Spending time with people is fun- you get to know them, from their hobbies and interests to their pet peeves and their annoying habits. If you’re working together, you have to figure out how to coexist productively. And if you’re in a band? That can be a lot harder, thanks to a combination of studio demands, long tours and the personal nature of music. So when bandmates fight, it can get a lot meaner than passive-aggressively drinking the last of the coffee. Here are some examples.
Vivian Campbell vs. Ronnie James Dio, Dio
From 1982 to 1986 Vivian Campbell and Ronnie James Dio worked together on the heavy metal band Dio, and by the end of it the two reportedly hated each other. The feud, according to Campbell, comes from the way that Dio treated the rest of the band, namely paying them “less than the crew”, something which he tried to renegotiate, only to be fired and portrayed as a villain in the press. Normally, the feud would have ended in 2010, when Ronnie James Dio died, but some of the Dio die-hards are keeping that torch burning. They’re taking particular ire with Campbell’s reuniting with old Dio bandmates and performing Dio songs, which some fans perceive as tasteless and an attempt to take advantage of Ronnie James Dio’s legacy. Campbell, for his part, doesn’t seem all that bothered, explaining that they helped write and record the songs, and that the only reason anyone’s complaining is the public nature of his old feud.
Steve Perry vs. The Rest of the Band, Journey
Don’t stop believing- unless you’re hoping for a Journey reunion. Steve Perry was Journey’s vocalist from 1977 to 1998, the voice behind mega-hits like ‘Anyway You Want It’, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and ‘Open Arms’. But it all fell apart in the late nineties, when the band wanted to go on tour, but were worried about how Perry’s health (namely, he needed hip surgery) would affect it. He was wary about the surgery, and the band, aggravated by his recalcitrance, started pressuring him to get the procedure so they could get back to touring. Perry dug his heels in, and it ended in the band leaving him a phone message telling him to do whatever he wanted, so long as he didn’t call it Journey. As Perry explains it, the message was an ultimatum, which he doesn’t do well with. The band still isn’t on speaking terms, apparently using representatives to discuss licensing and copyright issues.
Roger Waters vs. The Rest of the Band, Pink Floyd
The feud between Roger Waters and the rest of Pink Floyd is the stuff of legend. By the late seventies, the band was enjoying the rockstar life, but Waters was convinced the rest of the band was sliding by on his talent. Unsurprisingly, this made things between them tense. They stuck together to fulfill studio obligations for another album, but by 1983, both Waters and fellow bandmate David Gilmour had unofficially left the band. Waters ‘officially’ departed from Pink Floyd a year later, and that would have been the last of it, but in 1986, Gilmour and the rest of the band reunited for a new album. To put it politely, Waters flipped out, suing the band over their right to use the name ‘Pink Floyd’. He lost, and Gilmour was granted the rights to the band’s name. Waters still wasn’t over it in 2001, when he complained about his songs, which were written protesting stadium-style rock were being played at huge, stadium-filling concerts. But they started burying the hatchet in 2005, when the surviving members of Pink Floyd appeared together for a Live8 charity concert, and they’ve collaborated occasionally since then.
Don Felder vs. The Rest of the Band (especially Glenn Frey), The Eagles
The Eagles might have been one of the most popular acts of the seventies, and written one of the decade’s great songs (‘Hotel California’, obviously), but they had their share of drama. Namely, the epic tension between Don Felder and Glenn Frey (who the rest of the band sided with). These tensions hit a high point in 1980, at a charity concert in Long Beach, California. Things were already bad: Don Felder had wanted to take lead vocals on more songs, and the rest of the band shot him down, but it got worse on stage. Frey and Felder threatened each other throughout the concert, and then made good on them backstage, getting into a fight. While the band stayed together for another album, that incarnation of the Eagles was effectively over. They didn’t play together for over a decade after that, with founder Don Henley proclaiming they’d play together again- when hell froze over. They reunited in 1994 for the Hell Freezes Over Tour, and for a while, they seemed to be on friendly terms. But in 2001, Felder sued the Eagles for $50 million, claiming he’d been stiffed on tour profits and compilation album proceeds. The Eagles counter-sued, claiming Felder’s book Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles was a breach of contract. The suits have been settled out-of-court, for an undisclosed amount.
Axl Rose vs. Slash, Guns n’ Roses
Axl Rose is, by all reports, really hard to work with. Or be in the same room with. The rocker’s racked up an impressive list of celebrity feuds, ranging from Metallica to Tommy Hilfiger. But the animosity between him and fellow Guns n’ Roses member, Slash, is legendary. It all started in the nineties, when Rose replaced Slash’s guitar track on their cover of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ with one from Paul Tobias, an old friend. Understandably upset, Slash left the band, and things deteriorated from there, with Rose claiming they’d both die before reuniting. Then, in 2009, Rose described Slash as a cancer needing removal- shortly after Slash’s mother had died of cancer. While it would be understandable if this fuelled a revenge-epic of Shakespearean proportions, in 2011 Slash said that all he needed for the feud to end was an apology from Axl Rose. No one’s holding their breath, though.
Paul Simon vs. Art Garfunkel, Simon and Garfunkel
By the 1970s, folk darlings Simon and Garkfunkel were closer to loathing than liking each other. Their last album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, had to be released with only eleven tracks because they were unable to agree on a twelfth track and equally unwilling to compromise on it. They were supposed to release a reunion album in the eighties, but parted ways early in the recording process, leading Simon to release Hearts and Bones as a solo album. When the duo was inducted in the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1990, Garfunkel took the high road, thanking Simon for their time together. Simon did the opposite in his speech, where he said “Arthur and I agree on almost nothing. But it’s true, I have enriched his life quite a bit”. But when Simon was inducted as a solo artist in 2001, he seemed to have mellowed, stating that he regretted that their friendship had ended, and hoped to make peace. Two years later? They were touring again, hatchet presumably buried deep.
Noel Gallagher vs. Liam Gallagher, Oasis
Sibling rivalry can be horrible and even though recent reports claim the two have reconciled, Oasis members and brothers; Noel and Liam Gallagher have always had trouble getting along. Their fame was accompanied by stories about their vicious arguments, and it finally came to a head in 2009. Before they were scheduled to perform at the V Festival in Paris, they got into a massive argument- complete with guitar smashing!- that lead to Noel quitting the band. The set was cancelled just before they were meant to be onstage. That evening, Noel made the split official by posting the news on Oasis’ website, explaining that he “simply could not go one working with Liam a day longer.” A day later, he followed it up with a post apologizing to the fans and festival for the cancelled shows, but also that his time with the band had been marred by verbal and physical intimidation that had reached “intolerable” levels.
Varg Vikernes vs. Øystein Aarseth/Euronymous, Mayhem
As a genre, black metal ranges from a little intimidating to flat-out terrifying. And Mayhem, the band these two belonged to, was definitely on the terrifying end of the scale. The band had ties to far-right wing Germanic paganism, and had several members rumored to be involved with the arson of several churches in Norway. When a band like this feuds, it ends in blood. In 1993, Vikernes and bandmate Øystein Aarseth, AKA Euronymous, got into a confrontation, which has been theorized to have been over political disagreements or financial disputes. No matter the precise cause, it ended with Euronymous being stabbed to death. Vikernes maintains that it was self defense, as Euronymous was planning to murder him first. The ensuing trial not only saw Vikernes convicted of murder, but also for the arson of three churches, attempted arson of a fourth and, terrifyingly, the theft and storage of over 100 kilograms of explosives. He was sentenced to twenty-one years in prison, Norway’s maximum sentence.
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