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10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Antics That Wouldn’t Fly Today

todayAugust 28, 2021 3

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Part of the appeal of rock in the early days was that it wasn’t polite. Quite honestly, there’s a lot of antics from back then that wouldn’t fly today.

These were loud people singing about controversial topics you weren’t supposed to be singing about. Things end up coming back around, though — now, the following slip-ups seem very dated.

Here’s just a selection of some rock star behavior that would probably get the offending parties canceled today. Get ready to have the idea of some of your favorite rockers’ infallibility totally ruined as we dive into 10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Antics That Would Not Fly Today.

  • John Lennon

    Yes, I am fully aware that The Beatles are one of the greatest bands of all time. That doesn’t mean that everything the band did was great, though. Take this intro, for example, where you have Paul McCartney asking the fans to clap along and John Lennon mimicking him with what appears to be a demeaning dance meant to mock the mentally impaired. Oh, John, I hope you found peace in the afterlife because you’d be in for a firestorm of controversy if you were still doing this schtick nowadays.

  • Blind Faith

    Eric Clapton could probably fill an entire list like this with his antics alone. From his infamous race remarks back in the day to the questionable things he’s saying in the press now, Slowhand surely hasn’t made the best of his decisions in the public eye.

    So how is the crown jewel of bad taste the cover of this album? Notice how it’s just the band? That’s because the original version of this cover shows a topless prepubescent girl holding a model airplane that many found to be phallic in nature. I’ll let you take a wild guess as to why that never took off.

  • David Lee Roth

    David Lee Roth’s schtick works perfectly onstage, but things seem to get a lot more sleazy past the barricade. To motivate his stage crew, the former Van Halen singer reportedly enacted a “roadie incentive” program, giving each of his roadies five backstage passes to hand out to appealing young ladies at their discretion. As the story goes, the roadie who delivered the woman Diamond Dave ended up sleeping with that night would get a pay bonus.

  • Def Leppard

    After running around onstage for hours at a time, there comes a point when you’re going to need a breather. Though Def Leppard knew when to take a break, some members had a more, let’s say, ill-advised way of doing things.

    As revealed in a Behind the Music episode on the band, certain Def Leppard rockers would take five underneath the stage — with up to 60 naked girls for company. It went so far that “mothers and daughters [were] performing sexual acts,” according to rock photographer Ross Halfin, though the story has been refuted by at least one Def Leppard member.

  • Led Zeppelin

    Many can recall the infamous Led Zeppelin “mudshark incident,” when the band members were said to have pleasured a groupie with a shark. But no one seemed to call attention to the Houses of the Holy album art until Facebook banned it (then reversed the ban on learning what it was). The album cover, which features naked children climbing up some kind of mountain, is clearly not the most PC thing, and it probably wouldn’t be issued as album art today. While it looks cool — in an ominous sort of way — the possibility of such an image being flagged as child pornography isn’t an outlier these days.

  • W.A.S.P.

    W.A.S.P. are wild enough to earn themselves a spot on any parent’s shit list, from their profane lyrics to guitarist Chris Holmes’ infamous pool scene in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. What takes the cake, though, is their live shows.

    While launching pieces of a dead pig into the audience would have triggered alarm bells from PETA, having a semi-naked woman hung from a rack onstage — as if to be tortured — probably wasn’t the best idea, either. Stunts like that at Rammstein shows might be expected, but it’s easy to assume the worst coming from W.A.S.P. with song titles such as “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).”

  • Ted Nugent

    There’s practically a laundry list of Ted Nugent attributes that make him one of the most reviled rock figures. But I’m not even going to talk about his political leanings or his commitment to hunting. No, I’ll instead point out Nugent’s sexual proclivities back in the day.

    When Nuge was around 30 years old in 1978, he began a relationship with a 17-year-old girl, Pele Massa, and rumors persist that he became her legal guardian to continue the relationship. Parts of the story are unproven, but the musician himself said in a Behind the Music episode that he “got the stamp of approval of [the] parents” of the young girls he wooed. Nugent has denied adopting Massa.

  • Nikki Sixx

    For many rock fans, there’s nothing wrong with an artist admonishing venue security for roughing up concertgoers. Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx crossed a line, though, at a 1997 show in North Carolina, going so far as to call a security guard a racial slur when reading him the riot act. Though not much came of it at the time, it’s the kind of incident that would break Twitter overnight if it happened in modern times.

  • Dave Navarro

    Some of the wildest musical party animals probably can’t hold a candle to what guitarist Dave Navarro was up to backstage with Jane’s Addiction. For instance, as he recalls in his 2004 book, Don’t Try This at Home: A Year in the Life of Dave Navarro, he once went into what he called his backstage “orgy room” to shoot some heroin, and there found three naked women using the space for its intended purpose. Talk about a wild night.

  • Keith Moon

    If all of the Keith Moon stories we’ve heard are true, chances are the guy would probably be in a mental hospital these days. Aside from his incredible drumming with The Who, his hotel room trashing was the stuff of legend — tales of igniting cherry bombs in toilets and throwing TVs out of windows abound. But Moon also killed a man once — accidentally — when he ran over his chauffeur and bodyguard Neil Boland. Moon was charged in the case but received an absolute discharge (essentially, a sentence with no punishment) once the coroner ruled it an accident. It’s the kind of story that very likely would have gotten him blackballed now. When you are Keith Moon, however, it’s just a historical footnote.



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