Rock’s Greatest Feuds: Kings of Leon, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and More
For the past few years, it seemed like the Kings of Leon were going to avoid the fate of most bands of brothers and actually get along with each other. Caleb Followill’s mid-show departure this past July – and the angry Tweets by his brother Jared that followed — seem to suggest this may not be the case. “There are internal sicknesses & problems that have needed to be addressed,” Jared wrote. “I love our fans so much. I know you guys aren’t stupid. I can’t lie.” It remains to be seen how this is all going to play out, but rock history has proven time and time again that brothers often don’t make the best bandmates. It just makes everything too complicated.
Rock history is filled with bands whose members just couldn’t keep the peace. Here’s a look at 11 more of them.
Simon and Garfunkel: Paul and Art Take Their Feud Public
Simon and Garfunkel at the 1990 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's rocky relationship hit a low point in the mid -1980s when Simon erased Garfunkel's vocals from a planned reunion disc and released it as a solo set. Art took the high road at their induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame in 1990. "I want to thank most of all the person who has most enriched my life by putting these great songs through me," he said. "My friend Paul here." With a smirk on his face, Paul walked up to the podium. "Arthur and I agree about almost nothing," he said. "But it's true, I have enriched his life quite a bit, now that I think about it." Eleven years later Paul was inducted as a solo artist. "I want to thank Art Garfunkel and say that I regret the ending of our friendship, and I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other," he said, then added, pausing for comedic effect, "No rush." In 2003 they hit the road for the highly lucrative Old Friends reunion tour. The duo had an American tour booked for the summer of 2010, but they had to yank it when Garfunkel was diagnosed with vocal chord paresis.
Aerosmith: The ‘American Idol’ Meltdown
Over their 40-year career, the members of Aerosmith have variously survived heroin addiction, cancer, horrific onstage accidents (Steven falling off the stage and breaking his shoulder last year being the most memorable) and the (temporary) defection of guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. American Idol, however, might be their downfall. "It's a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising," Perry told a Calgary newspaper, adding that band first heard that frontman Steven Tyler was going to be a judge through the media. "It's one step above Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'll tell you one thing, when we put this band together, this is not something that he would do. It's his business, but I don't want Aerosmith's name involved with it. We have nothing to do with it." Aerosmith are working on a new album and are hitting the road for an overseas tour, but with Idol beginning again in early 2012, it's likely the tensions will remain.
The Who: Roger and Pete Battle It Out In The Press
In 1975 Pete Townshend vented his frustrations with the Who to the NME: "We've become a golden oldies group," he said. "I can tell you that when we were gigging in this country at the early part of this year I was thoroughly depressed. I honestly feel that the Who were going on stage every night and copying what the Who used to be." Frontman Roger Daltrey blasted back a few months later. "It really took a lot of my Who energy out after reading that," he said. "Pete's talked himself up his own ass. There are quite a lot of disillusioned fans and disenchanted kids right about now. The Who weren't bad on that tour, but I think we've done some gigs where Townshend was bad." The two patched things up for an album and tour later that year.
The Kinks: Fifty Years Of Brotherly Hate
Ray and Dave Davies have been blasting each other in the press ever since they formed the Kinks in the early sixties, but in recent years their conflict has gotten especiallly nasty. "Ray's an asshole," Dave recently told the Daily Mail . "You've heard of vampires, well, Ray sucks me dry of ideas, emotions and creativity. It's toxic for me to be with him. He's a control freak." The brothers haven't performed together since 1996, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.
The Beatles: John and Paul Feud Through Song
When the Beatles split in 1970, John Lennon and Paul McCartney began feuding in the press, but they saved the harshest words their for songs. "The freaks was right when they said you was dead," Lennon sang on 1971's "How Do You Sleep." "The only thing you did was 'Yesterday' … The sound you make is Muzak to my ears. How do you sleep?" George Harrison played guitar on the track, so it was clear what side he was taking. Lennon and McCartney reconciled in later years, even recording together in a coke-fueled, infamously disastrous session in 1974 — but they remained distant up until Lennon's death in 1980.
The Rolling Stones: Keith mocks Jagger’s ‘Tiny Dodger’
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' long-dormant feud flared up with the publication last year of Keith's memoir, Life, in which he mocked Jagger's "tiny dodger" and made many other shocking swipes. The Glimmer Twins will probably make peace in time for their next world tour.
Pink Floyd: Dave Steals Roger’s Pig
Waters and Gimour performing at Live 8, 2005.
In 1987 Roger Waters toured separately from the rest of Pink Floyd, while the group went to court over the rights to the band's name. "If one of us was going to be called Pink Floyd, it's me," Waters told Rolling Stone at the time. "That's my pig [on their stage]. That's my plane crashing," he said, referring to the props for the Wall tour. He also took pot shots at Floyd's 1988 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. "[David] Gilmour's lyrics are very third-rate," he said. "They'll never be as good as mine." Gilmour felt he had every right to continue without Waters — something a judge later agreed on. "I am an extremely stubborn person," Gilmour told Rolling Stone. "I will not be forced out of something I consider to be partly mine." In 2005 Waters and Gilmour finally made peace and performed a four-song set at Live 8. Richard Wright died in 2008, but three years later David Gilmour and Nick Mason joined Roger Waters at a London stop on his world tour. They also remastered their entire catalog, and spoke to Rolling Stone about their fraught history.
The Everly Brothers: Rock’s First Sibling Rivalry
Don and Phil Everly are the original feuding brothers of rock and roll. Tensions reached a boiling point in the summer of 1973 at a gig in Buena Park, California. Phil Everly threw his guitar down and stormed off the stage during a performance of "Cathy's Clown," leaving Don to tell the stunned audience the group was finished (they reformed 10 years later). But unlike many rock stars, they've largely abstained from bashing each other in the press. In 2003, Paul Simon, who counts the Everlys as his biggest influence, talked them into touring with Simon and Garfunkel. "It was hilarious that the four of us were doing this tour, given our collective histories of squabbling," Simon told Rolling Stone. "Don and Phil hadn't seen each other in about three years. They met in the parking lot before the first gig." When the tour ended, the brothers went their separate ways and haven't performed together since.
Oasis: Liam Finally Pushes Noel Too Far
It's unclear exactly happened backstage at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris in August 2009, but nobody disputes that Noel and Liam Gallagher had such a horrific fight that they refused to take the stage. Some reports suggested that Liam smashed one of Noel's guitars in the midst of a vicious brawl, but neither side has ever confirmed that. Fans wrote it off as yet another fight — until Noel posted a note on the band's web site later in the week. "I have been forced to leave the Manchester rock 'n' roll pop group Oasis," he wrote. "I feel you have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable." Over a year later there's no sign they plan on patching things up. "Liam has said that the idea makes him vomit and it would never happen, so I don't need to add anything to that," Noel told Rolling Stone in August. "I don't need the fucking money, but I think it's a shame that songs like 'Champagne Supernova,' 'Rock and Roll Star,' 'The Importance of Being Idle' and 'The Shock of the Lightning' will never be played again. In a stadium."
Guns N’ Roses: Axl Calls Slash a ‘Cancer’
Axl Rose hasn't had any kind words for Slash since the original Guns N' Roses line-up dissolved in the mid Nineties, but he was harsher than ever before in a 2009 interview with longtime friend Del James. "Personally I consider Slash a cancer and better removed, avoided — and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better," he said. Slash didn't appreciate the remark. "I lost my mom to cancer," he said. "That was a little bit of hard rhetoric at that particular time, but it's typical Axl stuff."
Van Halen: Van Halen’s One-Night Reunion Goes Bad
Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony backstage at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
In 1996, Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth attempted to see if they could tolerate being together for just one night when they made a surprise appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Turns out they couldn't. Problems arose when Eddie Van Halen told the press that he couldn’t tour before he had hip replacement surgery. "Tonight's about me, man," Roth said. "Not your fucking hip!" Van Halen's response: "If I ever see you again you better be wearing a cup, pal!" Eleven years later Dave and Ed finally made peace and launched a reunion tour, but by that point they'd manage to drive original bassist Michael Anthony out of the band.