The ten biggest assholes in rock

Categories: Lists

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Shell Smith

Feuds, tantrums, threatening to kill the president: If you've been following rock music for the past few decades, you know that dickish behavior comes with the territory when your job involves a stage and adoring fans. Here we've assembled the reprehensible cream that has risen to the top, highlighting the assault of fans, the heckling of your own band and the drunken insults hurled at Elton John that have delighted and horrified us all. Continue on for a rundown of the ten biggest assholes in rock.

See also:
- The ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop
- The ten traits of the perfect frontperson
- The ten hottest musical pairings

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10. Liam Gallagher
While rock is full of asshole subtlety, throughout the '90s, Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher was proudly proclaiming his band to be the "best band in the world.... Better than The Beatles." There's really a whole grab-bag of assholishness to choose from with this cat. Take his ditching out on a U.S. tour to go house shopping ("I come first, before any fucker," he told paparazzi). Or when he was MIA for his band's MTV unplugged performance, only to materialize halfway through the set in the balcony, heckling big brother Noel, who was taking over vocal duties. "We're all big boys -- I was only joking," he half-apologized on Behind The Music.

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9. Ryan Adams
While marriage and sobriety have somewhat calmed his nerves today, ten years ago, Ryan Adams reportedly kicked a fan out of his own show after the ticketholder childishly requested "Summer of '69!" from the audience. Adams reportedly asked for the houselights to be turned on and refused to play a note until the fan was escorted from the venue.

8. Lily Allen
British performers often live for a kind of egomaniacal infamy in their public persona. Charmingly bitchy, like a cartoonish version of the high-school snob, Lily Allen often took aim at ex-boyfriends in her songs, while saving the vitriol she held for other celebrities for face-to-face encounters. In her early years as a MySpace-born, post-Brit-pop sensation, Allen conducted feuds with Amy Winehouse, Kylie Minogue and Bob Geldof, though her most infamous moment of assholery came when she drunkenly berated Elton John while the two co-hosted the GQ awards in 2008, blurting, "I'm forty years younger than you, Elton. I've got my whole life ahead of me."


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91 comments
jhjustice4all
jhjustice4all

this list doesn't contain gene simmons, therefore this list isn't reliable. lol

Brad Dobbs
Brad Dobbs

Before the news broke yesterday about Ace and Peter not being invited to join KISS at the RRHOF inductions, Gene and Paul were on the top ten in anybody

John Michael Alvarez
John Michael Alvarez

I'm so glad Maynard didn't make this list, only reason I even looked lol.

Ryan Hart
Ryan Hart

Queens of the Stone Age lead douche bag could very easily be on this list.

cheese.cole
cheese.cole

Maynard James Keenan.... (wine tasting where fans and buyers were told they weren't allowed to look him in the eyes, then he had a hissy fit when someone did and left mid way through) Jack White ( and his stupid feuds with any of his contemporaries) Mustane truly belongs on this list as well


Matthew Munn
Matthew Munn

No, Ted Nugent openly admits to enjoying sex with underage girls and shitting his pants to avoid the draft. These aren't rumors, these are things HE said.

Gregory Humm
Gregory Humm

Really, Ted Nugent as #1 ? I would say axle rose. PETA IS a worthless organization as well as the osama, I mean obama, administration. The Nuge is just an American backwoods type of guy.

Britt Ciampa
Britt Ciampa

In what way does filing a lawsuit against Napster make Lars Ulrich "the douchiest drummer of all time?" I'm not even remotely a Metallica fan, but I think as a musician I have a far less appreciation for music piracy. God forbid you try to get people to stop stealing your shit. But then again, its only music, that's not actually worth anything, it should just be totally free (unlike you're vegan umame double cheeseburger) duh!

KeithRamone
KeithRamone

altho i'm a fan, surprised glenn danzig missed the list.

teababe27
teababe27

Nugent is a great choice for #1. I would also include Mike Love from the Beach Boys and Dave Mustaine from Megadeth.

rlyman59
rlyman59

Nugent's is right and he was exposing the real assholes, Obama and Hillary, and where the fuck is Paul McCartney, probably the biggest asshole of them all.  Vegan, Backstabber, sellout.  He screwed up the Beatles by talking the others into getting rid of their leather Jackets and then fired their best drummer, Pete Best, just as they were taking hold of fame, all because he was afraid Best would be too popular.  Then he had the nerve to record songs like YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW and WHEN I'M SIXTY FOUR and say we never recorded anything that sucked!!!  Only a true asshole would do that.  They guy would stab your back at the drop of a dime.

Mary Lynn
Mary Lynn

Marilyn Manson and that self-righteous prick Bono!

iammarylynn
iammarylynn

Bono too...what a self-righteous prick lol

Anthony Gee
Anthony Gee

I was a little disappointed to not see Mark E Smith of the Fall in there. And I guess GG Allin's just a bit too obvious.

firesoforion
firesoforion

Paul McCartney.  I'm not trolling, just listen to everyone who's ever been in a band with him talk.  He pretty much admits to bullying Stu Sutcliffe out of the band, and George Harrison complained on the Beatles Anthology that even then, in their 60s, Paul treated him like an inferior.  He talks like he needed to write remedial musical material for Ringo, and then complains that John Lennon is more popular because his name comes first alphabetically so he changes the labels to put McCartney first on all the songs he says he had more to do with. He brags about not having so much as listened to a Who song before trying to outdo it. When Brian Epstein died he tried to bring his own father in law in as a manager, and when John brought in Yoko to try to compensate, he made her the most vilified person in the entirety of rock music.  He competes with everyone and willingly takes credit for innovations and ideas which aren't his or the band's.  And what makes him worse than anyone on this list?  He won.  

Mark Sanders
Mark Sanders

Thanks Dave/Kelsey. OH! I nearly forgot: Greg Dulli. Biggest jerk I ever interviewed.

JimTom
JimTom topcommenter

Where is Barry Fey?

Geehawd
Geehawd

Phil Anselmo is a glaring omission.

RevBF
RevBF

Ted's actually a really sweet guy that just has some issues with tact. I can understand why people would label him an asshole, simply because he has a harsh way of vocalizing his opinions, but I wouldn't necessarily put him as THE asshole just because it's not in line with ones own political theory. I'd replace him with Kurt Cobain. He did make the choice to leave his young daughter in the care of Courtney Love, another of the finalists. Offing himself without any semblance of parental responsibility is probably the biggest dick-move in music history.

MorpheusMurphy
MorpheusMurphy

I was just thinking that,Found this googling "top biggest assholes in the world"

donco6
donco6

@rlyman59 Seriously, you're still pissed at Paul for dumping Pete Best?  Let it go, man.

wandaworm
wandaworm

@Mary Lynn  Yes, because those who actually contribute time and money to causes, are bad people.  Right.   I've know one of those people you mentioned, and he was smart, gracious, and kind.  Hmmm.. which one could it be?

taliaandalyssasmom
taliaandalyssasmom

@firesoforion:  I think you might be overstating things just a TAD, don't you?! Stu left the band because he wanted to be with his fiancé, Astrid.  He wrote less-demanding material for Ringo because Ringo HAS NO VOCAL RANGE, which he would be happy to tell you himself.  John and Yoko's relationship had nothing to do with the Beatles' new manager (and, as it turned out, Paul was right in wanting his father-in-law instead... Allen KIein was a bastard crook who lost the Beatles millions of dollars after the other three hired him).  Yoko didn't need help being the most vilified person in rock music -- she did that just fine by herself.  Inserting yourself in the middle of a Beatles recording session and giving unsolicited "advice" will do that.  And what the hell do you know about the Beatles' innovations??  You'd be hard pressed to come up with one example of a music innovation that the Beatles took credit for and didn't honestly believe they discovered. 

You need to get a grip.

interpellation
interpellation

@Don Armstrong What?! Everyone I know who works in the music industry, when I ask them whose the nicest superstar in the business, they always say David Byrne. 

wandaworm
wandaworm

@Don Armstrong I waited on David Byrne at a shop I worked at.  Nice guy.  

cheese.cole
cheese.cole

....while edrich claims his band IS a just "rock" band.... id say goth rock is slightly different....and if you wanna bring goth bands into it...the list would be VERY long indeed. and personal experience says that Ogre is a bigger prick than Eldrich anyday

firesoforion
firesoforion

@taliaandalyssasmom He also said that Ringo needed chipper lighthearted material.  He *said* he was mean to Stuart because he was jealous that John had another friend in the band.  Yes, Stuart left because he wanted to be with Astrid, but admittedly bullying someone because you're jealous of them is not ok.  John and Yoko's relationship had nothing to do with the manager, but the reason for Yoko's vilification was that John was bringing her into the studio, which sounds horrible until you find out the other side of the story, which is that Paul was bringing his father in law into the studio, so it wasn't some random isolated incident, which is what I was referring to.  John was always a little weaker, less self assured and more insecure than Paul, so if Paul was doing that, you bet John needed the extra help to get his ideas across.  

And have you ever heard the story of those innovations from the perspective of any other band?  Fact is it doesn't matter whether or not the beatles "believed" they discovered something, if the Who and Jimi Hendrix were doing something in 1963 (and working with Jim Marshall to enhance it, no less), Paul can't get up on the Beatles Anthology and just say "John discovered it by accident in 1965," it's just not ok.  

MorpheusMurphy
MorpheusMurphy

@cheese.cole Oh man Ogre is actually mean to people? sad to know I am just an acquaintance Had NO IDEA,I only see him rarely and never at a show.
that is terrible.


I do agree with Andrew eldrich though OMFG that guy...

taliaandalyssasmom
taliaandalyssasmom

@firesoforion @taliaandalyssasmom 

"Chipper and lighthearted" material for Ringo isn't the same as Paul saying Ringo needed "remedial" songs, is it?  Saying that you need to write cheerful songs for someone doesn't make you an asshole.  Paul is just being realistic.  I also never said that bullying someone out of jealousy is right.  It isn't.  But he didn't "bully him out of the band."  Stuart would have left no matter how the others treated him. 

Paul's father-in-law Lee Eastman did NOT sit nose to nose with  the other Beatles while they were recording, interrupting with unneeded advice and criticism!  I don't know where you read that but it's completely ridiculous.  Yoko did that ALL THE TIME.

Lastly, Paul didn't claim any Beatles innovations that he knew were discovered by other bands.  When the Beatles used others' musical innovations, they were more than happy to give the credit where it was due.  They talked a lot about Elvis and Chuck Berry and others who influenced and inspired them. 

I'm not saying Paul was a perfect angel -- he definitely could be a real prick and a control freak to boot.  But the biggest asshole in the music industry?  Not even close!

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