Not everyone can get along with their co-workers, even if their entire job entails of singing songs about love and togetherness. The general public probably assumes that most popular bands consist mostly of best friends working together towards a common goal of rock and roll fame. The truth is, though, members of rock bands are just as likely to hate one another as any other group constantly crammed together in close quarters, and sometimes the animosity became the driving force behind their most brilliant songs.
Band members hating each other can cause lots of problems internally, although it doesn’t always mean the end of their time together. Some of the most successful groups in history stayed together for decades, regardless of how the musicians actually felt about one another as people. Rarely do the bands start with hatred, instead portraying tales of friendships falling apart and leading to horrible resentment. Of course, the emotions created by friendship can turn powerfully negative should that friendship disappear, and things get exponentially more painful when millions of dollars are at stake.
In discussing why these musicians turned against one another, the reasons are just as vast with the problems the rifts ultimately cause. Success itself is never to blame, merely serving as the catalyst that brings personal disagreements to light. Most bands with members who truly hate one another do so for deep and powerful meanings, although on the other hand, sometimes the most seething hatreds stemmed from situations that to an outsider look almost entirely meaningless. Keep reading to learn about 15 bands you had no idea hated each other’s guts.
15. Kings Of Leon
Even brothers who don’t work and make music together have been known to fight, so it should be no surprise that when a group of contentious siblings formed one of the biggest rock bands in the world, the typical jealousies known to male family members started springing up en masse. Kings Of Leon is made of the Followill brothers, Caleb, Jared, Nathan, and cousin Matthew, a quiet and religious family that was actually banned from listening to pop music until the younger boys reached their late teens. Naturally, they dove head first into rock culture the second they were exposed to it, forming a band that would eventually sell six million copies of an album released in 2008, Only By The Night. While recording that album’s follow up, the brothers started to get out of control with their drinking, especially Caleb, leading to him walking out of the band in a drunken stupor during the middle of a show. Jared responded to the incident by begging fans not to hate them all, only to hate his brother. Though Caleb denied ever going to rehab, he eventually cut down on the booze, and the brothers have gotten back to getting along.
14. The Smashing Pumpkins
Amidst dalliances as a professional wrestling magnate, Billy Corgan has been the leader and sometimes sole member of Smashing Pumpkins since the late 1980s. Corgan founded the band when he met guitarist James Iha, who co-wrote several of the group’s earliest songs along with him. Though Corgan would gradually take almost complete control of songwriting duties, Iha’s guitar work created an integral piece of their sound, as did the addition of original bassist, D’arcy Wretzky. However, Wretzky’s addition also began the downfall of the band, due to her dating Iha in a relationship that fell apart just as the Pumpkins released their first album. The tensions between the two spread to Corgan, who made matters worse by trying to control everything. Drug use became a big part of practically all the Pumpkins’ lives, leading to Billy firing the rest of the group in 2000 prior to breaking up the band altogether. Various incarnations have since existed, all fronted by Corgan, but never including the full original line-up. Reports indicate all members are once again talking to one another, but no official reunion has been announced.
If the modern political climate has you feeling like the people simply can’t get along with one another, just remember, this is nothing new. Rock and roll history is filled with offshoots of the never-ending war between Democrats and Republicans, and many of these battles took place within the confines of the Ramones studio. It was no secret amongst punk fans that Joey and Johnny Ramone absolutely despised each other, with reasons both personal and political, growing stronger each time they spoke. At first, the issue was Johnny’s staunch Republicanism constantly putting him at odds with Joey’s ideal liberalism. It was more than a mere ideological clash, as Johnny was extremely stringent about meeting deadlines, making money, and treating the band like a business, while Joey was far more care free, constantly showing up to meetings hours late. Tensions highly intensified when Joey’s girlfriend, Linda Daniele, left him for Johnny, whom she later married. Somehow, the Ramones kept performing together more than 10 years after Linda and Johnny’s marriage, although Joey grew increasingly jealous and bitter over the years, leading to the band’s breakup.
12. The Beatles
Spreading the message that “All You Need Is Love,” The Beatles are arguably the most famous and popular band in music history, and therefore need no introduction to even the most cursory music fan. Given their vast fame, most fans are always well aware of the longstanding feud between co-bandleaders John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Misogynist critics like to blame Yoko Ono for the once good friends falling apart, but the real problem between Lennon and McCartney was a matter of pride and ego, with the two strongly disagreeing about the direction The Beatles were headed musically. Paul wanted to be poppy and light, while John wanted to inject a more serious tone into his work, creating unique and innovative soundscapes while doing so. Decades later, Yoko didn’t help things by rewriting history to imply John was a totalitarian responsible for all of The Beatles success, greatly upsetting Paul, though this hardly means she’s entirely to blame for all aspects of their problems. This isn’t to say John and Paul didn’t have plenty of good times, either, only that they were prone to bouts of nastiness whenever they even slightly disagreed.
11. The Libertines
Although they never quite broke through to a mainstream American audience, The Libertines are still respected in their native UK as one of the chief progenitors of the 2000’s garage rock revival. Songwriters Pete Doherty and Carl Barât had been close friends since college, abandoning their respective educations to instead form the band. Despite their first album immediately becoming a huge hit, Doherty discovered something he loved even more than music in hardcore drugs, namely crack cocaine and heroin. Barât hated seeing his friend fall into drug use, and threatened to kick him out of the band if it continued. Doherty responded by burglarizing Barât’s apartment, resulting in his arrest. Surprisingly, the duo reunited to record a second album, though the sessions were rife with constant fighting and even worse – drug use from Doherty. Years later, the two seem to have worked out whatever problems they had to record a third album, released 13 years after their debut. For the time being, it seems like they’ve put their differences aside, thanks to Doherty having spent time at a number of rehab facilities.
10. The Beach Boys
Enthusiasts of The Beach Boys like to picture Brian Wilson as a quiet and uniquely brilliant mind who sings songs about eating vegetables and playing in sandboxes, and that reputation may not be far from reality. Unfortunately for Brian, he’s been stuck with his cousin Mike Love since day one, and Mike himself has openly referred to himself as Brian’s “Antichrist.” The tiff between Wilson and Love likely dates all the way back to their childhood, which saw Mike butt his way into the Wilson brothers family band and attempt to take control. The power struggle was evident from the start, with the Boys even included a verbal sparring session on their album Shut Down Volume 2, cheekily titled “Cassius Love vs. Sonny Wilson.” Decades later, there was nothing cheeky about it when Mike and Brian repeatedly took one another to court, initially over accusations of slander than branched out to include multiple drawn out battles over who deserved songwriting credits for The Beach Boys’ biggest hits. Love and Wilson somehow managed to put their problems aside and work together again during The Beach Boys 50th anniversary, only for Love to turn around and fire Wilson again without any reason or warning after Brian wrote him an entire album of new songs to profit off of.
9. Fleetwood Mac
Though bands generally include more than two members, most of the items on this list only involved pairs that couldn’t get along within the bigger group. The story is a little different with Fleetwood Mac, in that everybody in the group despised everybody else, and tensions reached their boiling point just as the band was reaching some of the greatest heights pop music had ever known. Fleetwood Mac was formed in the late ‘60s by Peter Green, but the version everybody knows started coming together after Green left the band to his bassist and drummer. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood invited John’s wife Christie and a songwriting couple named Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks into the fray, soon achieving unmitigated success with their landmark self-titled album. Behind the scenes, however, things were rapidly falling apart, with the McVie’s marriage turning into an endless sea of affairs, Buckingham and Nicks constantly at one another’s throats, and even Mick Fleetwood divorcing his wife, although she had nothing to do with the band. Amazingly, the result of all the fighting was Rumours, the group’s highest selling and most beloved album. Given that album’s success, they somehow forced themselves to stay together for decades, though there have been a few breakups along the way.
8. Guns N’ Roses
Thanks to their appetite for destruction, even three decades after they got together, Guns n’ Roses are seen as one of the freshest and most exciting bands hair metal had ever created. The uncontrollable style of front man Axl Rose melded with the guitar theatrics of Slash in a manner that brought metal to the top of the pop charts at a time the genre was still considered Satanic and scary by most Americans. Which of the two deserves most of the credit for the band’s success is up for debate, with the problem between them starting with the fact Axl apparently wanted to take it all for himself and serve as a totalitarian leader of the band. According to Slash, the more famous and successful the band became, the more impossible Axl was to deal with, causing him to walk away from the group in 1996. Not exactly a diplomat, Axl responded by referring to Slash as a cancer he was glad he could remove, claiming his negativity had been affecting Axl’s songwriting for years. The two didn’t talk for over 19 years after Slash’s departure, though a recent tour makes it seem as though they may have started patching things up.
7. The Everly Brothers
When a band’s second album is unironically called Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, it should be pretty obvious the type of image they’re trying to represent. Don and Phil Everly were one of the first and most successful family bands in rock music, though they didn’t exactly represent the rumbling and rolling of Elvis Presley or Little Richard. The Everly Brothers made guitar based pop music acceptable for families and adults alike, and somehow they even managed to get along through it all, even spending time off to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve together in 1961. Problems started brewing when they returned from service, thanks largely to a newfound reliance on amphetamines. With drug problems looming and success gradually fading, Don and Phil found themselves constantly fighting, a far cry from the wholesome family image they worked for years to represent. The band came to a fiery end in 1973, when Don told a reporter he “was tired of being an Everly Brother,” causing Phil to smash his guitar against the stage in anger. Upon Phil’s death in 2014, Don revealed the two actually had trouble getting along most of their lives, due to wildly divergent views on politics. Nonetheless, he claimed their family bond brought them close together, even through the times when they refused to talk to one another off stage.
6. Simon And Garfunkel
One benefit to a band having more than two members is that any conflicts can be appeased somewhat by a cooler third head preventing things from getting out of hand. Therefore, the two man operations on this list like Simon and Garfunkel had it a little bit tougher than the others, as the two had no buffer between them to ease their apparently constant bickering with one another. The main source of their quarrel is obvious enough, in that despite their band name making it clear two people were making the music, Paul Simon generally received all the credit from critics and fans, thanks to the fact he was the only one writing any songs. Garfunkel generally only added his vocal harmonies, which while beautiful and a huge part of their music, some fans felt didn’t compare to Simon’s total mastery of the medium. With five landmark albums, Simon and Garfunkel became one of the biggest bands on the planet, only to call it quits at the peak of their fame thanks to their personal feud. Several reunions concerts and tours followed, only to regularly fall apart when old jealousies rose to a head once more.
5. Hüsker Dü
Music can be an intensely personal thing, so a band doesn’t need to sell millions of records to be somebody’s life. Minnesota alt-rock icons Hüsker Dü exemplify this truth on a level greater than most, and the reason can be seen in the powerful and emotion lyrics penned by dual songwriters and vocalists Bob Mould and Grant Hart. With emotional punk rock ballads about love and relationships, the band endeared themselves to an angry and active scene in a manner that makes them favorites to this day, despite the fact they broke up in 1987. The breakup was preceded by increasingly out of control drug problems and the suicide of their manager, which both Mould and Hart took very personally, worried their personal problems contributed to his stress and ultimate demise. Mould wanted the band to get their substance issues in control and work more professionally, while Hart was focused on a new relationship and uninterested in the band, causing deep resentment that caused the two not to speak with one another for decades. They only recently began speaking together as of 2016, though an actual reunion still seems entirely out of the question.
Many Americans probably still don’t realize just how meteoric the rise of Oasis was in their native England, thanks largely to the two wildly irascible personalities found within singer and guitarist Liam and Noel Gallagher. Noel was the brains of the operation, writing nearly all of the songs and leading the band, although on technicality it always belonged to Liam, perhaps showing where their conflict began. Realistically, however, the warring Gallagher brothers probably had trouble getting along ever since the two were children, and their various band mates getting involved throughout the years only served to make things worse for them. The feud between Noel and Liam can’t be encapsulated to a single paragraph, but it has been presented in album form, released by NME magazine and called Wibbling Rivalry. Outside of that aural example of their quibbles, Noel and Liam were infamous for breaking up their band and storming out of high profile gigs repeatedly during their time together, culminating in a physical confrontation in 2009 that caused Noel to leave the band. They have since gone on to each front their own projects, Beady Eye and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
3. The Kinks
Brotherly hate is nothing new, public or private, with The Kinks making it repeatedly clear throughout their 30-plus years together as a band. As every tertiary musician to temporarily join the Kinks fold could attest, Ray and Dave Davies simply could never get along with one another, and the success of the band only intensified the issue. Both brothers didn’t help things by indulging in serious drug habits, made even worse by Ray’s preexisting mental issues related to bipolar disorder. After three decades of touring, Dave couldn’t take it any more, officially breaking up the band and repeatedly promising they would never reunite. The Davies brothers do talk to one another, with both parties alleging a brotherly love exists beneath the hatred, but Dave apparently can’t spend more than an hour in the room with Ray without a violent and heated argument breaking out between them. Recently, Dave has been telling reporters he has little money, and that Ray refused to support him after he suffered a stroke, instead inventing diseases to take the attention away, making it clear this feud isn’t one that will stop any time soon.
2. The Rolling Stones
Having donned themselves “the world’s greatest rock and roll band” sometime in the early 1970’s, much like The Beatles, anybody who knows anything about music is well aware of The Rolling Stones. Not only were The Stones neck and neck with The Beatles throughout the ‘60s, but they also served as one of the few bands from that decade to survive, which they have all the way to the present day. On the laurel that it’s only rock and roll, but they like it, The Rolling Stones have succeeded largely because of Mick Jagger’s swagger defining posturing as a front man coupled with Keith Richards being a living embodiment of the guitar riff. Despite their unbridled success, the two have almost openly hated each other for decades, with Richards creating unflattering nicknames like “Her Majesty” and “that bitch Brenda” to openly mock Jagger to his friends and members of the press. The two have always been able to put aside their open resentment towards one another for the good of their careers, with the one time they split up in the 1980s proving without question neither of them could make as much money going solo as they did when working together.
Practically everybody alive has at one point had the thought they hate somebody. Chances are while reading this article you found yourself able to relate to one or two of the entries, thinking some of these musicians were well without their right to hate one another given their less favorable antics. That’s probably not going to be the case with Mayhem, a Swedish black metal band who took the concept of hatred to its ultimate extreme, the way one might expect a Swedish black metal band to do. Mayhem was formed by Euronymous, Necrobutcher, and Manheim in 1984, shooting to fame in the early ‘90s after the suicide of the new singer, aptly named Dead. Euronymous hired Varg Vikernes to replace his fallen comrade, setting into motion the darkest incident in the appropriately pitch black world of Swedish death metal. For unclear reasons, Vikernes came to believe Euronymous was plotting to brutally murder him, and instead of sitting and waiting to meet his fate, he got proactive, brutally murdering Euronymous instead. While he claims the murder was an act of self-defense, the 23 stab wounds found on Euronymous’s body painted a story of pure hatred.
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