It’s pretty awesome to be a rock star. You get to make money for jumping around in front of screaming fans hooting and hollering like an idiot. But with great power comes great responsibility, and rock stars have to uphold a reputation for balls-out mayhem. Here’s ten incredible stories of hardcore partying and excess by rock ‘n’ roll royalty.
The Los Angeles metal scene of the 1980s was a hotbed for bad behavior, with long-haired Lotharios getting up to all kinds of hijinks. During the early days of Motley Crue, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee made a gross wager to see who could go the longest without showering. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, as the headbangers became increasingly caked with Sunset Strip scum. It all came to a head — no pun intended — when Nikki was receiving fellatio from a groupie and she got so nauseated that she threw up her spaghetti dinner all over his manhood and the undigested noodles got stuck in his pubic hair.
When you start bringing in that major label money, it gives you carte blanche to follow any of your passions. Some rockers collect cars, some collect underage Thai prostitutes, but Guns & Roses guitarist Slash had more unconventional desires. He bought animals. At one point, Slash had nearly 100 exotic snakes living in his home, but the best story of the long-haired guitar god and an animal comes from G &R’s world tour during which he picked up a mountain lion as a pet and brought it around the globe with the band. In Beijing, Curtis (the name of his exotic new pet) escaped from his cage and started tearing up his hotel suite until he could be sedated.
Rock stars like ’em young, but Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler takes that cliche to a disturbing level. In 1975, the singer became enamored with a 14-year-old groupie named Julia Holcomb, but statutory rape laws meant that the cops would interfere with anything he had planned. So Tyler, in an act of ballsiness that boggles the mind, actually convinced Holcomb’s parents to sign over custody of their daughter to him. With the rock star as her new legal guardian, Julia moved to Boston and shacked up with Tyler for three years, eventually getting pregnant and having a traumatic ’70s abortion.
One frequent target of rock star debauchery is the hotels they stay in after the show, and no musician was as hard on his lodgings as Who drummer Keith Moon. The most notorious tale of Moon being a bad hotel guest comes from a Flint, Michigan Holiday Inn that hosted the Who in 1967. The show at a local high school football stadium was on the day of Moon’s 21st birthday and he got plastered, starting a massive food fight that spiraled out of control. Moon had a chunk of a tooth knocked out and was taken to the hospital, where he was refused anaesthetic due to the amount of alcohol in his system. While he was getting emergency surgery, the rest of the band trashed the hotel, destroying a piano and throwing furniture into the pool. They were presented with a bill of $24,000, which in 2015 dollars translates to $171,000.
It’s easy to forget that punk rock started out as something truly terrifying. Before Hot Topic got a hold of them, punkers were considered the absolute scum of the earth, and one story recounted in Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk demonstrates that. When Ramones bassist Dee Dee found himself in a London bathroom with his Sex Pistols counterpart Sid Vicious, Sid asked him if he had anything to get high off of. Dee Dee gave Sid some of his heroin, and Vicious proceeded to pull out a syringe, stick it into a filthy toilet full of urine and vomit, and use that liquid to shoot up.
You’ll see the white thread of cocaine winding through a good number of these stories. Colombian marchin powder inspires people to do all sorts of dumb stuff, but when you refine it into crack things really get wild. Ask funk pioneer Rick James, who was arrested in 1991 on torture charges for kidnapping and imprisoning a woman named Frances Alley and holding her hostage for two days in his home, forcing her to have sex and burning her with a hot crack pipe. James was busted again in 1993 for doing virtually the same thing to music executive Mary Sauger in a hotel room, because some people never learn.
Here’s another tale that involves the demonic influence of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, but let’s be fair: he’s basically an innocent bystander in this one. When the Crue were touring with Ozzy Osbourne in 1984 in support of Bark At The Moon, the legendary Sabbath singer showed the younger generation how it was done. Ozzy and Sixx proposed a gross-out contest that Osbourne promptly won by pulling out a straw and snorting a line of ants, then pissing on the floor and licking it up. Not to be beaten, Sixx pulled out his pecker and started peeing as well, only to be bested by Ozzy licking his urine as well.
The Rolling Stones are some of the most notorious rock ‘n’ roll bad boys of all time, and their lead guitarist has done more drugs than many of us have had hot meals. Although tales of Keith getting so wasted he had to have a total blood transfusion are urban legends, the real deal is still uncontrollable. Probably the most bizarrely decadent moment in Keith’s drug career came when he snorted up his dead father’s ashes. When a stiff wind blew some of the cremains onto a table, Keith dipped a finger and honked them up his blowhole, sending his father into eternity with Colombia’s finest export.
Typically, partying like a rock star is a quick trip to the grave, as the human body can only take so much before it gives out. Leave it to Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde to turn that on its ear and actually have partying make him live longer. In 2009, Wylde was taken to the hospital during a tour after complaining of leg pain. Doctors found three huge blood clots in his leg, and after he got a full work-up Wylde was told that he’d been suffering from clotting for years, and in fact three massive clots had traveled through his heart and into his lungs. This would kill a normal man, but Zakk’s prodigious intake of alcohol had kept his blood so thin over the years that the clots were able to pass without damage. Don’t try this at home, kids.
One of the most notorious tales of hotel room excess comes courtesy of Led Zeppelin, the hard rock band that spawned a thousand imitators. When the Zep were touring in Seattle, their managers put them up at the Edgewater Inn, a classy hotel right on the banks of Puget Sound — you can fish from some windows, where they pleasured a woman with a shark. The presence of fresh seafood gave the naughty lads an idea or two, and in a tale recounted in 1985 Zep bio Hammer of the Gods, the band proceeded to bring a comely redheaded groupie into their room and violate her privates with a mud shark.
Written By: K. Thor Jensen
All photos via Getty Images