Times Musicians Majorly Crossed The Line With Fans At Concerts

Much like your average person, musicians have bad days. And when these individuals — particularly famous ones — have bad days, it's not uncommon for them to take things out on the fans. It's your equivalent of the cook spitting on your takeout or the receptionist sending you to the back of the line, and similar to these everyday instances, it's oftentimes the customer who's in the wrong — or, in this case, fans behaving badly at concerts. But for every few examples of unruly fans at concerts deservedly getting called out or thrown out, there's one example of a performer who simply goes too far and behaves even more unreasonably than the troublesome concertgoer. And let's face it — there are times when fans get verbally or physically abused by their favorite musicians through no fault of their own.

Of course, this applies regardless of a band or singer's level of fame, and some of the biggest stars in music, as well as some up-and-comers, have made headlines over the past few decades (or gone viral in more modern, social media-savvy times) for crossing the line with fans during live events. Let's take a look at some of the more notable examples.

Rob Halford of Judas Priest

When it comes to taking cellphone photos and videos at concerts, there are two schools of thought. Some believe that there's nothing wrong with capturing these moments for posterity, while others argue that fans should live in the moment and keep their phones in their pockets while enjoying the show. But many will agree that the flash from a cellphone camera can be a hindrance to an onstage performer. Apparently, that was the case during a May 2019 Judas Priest concert in Rosemont, Illinois, where frontman Rob Halford reacted to this annoyance by kicking a fan's phone out of their hand while they were filming the performance.

While it's understandable that Halford was seemingly distracted by the bright light emanating from the phone, it can also be said that he went a bit too far by potentially damaging the device instead of warning the fans about flash photography in between songs. And when footage of the incident began to spread online, Judas Priest didn't show any remorse on their singer's behalf. "The facts are we love our fans and you can film us all you like and watch our show on your phone rather than in the flesh," the band said in a statement posted on Twitter. "However, if you physically interfere with the Metal God's performance, you now know what will happen."

Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses

Back in their late '80s/early '90s heyday, it was par for the course for Guns N' Roses to end shows early whenever lead singer Axl Rose was in a bad mood. Or if he wasn't in the best physical condition, such as the time in 1992 when his alleged throat problems forced the band to play a seriously abbreviated set in Montreal, leading to a massive riot. But that's a story for another time, as Rose deserves the benefit of the doubt in that case. One year prior to the Montreal riot, another GNR show ended in complete mayhem, and it was because Rose literally took matters into his own hands when security wasn't cutting it.

During Guns N' Roses' July 2, 1991, concert at the Riverport Amphitheater in St. Louis, Rose interrupted the band's performance of "Rocket Queen" to ask security to stop a fan who was illegally taking photos of the show. Unsatisfied by the (allegedly deliberate) lack of action from security, Rose jumped into the crowd to confiscate the camera himself, brawling with some fans as his bandmates kept playing. "The security guys knew exactly what was happening and they were doing everything they could to let that guy go, which fueled my fire to make sure that didn't happen," Rose told Classic Rock in 2019.

After climbing back onstage, Rose angrily announced that he was walking out because of the "lame-a** security" and threw his microphone to the ground, effectively cutting the show short and triggering a riot.

Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd

While they achieved fame in the early 2000s for rock hits such as "Blurry," "Control," and "She Hates Me," Puddle of Mudd has become far more notorious these days for frontman Wes Scantlin's myriad troubles with the law and drunken onstage meltdowns. One such meltdown took place in 2004 in Toledo, Ohio, where Scantlin was so intoxicated that his bandmates walked out on him just four songs into their set. Despite being in no condition to perform, Scantlin remained onstage for about 30 minutes, apparently making up his own songs on the fly when he wasn't cussing at or insulting the fans in attendance. Upon mercifully ending the show and returning to his dressing room, the singer-guitarist was met by cops, who arrested him for disorderly conduct, as reported by the Toledo Blade (via MTV).

As of 2021, Scantlin was still up to his old shenanigans, showing up late, swearing up a storm onstage while berating the venue's light technician, and walking out early, as he reportedly did at a show in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Given his history of alcohol abuse, it isn't clear whether he was intoxicated at the time, but he did tell Rock Titan in July 2018 that he was 11 months sober.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


Based on the relaxed vibe and humorous lyrics of Afroman's biggest hit, 2001's "Because I Got High," one might think that the singer-rapper is a pretty chill dude. But there was nothing chill about the way he acted during a February 2015 show in Biloxi, Mississippi, where, out of nowhere, he punched a female fan who had climbed onstage to dance to his music. Haley Byrd was hospitalized and diagnosed with a concussion and facial injuries, and when she spoke to WLOX one month after the incident, she admitted she was still dealing with anxiety caused by the attack.

"It makes me sick to my stomach to watch like every time I do watch [footage of the incident], and it's just upsetting," Byrd said, later adding that Afroman didn't seem sincere when he issued an apology. "He apologized for slapping or pushing me, and I just felt that it was more than that. My injuries were more serious than that. I was knocked off my feet, and it was just upsetting to see how he reacted to it like it wasn't a big deal."

Byrd sued Afroman for simple assault, and in 2018, the musician settled to the tune of $65,000 after pleading guilty to the charge, according to the Sun Herald. The outlet also wrote that the incident with Byrd was not an isolated one, as Afroman had been caught on video physically attacking fans onstage at two separate shows in 2014 and 2015.

Sophia Urista of Brass Against

When Rage Against the Machine wrote "Wake Up" for their self-titled 1992 debut album, they almost certainly didn't imagine people relieving themselves onstage while covering the song. Believe it or not, that did happen almost three decades later. 

At the Welcome to Rockville Festival in November 2021, Brass Against, a band best known for their brass-heavy covers of hard rock and heavy metal songs, was in the middle of their cover of "Wake Up" when their lead singer, Sophia Urista, asked a male fan to come up onstage. She then asked the man to lie down, upon which she pulled down her pants and urinated on his face while still performing, shouting the lyrics "I think I heard a shot" as the song built up toward its outro. Not surprisingly, the act drew some shocked reactions and jeers from the Daytona Beach, Florida, audience ... and inspired a plethora of tweets referring to the frontwoman as "Urinista."

A day after the controversial performance, Brass Against issued an apology statement on Twitter. "We had a great time last night at Welcome to Rockville," the band wrote. "Sophia got carried away. That's not something the rest of us expected, and it's not something you'll see again at our shows. Thanks for bringing it last night, Daytona."

Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon

The Brass Against incident was not the only instance in which a musician turned the stage into their own personal restroom to the detriment of concertgoers. Back in 1993, Blind Melon was hot off the heels of their hit single "No Rain," and their late frontman Shannon Hoon likewise got too carried away during a Halloween concert in Vancouver. But before that, he got carried away in another sense, performing completely in the nude and apologizing to the crowd for "having so much fun," as recalled by journalist Steve Newton for The Georgia Straight.

After simulating an indecent act with a man wearing a bee costume (perhaps a stand-in for the Bee Girl in the "No Rain" video), Hoon and the rest of Blind Melon performed their alternative rock mega-hit, but contrary to what the title suggests, the singer made it rain alright when he urinated on the fans in the front row. "Considering the duration of Hoon's urination, it looked like a good pee, but a chorus of boos went up anyway," Newton wrote in his review of the concert. "And the Vancouver police didn't think it was a good pee, either, because they arrested Hoon after the show on an indecency charge."

Jim Morrison of The Doors

More than five decades after it happened, the debate rages on — did the Doors' charismatic frontman, Jim Morrison, really introduce thousands of fans at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium to his, um ... lizard? 

The incident in question took place on March 1, 1969, and started during the instrumental break of "Five to One" as the singer abruptly called the fans a "bunch of f***ing idiots" and "slaves." The rant seemed to go on and on as the Lizard King drunkenly yelled about loving one's neighbor, with a whole lot of sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure. Then, after a failed attempt to get back to the music, Morrison continued rambling. At some point thereafter came the coup de grâce — Morrison allegedly whipping out his penis. All this resulted in Morrison getting convicted on charges of profanity and indecent exposure.

Even in recent years, it was still a he-said, she-said thing among those who attended the Miami show, who shared their recollections to the Mild Equator fan page — some say Morrison showed off his member, some say he didn't. As Morrison died in 1971, he's no longer around to explain his side of the story, but his Doors bandmates have maintained his innocence. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek told NPR in 1998 that the fans who claim to have seen Morrison's penis might have been hallucinating, while guitarist Robby Krieger told The Independent that "Jim never really did what [they said he did]."

Ben Foster of Screeching Weasel

The following slide contains references to male-on-female violence.

Known for their Ramones-influenced brand of pop-punk, Screeching Weasel earned a different kind of notoriety at the 2011 South by Southwest conference, and it was due to the unconscionable behavior of their frontman, Ben Foster (aka Ben Weasel). According to the Los Angeles Times, the band appeared disinterested while playing at the Scoot Inn in Austin, Texas, with Foster openly complaining about how little they were being paid, and also insulting the media and SXSW's organizers. Things came to a head when Foster, in retaliation to a female fan allegedly beaning him with ice, jumped into the crowd and attacked the woman. A second woman, supposedly one of the Scoot Inn's owners, stepped in to break up the fight but was also punched in the face before cooler heads intervened.

Just days after the fracas, the rest of Screeching Weasel issued a statement to Punk News, announcing that they were quitting the band en masse due to Foster's actions at SXSW. "The un-calculated act put forth by Ben 'Weasel' Foster leading up to and including the violence that erupted on stage is seen by the band as shameful and embarrassing," the statement read in part. "... As a result, the band has discussed at length and has come to the conclusion that as a group we will not likely be able to muster the dignity to attempt a live performance as "Screeching Weasel" in the for-seeable [sic] future."

Marilyn Manson

Since his eponymous band's rise to fame in the mid-'90s, Marilyn Manson has been a magnet for controversy. While much of his alleged misbehavior took place offstage, there have also been instances where the shock-rocker behaved questionably while onstage. 

One of the more recent and notorious incidents involving Manson happened during the Madrid, Spain, leg of the 2018 Download Festival. A fan who attended the show took to Reddit, sharing that Manson was being booed by throngs of fans who were looking forward to watching the next band, Avenged Sevenfold, perform their set. After about 30 minutes of persistent boos and jeers, Manson asked a group of fans to come onstage, but when it came to one audience member wearing A7X merchandise, he asked the fan to take off his shirt.

As seen in this clip from the Madrid show, the fan seems to be reaching out for a hug, but Manson stops him and asks him to remove his shirt, explaining that Avenged Sevenfold is "not [his] band." After Manson insists that the young man wear the Peruvian flag he's holding in lieu of his A7X tee, he reluctantly complies as Manson directs his band (which, just to reiterate, is not Avenged Sevenfold) to play the next song. It's nowhere as scandalous as just about every other allegation Manson has dealt with, but the embarrassed look on the fan's face suggests that the shock-rocker went too far.


Unruly fans will always be a staple of concerts, and it can sometimes be hard for performers to keep their cool in the face of such adversity. Akon was one such musician who failed to stay frosty while dealing with an allegedly troublesome fan. The "I Wanna Love You" singer was performing at a show in Fishkill, New York, in June 2007 when he noticed that a fan had thrown something at him. He singled out 15-year-old Anthony Smith as the most likely culprit, brought him onstage, and threw him right into the crowd to teach him a lesson. Smith apparently landed on another fan, who claimed she suffered a concussion. 

Akon was later charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a minor, though he initially pleaded innocent, according to The Guardian. This was despite the many fan-posted videos on the internet that showed him tossing the teenager offstage. About a year and a half after the Fishkill concert, the singer pleaded guilty to harassment and received a $250 fine and 65 hours of community service, per The New York Times. Talk about a slap on the wrist for an action that could have potentially caused much more harm.

Courtney Love of Hole

There's one thing that fans should keep in mind when at a Courtney Love or Hole performance — do not reference her late husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, in any way, shape, or form if you don't want to risk her flying off the handle. Fans at the SWU Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, found that out firsthand in 2011 when the singer-guitarist cussed out an audience member who was holding up a picture of Cobain and momentarily walked out before returning onstage.

One can argue that the fan's actions at the SWU Festival were tantamount to trolling. But there was less question about Love taking things too far some 16 years prior, during a Hole gig at Club Paradiso in Amsterdam. After the band performed the song "Asking for It," Love went off on an apparently abusive fan who threw a drink at her. As heard in this YouTube clip, Love viciously fat-shamed the fan and dropped the names of several other prominent musicians, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, and the Lemonheads' Evan Dando, as well as Hollywood megastar Brad Pitt. She topped it all off by telling the audience to "go f*** [themselves]," adding that Cobain hated Amsterdam and that the fans should go see Nine Inch Nails instead.

No musician deserves to get drinks thrown at them, but Love's reaction was a classic case of the punishment, if you can call it that, not fitting the crime.

Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age singer-guitarist Josh Homme has been involved in a number of onstage incidents and fan altercations dating back to the early 2000s, though if you ask him, he usually gets confrontational at shows because he wants to teach troublemakers a lesson. "My whole life, I hate watching people get bullied and so, in a manner of speaking, you turn and you try to bully the bully. I have done that many times," he told NME in September 2017, adding that he has no patience for racists, homophobes, and misogynists.

Sadly, it took just a few months for those comments to age poorly. During QOTSA's performance at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas on December 9, 2017, Homme insulted the fans in attendance by calling them the R-word, according to a report from Variety. After taking a shot at headlining act Muse, Homme again directed his troubling behavior toward the audience, demanding that they boo him and asking that they take off their pants.

For all his belligerent actions at the KROQ event, none stood out more than what Homme did to someone at the show who wasn't just an ordinary fan. The singer-guitarist was caught on video kicking Shutterstock photographer Chelsea Lauren's camera, hitting her in the face in the process. Homme explained in an apology statement that he was "lost in performance" and that he didn't mean to hurt anyone, but Lauren thought otherwise, as she told Variety the QOTSA frontman was smiling after he hit her. "It was obviously very intentional," she added.

GG Allin

More so than all the musicians mentioned so far, GG Allin was undeniably the one who made crossing the line with fans during live shows the most important part of his brand. In fact, you can say it was the only part of his brand. The fact that the songs he recorded and performed with bands like the Murder Junkies were so deliberately offensive was probably the least offensive thing about him. The average Allin performance would see the shock-rocker performing in nudity or near-nudity, engaging in self-mutilation, and even defecating onstage and throwing his excrement at the audience. Just another day at the office for GG.

Allin also got into many a physical altercation with audience members, including a few detailed by the Austin Chronicle in a retrospective of his especially notorious 1992 show at the city's Cavity Club. One that stands out is the moment when he spotted a female fan on a crutch due to a broken ankle, pushed her to the ground, and swung the crutch while making his way to the back of the venue. The crutch would hit another concertgoer — a musician named Ryan McDaniel — who got a gash on his forehead from the attack. Allin then caused more chaos at the back of the club before returning onstage ... and facing the wrath of the Austin Police Department. As he had an outstanding arrest warrant in Michigan, Allin would serve one year in prison; just months later, on June 28, 1993, he was found dead from a heroin overdose.