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12 Fantastic On-Stage Rock & Roll Freak Outs

Updated January 30, 2020 38.2k views12 items

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 frustration way better than Billie Joe did.


  • 1

    Bille Joe from Green Day Fights a Guy

    Video: YouTube

    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

    Kurt Cobain Hits a Guy With His Guitar

    Video: YouTube

    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

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

    Video: YouTube

    After someone allegedly 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

    Shirley Manson (Garbage) Is Just Awesome

    Video: YouTube

    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.