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13 Fantastic On-Stage Rock & Roll Freak Outs

A couple days ago my Tumblr-Sphere exploded with discussion of Billie Joe Armstrong’s “freak out” at the I Heart Music Festival in Las Vegas. Though it first seemed like the coolest thing Green Day had done in years (“yeah! Stick it to the man! I don’t want to be an American Idiot either!”) it ultimately turned out to be just another rich celebrity losing their temper and then promising to go to rehab to make up for it.

Things don’t always have to be this disappointing. Here are 12 Rock Stars who had freaked out in fantastic ways and handled furstration way better than Billie Joe did.

13 Fantastic On-Stage Rock & Roll Freak Outs Anything
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  1. 1

    Bille Joe from Green Day Fights a Guy


    Yeah, Green Day themselves come first, because you don’t even have to go all that far back to see them punk-rocking out and not apologizing for it. In 2006, Armstrong ended a song by shouting into the audience:

    “Hey, why don’t you come here you little mohawked motherf*cker? You wanna fight? I’ll fight you right now. C’mon, get up here on the stage.”

    It’s impossible to say how much of this is posturing. Being on stage pumps so much adrenaline through the average performer that they feel like a temporary God, and even a fake-punk band like Green Day (I mean, I love ‘em but... come on) can’t let themselves be seen as anything less than take-no-bullsh*t hardasses.

    But the crowning moment comes when the singer actually takes a running leap into the crowd, with both legs together in a flexed kick that looks like it could’ve broken some teeth if it actually connected.

  2. 2

    Kurt Cobain Hits a Guy With His Guitar


    During a performance of Love Buzz in Dallas, Texas, Cobain managed to get in a fight with his bouncer.

    Cobain jumps into the mosh pit, because that’s an awesome thing to do, but while he’s pulling himself back on stage one of the bouncers (accidentally, probably) grabs the singer’s hair and tries to lift his whole weight just by that. Cobain’s reaction is to nail the guy in the face with his Fender Jaguar two or three times. As soon as the bouncer retaliates, both Noveselic (the bassist) and Dave Grohl (the drummer) instantly stop playing and come to their friend’s defense.

    This one really doesn’t seem like it’s anyone’s fault. It’s a punk rock show that got a little too punk rock.

  3. 3

    Kanye West Auto-Tuned “Eat Sh*t and Die”


    After someone threw a penny at him, Kanye West lost his temper and improvised this little auto-tuned number:

    “You should be ashamed of your f*ckin’ self
    whoever did that
    You playin’, go f*ck yourself
    eat sh*t and die.
    eat sh*t and die.”

  4. 4

    Shirley Manson (Garbage) Is Just Awesome


    In case you need to be told, it is not a good idea to spit on Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson, especially when she’s on stage. This tiny Scottish woman is freaking Goddess when she sings. Her demeaner, her voice, and especially her singing captures all the raw anger, frustration, sex and heartbreak that makes up the backbone of classic rock and roll. I’d bet on her in a screaming match against anyone else on this list.

    That video’s not a fluke -- this is just who she is. In another show, after she saw a fan throwing things at other concert-goers and putting them in danger, she launched into a brutal explanation of exactly how f*cked that boy was.

    Her exit line was “I’m on my period, I can eat meat.

    I have no idea what that means but you can be damned sure I’m not throwing anything at her shows.

  5. 5

    System of A Down: Stage Fight


    In the middle of a performance of “Suite Pea”, bassist Shavo Odadjian gets blindsided by a fan who seems to rush out of nowhere and pummel the musician for a few seconds before guitarist Daron Malakian rushes over and body-slams both of them.

    Serj Tankian, the vocalist, never actually stops singing.

  6. 6

    Maynard James Keenan (Tool) Fights Fan on Stage


    In the middle of a performance of “Pus**t”, Tool’s singer Maynard James Keenan was getting sick of a particular fan who kept breaking through the bouncers and climbing up on stage to wave his arms around like an idiot. So the singer grabbed him, flipped him over his hip, and pinned him to the ground -- all without missing a single note.

    He even launches into the chorus while tangled into a human pretzel made of equal parts wiry strength and pudgy stupidity.

  7. 7

    Henry Rollins (Black Flag) Fights Some Dude


    Henry Rollins is the rare breed of punk rocker that actually looks like they could beat someone up. Just based on the size of his arms, its clear he could turn most of the rockers already mentioned on this list into soup.

    So while this video is one of the simpler ones on this list, it’s also one of the most painful to watch, because you know that guy didn’t realize what he had gotten himself into, and he’s definitely not having fun anymore.

  8. 8

    Frank Carter of Gallows Is Angry All the Time

    Once the loudest band in the world, Gallows’ reputation as a British-as-all-hell Hardcore band was pretty quickly overshadowed by the fact that lead singer Frank Carter really liked to punch people. You can see him giving a long explanation as to why he loses his temper and fights people so much only to lose his temper and fight someone:

    Or you can watch someone lunge onto the stage and beat the crap out of the skinny redhead:

    Or you can just watch one of their live performances, because most of them involve hitting people.

    This band is awesome, but for all the wrong reasons.

  9. 9

    Killswitch Engage: “Punch In the Face, Or Leave?”


    Of everyone on this list, no one is having more fun than Killswitch Engage’s (now former) lead singer Howard Jones. After getting frustrated with a member of the audience who keeps trying to start a fight, Jones offers him a simple ultimatum: “Either I punch you in the face, or you have to leave.”

    The man considers his options for some time, and even ends up on stage with Howard lining up to punch him at one point, but ultimately chickens out and leaves. Howard seems slightly disappointed by the fact that he didn’t get to punch anyone, but the crowd never seemed to stop enjoying it.

  10. 10

    L7: “Eat My Used Tampon”


    L7 never really got the same attention as their peers in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but they definitely deserve the attention for, if nothing else, this. When technical difficulties gave them trouble during their set and the crowd reacted by throwing mud on the stage, lead singer Donita Sparks responded by shouting:

    ”Alright I got a present for y’all. Eat my used tampon, f*ckers.”

    And then reached inside her pants and threw her used tampon into the crowd (which promptly threw it back).

    When asked about it, Sparks said that if they were invited to the same festival the next year, she would be giving birth on stage and “eating the placenta.” Alright, then. Moving on.

  11. 11

    Dallas Green (Alexisonfire) Kicks A Guy Out


    This is a great companion piece to Grohl’s anger because it shows an entirely different way to handle a similar situation. Post-Hardcore Band Alexisonfire singer Dallas Green is pissed off that people are talking during his show, so he stops everything and kindly asks them to leave. No anger, no shouting, no swearing, just a very firm “get out.” He even offers to pay them their money back.

    After they’re gone, he carries on conversationally:

    “I was trying my best to let it go. It’s been what, three, four songs? Should’ve done that when he f*ckin’ fell on you in the very first song, I apologize.”

    Sheesh. What a nice guy.

  12. 12

    Dave Grohl Kicks Out Fan For Fighting


    There’s something pretty satisfying about seeing Dave Grohl, the nicest guy in Rock, defending his fans from an irate concertgoer. The camera doesn’t show the audience so we can’t see exactly what happened, but Grohl’s sudden anger is palpable:

    “You don’t f*cking fight at my show, mother f**ker. … Hey, in the striped shirt. Look at me. Look at me. Get the f*ck out of my show right now. You don’t come to my show and fight you come to my show and f*cking dance you assh*le.”

    It’s almost like you can see the kettle boiling over -- Grohl’s been a headliner for a long time, and he’s become a bit of an Officer Murtaugh of rock. As badass as his verbiage is, he still comes off like a guy who’s just a bit too old for this sh*t.

  13. 13

    Some... F*ckin’ Guy?


    Dunno who this is, but it’s pretty crazy when, for totally unknown reasons, he quits the band at the beginning of a cover of “Shot Through The Heart”

    This is mostly notable for how the singer handles it -- whoever he is, God love him, because the moment when he half-heartedly tries to finish singing the song after his guitarist has left him hanging is priceless.

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