Rock star fireworks! When things kick off in the music world

5 November 2019, 20:03 | Updated: 5 November 2019, 20:06

Kurt Cobain goes stage-diving in Frankfurt, November 1991
Kurt Cobain goes stage-diving in Frankfurt, November 1991. Picture: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

Pop star pugilists, rock and roll rucks, indie altercations. The world of music is full of confrontation. Here are some of our favourite examples of musician on musician ass-whupping.

  1. Kurt Cobain versus the security

    At a Nirvana show in Dallas in October1991, Kurt stage dived - guitar and all - during a rendition of the band's debut single, Love Buzz. In the scrum, his guitar clunks the head of one of the bouncers sat at the front of the stage. The bouncer then takes offence and smacks the Grunge Legend for his trouble, a mere month after the release of the genre-defining Nevermind. Witness the speed at which Dave Grohl appears from behind his drum kit to defend his bandmate - that's punk rock in action.

  2. Jack White Vs Jason Stollsteimer of The Von Bondies

    Jack White leaves court in Michigan on 9 March 2004
    Jack White leaves court in Michigan on 9 March 2004. Picture: Jeff Kowalsky/EPA/Shutterstock

    On 13 December 2003, an argument erupted between Jack White and Jason Stollsteimer of fellow Detroit band The Von Bondies over who actually produced the Bondies' debut album (or something). The police report claimed the White Stripes frontman pulled his fellow musician to the floor and punched him "on right eye approx. 7 times". The results weren't pretty:

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    According to The Smoking Gun, "White, who is also known for dating actress Renee Zellweger, later filed a cross-complaint, claiming that he actually got pulled to the floor by Stollsteimer, who began throttling him "about the face & body". Boys, boys. White was charged and had to pay a $500 fine and $250 in court costs and ordered to attend anger management classes.

  3. Dave McCabe of The Zutons and a member of the public

    Dave McCabe arrives at Liverpool Crown Court, Liverpool on 29 October 2010
    Dave McCabe arrives at Liverpool Crown Court, Liverpool on 29 October 2010. Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/PA Images

    In 2010, the Zutons singer was convicted of assaulting student outside a nightclub in Liverpool. Said student Peter Appleby received a headbutt and a broken nose after he made an hilarious comment about the coat McCabe's girlfriend was wearing. Apparently, it made her look like she had a beard. McCabe was ordered to pay £1,5000 compensation, £3,500 court costs and to carry out 150 hours of community service.

  4. Dave Grohl versus some troublemakers

    Sometimes there's aggravation in the name of peace - and sometimes it's a verbal ass-kicking. Dave Grohl was midway through Foo Fighters' set at the Roundhouse in London in 2011 when he spotted a fight breaking out in the crowd.

    "Get the fuck out of my show," the veteran of thousands of punk shows then told the guilty member of the audience. "You don't come to my show and fight, you come to my show and fucking dance!"

  5. Pete Doherty Vs Johnny Borrell

    The battle of the 00s rockers took place at Leeds Festival in August 2005, where The Libertines and Razorlight were were both performing. According to the NME at the time, "Doherty walked into the band’s dressing room last night after both bands had played and in an unprovoked attack headbutted Johnny Borrell.

    "Johnny put Doherty on the floor and left the dressing room, at which point festival security escorted Doherty from the dressing room and back to his bus.”

    Doherty confirmed the ruck later, claiming Borrell was a “fucking c**t” and a “poisonous snake,” while the Razorlight man was more philosophical.

    Johnny's bandmate Andy Burrows told 6music: "A far as Johnny's concerned, it's no big deal. Peter is somebody he used to know. Maybe he feels he's not the same guy he used to know. It was an amazing weekend - but it ended in a headbutt."

    It must be all water under the bridge as the pair were spotted two years later playing football in one of the Soccer Six tournaments.

    Pete Doherty and Johnny Borrell during the Music Industry Soccer Six event at Upton Park on May 20, 2007.
    Pete Doherty and Johnny Borrell during the Music Industry Soccer Six event at Upton Park on May 20, 2007. Picture: Ben Stansall/Getty Images
  6. Izzy Stradlin of Guns N'Roses and Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe

    Vince Neil of Motley Crue and wife Sharise Ruddell mere seconds before Izzy Stradlin swung into action (probably): 6 September 1989
    Vince Neil of Motley Crue and wife Sharise Ruddell mere seconds before Izzy Stradlin swung into action (probably): 6 September 1989. Picture: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    At the 1989 MTV Music Awards, Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil walloped GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin after the Strad was seen "hitting on" Mr Neil's wife, Sharise Ruddell.

    Axl Rose weighed into the, er, "debate" and challenged Vince to a scrap outside Tower Records in LA. Neither of them ever showed up, so we're still waiting for this to be settled ONCE AND FOR ALL.

  7. Iggy Pop Vs some scary bikers

    Iggy Pop performs onstage at the Whisky A Go Go on October 30, 1973
    Iggy Pop performs onstage at the Whisky A Go Go on October 30, 1973. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Iggy's band The Stooges played their last show for nearly 20 years at the Michigan Palace in Detroit on 9 February 1974. At the previous show, Iggy had abused and taunted members of a biker gang in the audience. The gang, called The Scorpions, then called a local radio station and threatened to kill the band if they showed up in Detroit.

    Iggy didn't care and the show went ahead with quite a considerable amount of argy bargy from the crowd. The whole sorry mess was recorded and some of it was later released as Metallic KO - you can hear the beer bottles smashing on the stage.

  8. Mick Jagger Vs Charlie Watts

    Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts in happier times, 1993
    Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts in happier times, 1993. Picture: Independent News and Media/Getty Images

    According to Keith Richards, following a Rolling Stones meeting in Amsterdam in 1984, Keef and Mick Jagger went out on the town, returning to their hotel in the early hours. Jagger picked up the phone to fellow Stone Charlie Watts' room and demanded: "Where's my drummer?"

    Keith recalled in his memoir Life: "About twenty minutes later, there's a knock at the door. There was Charlie, Saville Row suit, perfectly dressed, tie, shaved, the whole f**king lot. He walked right past me, got hold of Mick and said 'Never call me your drummer again'." The Stones went on hiatus not long afterwards.

    "It takes a lot to wind that man up," the guitarist went on, adding that the drummer's punch "carries a lot of balance and timing."