Weird History
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12 Stories About Rock Stars That Sound Made Up, But Aren't

Updated August 5, 2021 3.5k votes 546 voters 25.9k views12 items

List RulesVote up the stories you're surprised to find out actually happened.

If there's one thing as entertaining about rock stars as their music, it's the wild tales that circulate about their behavior. The following are rock star stories that sound fake but aren't. They involve some of the biggest names in the business, from Ozzy Osbourne, to Tupac Shakur, to Eddie Van Halen. All of them have performed outrageous antics that generated headlines. These are the antics that, on the surface, sound too bonkers to possibly be true. But they totally are. 

Perhaps it does not need to be said that alcohol and other substances played a large part in a number of these tales. Rock and roll excess is almost always fueled by such things. Taking advantage of substances is obviously not something to be glorified or laughed at. That said, the insane nature of these incidents offers undeniable fascination. In each instance, the performer in question more than lived up to the stereotypical wild-and-crazy rock star lifestyle.

Which of these true rock star stories are you most surprised to learn about? Vote up your favorites. 

  • Rock feuds are nothing new, but rarely has a rocker overreacted to a minor situation the way Eddie Van Halen did. It happened when he was introduced to Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. They decided to jam together at the latter's house. When some in attendance began using illicit substances, Van Halen bolted, leaving his guitars and equipment behind. 

    The next day, he tried to contact Durst to arrange for the return of his belongings, but Durst ghosted him. After 24 hours of frustration, Van Halen allegedly drove a literal tank to Durst's house and pulled a weapon on him when he opened the door. Perhaps needless to say, his gear was returned promptly.

    Author Andrew Bennett stated:

    Eddie once bought an assault vehicle from a military auction. It has a shine gun mount on the back and is not legal. Eddie drove that assault vehicle through L.A., into Beverly Hills, then parked and left it running on the front lawn of the house Limp Bizkit was rehearsing in. He got out wearing no shirt, his hair in a Samurai bun on top of his head, his jeans held up with a strand of rope and combat boots held together by duct tape. And he had a gun in his hand.

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  • Photo: Carlos Aguilar / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" wasn't just a song - it was practically a way of life for him. The rocker was one of the most infamous party monsters of the '80s rock scene. That lifestyle came to a head in 1989 when he was staying at Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. Over the course of his three-week stay, Idol engaged in nonstop debaucherous behavior involving women and substances.

    After trashing his room, the hotel asked him to leave. Idol refused. Their response was to call in the Thai army to forcibly remove him. He resisted them, so they hit him with tranquilizer darts and carried him out. 

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  • Photo: Aaabbbccx / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
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    Duff McKagan Drank So Much Alcohol And Did Drugs So Often His Pancreas Exploded

    It's common knowledge that excessive alcohol consumption can damage one's liver. Less common knowledge is that it can apparently wreak havoc on your pancreas, too. Guns N' Roses member Duff McKagan found that one out the hard way.

    During the peak of his addiction, McKagan consumed as much as a gallon of vodka every day. Combining it with coke, he started to notice the toll it was taking on his body. His hair began falling out and he developed boils. Most seriously, the amount of alcohol he drank caused his pancreas to explode. Luckily, he survived what could have been a fatal medical issue. 

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  • Black Sabbath was particularly prolific when it came to outrageous rock star stories. In particular, guitarist Tony Iommi was known for wild antics. He was a frequent prankster - at least until one of his gags went incredibly wrong.

    Iommi and drummer Bill Ward did a prank where the former would pour rubbing alcohol over the latter and then light a match. Normally, the alcohol would just burn off, but on one occasion when they attempted the trick for a producer, it soaked into his clothing, literally setting Ward on fire. He writhed around on the floor, screaming. Iommi thought he was playing up the joke and dumped more alcohol on him before finally realizing the gravity of what was happening. Ward suffered third-degree burns from the stunt. According to Iommi:

    Bill says – in front of Martin – ‘Are you going to set fire to me then, Tony?’ I tipped rubbing alcohol over him. Normally it just burned off but this time it soaked into his clothes, so when I lit it he went up like a bomb. He was rolling on the floor, shouting and screaming. I thought it was part of the joke, so I poured more stuff on him. Martin couldn’t believe it. We had to get an ambulance for Bill.

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