Guitarists Gone Wild
Not since Oasis has a “next big thing” from another country self-destructed so completely upon reaching American shores. In 2002, Australian garage rockers the Vines were looking forward to conquering America on a wave of good reviews and positive advance press. They weren’t counting on Nicholls to blow it for them. The Australian band’s guitarist, singer and resident “genius,” Nicholls acted so contrarily on the U.S. tour that people began to wonder if he was nuts. Rumored to never bathe and to smoke prodigious quantities of pot, Nicholls appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with his eyes rolled up spastically into his head. He also chased Capitol Records staffers off the band’s tour bus while hissing and making the sign of the cross, and he got the band kicked off Leno by trashing everyone’s equipment during soundcheck, hours before the cameras started rolling. Not surprising, demand for the Vines’ second album was soft.
Even if he wasn’t involved in the infamous “red snapper” incident, there’s no doubt Pagey has defiled more than his fair share of groupies. Legendary groupie Miss Pamela recalls him traveling with an attaché case full of whips, and allegedly he once added spice to a three-way with two groupies by tossing four live octopuses into the bathtub with them. (And then there was the time he had his naked body covered in whipped cream and wheeled into a hotel room full of girls…) Throw in an obsession with occultist Aleister Crowley (whose Scottish mansion Page owned and lived in for two decades) and an album with Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, and you have a man with more than a passing familiarity with the dark side.
In 1987, Yngwie’s career nearly ended as explosively as one of his Paganini-influenced solos when he smashed his Jaguar into a tree. He awoke from a weeklong coma to find he had nerve damage in his right hand, and endured considerable physical therapy in order to regain his playing ability. Yngwie’s style of shred has been out of style since the early Nineties, but the chubby chap was back in the news in December 2002 when someone taped him completely losing his shit on a flight to Tokyo. Apparently offended by his loud and obnoxious conversation, a female passenger dumped her drink on the guitarist. His incensed (and hilarious) response—“You have unleashed the fockin’ fury!”—has since achieved internet immortality.
Between him and his “Toxic Twin” Steven Tyler, Perry gave the economies of Peru and Colombia a serious boost during the Seventies. At one point, Aerosmith’s drug consumption was so out of hand that they were gently cautioned by a concerned Grateful Dead. Although famously stoned on heroin during his 1975 wedding, Perry was a huge booze hound. After downing endless White Russians during the recording of Draw the Line, he ran up an $80,000 room service bar tab on the subsequent tour for the album. When asked how he managed to spend that much money on liquor, he replied, “Easy!”
Along with Scott Gorham one-half of Thin Lizzy’s finest guitar pairing, the diminutive Robbo was a brawler with a propensity for pissing off other people. Nowhere was this talent put to better (or worse) use than during his brief early Eighties stint with Motörhead, where his preference for wearing satin shorts and ballet slippers onstage inspired death threats from numerous Hells Angels. “He was always drunk,” sighs bassist Lemmy. “One night, we were at the Embassy Club in London, and there were four commandos there getting ready to go out to the Falkland Islands. Robbo’s pissed as a rat, and he goes, ‘I’m a black belt in t’ai chi!’ And this big guy goes, ‘Oh yeah?’ Robbo raises his hands and goes, ‘Go on, get past that!’ And the guy pokes him right in the eye. And Robbo goes, ‘I wasn’t looking right then. Try it again!’ And poke, right in the eye. Fuckin’ helpless, man!”
Before Guns N’ Roses were a long-running joke with no punch line, people considered them the American heavy metal version of the Rolling Stones. In addition to his heroin habit (a problem he shared with several other GN’R members), Izzy paid tribute to the spirit of the Stones by reenacting single-handedly their infamous “We can piss where we want to, man!” incident from 1965 in the aisle of an airplane—much to the displeasure of his fellow passengers. When the flight landed in Phoenix, Izzy was arrested and charged with making a public disturbance, verbally abusing a stewardess and smoking in a nonsmoking area. He got off relatively easy: in the post-9/11 era, an armed Air Marshall probably would have shot him.
While several of his Slipknot bandmates killed time between 2001’s Iowa and 2004’s Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses with various musical side projects, Thomson had more important things on his agenda. “I’ve been working on trying to shit a perfect cylinder, without any sort of lumps,” he revealed. “It’s not easy, but I’m getting there.” The anally fixated Thomson attributes his success to “sitting in my apartment for years, playing guitar and beatin’ off,” and in a more liberal society, he’d probably make one hell of a high school guidance counselor. “Life is what you make it,” he says. “If you’re working at Foot Locker and having fun in life, then great! I didn’t go to college. While my friends were off getting drunk at college frat parties, I was busy perfecting rim jobs on 18-year-old girls.” Regarding the latter practice, he advises, “Don’t be afraid of rimmin’, dude—it’ll get you places! She’ll tell her friends, and word-of-mouth pussy is good pussy!” Amen to that.
No one believed the New York Dolls guitarist and Heartbreakers frontman would live to a ripe old age. Johnny wore his heroin habit like a badge of honor, but he was happy to ingest anything else on hand—like the eight double vodkas he supposedly downed before the 1984 London Lyceum performance, or the “emergency tranquilizers” he was accused of filching from a Scandinavian Airlines medical box during an early Eighties flight. Other brilliant Thunders career moves include projectile vomiting on French reporters during a New York Dolls press conference, passing out onstage at an antidrug benefit show, and nearly drowning in a bowl of cornflakes. Amazingly, he lived until 1991, a full decade after the Replacements recorded “Johnny’s Gonna Die” in his honor.
Deryck Whibley Don’t let his munchkinlike stature fool you—Sum 41’s spiky-haired frontman is quite the ladies man, with conquests including Avril Lavigne and Paris Hilton. “Stevo, our drummer, gave me the Paris Hilton tape for Christmas,” Whibley recalls. “The weird thing is, I don’t remember her eyes glowing in the dark like that.” Of course, Whibley doesn’t discriminate against nonfamous girls, or even those that have no idea who he is. “This superhot stripper came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I love that video where you’re imitating the Backstreet Boys,’ ” he says. “She was talking about a Blink-182 video. She was smoking hot, so I went along with it. If my band can’t get me laid, I might as well use someone else’s!”
This Brown-Eyed Handsome Man has done time for armed robbery, tax evasion and transporting a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes,” but the class-action suit filed against him in 1989 completely outclassed those charges in terms of sheer weirdness: 250 women accused the guitar great of videotaping them as they used the bathroom of his Southern Air restaurant in Wentzville, Missouri. The accusation might have been slightly less believable had police not unearthed a home video from Berry’s personal collection showing him pissing in the face and mouth of a visibly upset lady friend. In the video, as the woman’s tears mingle with Berry’s urine, he comforts her with tender words of love. But when she begs him for a reassuring smooch, he smoothly replies, “I can’t kiss you, baby—you smell like piss!”
The quiet member of punk-funk-metal hybrids Alien Ant Farm, Corso is nonetheless an enthusiastic participant in “Spider in the Waiting,” the band’s favorite tour bus game. When someone gets up in the middle of the night to use the bus facilities, the self-appointed “Spider” sneaks silently out of his bunk, drops his pants, crawls up to the top bunks, and straddles the darkened bus aisle with a knee on each bunk and his bare butt pointing toward the restroom. When the unsuspecting (or wasted, or half-asleep) bathroom user attempts to return to his bunk, he gets a faceful of gaping, sweaty ass for his trouble.
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