Rock's Greatest Slapstick Moments
As reports of rock's resurgence in the music world have continued to flood the press, so has there been an increase in stories of rock breaking down on concert stages in the U.S. and abroad: Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age collapsing onstage. Nine Inch Nails drummer Jerome Dillon stopping the show with chest pains. Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain lovin', touchin', and clutchin' his burst appendix. And that's not even counting Vince Neil's and Paul McCartney's recent tumbles on and off the stage.
If years of watching America's Funniest Home Videos have taught us anything, it's that bodily harm is funny so long as no one dies and someone puts funny parrot voices over the footage. There was nothing hilarious about Patrick Sherry, frontman for UK group Bad Beat Revue, dying from an ill-timed stage dive. But if he lived, hell, we'd file that under broad comedy. So with all fearful respect to the Grim Reaper, here are some of rock's greatest unintentional slapstick moments.
1965: Violence erupts onstage at a Kinks concert in Cardiff, Wales, when Dave Davies suggests to drummer Mick Avory, "Why don't you get your cock out and play the snare with it? It'll probably sound better." Avory gets the last rude gesture by nearly decapitating Davies with a flying cymbal that knocks him unconscious. Where have all the good times gone, indeed!
1965: At the opening date of the Rolling Stones' Scandinavian tour, bassist Bill Wyman is knocked unconscious by an electric shock from a microphone stand, which probably changed expression more readily than he did.
1973: During an ELP concert in San Francisco, Keith Emerson injures his hands when explosives rigged inside his piano detonate prematurely. The ACME Company has a lot of 'splainin' to do!
1974: Uriah Heep bassist Gary Thain is nearly electrocuted onstage during a show in Dallas. Easy-livin' Gary survives long enough to get kicked out of the band and die of a drug overdose a few months later. Hey, it was the '70s!
1976: Alice Cooper trips on a wire and breaks multiple ribs in the fall. Unaware of his injuries, he continues dripping hemoglobin while singing (what else?) "Only Women Bleed."
1982: Rob Halford rides his Harley-Davidson onstage at the Metrocenter in St. Paul/Minneapolis and crashes into the orchestra pit! No word on whether he was driving legato or allegro.
2002: During the band's finale, Marilyn Manson drummer Kenny Frank Wilson flips over his drum kit, falling five feet to the stage, and breaks his collarbone. No one notices, until the layers of smoke-machine mist subside, that he's has been out cold onstage like Sunny von Bülow for almost half an hour.
2004: Here's one you can see on his Forever Wild DVD: During "Youth Gone Wild," Sebastian Bach leaps across the stage and it collapses beneath him. Pissed off and injured, Bach finishes the number, wearing the same expression he reserves for bitch-slapping tape recorders out of reporters' hands when they mention Bon Jovi.
2005: Vince Neil initiates a new kind of theater of pain in Atlanta when he leans too far over to the audience and tears part of his calf muscle, ironically the only part of Neil left undisturbed in his TV rock-star makeover.
2005: In Tampa, Florida, Paul McCartney falls five feet into a stage trapdoor out of which a piano is rising, injuring his arms and back. His hands are stuck in a thumbs-up position, resulting in hundreds of useless and unprintable photographs.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.
More Music News
- The 50 Most Memorable People of Global Dance Festival Arizona 2015
Fri., Dec. 4, 7:30pm
Fri., Dec. 4, 8:00pm
Sat., Dec. 5, 8:00pm
Sun., Dec. 6, 3:00pm
- See Old Town Through the Eyes of a DJ
- We're Thankful for These Five New Songs From Phoenix Bands