Musician feuds that got out of hand

Musicians, being a volatile, emotional, damaged, and creative lot, understandably have spats with each other over a ton of petty crap most people wouldn't stew over for more than a second. But, while most beefs end up quickly squashed once said beefers realize how childish they're acting, some musician feuds spiral completely out of control and last forever. Here are a few that, if the combatants had to go to their room until they cooled off, they would likely die and be buried there instead.

Everybody In Van Halen vs. Everybody In Van Halen

Van Halen's got a lot of bad blood for a band whose most clever song is about ice cream. David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar regularly squabble, as there can only be one Best Van Halen Singer Ever. Roth claims Hagar isn't "credible" enough and never sold as many albums. Hagar claims Roth's voice isn't as good. Gary Cherone says anything, and everybody laughs at him and condescendingly boops his nose until he skulks away, head down.

Meanwhile, Eddie Van Halen apparently hates everybody. Hagar blasted Eddie for claiming ex-bassist Michael Anthony couldn't play bass, by counterclaiming that Eddie could barely play guitar anymore and it was impossible to sing along with him. And then there's Roth, whom Eddie called an overgrown child he can't be friends with, and whom he only works with because the fans want it. Peace, love, and rock and roll: one out of three ain't bad, right?

About the only adult here is Michael Anthony, who responded to all this crap with, "I've always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the Van Halen fans." So that's Michael Anthony's problem: he's simply too mature to rock.

Noel Gallagher vs. Liam Gallagher

Unless you're Cain and Abel, your sibling squabbles probably don't run as deep as they do for Oasis' Noel and Liam Gallagher. The two have apparently barely gotten along since childhood, making it a small miracle they formed a band in the first place. Within a few years, their infighting had overshadowed the music, with incidents like Liam hitting Noel with tambourine during a show, Liam accusing Noel of fathering a outside marriage, Liam regularly leaving during shows complaining of a sore throat, but later found somewhere drinking and smoking—you know, maybe we're starting to see who's the instigator here.

And by all accounts, Liam also started the 2009 blowup that led to Noel quitting the band and the brothers finally agreeing to be dead to one another. Apparently, Liam had canceled an important gig but managed to blame it on Noel. Tempers flared, and Liam did the one thing you never do to a musician: he broke one of Noel's guitars. That did it—Noel quit that night, and the brothers have not been together since. Liam has taken the fight to Twitter in recent years, even blaming Noel's wife for the band's break-up in early 2018 and trashing him in 2015 for using a saxophone on his Chasing Yesterday album. As he put it, "you think your [sic] all Pink Floyd...Everybody knows your just another PRICK in the wall." With rapier wit like that, it's no wonder Noel wrote all the songs.

Morrissey vs. Robert Smith

Of all the things to fight about, you'd think "Best Sad '80s Singer Guy" would bottom out the list, right behind "country with the sweetest-smelling farts." And yet, Robert Smith of the Cure and Morrissey of The Smiths/Himself have been constantly swiping at one another since the '80s. It started when Morrissey was doing what he did best: insult people. When asked during an interview who he'd shoot with one bullet: Robert Smith or some other guy, he answered "I'd line them up so that one bullet penetrated both simultaneously—Robert Smith is a whingebag." And with that, it was on, with both sides endlessly denigrating the other's music and whiny depression.

Smith has also called Morrissey "a precious, miserable bastard ... all the things people think I am," and even quipped, "If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I'll eat meat—that's how much I hate Morrissey." The Smiths singer, meanwhile, has said The Cure gives "a new dimension to the word 'crap'," and made it perfectly clear that he has never liked them. Now, Morrissey doesn't like anybody, but still. With both sides publically saying they'd happily kill the other, don't expect a conciliatory hug-and-cry session anytime soon.

Simon vs. Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel's decades of old-man acrimony started literally from the beginning. After recording their first album together, Simon ignored it in favor of touring solo abroad, which makes us wonder why he agreed to duet in the first place. After their split in 1970, they didn't work together for five years. Once they finally recorded a new tune, they bickered so much over who "owned" it, that they both released it on their own solo albums. Did they also draw a line in the middle of the studio so neither could sully the others' "side"?

Then came a historic free concert in Central Park in 1981, followed by an extended tour, but this turned out to be a very temporary reconciliation. Their planned reunion album became a solo Simon album that nobody liked, and they divorced yet again. They've reunited for quickie money tours every so often since, but each time, their differences take over and they storm off before killing one another. More recently, Simon has claimed that his resentment reached fever pitch when Garfunkel started pursuing an acting career in the early '70s, while Garfunkel has outright called Simon an "idiot" who threw away S&G potential over solo selfishness. Furthermore, he blames himself, saying his kindness toward Simon in high school "created a monster." Then, in the same interview, he said he was open to another reunion. Don't hold your breath, Artie.

Axl Rose vs. Slash

The ultimate "creative differences" spat, Axl Rose and Slash have been estranged for almost 20 years, all because Slash wants to rock, and Axl wants to do ... whatever. His near-psychotic perfectionism, plus his knack for regularly delaying shows for hours and then storming off halfway through, caused the two to self-destruct in 1996. The pair have done nothing together since — though their Coachella 2016 reunion should help cover at least some of Axl's hefty Chinese Democracy bills — and it's apparently been because Axl just didn't want to. Even when the band made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Axl didn't appear, firing off an open letter publicly refusing the invite. He probably would've hung out backstage until the next year's induction anyway.

Things have been going pretty smoothly since Coachella and they may have patched things up permanently, but if you're a fan of just having music, it probably doesn't matter: Chances are you've long since sided with Slash. Since the last Axl-Slash G&R album, he's released three solo albums, two being Slash's Snakepit albums, and two Velvet Revolver albums. Axl? One album, where he got overshadowed by a guy wearing a KFC bucket on his head.

Prince vs. Michael Jackson

From the outside, this one just looked like two pop icons jostling for world domination. Prince's For You heralded his arrival in 1978, a year before Jackson's Off the Wall put him on the map as a solo artist. Prince's 1999 and MJ's record-demolishing Thriller were released within a month of each other in 1982, with Jackson basically reigning supreme for a while as our benevolent moonwalking pop overlord. Prince's Purple Rain was next, and Jackson reportedly attended a number of Prince's tour dates at the time to suss this purple guy out.

And that was just the music. The full story was a much more complicated, bitter, and wonderfully weird affair. After a particularly heated game of ping-pong in 1985, the victorious Prince compared Jackson to Helen Keller as he left the room. In a recently surfaced audio interview from 1988, Jackson called him "one of the rudest people [he'd] ever met" and ridiculed him for falling off the stage during their 1983 on-stage collaboration with James Brown. When Jackson sought to collaborate with Prince on "Bad," according to Pop Matters, Prince mockingly sent him a song called "Wouldn't U Love to Love Me" in response. Prince was also offered a role in the "Bad" video — as the rival gang member ultimately played by Wesley Snipes — and refused because of the potential implications of that opening line: "Your butt is mine." When Jackson attended one of Prince's Las Vegas shows in 2006 as a conciliatory gesture, Prince walked up to him at one point and played bass right in his face. Jackson shot back later with all the venom he could muster, calling Prince "a big meanie." Whew. They probably never shared their Legos with each other, either.

Nas vs. Jay Z

Even if most of it is relegated to flaccid posturing on Instagram these days, the hip-hop beef has been embedded in the genre's marrow from the beginning and has yielded some of its most thrilling moments. Nas vs. Jay-Z is still the gold standard — even Jay's mom had to step in when things got too heated.

Some tame references on a few late '90s cuts notwithstanding, it was Jay dissecting Nas' career with surgical precision on 2001's "The Takeover" that really set this lyrical death match in motion. The ball was in Nas' court, and Nas took the ball, doused it in lighter fluid, and shot it out of a cannon. His "Ether" dropped a few months later and was so devastating that "ether" has become a shorthand term for having lyrically disemboweled your rival on a track.

Some fans thought it was over then and there, but Jay decided to double down and get reckless. He premiered "Supa Ugly" on Hot 97 FM before the end of the year and explicitly references having hooked up with the mother of Nas' daughter. Jay's mother was listening at the time and was so appalled that she urged her son to apologize, which he later did in uncharacteristically sheepish fashion. Hot 97 polled the fans at the time asking who they thought won the beef, and Nas came out comfortably ahead. Occasional shots were fired over the next few years, until they performed onstage together during Jay's "I Declare War" concert in 2005 and publicly quashed this musician feud. They've even recorded a couple tracks together since, tossing their differences overboard and sailing that friendship all the way to the bank.

Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour

In the great big swamp of drugs, ego, and sideburns that was the rock world of the '70s and '80s, band members fought with each other and broke up about as frequently as they tripped over their own bell-bottoms. But while John Lennon and Paul McCartney would hurl insults at each other through song and The Who would even brawl with each other onstage, Pink Floyd's demise was ultimately cemented with a lengthy court case over who was allowed to use the group's name after they disbanded. Rock 'n' roll!

Roger Waters and David Gilmour had more or less shared vocal duties for Floyd since Gilmour joined the group in 1967, but things were fraught from the beginning, to hear Waters tell it. Creative disagreements and resentments built up to the point that Waters officially quit in 1985, hoping that would be the end of Pink Floyd. So much so, in fact, that he sued his former bandmates in an attempt to stop them carrying on using the name without him. He later admitted to the BBC that this was a thoroughly uncool thing to do, in retrospect.

Waters and Gilmour have performed together since, including a headlining set at Live 8 in 2005, but these reunions have barely lasted as long as your average Floyd guitar solo. Waters claims the two will probably never be friends. They both have their own solo careers and continue to tour and release music separately, so these crazy diamonds are still shining on. Just never in the same room together.

Mariah Carey vs. Jennifer Lopez

The fact that this so-called feud is still being talked about is either a huge testament to our tendency to make a whole lot of noise over a whole heap of nothing where celebrities are concerned or an even bigger testament to Mariah Carey's Olympian capacity for throwing shade.

In 2000, a German TV network asked Carey for her opinion on a few of her contemporaries. She spoke very highly of Beyoncé, but when asked about J-Lo she simply smiled and replied, "I don't know her." Was anything malicious even meant by this, you might ask? "Who cares!" was the overwhelming response from gossip-mongers at the time, and Carey's four little words provided enough meme fodder to keep them warm and happy for many winters. J-Lo told Andy Cohen she harbored no ill will toward Carey in 2014 and hoped the feeling was mutual. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, though, she raised a few eyebrows when she was caught idly looking at her phone during Carey's performance. She claims that was just sneaky editing and bad timing. She also liked a tweet criticizing Carey's disastrous New Year's Eve performance in 2017, and all those eyebrows just about launched themselves into orbit. Carey still just maintains that she doesn't know her, while J-Lo has pointed out they've actually met several times.

The whole thing wallowed in this sort of passive-aggressive nothingness until late 2017, when Murder Inc. label owner Irv Gotti revealed the two had actually been pitted against each other behind the scenes back in the early '00s by one Tommy Mottola, a label exec and Carey's ex-husband. And so the plot thickens. What's next?

Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift

This feud between musicians all started, of course, with that infamous "Imma let you finish" interruption during Taylor's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs. What happened over the next eight-ish years was a noisy mish-mash of who did or didn't do or say this or that, more award show drama, lyrical pot-shots, Snapchat revelations, and two or three planet-sized egos. Deep breath now...

As reported by Rolling Stone, Kanye was slammed by everyone from Beyoncé to Barack Obama after his outburst and apologized profusely during an interview with Jay Leno. A few more apologetic gestures followed, but then a year or so later he slowly started backpedaling and trying to justify his actions. Even so, they seemed to have buried the hatchet by 2015, when Taylor presented Ye with the Vanguard Award at the VMAs that year.

But then Kanye dropped "Famous" in 2016, cranking (kranking?) this mess all the way back up to 11 and turning more than a few heads with the line "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b*tch famous." Taylor said she was shocked, but Kanye claimed to have gotten her blessing for the line beforehand. She denied this, and wild speculation and bickering was rife until Kim Kardashian set things straight on Snapchat, posting a full recording of the phone conversation in which Taylor's blessing had, in fact, been given. Taylor shot back with some harsh words on "Look What You Made Me Do" in late 2017, and what Ye does in response is anyone's guess.

Lindsey Buckingham vs. Stevie Nicks

There are only a few pieces of advice that can be universally handed out to just about every human being on planet Earth. First, always pay your taxes. Next, always call your mom on Mother's Day. And finally, never go into business with your significant other. Okay, so there have been a few cases of couples forming happy unions in both the home and the workplace, but when it doesn't work out, it typically doesn't work out rather spectacularly and painfully.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were a couple when they joined Fleetwood Mac in the mid-1970s. The band released Rumors in 1977, but it practically did them in. They barely spoke to each other in the studio and when it was over, everyone broke up — including Nicks and Buckingham. But the bad vibes had been brewing for a while.

The couple took out their frustrations with each other in songs. "Landslide" and "Rhiannon" were allegedly about Nicks' relationship with Buckingham, and Buckingham wrote the scathing "Go Your Own Way" about Nicks. The feud between the exes went on for years, until 2018 when the band fired Buckingham over a "disagreement," though Esquire says it was actually because Buckingham smirked during Nicks' speech at the MusiCares benefit show. Buckingham responded by suing the whole band for breach of contract. So we'll say again, don't go into business with your significant other. It might work out, but it's just as likely to end in sorrow.

Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Faith No More

At first the feud between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More was kind of cute. The two bands were both members of the fledgling funk-metal genre, and at one time Faith No More would occasionally open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So everything was pretty amicable until the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis saw Faith No More's video for "Epic." According to L.A. Weekly, Kiedis became convinced that singer Mike Patton was stealing his moves, and he worried fans would think the Chili Peppers were the copycats. But at the time, it didn't really escalate beyond the two men taking occasional verbal jabs at each other.

Then in 1999, Faith No More went on hiatus and Patton returned to his other band, Mr. Bungle. That summer, Mr. Bungle received notice that they'd been cut from the lineup at several festivals because the Chili Peppers — specifically Kiedis — were threatening to pull out of shows if Mr. Bungle didn't get the boot. So in response, Mr. Bungle performed at a Halloween show dressed as ... wait for it ... the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That was bad enough, but they then mocked the band by butchering all their songs and then pretending to inject heroin, so, ouch.

As far as we know, Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers never reconciled, though Patton claims to have no idea what the fuss was all about.

Guns N' Roses vs. Nirvana

Sometimes these feuds start off as one sided and then kind of escalate into something no one could have ever envisioned. At first, Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses was a fan of Nirvana's brand of Seattle grunge, and he even wore a Nirvana hat in one of his videos. Nirvana, on the other hand, was not so gracious, and Kurt Cobain once even called Guns N' Roses a band "that has absolutely nothing to say." Unlike Nirvana, who had loads of things to say about the smell of teen spirit. Anyway.

According to Rolling Stone, poor Axl Rose was undeterred and desperate to set up a Guns N' Roses and Nirvana tour, but Cobain wasn't having it. Eventually, Rose got all butt hurt and started trash-talking Nirvana on stage, calling Cobain a "f*ckin' junkie with a junkie wife." And then it escalated from there, with the bands taunting each other both on stage and off stage, while also throwing in the occasional jab about how the other band "can't write good music" because of course you have to stick them where it hurts the most.

Unlike some of these feuds, though, this one did not continue past Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. Condolences and apologies were forthcoming, and in 2016 former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl even loaned Rose a medieval throne to use on stage after Rose broke his foot before a tour. See, kids? It doesn't pay to hold grudges.

Nine Inch Nails vs. Marilyn Manson

Wait, you mean offstage Marilyn Manson isn't like a totally reasonable person who is not at all prone to feuding with others? No!

Yes, it's true, Marilyn Manson was involved in a long-running feud, too, and his nemesis was none other than Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. According to Alternative Nation, though, Reznor was the instigator. That's what Manson told Howard Stern, anyway — that the falling-out happened after the making of Antichrist Superstar and had something to do with a disagreement about whether or not they should all stop doing drugs.

"Trent came to me and said 'we need to stop doing drugs,'" Manson said. "The very next day ... I stopped doing drugs. Then things changed and I was the nerd." The feud escalated from there until Reznor smashed a hard drive that Manson believed contained the masters for Antichrist Superstar, and that created even more resentment.

Anyway, many words were exchanged over the years, and in 2009 Reznor called Manson "A malicious guy ... drugs and alcohol now rule his life and he's become a dopey clown." But today, the two men have reconciled, at least for the time being. Why? Because the masters weren't actually on that hard drive after all, and everything else was just a day in the life of a rock star.

Billy Corgan vs. the rest of the Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins' civil war began in 1996, when the band fired drummer Jimmy Chamberlin for his part in the overdose death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. According to Rolling Stone, singer/guitarist Billy Corgan once said it would take "a lot of tea in China" for them to take Chamberlin back, and then in 1999 they took Chamberlin back. Just a month after that, bassist D'arcy Wretzky quit the band, and the rumored reason was because Billy Corgan had become too controlling. The band disbanded completely just over a year later.

Corgan later blamed guitarist James Iha, adding, "Did it help that bassist D'arcy Wretzky was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help? No, that didn't help keep the band together, not at all."

For a while, it kind of looked like there was reconciliation and maybe even a reunion on the horizon, right up until 2018 when the band announced that a reunion tour would not include Wretzky, supposedly because she'd been invited to rejoin the band for demo sessions and face-to-face meetings but always declined. Wretzky, though, says none of that is true. "The f*cking nerve," she said, "for him to come back and say, 'Well, we haven't seen you in this long ... everyone has shown up, and you didn't? How could I? I didn't even know you were there." No happy endings for the Pumpkins, then, at least not for most of them.

Rage Against the Machine vs. Limp Bizkit

Imagine if you achieved fame and you thanked the guy who inspired you and then the guy who inspired you went, "Oh my god, world, I'm so sorry I inspired that dude." That's pretty much exactly what happened between Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit, and whatever you think about either band's music, it's gotta suck to be on the receiving end of that.

It wasn't just a case of one band not appreciating the admiration of the other, either. According to Rolling Stone, Rage got a kick in the metaphorical man parts when Limp Bizkit's video "Break Stuff" beat out Rage's "Sleep Now in the Fire" for Best Rock Video at the 2000 MTV Music Awards. As Limp Bizkit accepted the award, Rage bassist Tim Commerford crashed the stage, climbed a 20-foot fake palm tree, and refused to come down.

Even after that, Limp Bizkit regularly covered Rage songs, and sometimes even spoke enthusiastically about the band that inspired them. "This is dedicated to the rap-rock band that started this sh*t," frontman Fred Durst told an audience in 2014, just before the band played their version of Rage's "Killing in the Name." Later he told the crowd the song had changed his life.

Durst's childlike admiration only seemed to embarrass Rage Against the Machine, though. "I do apologize for Limp Bizkit," Commerford told Rolling Stone in 2015. "I really do. I feel really bad that we inspired such bullsh*t."