When Fame and Money Makes It Ugly: Six Messy Band Breakups

Being in a band is kind of like being in a relationship – a polygamous relationship where you have to keep everyone happy, exercise your communication skills and do lots and lots of deep breathing. Some bands are just a flash in the pan; others stand the test of time and are still together decades after they’ve formed. But in the end, most bands break up, whether it’s due to aging, creative differences or fiery arguments. These six bands had especially rough patches that led to their split.

The Eagles

The Eagles

Success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes – just ask The Eagles, who were the biggest thing in music land by 1980. Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner had both already quit the band because Don Henley and Glenn Frey were far too intense. Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit were both laid back and went with the flow, but Don Felder was getting sick of the power struggle. During a benefit show for Senator Alan Cranston, Felder insulted the senator’s wife, which put Frey into a tailspin. While on stage that evening, the band members were threatening each other via microphone. The band didn’t play together for another 14 years after that.

The Everly Brothers

If you have a sibling, then it’s not hard to imagine how two brothers who are in a band together could end up getting into a big enough fight to end their music making. For 20 years, the boys kept it together. In 1973, though, Don showed up to a Hollywood show drunk. After he kept messing up the lyrics, Phil hit his limit and smashed his guitar over his brother’s head, then stormed off stage.

Guns N’ Roses

When Guns N’ Roses edged out Steven Adler, their drummer, in 1990, the rift was a far cry from the fame they’d experienced just three years earlier thanks to their debut album Appetite for Destruction. Even though Guns N’ Roses plugged forward, Axl Rose became increasingly flakey, showing up super late for shows and sometimes even refusing to perform. Rumor has is that Rose even insisted that the band sign over the rights to the band name. After their 1993 tour, the band broke up for good.

The Police

The Police became a band in 1997, formed by Stewart Copeland, Gordon Sumner (now known simply as Sting) and Andy Summers. When Sting started taking more and more ownership of the band, blood started to boil. Summers felt that Sting was too harsh with his criticisms and Sting thought that some of the songs that Summers and Copeland wrote just weren’t all that good. In 1984, Sting decided to call it quits.

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine had a ton of promise: they were the premier rap-rock band in the 90s, they had three perfect albums and they go down in history as one of the greatest live acts ever. Unfortunately, this band suffered from a case of serious communication failure. They argued over album covers, creative goals, plans for the future, new music and touring the world.

Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan, the Smashing Pumpkins’ main songwriter and, well, leader, decided that he wanted to play a majority of the bass and guitar on their Siamese Dream album in 1993. Shockingly, the band’s bassist, D’arcy Wretzke, and the guitarist, James Iha, weren’t so thrilled with this decision. In 1996, Jimmy Chamberlin, the drummer, overdosed on the same night that their keyboardist, Jonathan Melvoin, died of an overdose. Chamberlin was tossed out of the band, returned for a bit in ‘99, left again, and by the end of 2000, the band was officially broken up.

Mood Media delivers in-store media marketing solutions, complete with customized music for business. Hillary Cates is an independent writer, specializing in the merging of cutting-edge technology and marketing.

 


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