People are fired every single day from their jobs, but rarely does such an event make national news and impact the future of music. The same cannot be said when a member of a rock band is fired though, especially when that band itself is doing the firing. When there’s internal strife between band members, the problem can be resolved in a number of ways. Sometimes the group has a sit-down with the troublemaker to peacefully communicate the issue. Most of the time though, that band member just gets nixed with only a foggy explanation as to why. That is, if they receive any explanation at all.
While no one really bats an eye if a drummer or bassist gets the boot, high-profile guitarists and singers aren’t spared from the chopping block either. In fact, sometimes the singer is the biggest instigator of all, allowing the rock star lifestyle to go to his or her head and truly believing that they are above the law and the rules.
The reasons that these band members were kicked out of their own groups vary. Some of them are completely silly, while others hold more merit. Most of the time drugs come into play, but not always. Regardless, it’s a tough pill to swallow when your own band doesn’t want you.
The following 10 rockers, whether fairly or unfairly, all got the proverbial pink slip. Some made up with their groups further down the line while others had to move on completely to different bands, living with a bad reputation along the way.
10. Steven Adler (from Guns N’ Roses)
Axl Rose isn’t easy to work with. The list of battles he’s embarked upon with musicians is a mile long, and a lot of those rockers happen to include the guys in his own band Guns N’ Roses. One of the first to land in Rose’s crosshairs was drummer Steven Adler. It seems that Rose and company had little patience for Adler’s drunken antics.
The band became a near household name following the release of 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, but Adler enjoyed his own destruction when he smashed several bones in his hand after duking it out with a streetlight. Of course, Adler was intoxicated, so it probably made sense at the time.
Since the band was in the middle of a tour, Adler was temporarily replaced until he could drum again. However, in 1989, when Guns N’ Roses played at the American Music Awards, Adler didn’t show up even though his hand was healed by then.
Rose threw one of his infamous temper tantrums, insisting that he would bail on his band if everyone kept drinking and taking drugs. Although Adler attempted to get clean, he ultimately failed, and by 1990 had been ejected. Guns N’ Roses took him back temporarily, but his addiction had gotten so bad that he couldn’t even play. Since he was eating up valuable studio time, he was out for good.
These days, Adler insists there’s no ill will between him and his former musical brethren. He’s moved on to start his own group called Adler’s Appetite and even made an appearance on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
9. Lemmy Kilmister (from Hawkwind)
Lemmy Kilmister may have a last name, but you know him as just Lemmy. However, back in 1972 as an up-and-coming musician, he was a part of Hawkwind, a rock band hailing from the United Kingdom. Classified as space rock, Lemmy showed off his unique voice in Hawkwind as the band’s singer. He also jumped into the open bassist slot without ever having played the instrument before.
For a while all was good with the group, and Lemmy stuck around for three years. However, in 1975, while the band was on tour, he got caught with drugs and got arrested between the United States and Canada. While he did spend five days in jail, the rest of Hawkwind was none too pleased and cut him from the group.
Lemmy did just fine though. He went on to front one of the biggest bands in the history of metal, Motorhead.
8. Tom DeLonge (from Blink-182)
The happy days of the boys from Blink-182 running around nearly naked wondering about their age are definitely over. Tom DeLonge, who played guitar and sang, had already quit the group once in 2005 for a number of reasons. He felt like after years in the band that all of Blink’s members were distrustful towards each other. Beyond that, he wasn’t too fond of Travis Barker’s reality TV show, and he didn’t want to tour as much since he had recently started a family.
DeLonge considered leaving music completely and even dabbled in politics for a bit to be taken more seriously. He eventually started another band of his very own called Angels & Airwaves before giving Blink-182 another shot in 2008.
However, in 2015, DeLonge once again butted heads with Barker and Mark Hoppus. Although the rest of Blink made it seem like DeLonge had quit, he tweeted that his band mates were going to fire him. Barker and Hoppus insisted that they never seriously considered it though.
While the truth in this case may always be a mystery, what’s certain is that DeLonge is done with Blink-182.
7. Mike Starr (from Alice in Chains)
Mike Starr was a member of the original Alice in Chains, a sludgy rock/metal band hailing from Seattle, Washington that redefined the 1990s music scene. His bass licks were part of the group’s signature dark sound which music listeners affectionately referred to as grunge.
However, at the height of the band’s fame in 1993, Starr disappeared from the Alice lineup. Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley had admitted to Rolling Stone that Starr had quit because he didn’t want to be on the road touring so much. For a long time, that seemed to be the end of it, until Starr later appeared on Celebrity Rehab and explained that it was his drug problems that led to him getting the axe. He was later replaced by Mike Inez.
Both Staley and Starr would later die from their drug issues; Staley in 2002 and Starr in 2011, respectively. Alice in Chains reformed in 2010 with original members Inez, Jerry Cantrell, and Sean Kinney as well as new singer William DuVall.
6. Brian Wilson (from the Beach Boys)
The Beach Boys have had some of the most notorious in-fights in all of music. Brothers Carl, Dennis, and Brian, their cousin Mike Love, and Al Jardine formed the group in 1961. Despite all of those sweet classic sounds the band made, tensions between Brian and Love eventually boiled over, culminating in a series of lawsuits about control of the band name and its catalogue.
However, as bands sometimes do, the milestone of the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary back in 2012 convinced the warring members to forget their past and get on stage together again for a tour. After the show dates wrapped up though, trouble began brewing once more when Love decided to toss his band mates from the live lineup.
Sometimes member Jardine spoke of what happened after the tour wrapped. “He’s [Love] a brilliant songwriter, and unfortunately he has brilliant lawyers. We wish him all the best, but doggonit, we’d like to be Beach Boys too.”
5. Dave Navarro (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
When you think of Dave Navarro’s musical achievements, the first band to come to mind is likely Jane’s Addiction. However, for a brief spell in the mid-1990s, Navarro was actually a member of funky rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was around to record 1995’s One Hot Minute, where you can hear his unique guitar licks. Many say that Navarro’s presence changed the band for the worst. The Chili Peppers certainly don’t sound as fun on this album.
Navarro joined the group on its One Hot Minute tour, which was plagued with problems from the beginning. Cancellations, injuries, and drug use marred the outing. Navarro also wasn’t too happy to be on the road with his new band mates. To add insult to injury, One Hot Minute sold horribly.
Singer Anthony Kiedis was battling drugs around this time but eventually got clean. He and the rest of the Chili Peppers encouraged Navarro to do the same, but when he wouldn’t, he was told to leave the band.
Navarro eventually returned to Jane’s Addiction and dabbles in television. The Chili Peppers had a huge resurgence in the late 1990s after guitarist John Frusciante returned to the band, even though he later left again.
4. Brian Jones (from the Rolling Stones)
The Rolling Stones are one of the biggest bands in the history of music, and as such, its members have always embraced the glitzy side of rock star life. It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination then to learn Brian Jones’ departure from the band was ultimately drug-related.
Jones would play a number of instruments for the Stones, including the keyboards, the guitar, and the harmonica. He was one of the first original members when the group formed in 1962. However, he never really got along with his band mates and often insisted on his own separate travel and lodging accommodations. All of that time alone gave him plenty of opportunities to partake in heavy drinking and drug use.
Jones got arrested twice for various drugs, once in 1967 and then again a year later in 1968. However, at this point, the rest of the Rolling Stones saw Jones more as a liability than anything else. His playing was affected by his addiction to the point where his role in the band was majorly downsized.
Around the time the group released Let It Bleed in 1969 and began planning a tour in support of the album, Mick Jagger and company decided to let Jones go. Jones made a public statement about his exit. He later died that same year and was found to have heart and liver issues from years of heavy drinking.
3. Scott Weiland (from Stone Temple Pilots)
Most of the musicians on this list that got fired are guitarists, bassists, or drummers. However, in the case of Scott Weiland, it’s the lead singer that got dumped. Weiland, brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo, and Eric Kretz formed the band as Mighty Joe Young in the late 1980s before switching to the name Stone Temple Pilots. Debut album Core, which hit shelves in 1992, skyrocketed the group to superstardom.
Weiland dabbled in some other projects in the midst of STP, including a group called the Magnificent Bastards as well as his own solo music. By 2000, Stone Temple Pilots dissolved and Weiland moved on to front Velvet Revolver alongside members like Duff McKagan and Slash.
Throughout all of this, Weiland battled problems with drinking and drugs. He got several DUIs over the years, had been arrested in 1995 for buying crack, and even went to rehab in 2008. However, according to the rest of STP, Weiland never quite got over his problems. He does have a track record of erratic behavior and late arrivals to shows.
Claiming they felt like they “had no other choice,” the DeLeos and Kretz officially fired Weiland in 2013. To add insult to injury, they plucked Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and reformed Stone Temple Pilots. With Bennington on vocals, the new group released an EP called High Rise in 2013.
Weiland did not take the replacement lightly and tried to sue the new STP. Weiland is currently pursuing a career outside of the band.
2. Nick Oliveri (from Queens of the Stone Age)
Some bands operate as a small workplace, where everyone acts as professionals doing business with one another. Then there’s bands like Queens of the Stone Age, where members Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri were very close pals. The two came up from heavy rock band Kyuss together.
Queens of the Stone Age released its first album in 1998, and from then until 2004, Oliveri had a whole laundry list of bad behavior that led to his eventual sacking. The first sign of trouble occurred when Homme and crew heard of a potential rumor that Oliveri had abused his girlfriend. Homme gave Oliveri a firm warning that if the rumor was true that Oliveri would be out.
The band always embraced the hard partying lifestyle, but Homme thought that the bassist took it too far. Oliveri would often get blackout drunk and behave in dangerous ways, leading to hotels kicking them out and Oliveri facing legal trouble numerous times.
Homme made a statement to MTV shortly after the firing in which he described Oliveri as “a tornado, and a tornado just destroys and goes on to the next city. I’m in the tornado cleanup crew, and all I ever see is his detritus and I’m sick of it.”
Homme visited Oliveri in person at his home to deliver the bad news. Oliveri has since worked for a slew of other famous musicians while Queens of the Stone Age recovered and succeeded without him.
1. Ozzy Osbourne (from Black Sabbath)
Nobody fires Ozzy Osbourne, right? Wrong. Proving that you’re never safe no matter your status, Ozzy was having a little too much fun at the height of Black Sabbath’s fame in the 1970s. Of course, the decision to get rid of him didn’t come out of nowhere.
Around this time, Ozzy and Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi were already butting heads, disagreeing over the sound of the band’s sound post-Never Say Die!. Osbourne claims that Iommi was never pleased with the vocals and requested numerous retakes. Bill Ward, the band’s drummer, and bassist Geezer Butler were on Iommi’s side and decided to kick Ozzy out.
The rest of Black Sabbath cited that Ozzy’s hard drinking and drug use were the problem. Ozzy contests that everyone else in the band had the same kind of lifestyle, but once Ronnie James Dio stepped in Ozzy’s place, Osbourne didn’t lament his loss for too long. Instead, he went on to have a wickedly successful solo career, start a yearly hard rock and metal festival called Ozzfest, and become a reality TV star with his family. Even better, in 2011, Black Sabbath decided to reform, and Ozzy was back at the helm.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!