Dad rock, that most boring of genre of music, which encompasses everything from California country to blues-inspired folk, is so snooze-inducing the musicians who play it must be the most insipid people on Earth, right? Well, not exactly. There are some boring musicians who used to be hardcore af. Before they cleaned up, there were plenty of boring bands who were crazy back in the day. Like, chainsaw-through-a-hotel-room crazy. It’s time to expand your musical knowledge with this collection of crazy musicians who calmed down with age.
With a few notable exceptions, most of the musicians who were addicts covered here had their heydays in the '70s, when their brand of dad rock peaked. While some had continued success into the 2000s, many of these dad rock musicians who did hella drugs became so boring as time went on the world stopped listening, so they started racing yachts or opened tea shops.
It shouldn't really come as a surprise that a musician, no matter how boring the music, can get up to no good on the road. All of the crazy Led Zeppelin stories you've heard exist because four lads from England had lots of money and nothing to do for hours on end, so they got into witchcraft and started shoving fish into people. The same goes for everything you’ve heard about Ozzy Osbourne. But audiences expect crazy stories about those artists, whereas the boring AF dad rock artists on this list might actually surprise you with their shenanigans.
Everyone knows Billy Joel sucks. He's just the worst. His music is boring and he looks like the dad of every guy's high school girlfriend, the one who showed you his samurai sword collection.
It turns out that, while Joel was recording "rockers" like "Uptown Girl," he was also heavily into drugs. He told Howard Stern his song "Scandinavian Skies" is about heroin, saying:
"This was back in the late '70s, I think. We were in Amsterdam, and there was all this stuff going on, so I said 'Let me see what this is like.' It got me so high I didn't know how to deal with it. You just get way out, just go to another place, and you're into the blues. All you want to hear is the blues. You start drooling, and you get sick."
But that didn't stop Joel, who continued his hard partying New Jersey ways into his twilight years. In 2004, he crashed his third car in two years. That's dedication to being hardcore.
#26 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#62 on The Best Frontmen in Rock
The singer/songwriter who proclaimed no jacket was required to listen to his album was a different kind of hardcore crazy person in his younger days than many others on this list. While Phil Collins was busy working on snooze rock staples, he was also a major rage-a-holic, according to his first wife, Andrea.
When Andrea left Phil, he told everyone she "ran off with the decorator." But, according to her, Phil drove her away by being a super violent bully who wanted to argue all the time. Also, he cheated on her. As Andrea recalls:
"I divorced him – not him me – on the grounds of his adultery and he agreed...
There was also the fact that, within a day or two of me leaving the hospital after giving birth to our son, Simon, he went off on a two-year world tour with Genesis.
He’s made a lot of money singing about the break-up of our marriage and his heartbreak, and he’s never stopped to consider my feelings or those of our children. All these years on, he’s still playing the victim, and I think it’s time he stopped."
Does this also make Phil a compulsive liar? He's some kind of monster for fabricating a tale of heartbreak just to sell records and look good in an interview. Somewhere, Noel Gallagher is cackling.
#31 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#44 on The Best Frontmen in Rock
When you think of Eric Clapton, what pops into your head? Lilting acoustic ballads? Middling white man blues rock? Well, that's probably because he used up all of his freaky powers in the '70s, doing drugs and shredding solos. In his enigmatically entitled autobiography, Clapton: The Autobiography, the guitarist describes how audiences absolutely loved it when he got super effed up and put on the worst shows possible.
"I'd wander off the stage and somebody... would have to try to persuade me to go back on. There seemed to be a post-psychedelia drunkenness that swept over everybody in the entertainment business during the early '70s. To be on stage, you were almost expected to be drunk. I remember doing one entire show lying down on the stage with the microphone stand lying beside me, and nobody batted an eyelid."
Clapton battled a three-year heroin addiction in the '70s. During the making of Derek and the Dominos' sole record Layla, the whole band was out of control with drugs and alcohol. Bandmate Bobby Whitlock recalls, "We weren't doing a bunch of drugs during our recording. But if you’re drinking whiskey and snorting cocaine and heroin it's still going to be in your system tomorrow."
#30 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#74 on The Best Singers of All Time
Moby, the human equivalent to skim milk, has never struck anyone has being all that crazy. Even at its most experimental, his music is fairly danceable, and that one "thrash" record people talk about is just a high school jock's idea of what Minor Threat sounds like, with some dandy ambient tunes tacked on and a very '90s-sounding Mission to Burma cover shoved in the middle.
That was all to say Moby is fine but boring AF. However, in the '90s, Moby was losing his mind. He was living in New York City, DJing, hanging out with a dominatrix, dating strippers, and squatting in a warehouse with people who wanted to set him on fire. As you might be able to surmise, there was a liberal use of substances.
In an interview with the Guardian (the headline of which is "There were bags of drugs, I was having sex with a stranger") about his autobiography, Porcelain, Moby described the process of looking back at his life in the 90s:
"I still recognize that person, stumbling through life without much agency. There’s enthusiasm and a good work ethic, but ultimately complete cluelessness, being baffled by everything. It’s like being a snowball rolling down a mountain. The snowball might have started kind of pure, but by the end, it’s filled with dead squirrels and sticks and rocks and wellies and garbage. You’ve got this snowball at the end, but to what extent does it relate to or resemble that original snowball?”