Being in bands can be awesome. Even if you’re not at the jet-setting, arena-hopping levels of a U2 or a Foo Fighters, just hanging out with your friends and playing music in somebody’s garage can create incredible memories that last a lifetime.
In fact, it could be said that being in a band is easiest when it’s just you and your friends messing around. For many of the world’s biggest bands, mo’ money means mo’ problems and lifelong friends can quickly turn to enemies.
While we like to think that our favourite bands are the best of friends, there’ve been numerous iconic groups whose members simply couldn’t stand each other and even came to blows over their differences. Here’s a few that might surprise you.
Simon & Garfunkel
The folk duo’s soothing music belied the bitter tensions bubbling inside the band. By the end, the two disliked each other so much that they couldn’t agree on what tracks to use for their final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and refused to record each other’s suggestions.
Rage Against The Machine
In addition to guitarist Tom Morello’s unforgettable riffs, Rage Against The Machine are legendary for being a band with a message. Unfortunately frontman Zach de la Rocha cited a total communication breakdown when he disbanded the group in 2000 following bassist Tim Commerford’s buffoonish antics at that year’s MTV Movie Awards.
Sometimes band members just don’t get along because of personal differences, other times it’s a dispute over a girl. In the case of the Ramones, it was both. Frontman Joey not only resented Johnny’s staunch Republican beliefs, but was heartbroken when Johnny ended up stealing Joey’s girlfriend, penning ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ in response.
Inarguably one of the most influential bands of all time, the Pixies’ 2004 reunion came after frontman Black Francis and bassist Kim Deal spent a good decade or so not speaking to each other. Tensions were always high between the two, with Deal leaving the group after growing frustrated with Francis’ absolute creative control.
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Maybe there was just too much talent for one band, or perhaps too much ego. Either way, after Pink Floyd finally broke up in 1985 amid long-rising tensions between members David Gilmour and Roger Waters, a series of acrimonious lawsuits ensued between the two, who could never really stand the sight of each other anyway.
Remember how we said siblings weren’t immune to intra-band tensions? That goes double for Oasis’ Gallagher brothers. The feud between Liam and Noel Gallagher was always legendary and it eventually consumed the group in 2009 when Noel simply couldn’t take it anymore. The guitarist has since made it clear he has no desire to reunite the band.
Anyone who’s seen the infamous documentary Some Kind Of Monster know the thrash metal legends have their share of issues. The band have alienated their share of musicians, including Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Jason Newsted, and they pretty much avoid each other until it’s time to take the stage or record.
While their music was great, a big part of the reason The Libertines became such a phenomenon was the relationship between the band’s two frontmen, Pete Doherty and Carl Barât. Their relationship played out like a tragic, ‘on again, off again’ love story, with Doherty going to jail at one point for burglarising Barât’s flat.
Kings Of Leon
Being in a successful touring band can place a lot of strain on a relationship and siblings aren’t immune to the pressure. Early on in the band’s career, KOL members Nathan and Caleb Followill would constantly be at each other’s throats, with Nathan even once breaking Caleb’s arm during a brawl in a recording studio.
Guns N’ Roses
They were one of the biggest bands of the ’80s, coming out of the gate with one of the greatest debuts of all time, but then it all came crumbling down thanks in large part to the notorious egomania of frontman Axl Rose, whose controlling ways alienated everyone in the band, in particular iconic guitarist Slash. In 2016, the pair mended their friendship, paving the way for the appropriately-titled ‘Not In This Lifetime’ reunion tour.
Turns out the band that for so many years provided the soundtrack for weekends spent hanging out with friends weren’t too friendly amongst each other. Guitarist Tom DeLonge originally quit the band back in 2005 but things were seemingly resolved and the band was meant to be recording a new album. That all fell apart in 2015 when DeLonge again departed the band, resulting in the band bringing in Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to fill the void.
The Beach Boys
The legendary rock group are known for two things: their inimitable harmonies and the drama that circled the group at every turn. Nowhere did the venom run deeper than in the fractious relationship between cousins Mike Love and Brian Wilson, who have a notorious history of petty feuds and numerous lawsuits.