's 1998 biography &quot;Demolition Man&quot; delved into the singer's tantric sex habits, in which he would hold himself back while making love for several hours at a time. He later debunked the rumors about it during a 2014 &quot;Inside the Actor's Studio&quot; interview.&nbsp;&quot;If we had seven hours, I would demonstrate,&quot; he said. &quot;Maybe not. But there is some truth to it. The idea of tantric sex is a spiritual act. I don't know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, 'sacrament.' I would stand by it. Not seven hours, but the idea.&quot;

Sting’s 1998 biography “Demolition Man” delved into the singer’s tantric sex habits, in which he would hold himself back while making love for several hours at a time. He later debunked the rumors about it during a 2014 “Inside the Actor’s Studio” interview. “If we had seven hours, I would demonstrate,” he said. “Maybe not. But there is some truth to it. The idea of tantric sex is a spiritual act. I don’t know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, ‘sacrament.’ I would stand by it. Not seven hours, but the idea.”

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Tales of Rock – Rock ‘n Roll Mugshots

But some stars take acting out to a whole new level, and their deeds—or rather, misdeeds—cross the thin blue line that separates the legendary and the illegal, and brings them straight into the police station. Sure, charges related to sex and drugs may not be entirely unexpected for rock-n-rollers, but larceny, aggravated assault, and even murder are also in the mix below.

c. 1938
Frank Sinatra, aged 23, poses for a mugshot after being arrested and charged with “carrying on with a married woman” in 1938 in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1947
Jazz singer Billie Holiday’s mugshot in May 1947, when she was 32. She was arrested for possession of narcotics and served eight months in prison.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1963
The first of three mugshots of Jim Morrison of The Doors. Here, aged 20, Morrison had been arrested on September 28, 1963, on charges of petty larceny, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and public drunkenness at a football game in Tallahassee, Florida. Morrison made fun of the players and the crowd and went so far as to steal an umbrella and a police officer’s helmet from a police car. Charges were dropped, but Morrison was fined.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1967
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, aged 18, posed for his mugshot on March 15, 1967, in Yonkers, New York. He was arrested for possession of marijuana.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1968
Jim Morrison’s second appearance, on January 29, 1968, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he was 25. On this occasion, Morrison was detained at the Pussycat a’ Go-Go bar for public drunkenness and vagrancy.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1969
Jimi Hendrix poses for a mugshot after his arrest for narcotics possession at Toronto International Airport on May 3, 1969, in Toronto, Canada.
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1970
Jim Morrison in Dade County, Florida, in September 1970. His arrest was for an incident a year previously, at Coconut Grove, Florida. Morrison was charged with a felony for lewd lascivious behavior, two misdemeanors for public profanity, two for public exposure, and one for public drunkenness—all while on stage.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1976
David Bowie was arrested in March 1976, after a performance in Rochester, New York, for possession of around half a pound of marijuana. Three others were detained with Bowie, including Iggy Pop. They were all released on bail after three hours.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1976
Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested by Memphis police in November 1976 and charged with public drunkenness and gun possession.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1978
Bassist Sid Vicious of punk band The Sex Pistols poses for his mugshot after being arrested by New York City police for allegedly murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen on December 8, 1978 in New York City.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1980
An 18-year-old Axl Rose posed for the above Lafayette, Indiana police mugshot in July 1980. It was the first of at least five arrests for Rose.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1982
David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash was arrested by Dallas police in April 1982 and charged with drug and gun possession.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1984
John Osbourne (aka Ozzy Osbourne) was arrested by Memphis cops in May 1984 and charged with public intoxication.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1986
Kurt Cobain, singer of the Grunge band Nirvana, was arrested by Aberdeen, Washington police in May 1986, for spray painting the phrase “ain’t got no whatchamacallit” on vehicles.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1988
James Brown posed for this South Carolina Department of Corrections mug shot in December 1988 after a jury found him guilty of aggravated assault, weapons possession, and failure to stop for police. His “failure to stop” saw Brown flee police across two States. When police blew out two of his tires, he drove on the rims for six miles. He served three years—one of a number of periods in prison.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images

 

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Tales of Rock – 20 Craziest Rock Stars in History

It is said that the golden age of deranged rock stars is over. Gone are the TV-throwing, groupie-loving, drug-abusing stars that our parents idolized and subsequently forsook when parenthood came. In many ways, the legendary anecdotes about these rock stars’ antics were inseparable from the music and won them legions of adoring fans. Most of today’s stars tiptoe around controversy and focus more on informing their social media followers about the banal events of their daily lives. The worst crimes modern musicians are guilty of are tempestuous love lives. But is the near-extinction of crazy rock stars to be lamented?

You can make your own mind up as you peruse this list of history’s 20 craziest rock stars. Here, we will look at the lives and crimes of some of the 20th century’s biggest stars. But though this list contains some of the usual suspects – John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ozzy Osbourne – it is truly a connoisseur’s collection, and doubtless, you will not have heard of a few musicians whose obscurity should not detract from the decadence and eccentricity of their behavior. So dig out your dad’s dusty old vinyl, pour yourself a stiff Jack Daniels and coke, and enjoy!

Lemmy, with his signature Rickenbacker bass, performing in France, 2011. The Verge

1. Lemmy was kicked out of his first band for his excessive drug use but didn’t let up

Lemmy Kilmister rose to fame as the bassist for the acid-drenched space rock band, Hawkwind, but was kicked out for taking too many drugs. Lemmy’s iconic band, Motörhead, was named after the nickname Hawkwind gave him for his overindulgence in amphetamine and cocaine. A hard drinker and drug user for most of his life, as long ago as 1980 Lemmy was refused a blood transfusion on the grounds that ‘I had become so toxic, mostly from all the speed and alcohol, that fresh blood would have killed me’. He also bedded over 1000 women over his miraculously long life.

Lemmy was known as much for his appetite for sex, drugs, and alcohol as for Motörhead, but his relentless daily diet of 40-Marlboro-Red and a bottle of Jack Daniels actually helped to hone his distinctive, gravelly singing voice. He did make one concession to old age, however. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011, he swapped Jack Daniels and coke for vodka and orange. Despite his great fame, Lemmy remained a down-to-earth man, unlike some of the other prima donnas on this list. His death on Christmas Eve 2015 forever ruined the holiday season for millions around the world.

Jerry Lee Lewis’s mugshot from his arrest at Graceland, Memphis, November 1976. Pinterest

2. Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested at Graceland with a loaded gun

It is a miracle that ‘The Killer’ is still knocking around at the age of 82. His dynamic stage presence, and general mistreatment of the piano, were echoed by a tempestuous private life enjoyed in fifth gear. Jerry developed an addiction to prescription pills in the early sixties, and at its peak would quite literally take pills by the fistful. He washed these down with gallons of whiskey, and this diet helped to fuel his violent and arresting stage show. Simultaneously, he developed a worrying love of firearms, and took pistols and machine guns both on tour and on stage!

Drugs, alcohol, and guns don’t mix, and The Killer almost lived up to his nickname when he accidentally shot his own bassist with a .357 Magnum. Some still believe that he murdered his fifth wife in 1983, which he strongly denies. In 1976, he was also arrested outside Elvis’s mansion, Graceland, outrageously drunk on champagne and wielding a firearm. He still maintains that Elvis had requested his presence. Most controversially, he almost hijacked his own career when he married his 13-year-old cousin in the late 1950s. As of 2018, The Killer has been married 7 times and still performs live.

John Bonham performing at Madison Square Garden, New York, May 1977. Pinterest

3. John Bonham rode a motorcycle through a hotel lobby… twice

John Bonham’s legendary status as a hell-raiser is such that including him on this list seems almost lazy. However, it would be remiss to exclude the lynchpin of Led Zeppelin, the band that invented the hotel-trashing tradition and defiled a groupie with a red snapper (yes, the fish). A talented and powerful drummer, Bonham’s antics included riding a motorcycle through a hotel lobby twice, numerous drink-fueled assaults, and sleeping with countless fans. Even his decadent bandmates struggled to deal with an inebriated Bonham. Oddly, he also purchased a 100-acre farm in England, which bred award-winning Herefordshire Cattle. Go figure.

Where Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, dabbled in strange, esoteric practices (including buying the Satanist Aleister Crowley’s old house by Loch Ness), Bonham’s excesses were more straightforward rock’n’roll debauchery. Unfortunately, his capacity for alcohol finally failed him in 1980 when, at the age of 32, he died after one mammoth drinking session too many. The coroner’s report revealed that Bonham had sunk the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka over a day, and choked on his own vomit. Bonham’s importance to Led Zeppelin was such that they disbanded immediately after his death, only reforming for a one-off show in 2007.

Keith Moon (left) performing with The Who at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969. Pinterest

4. Keith Moon: they didn’t call him ‘Moon the Loon’ for nothing!

Drummers are proverbially crazy, and Bonham’s close friend, Keith Moon of The Who, certainly lived up to the reputation. Nicknamed ‘Moon the Loon’, Moon’s energetic style was crucial to the band’s legendary sound. He loved explosives, and used them not only in his own performances but would hide M-80s in friends’ drum kits. As well as destroying his own equipment on stage, he once responded to being booed off stage in Saskatchewan by chopping up all the furniture in his hotel room with an axe he brought with him: ‘just trying to keep myself out of trouble, mate’, he explained.

Beyond wanton vandalism, Moon’s main indulgence was pills. Pills fuelled both Moon’s onstage performances and personal life, which included such memorable moments as knocking his own front teeth out whilst naked at his 21st birthday party in Flint, Michigan. The Who were politely asked never to return to Flint. Alcohol was another indulgence, and through the 1970s Moon quaffed two bottles of champagne and two bottles of brandy on quiet days around the house. His love of groupies was also to cost him dearly when he returned from a US tour and gave his long-suffering wife the clap.

Moon’s love of practical jokes was legendary. He had a public broadcast system installed on his Rolls Royce and would drive around London’s suburbs making convincing and terrifying public service announcements. Bands touring with The Who could expect to encounter exploding toilets, have their equipment tampered with, and Moon filling their beds with realistic toy spiders. Unfortunately, the drink, drugs, and reckless regard for personal safety caught up with the self-proclaimed ‘world’s greatest Keith Moon-type drummer’ in 1978. On 7th September, Moon died after overdosing on pills ironically prescribed to help him sober up. Like Bonham, he was just 32.

Jim Morrison, Copenhagen, 1968. Pinterest

5. Jim Morrison was arrested multiple times for indecency

Jim Morrison’s erotic stage presence, controversial lyrics, and beguiling persona made The Doors one of the biggest bands in the world. Unfortunately, his long hair, promiscuity, and substance abuse often brought him into conflict with the conservative establishment. In 1967, Morrison was maced by a New Haven police officer after being found with a girl before a performance, and his tirade against the force in that evening’s show saw him arrested for public obscenity. In 1969, he was again arrested for encouraging his audience to strip naked and allegedly exposing himself in Miami (he was posthumously pardoned in 2010).

Like many in the sixties, Morrison experimented with drugs, but like many of his musical peers, he also wildly overindulged. Morrison alternated between heavy drinking and dropping LSD, which he believed helped his creative powers, and also indulged in speed. Unfortunately, far from helping him, these habits actually curtailed his career. According to a psychopathology journal article, ‘Jim Morrison is an exemplary case showing that heavy drinking and the abuse of LSD, mescaline, and amphetamines damages the capacity to realize creative motivation’. Reclusive, overweight, and bearded, the former ‘Lizard King’ died in Paris at the age of 27.

Captain Beefheart (centre), Lancashire, UK, 1972. YouTube

6. Captain Beefheart ran his band like the Manson Family

Captain Beefheart was the even cooler, less-famous, drug-taking version of his childhood friend, Frank Zappa. Although he never achieved mainstream success, Beefheart’s magnum opus, Trout Mask Replica, is a staple of ‘greatest albums ever’ lists. To prepare for the challenging and boundary-pushing release, Beefheart ran his band like a religious cult, exercising terrifying levels of control over their emotions and creative input, and feeding them a cup of soybeans a day for eight months of solid rehearsing. Although Beefheart maintained that he did not take drugs, listening to Trout Mask Replica and interviews with his surviving bandmates suggests otherwise.

Drummer John French recalled how he was ‘screamed at, beaten up, drugged, ridiculed, humiliated, arrested, starved, stolen from, and thrown down a half-flight of stairs’ by Beefheart. The Captain also drank heavily, which may lie behind some of his unusual methods of band management. His eccentricity will never be equaled: he had a four-octave range, and thousands of record company executives thirsting to sign him, but Beefheart marched to the beat of his own drum, and instead released baffling songs like ‘Neon Meate Dream of an Octafish’. After releasing Ice Cream for Crow in 1982, Beefheart became a reclusive painter.

Don’t do drugs, kids… Keith Richards, New York, 2015. Billboard

7. Keith Richards snorted his dead father’s ashes

Over his miraculously long life, Keith Richards has been busted for drug possession on numerous occasions, and in 1977 police raided his London home found heroin, marijuana, Mandrax tablets, a rifle, a handgun, and 110 rounds of ammunition. He was cleared of all 25 charges against him, thanks to a wonderful lawyer. In 1966, he was tripping so hard on acid during a party at his Sussex mansion that he thought the police raiding his house were ‘blue dwarves’.

On the Stones’ 1975 US tour, Richards snorted cocaine after every song, and around the same time he survived smoking cannabis laced with strychnine. In 2002, aged 59, he snorted his dead dad’s ashes: ‘he was cremated, and I couldn’t resist, he explained. In the late 1980s, he stayed awake for nine days straight, then fell asleep standing up. Only recently has Richards showed any sign of slowing down. Aged 74, he is finally sober because ‘drugs are so bland these days… anyway, I’ve done ’em all. But fear not: ‘I’m not saying I’m definitely off all of this stuff.

Ozzy Osbourne (right) with Black Sabbath, England, 1970. Wikimedia Commons

8. Ozzy Osbourne bit the heads off doves and a bat

Where to start with Ozzy Osbourne? Whole books deal with the man’s excesses since he first shuffled onto the stage with Black Sabbath in 1968. One year, he took acid every day, ‘to see what would happen. Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe (see below) once saw him snort an entire line of ants by a swimming pool. Whilst in Black Sabbath, he developed such a penchant for cocaine that he and his bandmates had the stuff flown in by private plane. Eventually, even the easy-going, stoned hippies in Sabbath got sick of Ozzy’s drug habit and sacked him in 1978.

Unsurprisingly, Ozzy can’t remember many of the following incidents. Promoting his debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, an inebriated Ozzy bit the heads off two live doves in a publicity stunt gone wrong. He topped this by biting the head off a live bat on stage, albeit mistaking it for a toy. Most notoriously, his long-suffering wife, Sharon, took to hiding his clothes to stop him sneaking out and partying every night on tour in 1982. Undaunted, Ozzy simply donned her evening gown, got unbelievably wasted, and was arrested at 9 am the next morning whilst urinating on the Alamo Cenotaph.

Again promoting Blizzard of Ozz in 1980, Ozzy was having dinner with CBS Records executives in Germany when he grew bored. Climbing on the table, Ozzy began a sultry striptease, goose-stepped naked across the table, urinated in the wine carafe, kissed the chief executive on the lips, and then dangled his testicles in the receptacle for good measure. Despite Black Sabbath’s (unwanted) association with Satanism, Ozzy is actually a committed Christian, but this didn’t stop him accidentally drugging a vicar who ate a slice of cake laced with Afghan hashish. The confused vicar woke up three days later.

Steven Tyler, London, 1976. Morrison Hotel Gallery

9. Steven Tyler spent $6 million on drugs

Steven Tyler and bandmate Joe Perry were known as the ‘Toxic Twins’ during their drug-fueled 1970s heyday. One night their band, Aerosmith, was so high on cocaine and heroin that they managed only three songs before one member lost consciousness: details are inevitably hazy. Aerosmith even played the same song twice by accident in the same show several times. In his autobiography, Tyler estimates that he has spent over $6 million on drugs: ‘I snorted my plane, I snorted my house’, he poetically muses. Incredibly, Perry once ran up $80,000 of room service partying with the band – in 1979.

Perry has also confirmed rumors that the band employed a ‘cocaine roadie’ to keep them supplied during shows. Things got so bad that, when they reformed in the 1980s, Aerosmith couldn’t remember their own songs, and Tyler even suggested that they cover some hits he liked. These were, in fact, Aerosmith songs. Tyler and Aerosmith also indulged heavily in sex, and the ‘Toxic Twins’ both ended up with crabs from an ill-advised group sex session. But does Tyler regret his hell-raising days? ‘If it wasn’t for Peruvian marching powder, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did’.

10. Al Jourgensen was addicted to heroin for 20 years

Al Jourgensen is the frontman of pioneering industrial metal band, Ministry. Ministry emerged just as Aerosmith was cleaning up their act, and more than made up for the global reduction in drug-addicted musicians. When Warner Brothers gave the band $750, 000 to make the album Psalm 69, Jourgensen said it disappeared ‘up our arms and … up our noses’. Such heavy drug use has produced some legendary anecdotes, including the time Jourgensen blew up Ministry’s tour bus with them on it with a firework. He also beat up R Kelly for ‘freaking out’ his daughter and urinating on his piano.

Unfortunately, not all of Jourgensen’s stories about drug addiction are so entertaining. He contracted Hepatitis C from using a contaminated needle, narrowly survived overdoses on several occasions, and had a gangrenous toe amputated after a needle wound became infected. He was once only a stone’s throw from losing an arm to a spider bite suffered whilst napping on a dealer’s couch. After 20 years of heroin addiction, Jourgensen finally said goodbye to drugs forever when an ulcer in his gastrointestinal tract exploded and he lost 65% of his blood. Jourgensen now contents himself with political protest and extensive body art.

Nikki Sixx, California, 1983. Pinterest

11. Nikki Sixx died and came back to life… then overdosed again

Nikki Sixx was the bassist and main songwriter for Mötley Crüe, one of the biggest rock bands of the 1980s. In the early days on Sunset Strip, Mötley Crüe became one of the most dangerous groups to see live, with concerts often ending in fights, and the parties at the band’s shared house rarely stopped until the early hours. Money and fame simply meant more drugs, strippers, and alcohol – and Sixx developed a heroin addiction that nearly killed him. In fact, it did, clinically, for two minutes. After a shot of adrenalin directly to the heart, Sixx immediately overdosed again.

Not unlike the dynamic (drugged up) duo from Aerosmith, Sixx had a partner in crime, Tommy Lee. The pair, known as the ‘Terror Twins’, would egg one another on to push themselves to wilder and wilder extremes, and on one tour of Europe, they would smash bottles over each other’s heads and swallow light bulbs whole for fun. Heroin addiction and abuse every other drug under the sun also brought many crippling low points: ‘there is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by a Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously out of control’, he mused.

Vince Neil (left), Donington, UK, 1984. Kiwi

12. Vince Neil killed his friend while driving while drunk – to go get more booze

With the wildly infamous antics of Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil is often forgotten. Neil’s main rock star passions were drugs, alcohol, and sex. And lots of it. Neil recalls one particular highlight in his life: ‘looking down on it from the helicopter, with a bottle of Jack in my left hand, a bag of pills in my right hand, and a blond head bobbing up and down in my lap, I felt like the king of the world’. Neil’s philandering ways saw him sleep with the most beautiful and iconic women of the 1980s.

In 1984, Mötley Crüe hosted yet another party, when the alcohol ran out. Both terribly intoxicated, Neil and Razzle, the drummer of Finnish glam metal band Hanoi Rocks, went to replenish supplies at a liquor store. Perhaps inevitably, Neil’s Pantera collided with an oncoming car, killing Razzle and leaving the occupants of the other vehicle with severe brain damage. A distraught Neil was given 30 days in jail, 5 years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to pay a $2.6 million compensation bill. The episode still haunts Neil, and he believes that his sentence should have been harsher.

Mötley Crüe fans will be shocked that we’ve got this far without telling the infamous ‘egg burrito’ story. Well, here it is. In their heyday, Mötley Crüe struggled to balance having sex with fans and maintaining relationships with long-term girlfriends. Their solution? Continuing their infidelity, and hiding the olfactory evidence of having sex with dozens of women a week by rubbing their intimate parts with egg burritos, in order to mask the scent. ‘We would tell our girlfriends, “Oh, we dropped the burritos in our laps”. The girlfriends thought we were a bunch of clumsy slobs’, chuckles Neil. Yuck.

Marilyn Manson gets friendly with a security guard, an act for which he was later arrested and sued, Detroit, 2001. cities

13. Marilyn Manson smoked drugs laced with human remains

Marilyn Manson was the undisputed public enemy number one throughout the 1990s. Aligning himself with Charles Manson, becoming an ordained minister of the Church of Satan, and naming an album Antichrist Superstar shocked millions of conservative Americans, who picketed his concerts and petitioned for a blanket ban on Manson’s albums. Early concerts saw a mixture of blasphemy and violence against himself, bandmates, and audience alike, and Manson often received fellatio on stage. Recording Antichrist Superstar in New Orleans, Manson and his band found old bones poking out of the ground in a graveyard near their studio… and smoked them.

Manson is a complicated figure, by equal parts an intelligent and articulate man yet also a drug addict who has made some questionable decisions and been arrested on numerous occasions (see above). An appearance on the Phil Donahue show in 1995 illustrates this. In full androgynous make-up and stage gear, Manson told an appalled, conservative audience some home truths: ‘I think parents should raise their kids better or someone like Marilyn Manson is going to’. In 1999, Manson was unjustly blamed for the Columbine Shooting. His intelligent and thought-provoking response, in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, is worth seeking out.

Dead (second left) with Mayhem, Norway, 1991. William Pinfold

14. ‘Dead’ of Mayhem used to inhale the scent of death from a crow in a bag

You probably haven’t heard of Per Yngve ‘Dead’ Ohlin, but you sure won’t forget him in a hurry. Dead was the frontman of the pioneering Norwegian black metal band, Mayhem, for three years between 1988 and 1991. Though he would have hated being labeled a rock star, Dead’s concert performances fit the bill. The band wore scary make-up like others before them, which they called ‘corpse paint’. Dead cut himself on stage, and prepared for performances by burying his clothes for days to smell of rot and inhaling the fumes of a dead crow he kept in a bin bag.

This bizarre ritual allowed Dead to perform shows ‘with the stench of death in his nostrils. In 1991, Dead lived up to his stage name and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. His Monty Python-esque suicide note simply read: ‘Sorry about the mess’. Finding Dead’s body, his bandmates removed fragments of the skull to make necklaces, made lumps of gore into a broth that they ate, and took photographs of the carnage. One of these bloody images became the cover art for a bootleg live album, Dawn of the Black Hearts. It’s what Dead would have wanted.

A bloodied Iggy Pop, on stage with The Stooges, Los Angeles, 1974. FFW

15. Iggy Pop once defecated on stage and cut himself at every show

Iggy Pop today is a perennially shirtless, leathery, reptilian icon of a bygone age. But in his pomp, Iggy was one of the most dangerous and self-destructive performers in the world. Iggy’s on-stage antics – picking fights with the crowd, cutting and exposing himself – made his first band, The Stooges, irresistible to teenagers wishing to rebel. The band, and most of all Iggy, had serious drug problems to go with the legal issues arising from their live performances and disbanded several times. On one occasion in 1973, a bikini-clad Iggy defecated behind an amplifier then threw the excrement at the crowd.

All that cocaine, heroin, and pills made Iggy utterly fearless. He is widely credited with inventing the stage dive. In 1977, he responded to being heckled by bikers in Warren, Michigan, by performing a 45-minute version of Louie, Louie with improvised lyrics that insulted the leather-clad gang, then challenging them all to a fight, single-handed. He lost. If you want to get a sense of Iggy’s drug problem and wacky sense of humor, there are numerous bemusing interviews on YouTube. Now sober, Iggy had aged incredibly well and spends his days practicing Qigong. He still performs, and frequently records new music.

Axl Rose performs at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, London, 1992. GQ

16. Axl Rose incited numerous riots and spent $13 million and 15 years recording a dreadful album

Although he has done his fair share of drugs, and much of his strange behavior can be attributed to an alcohol problem, Axl is chiefly on this list for his diva-like personality. Axl frequently turns up late to Guns’n’Roses shows, to the fury of his long-suffering fans, for spurious reasons, including once because he was leisurely finishing a roast dinner. Over the years, Axl’s poor timekeeping has frequently kept fans waiting several hours, and even when he finally makes an appearance there is no guarantee that he will play more than a few songs. It depends on what mood he’s in.

Axl certainly likes doing things his own way. In the early 1990s, he killed a moth with a shotgun instead of a swatter like a normal person. He has been arrested numerous times after reacting badly to everything from having his baggage checked at airports and objecting to having his photo taken at concerts. In 1993, Guns’n’Roses set about recording Chinese Democracy. $13 million and 15 years (during which the other members of Guns’n’Roses were either fired or quit because of Axl’s erratic behavior) later, the prize turkey that is Chinese Democracy was finally released to a changed and underwhelmed world.

Ray (left) and Dave Davies, England, 1964. Pinterest

17. Dave Davies’s temper got The Kinks banned from America

Dave Davies found fame in his late teens as the lead guitarist of The Kinks, the English band who is sometimes credited with inventing heavy metal (on the song, ‘You Really Got Me’). Despite their great success, The Kinks were a wildly dysfunctional band, with Davies constantly fighting his older brother, Ray, the band’s lead singer. Where Ray responded to fame by settling down with his childhood sweetheart, Dave, who had been expelled from school at the age of 15 for being caught having underage sex, responded by racking up a significant drug habit and a litany of sexual conquests.

Dave was extremely volatile. On stage in 1965, he started a fight with the band’s drummer, Mick Avory, who responded by knocking the cocky guitarist out with a cymbal stand. Such common incidents, and brawling with staff from the Dick Clark show, got The Kinks banned from America for four years and prevented them from achieving global stardom. Ray was no shrinking violet, either, and once sprinted 6 miles across London to punch his agent. Dave and Ray still hate each other: whilst Dave recovered from a major stroke at Ray’s house in 2004, they argued so much that Dave left.

Courtney Love with Kurt Cobain and daughter Frances Bean, Los Angeles, 1993. Spin

18. Courtney Love existed on drugs and sugar

Courtney Love can lay claim to the title of ‘most controversial woman in rock’. From her troubled teenage years as a drug user and stripper, she rose to mega-stardom as Kurt Cobain’s wife and lead singer of the band Hole. Hole concerts were chaotic and peppered with inebriated rants, Love flashing the audience, and fighting. She first used heroin at Charlie Sheen’s house in the early 1990s, and her addiction was so bad that she continued to shoot up during her pregnancy. Owing to her erratic persona, and no small amount of jealousy, conspiracy theorists have accused her of murdering Cobain.

Love has been arrested numerous times. Long-haul flights, in particular, seem to bring out the worst in her. She was arrested for intimidating stewards in 1995 after refusing to take her feet off the window. In 2003, her violent confrontation with a stewardess grounded a plane until she was arrested. The same year, she was arrested outside her manager’s house after breaking windows and threatening to burn them down. Sadly, her life is still a battle against addiction. In a restraining order filed in 2009, her daughter alleged that Love existed on ‘Xanax, Adderall, Sonata and Abilify, sugar, and cigarettes.

Rick James at the 2004 BET Awards, shortly before his death, Los Angeles, 2004. Blogspot

19. Rick James spent $7,000 a week on cocaine and kidnapped two women

Rick James slapped his bass to funk stardom in the 1970s, but his love of music was in constant competition with his other great loves: drugs and sex. He developed early in both respects, losing his virginity at 9 and taking heroin and marijuana in his mid-teens. These two passions landed him in legal difficulties, which for a long time prevented him from reaching the heights of his hated rivals, George Clinton and Prince. But when his star finally did rise, so too did his use of cocaine and the number of broken hearts he left in his strutting wake.

Throughout the 1980s, James covered the windows of his Beverley Hills mansion with tinfoil to smoke crack in peace. Over a 5-year period, James spent $7, 000-a-week on cocaine. His increasing dependency resulted in some harrowing and strange incidents. In 1991, he and his future wife were arrested for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman during a, particularly heavy cocaine binge. Whilst on bail for the crime, the pair kidnapped and beat another woman for 20 hours. James was convicted of both kidnappings and spent 2 years in Folsom Prison. He died in 2004, obviously with cocaine in his blood.

GG Allin performing in 1992, location unknown. Revolver

20. GG Allin ate his own feces and attacked his fans

Rick James certainly took things way too far, but in this, he is surely outdone by GG Allin. Born to religious parents, GG’s real name was actually Jesus Christ Allin, because his father was convinced that the boy was the son of God. Instead, he grew up to be the most disgusting and mentally disturbed rock star in history. Allin’s concerts with his bands, the Texas Nazis and the Murder Junkies, usually involved him stripping naked, defecating, then smearing himself with (or eating) his own feculence and attacking the audience. He also cut himself and inserted things into his rectum.

You will not be surprised to hear that Allin was arrested 52 times, for his antics both on and off stage, and suffered from a serious addiction to heroin and alcohol. After numerous threats to commit suicide on stage, Allin finally died in 1993. That day, he had been chased from his final concert, naked and covered with blood and feces, through the streets of Manhattan, before attending a party where he overdosed on heroin. Allin called himself ‘the last true rock and roller’, but we are surely all relieved that no one has since tried to take his crown.

 

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7 Grounding Techniques To Calm Anxiety When You’re This Close To Losing It

Because it happens to all of us. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life. But as I’ve gotten older I learned to rewire my brain and spank those demons and make them pay.

And you can too.

No one is immune to feeling anxious at least on occasion. And no matter who or what it is that sparks your pending eruption, knowing how to calm down the anxiety and anger you feeling when you’re seriously this close to losing it can save you and those around you a lot of collateral damage.

Life happens, and a simple chain of events can slowly stoke a fire within you. Then all it takes is one “he said/she said” or “they did/they didn’t” to push you across the threshold into this close-to-losing-it territory.

Once you’ve learned some effective grounding techniques and coping skills for calming anxiety, calling upon them can be far more empowering than impulsively unleashing your fury ever will be.

Here are seven tips on how to calm down when you’re feeling anxious using simple grounding techniques and positive coping skills.

1. Excuse yourself, gracefully

Leave the room, the situation, the area, or park the car, but get yourself to a safe place. That can even mean staying right where you are until the heat of it subsides.

It may be a big test of your inner strength not to storm out of a situation while huffing, puffing, slamming chairs and doors, but do it with grace anyway.

Depending on the circumstance, leaving may not be possible or ideal. Take a deep breath before asking for a time out (or simply informing them that you are taking one), and be sure to do so in a calm and controlled way — even if you have to fake it.

Graceful exits may also mean hitting pause by drinking a glass of water and feeling it dampen your fire. If no water is handy, you can imagine it.

Leaving in a civilized way, either literally or virtually through a pause, versus going into full throttle bulldozer mode can be the step that helps quell your eruption from spewing.

2. Put pen to paper

Intense anxiety or anger can be vanquished by saying what you feel you have to say on paper rather than directly to the object of your frustration.

Kick it old school by handwriting everything that is on your mind so you can vent about this current situation.

The benefits of handwriting as opposed to typing it into a text message or email are twofold:

  • You can’t accidentally click send and unleash your unfiltered thoughts, feeling, and words into someone’s inbox
  • When you finish venting, you can shred the pages with your bare hands (another bonus), leaving no digital trace that may inadvertently be found later

Handwriting has been proven more cathartic than typing, and as well as to help improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills. And being this close to losing it needs solving.

And as explained by Eric Grunwald of MIT’s Global Studies and Languages Department, “Freewriting, a writing strategy developed by Peter Elbow in 1973, is similar to brainstorming but is written in sentence and paragraph form without stopping. Thus, it [increases[ the flow of ideas and reduces the chance that you’ll accidentally censor a good idea,” which can add another level of efficacy in reducing your angst.

3. Visualize the old heave-ho

Fantasizing about flipping the desk over, clearing the table in one swipe, or playing Frisbee with your laptop. It feels good and satisfying, doesn’t it?!

Visualization, also known as imagery, has been a tool employed by Olympians and other elite athletes for decades, and there is much evidence backing its efficacy for putting desired outcomes into motion without ever leaving the room.

How far can you imagine your laptop will actually fly? How well does it bounce?

Keeping your action-packed fantasy in your head allows you to see the action, feel your muscles contracting, hear the thud of your desk, taste and smell the scene in excruciating detail, without leaving an unpleasant mess to clean up afterward.

When you are this close to losing it, you are so wrapped up in the instant gratification of the moment that you don’t see the final scene — the one where you have to pick up the pieces and clean up the debris, all while shrouded in regret, remorse, guilt, and shame for literally following through with your actions.

4. Get tactile

When you are in overdrive and your foot is fully depressed on the accelerator on the thisclose freeway, take the off-ramp by redirecting some resources from that feeling and shifting them to a tactile action like counting your toes.

With the bulk of your attention invested in your current state, very little of you is connected to the physical.

Whether you are standing or sitting, wiggle your toes and notice how many you can feel. Press each individual toe into your shoe and count them, one toe and one foot at a time. Repeat and repeat again.

By counting your toes, you begin to re-ground yourself. You can go further by scanning your body and noticing how your shoe feels or how the fabrics you are wearing feel against your body or what the chair you are sitting in feels like.

This is especially effective when you are in a situation you cannot dismiss yourself from. Tuning into your body helps to calm the mind, and therefore, your emotions.

5. Catch your breath

When in a high emotional state, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, which in turn moves you closer to losing it because it’s like fanning the flames of a fire to burn bigger.

Box breathing or four-square breathing is a grounding technique used by Navy SEALs you can put into action no matter where you are and is a highly effective way to get back into control of yourself when things are reeling out of control.

  • Inhale slowly to the count of five
  • Hold for a count of five
  • Exhale slowly to the count of five
  • Hold for a count of five
  • Repeat

As Healthline reports: “According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s sufficient evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. It can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.”

Deep breathing also delivers more oxygen to the muscles you are clenching as they begin to release with each cycle you repeat, essentially disarming the cortisol accumulation simultaneously.

6. Get physical

Dropping down and doing ten push-ups to burn off your anxious or angry energy may not be appropriate at the time, but taking yourself out for a brisk walk can help.

Being in nature helps calm the sympathetic nervous system (your “fight, flight or freeze” response), and putting your pent-up energy into your pace can help to return you to calm.

Even when you can’t get outside to commune with nature, you can use the power of your mind to take you wherever you decompress best.

Maybe your happy place is a white sandy beach where the ocean waves wash all your stresses away. Or perhaps it’s riding down the open highway on your motorcycle, sitting under a tree, or climbing a mountain.

Creating or recalling an image that brings life back into perspective is only a thought away.

7. Grab onto gratitude

Chances are, in a moment when you are trying to figure out how to calm down, you are as far away from feeling grateful as you can get.

However, you always have the power of choice, and flexing your gratitude muscle may effectively diffuse the situation.

Bring to mind someone who you are wholly grateful for, or think of ten things you are grateful for in your life. Feel that gratitude infuse your body and mind.

We cannot feel fully grateful or fully enraged at the same time, so go with the positive feelings gratitude evokes.

Most importantly, you can think about how grateful you will feel for not losing it when you don’t, as well as how proud you are of yourself for keeping it together in this volatile moment in time. Remind yourself that feeling this close to losing it is temporary, and gratitude is the long game.

Keeping a gratitude journal and choosing to be intentionally grateful for the people and things that add value to your life helps sustain you in times like this.

Gratitude acts as an antidote to stress. The benefits of giving thanks in our life are endless, especially helping us to build our resilience overall.

Be aware that not any one of these tips is guaranteed to work for you every single time you need to calm yourself down.

You need to find your combination of tools to get you on the other side of losing it, and all are most effective when sampled and practiced before you need them.

Regardless of how few or how many you need to use these techniques and skills, it’s worth the effort, in the end, to find what works best for you.

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – The Wild Tale of John Lennon and Keith Richards’ Acid-Fueled Road Trip

Everybody knows that Keith Richards is un-killable. The man just simply won’t die.

Yet in a tale recounted by Richards back in 2010, it turns out the only person who could ever possibly outmatch his debaucherous habits was the one and only John Lennon.

Following an acid trip, Keith Richards and John Lennon decided to continue their adventure on the road in a blurry three-day trip across England.

The full story was originally told in a chapter from Richards’ 2010 autobiography, Life. Although Richards himself allegedly has little to no memory of the events, he was able to piece together the episode with the help of recollections from Kari Ann Moller, the wife of Mick Jagger‘s younger brother.

Over the course of three days, Richards, Lennon, and Moller decided to go on a road trip after casually dropping some acid. Richards remembers that they were accompanied by a chauffeur, although Moller remembers it more like a cramped car with an “unidentifiable passenger”. After first visiting Lennon’s wife Cynthia, the three amigos decided that the next place to go was Lyme-Regis, where they would pay a visit to Moller’s mother.

Now, it’s always a lovely idea to visit your parents. However, if you’re tripping on acid and said parents live over 250 kilometers away, it may not be such a good idea. As Richards describes in the book: “What a nice visit for her mother, a couple of flying acid heads who’d been up for a couple of nights. We got there about dawn.”

Yet before the trio could actually get to her house, Lennon was recognized by passersby and they were all kicked out of a cafe (presumably for being too high). So the gang decided the next best course of action was to sit on a beach.

According to Richards, what followed were “some missing hours” before they eventually made it back to Lennon’s house: “There were palm trees so it looks as if we sat on the Torquay palm-lined esplanade for a great many hours, engrossed in a little world of our own. We got home, and so everyone was happy.”

Apparently, at the time, Lennon had wanted to do more drugs than Richards, which is a scary thought: “It was one of those cases of John want to do more drugs than me. A huge bag of weed, a lump of hash and acid.”

Richards, who was taking a lot of acid in the late ’60s admitted the trips felt like “tapping into the dark”, and whilst bad trips were common, ultimately the thing that lured him each time was “the idea of a boundary that had to be pushed.”

Years later, Lennon and Richards would try and remember the blurry road trip: “Johnny and I were so out there that some years later, in New York, he would ask ‘What happened on that trip?’”

As per usual, Richards survived the experience and came out the other side to tell the tale, if somewhat fragmented. What wouldn’t we have given to have been a fly on the wall during the whole thing? Two of the best to ever do it, road tripping, tripping on the road.

We can only imagine what fully occurred, but you can’t always get what you want.

 

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