Musicians Who Totally Lost Their Cool Onstage

Few experiences in life are more fun and transcending than a tight, well-oiled rock show. Unfortunately, the nature of rock means that doesn't always happen. Let's face it: As anyone who's watched more than one episode of VH1 Behind The Music can tell you, rock stars are temperamental and can become unglued over just about anything.

If things go wrong during a set, or even if nothing goes wrong and they're just in a bad mood, they can turn on a single fan or everyone in the building. They may launch foul-mouthed tirades, incite literal brawls, or simply refuse to perform. In short, these professional musicians act anything but professional, transforming an otherwise normal concert experience into a night that's certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

Here are some musicians who snapped onstage, losing their cool and ruining their reputations, not to mention an entire night out for unsuspecting fans.

Axl Rose goes crazy enough to start a riot

As Guns N' Roses got bigger and more successful, Axl Rose became weirder and more unhinged. His behavior reached an embarrassing crescendo in St. Louis on July 2, 1991, when (as recalled by the Riverfront Times), Rose went ballistic on a fan and turned the show into a full-blown riot.

During "Rocket Queen," Rose noticed a fan named Bill Stephenson taking pictures from the crowd. He wasn't an official photographer, and the singer found this unacceptable. Dropping his voice about three octaves, he started yelling for security to grab Stephenson's camera, until proclaiming, "I'll take it, goddamn it!" Rose jumped into the crowd and beat on Stephenson – this was bad enough, but then he got back onstage, exclaimed "Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home," and left. He's certainly a man of his word, even if his word is insane and ridiculous.

Once the crowd realized the young redhead wasn't coming back, they went bananas. They began to riot, ripping up seats, stealing equipment, and tangling with cops. Public opinion blamed Rose, and so did the legal system: After almost two dozen lawsuits, he wound up paying millions in damages. The band, as revenge, wrote "f*** you, St. Louis" in the liner notes of their next album, and Rose started wearing shirts onstage that said "St. Louis sucks." Apparently that's what happens when you separate Axl Rose from his money.

Billie Joe Armstrong hates clocks and Bieber

Even if a punk band has been around long enough to essentially be mainstream, they'll never be entirely free of their angry, grimy, dirty, profane punk roots. The organizers of the 2012 iHeartRadio festival learned that the hard way, booking Green Day and then watching in horror as the group self-destructed onstage.

During the band's slot, Armstrong noticed a clock was ticking down their allotted time. Worse, they only had one minute to go. He didn't approve, but instead of using his time by actually singing, he started ranting: "I've been around since nineteen-eighty-f*cking-eight, and you're gonna give me one f*cking minute? You gotta be f*cking kidding me! ... I'm not Justin Bieber, you motherf*ckers!" He then smashed his guitar and stormed offstage.

To the surprise of no one, Armstrong was wasted during that performance. He was battling a serious alcohol and pill addiction at the time, and losing. He told Rolling Stone in 2016, "I can't remember a word that came out of my mouth," and he almost certainly wasn't lying. After that debacle, the band put touring and their careers on hold so Armstrong could attend rehab and get his life back on track. Four years later he was sober enough that Green Day could be Green Day again. Don't expect them to tour with The Biebs anytime soon, though.

Puddle of Mudd's Wes Scantlin gets abandoned onstage

You may only remember Puddle of Mudd for that "I love the way you smack my ass" song that defined at least part of 2001. But they're just as memorable for how their lead singer, Wes Scantlin just can't seem to stop embarrassing himself onstage.

The most recent incident happened in 2016. That day, Scantlin's brain was too blurry to do anything artistic or rocking. Instead, according to Stereogum, Scantlin began flipping off his bandmates, who responded by walking off the stage, abandoning their singer and theoretical leader. Rather than follow them, Scantlin just sat down and started yakking to the crowd. Or he would've been, except the mics had already been turned off, the crowd was booing and swearing at him mercilessly, and nobody heard what he was saying. What's more, they didn't care.

This wasn't the first time Scantlin acted ridiculous onstage. In 2004, his band abandoned him mid-show after he proved so messed up he couldn't play anything intelligible. This "show" concluded with Scantlin being arrested for disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Then in 2014, Scantlin was caught lip-syncing and stormed off the stage, later returning to throw more bottles at the audience, and even his microphone (which reportedly injured a fan). Later, in 2015, Scantlin snapped and destroyed both his guitar and his drummer's kit. Hopefully for his sake, Scantlin will soon grow bored with constantly bottoming out and actually seek help.

Sly Stone rambles, mumbles, slanders

Sly Stone is one of the greatest funk singers ever. However, he doesn't have one of the greatest post-fame lives ever. He hasn't released an original album since 1982, and drugs have done an incredible number on him. As of 2009, he was homeless and on welfare, according to The Guardian. He attempted a comeback at 2010's Coachella, but all he showed was how truly sad he'd become.

As LA Weekly reported, Stone didn't so much sing at Coachella as he did slur and mumble into the mic, mimicking what the Family Stone would sound like if sung through a Teddy Ruxpin doll with rapidly dying batteries. When he wasn't butchering himself, he was insulting his band and asking how much longer he had to perform until he got paid. But he really went after his ex-manager, Jerry Goldstein, whom he'd sued for $50 million several months prior, over supposedly unpaid royalties. According to Stone, "He's part of it. What he did was he stole so much money. ... I made so much money that I didn't know I was being stolen from."

Stone's Coachella rant wasn't just embarrassing — it was costly. Goldstein countersued for slander, and while Stone initially won $5 million in damages, a higher court later ruled he couldn't get that money because he had sold his rights to any royalties in 1989. He likely wasn't dancing to the music after that gut punch.

Courtney Love doesn't want you to mention Kurt

Don't act too shocked, but Courtney Love sometimes goes crazy onstage. She especially hates if you remind her of her husband, Kurt Cobain, and will loudly let you know how much she hates it.

In November 2011, Love was playing a show in Brazil when she decided to stop singing and embrace everything else that makes her so ... her. She declared herself a "gay icon" who's allowed to use the F-word ("f*ggot"), claimed she inspired two Smashing Pumpkins albums (which isn't exactly brag-worthy, given how depressing those records are), and asked a fan for some chapstick for her herpes sore. And people say she's classless!

She truly became unglued, however, when she noticed a fan holding a picture of Kurt. Not only did she berate the fan, she seemingly attacked Kurt, too. "I don't need to see a picture of Kurt, a**hole," she said, "I'm not Kurt — I have to live with his s***, his ghost, his kid every day. Throwing that up is stupid and rude and I'm gonna beat the f*** out of you if you do it again." Kurt's kid must love being someone her mom "has to" live with.

Love stormed offstage, but eventually returned to point her venom toward Dave Grohl with, "If a guy takes money off my kid's table, f*** him." Years of legal squabbling tend to make even the most composed of rock widows grumpy every now and again.

Dave Grohl likes Foo Fighters, not real fighters

Speaking of Dave Grohl, despite the Foo Fighters frontman being one of the coolest, most chill rock stars around, he'll sometimes lose his cool onstage, too. Of course, in his case it usually happens when someone threatens the good vibes at his show, not because he got high and started seeing stuff.

In July 2011, the Foos were playing the iTunes Festival in London when (according to The Telegraph) Grohl noticed a fan violently thrashing among the crowd, trying to start a fight. The former Nirvana drummer (and drummer for basically everybody else) did not approve, stopping the show to admonish the guy and kick him out. He didn't mince words: "Get the f*** outta my show right now. Get the f*** out!" Either the "fan" quickly got out, or other fans made damn sure he did.

Grohl then explained himself to the crowd with, "I don't put up with that bulls***. You people come here to have a good time and that guy can f*** off." The show then continued without another hitch. That disgraced fan probably doesn't brag to his friends about the time Dave from the Foo Fighters totally talked to him.

Billy Joel hulks up, destroys a piano

To most, Billy Joel's a nice New York boy whose edgiest moment was mocking party people who make idiots of themselves. Those people forget about the time Joel got so angry he flipped a mini-piano.

The year was 1987, and Joel was touring Russia. The Soviet Union had recently unbanned rock music, and Joel wanted to get the crowd dancing. As Vice recalled, the first of his shows went well, though he exhausted himself winning over an audience largely unused to a raucous time. That, plus searing pain in his vocal chords, meant Joel was in a nasty mood come the second show. That moodiness turned into a full-blown meltdown during "Sometimes a Fantasy." Joel's camera crew, eager to film the crowd for a documentary, turned the house lights on. This caused the fans, thinking Soviet guards were coming to arrest them, to freeze in fear and stop dancing. This didn't sit well with Joel, who wanted them to have fun. So he, between lyrics, yelled at his crew to "stop lighting the audience" and "lemme do my show for Chrissakes."

Since they didn't, Joel resorted to Plan B: go absolutely crazy. Channeling the Hulk, tiny little Billy Joel flipped his mini-piano upside down. Good luck to the piano tuner. He then rage-paced the stage, kicking his ex-piano and smashing his microphone stand like The Who did to guitars. Since he kept singing, the crowd applauded, assuming that was just how Billy Joel shows went. If only.

Josh Homme attacks a fan, blurs the lines

Don't throw things if you're at a rock show. Just don't. But if you're the musician onstage, don't fight whoever threw stuff at you because that's a bad look.

A June 2008 Queens of the Stone Age show saw both of the above no-no's. Singer Josh Homme was doing his job without incident, albeit while sick. His fever might be why he chose to lecture the crowd about throwing stuff onstage, which to that point nobody had done. Despite warnings that he would destroy anyone who threw things at him, a fan soon did just that. Rather than have him kicked out, Homme became unglued and unloaded with the naughty words: "I will f*** you up. ... Come on up here, you f***ing little f*ggot. ... You're so stupid you'll come up here! Lift him up so I can kick him in the f***ing face."

The fan started to make his way toward the stage, but security intercepted him in the photo pit and walked him out. Sensing an easy target, Homme grabbed a bottle and pegged him with it on his way past. Stone Age, indeed.

A$AP Rocky turned a concert into a fight club

A$AP Rocky's SXSW appearance in 2012 ended up looking more like a WrestleMania battle royal than a concert, and you can blame A$AP for just about all of it.

As Rolling Stone recapped, during the show a fan decided to chuck a beer can onstage, which hit a member of A$AP's crew. Why this fan did that is a mystery, though it was 3 a.m. at SXSW so they were probably tired, aggravated, and drunk. To A$AP's credit, he attempted to defuse the situation, working to keep both the crowd and his crew calm and cool. This failed miserably, as another fan decided to throw yet another beer can at the stage. Whatever happened to just drinking the damn beer?

Beer #2 actually hit A$AP, and with that it was on. Rocky completely lost his cool and jumped into the crowd. His crew followed and all the professional musicians began to fight the paying fans. Luckily, the scuffle only lasted a few minutes before cops intervened and sent everyone home, but at least one fan suffered a head injury. Hard to say how he got it, but man, isn't live music fun?

Wavves couldn't even be bothered to perform

In 2009, indie duo Wavves went from being a small-time recording project to an actual touring band. Lead singer/guitarist Nathan Williams didn't handle the transition well, as his "performance" in Barcelona that year proved.

As Pitchfork reported, the band played that year's Primavera festival but hit a small snag in that Williams absolutely did not want to be there. He fumbled with his guitar, argued with his drummer, and mindlessly strummed his axe instead of actually playing songs on it. Eventually, he graduated to slow, off-key versions of real tunes, in between gestures like exasperatedly rubbing his face while sarcastically claiming the festival was "one of the coolest things [they've] been part of in a while." He insulted the crowd and claimed he'd rather be in California. The only time anyone came alive was when the drummer angrily poured beer all over Williams. Also, the crowd enjoyed when people threw stuff onstage because they were likely feeling the exact same way.

Finally, the drummer abandoned his guitarist, and the band's crew started breaking down the set. This left Williams to confusedly strum his guitar and sing into an unplugged microphone, as fans booed him off. A couple days later, he apologized on his blog, admitting he drank too much and he'd mixed ecstasy, Valium, and Xanax before the show. The band's still around and hasn't melted down since, so it's likely he's realized everything about Barcelona was a terrible idea.