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Old 06-17-2011, 07:49 AM
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Unpleasant people in rock


I keep on hearing what a nasty, vicious, unpleasant man Van Morrison is. Richard Carpenter hasn't had a good press, and Roger Waters, by his own admission, has been a grumpy old bastard - an opinion shared by many others.

Who else in the music world is - or is supposed to be - a thoroughly unpleasant person?
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:00 AM
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Axl Rose
Alex and Eddie Van Halen
Glenn Danzig
Gene Simmons
Lars Ulrich

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Old 06-17-2011, 08:29 AM
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Need examples of their behaviour please, or this will be an uninteresting thread.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:39 AM
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Most rock fans have probably heard of multiple examples of the unpleasant nature of the rockers on my list except maybe for Danzig. Here's an example of Danzig being a dick and then getting what he deserves (video has foul language):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEehtlKVKps
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:36 AM
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Most rock fans have probably heard of multiple examples of the unpleasant nature of the rockers on my list except maybe for Danzig. Here's an example of Danzig being a dick and then getting what he deserves (video has foul language):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEehtlKVKps
I don't have anything in particular against him, but I could watch that video 20 times a day and still find it funny.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:41 AM
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Noel Gallagher is one shining example.

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The most infamous of Gallagher's controversial statements was in a 1995 interview with The Observer, where he expressed a wish for Damon Albarn and Alex James of rivals Blur to "catch AIDS and die"
Honestly, I couldn't care one way or the other as a person's private life should be, well, private. If they're asses, fine, I can be too. Frankly, it's more unfortunate that the bigger their egos got, the worse their music became.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:41 AM
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Gene Simmons
I could not agree more. What a sanctimonious, royal twa* that guy is. I heard a radio interview with him on NPR where I wanted to reach out and throttle him. He thinks he's god's gift to humanity. He came off so badly in the interview that he wouldn't let NPR release it--but here it is on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXMpo6rrUcI
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:34 PM
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Alex and Eddie Van Halen

As I have heard it, Eddie was only an asshole when drunk. When he was sober he was a good guy.

I have heard that drunk or sober, Michael Anthony was a good guy.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:39 AM
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Dave Mustaine (Megadeth): at least according to Kerry King (Slayer).

Any by golly, if Kerry King says it, it MUST be true!

ETA: every interview I've seen of Dave, he ends up coming across as an ass - and I have always had a crush on him! Plus, if you google it, Dave always makes the top 10 list for "jerks in rock/metal".

Last edited by otternell; 06-17-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:46 AM
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Back to my "all Dave, all day" channel: he's even got a wikipedia site about how much of a jackass he is. Do I win the thread?
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:14 AM
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quote:In 1978, Nugent began a relationship with seventeen-year-old Hawaii native Pele Massa. Due to the age difference they could not marry so Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian, an arrangement that Spin magazine ranked in October 2000 as #63 on their list of the "100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock"/endquote

link

Sid Vicious was a tool of McLaren, and I reckon latter is the bigger asshole. Keeping in mind that Sid killed someone. Malcolm is a major fucking cunt.

In a similar story, Elvis was the world's fool, but the wife substitute that made him do it was Tom Parker. I pick Tom Parker as the great whopping cock of the arrangement, you may disagree.

Gene Simmons because he's really good at being Gene Simmons. Which is bad.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:39 PM
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quote:In 1978, Nugent began a relationship with seventeen-year-old Hawaii native Pele Massa. Due to the age difference they could not marry so Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian, an arrangement that Spin magazine ranked in October 2000 as #63 on their list of the "100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock"/endquote

link
Not NEARLY enough Nugent in this thread.

Stranglehold kicks ass, but damn, he's got to be one of the rock musicians I'd least like to sit next to on a trans-Atlantic flight. There is one upside to that scenario: at least I would have the benefit of knowing he probably doesn't have a weapon on him. Probably.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:26 AM
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Not NEARLY enough Nugent in this thread.

Stranglehold kicks ass, but damn, he's got to be one of the rock musicians I'd least like to sit next to on a trans-Atlantic flight. There is one upside to that scenario: at least I would have the benefit of knowing he probably doesn't have a weapon on him. Probably.

I never met Nugent but I knew someone who met him at an archery event about 30 years ago.He liked him and he didn't care for his music. But Nugent strikes me as someone with a "strong"personality..either youlike him strongly or dislike him the same.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:35 AM
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I've worked a few tours with Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers, Clapton and the Grateful Dead. I've only had 2 artists get nasty with me and both times they came back and apologized. It was Gregg Allman and Steve Tyler. I concider both of them really good guys.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:30 AM
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I don't have any links but I do recall interviews with people who've worked with him and they all say that John Mellencamp is a tyrant. Impossible to work with / for, nothing's ever good enough, and if it wasn't done his way, it was done wrong.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:46 AM
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I don't have any links but I do recall interviews with people who've worked with him and they all say that John Mellencamp is a tyrant. Impossible to work with / for, nothing's ever good enough, and if it wasn't done his way, it was done wrong.
I saw one of his concerts on TV a few years back. He constantly insinuated that his band was not as good as him. I'm thinking there was not a lot of "dwelling in the pocket" with that group.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:58 AM
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Not to be unpleasant, but I think the head-scratching would be more prevalent if the thread were about "Pleasant people in rock" instead. As it is, I predict two or three pages before the wind goes out of the sails.

The stories of trashed hotel rooms alone might spark dozens of instances to appear.

If not, then the outlandish demands for this and that oddity in the dressing room might add another large group of replies.

Seriously, who are some pleasant Rock Star types?
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:19 AM
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Seriously, who are some pleasant Rock Star types?
In terms of serious superstars, Dave Grohl has the rep of being the Nicest Guy in Rock(tm).

In terms of douchebags - didn't Jim Morrison sit for the illustration in the dictionary for that one? Reading the book No One Here Gets Out Alive, he couldn't come across like a bigger narcissitic, damaged idiot.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:35 AM
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For unexpected dickishness, I offer Jonathan Richman. How could a guy whose songs sound almost like a kid's album be such a jerk at his shows and in interviews?

Pete Buck of REM's 'airline incident' may be the most famous example of his bad behavior, but he's been nasty to a friend of mine in the music industry.

Some people apparently don't deal with being on the road well.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:40 AM
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In terms of serious superstars, Dave Grohl has the rep of being the Nicest Guy in Rock(tm).

In terms of douchebags - didn't Jim Morrison sit for the illustration in the dictionary for that one? Reading the book No One Here Gets Out Alive, he couldn't come across like a bigger narcissitic, damaged idiot.
I've just started reading Keith Richard's Life, and someone who has finished it said that he comes out of it uncaring and narcissitic.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:49 PM
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In terms of serious superstars, Dave Grohl has the rep of being the Nicest Guy in Rock(tm).
I suspect that Louise Post and Nina Gordon might take issue with that, since he is the alleged catalyst for the ending of their friendship and the breakup of Veruca Salt.

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In terms of douchebags - didn't Jim Morrison sit for the illustration in the dictionary for that one? Reading the book No One Here Gets Out Alive, he couldn't come across like a bigger narcissitic, damaged idiot.
I always got was that he was a hell of a nice guy until he started drinking and hitting the drugs, then he became wildly unpredictable. Most of the books I have about him tell the story that way.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:00 AM
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In terms of serious superstars, Dave Grohl has the rep of being the Nicest Guy in Rock(tm).
That may be, but my wife reports that at a Foo Fighters concert she got a look at a backstage pass, and it said explicitly (not even just using innuendo) that a woman with a backstage pass was thereby agreeing to give head to the band members.

Probably some kind of joke (I hope) but still...
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:36 AM
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Not to be unpleasant, but I think the head-scratching would be more prevalent if the thread were about "Pleasant people in rock" instead. As it is, I predict two or three pages before the wind goes out of the sails.

The stories of trashed hotel rooms alone might spark dozens of instances to appear.

If not, then the outlandish demands for this and that oddity in the dressing room might add another large group of replies.

Seriously, who are some pleasant Rock Star types?
It's sort of being done here. It's what inspired this.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:46 AM
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It's sort of being done here. It's what inspired this.
So it is! I even posted there (Billy Graham! ). I just wanted to say "Hi" to you and thought this might work. It did!
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:58 PM
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Seriously, who are some pleasant Rock Star types?
Kate Bush is an evasive interviewee about subjects she doesn't wish to discuss, but she is genuinely sweet in person. And this give me an opportunity to mention the time she called to thank me and compliment me on the music video I made to one of her songs.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:20 PM
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There's a saying of sorts - "Good guys, bad band, bad guys, good band" which seems to often prove true.

I have to say, though that there's likely some contributing factors to this. Creative people tend to be moody, bands tend to be worn out from travel, lack of sleep, substance abuse, income levels not matching fame levels, etc., and probably just get to an unhappy and unpleasant place due to all of that. Having random people come up to them and saying stupid shit is probably an old, unfunny joke.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:21 PM
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Seriously, who are some pleasant Rock Star types?
I once had the chance to meet Al Harlow of Prism. He was a genuinely nice guy, willing to spend a little time with a fan, and to talk about the band and its hits.

On the other hand (and answering the OP's question), I've also met Burton Cummings, who was with the Guess Who, before he went solo. He made it clear that he had very little time for, or interest in, the "little people." Mind, this was back in about 1982 or so, and he may have mellowed over the years, but I didn't take away a very good impression of him from that meeting.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:55 AM
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Not to be unpleasant, but I think the head-scratching would be more prevalent if the thread were about "Pleasant people in rock" instead.
This is all just perception bias. There are thousands and thousands of people in rock. The handful that are assholes you hear stories about, the rest would just be averagely decent people who behave in ordinary ways and so don't come up on the radar. Further, a person in rock could be averagely decent (hell, they could be above averagely decent) but if they have one bad day and throw a tantrum, that day will provide the anecdote given as the standard illustration of that person's personality, for the rest of that person's life.

Last edited by Princhester; 06-19-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:36 AM
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Lou Reed is famous for being a horrible dick to interviewers.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:42 AM
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Roger Waters, by his own admission, has been a grumpy old bastard - an opinion shared by many others.
Yes, but I don't care!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:53 AM
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From what I understand is Jim Morrison of the Doors was polite and friendly when he wasn't drinking. The problem was he drank a lot..saying it was cheap, legal, readily available and that being Irish he was supposed to.

There has to be a reason why a lot of Jeff Beck's groups didn't last very long. And Jack Bruce also.


For managers there are a whole lot besides Colonel Parker. Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Peter Paul and Mary), Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin), Allen Klein (Rolling Stones).

David Crosby and Stephen Stills always struck me as drug-addled dicks.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:52 AM
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... Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin)...
That's who first came to mind for me, although admittedly I don't remember details about whatever accounts I read.

Ritchie Blackmore, while maybe not an ass certainly came across as unpeasant enough. In his Straight Between the Eyes tour at the Hammersmith he'd never look at or acknowledge the crowd, just sulking off in a corner and obviously unhappy to be there. I understand that wasn't unusual.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:05 PM
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Ritchie Blackmore, while maybe not an ass certainly came across as unpeasant enough. In his Straight Between the Eyes tour at the Hammersmith he'd never look at or acknowledge the crowd, just sulking off in a corner and obviously unhappy to be there. I understand that wasn't unusual.
I've gotten the impression that he's a much happier camper now that he has married a young hottie, started dressing up like Robin Hood, and given up the heavy metal in favor of Renaissance Faire tootling with the missus.
  #34  
Old 08-07-2019, 02:45 PM
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That's who first came to mind for me, although admittedly I don't remember details about whatever accounts I read.

Ritchie Blackmore, while maybe not an ass certainly came across as unpeasant enough. In his Straight Between the Eyes tour at the Hammersmith he'd never look at or acknowledge the crowd, just sulking off in a corner and obviously unhappy to be there. I understand that wasn't unusual.
I mentioned RB in a similar thread. Openly disparaging just about everyone he worked with, this completely arrogant look on his ugly mug with his ridiculous shoe black hair and pencil thin mustache. His (seemingly) vapid Barbie Doll of a wife did not improve my opinion.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:23 PM
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David Crosby and Stephen Stills always struck me as drug-addled dicks.
Crosby left/was kicked out of the Byrds while they were working on The Notorious Byrd Brothers. When the LP came out it featured a photo of the remaining members looking out of the windows of a stable; looking out of the last window was a horse. Crosby felt that they had done that as a swipe at him. Roger McGuinn denied it, saying "If we'd wanted the horse to represent Crosby we'd have turned it around."

Last edited by cjepson; 06-17-2011 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:07 AM
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Fans who saw the Rush documentary “Beyond the Lighted Stage” probably got a better feel for drummer Neil Peart than they ever have before. On the whole, he comes across as a smart, funny, and perfectly decent man. But as he himself acknowledges, he often comes across as a sourpuss because he’s an introvert and isn’t comfortable with strangers- even NICE strangers.

A fan who spots Geddy Lee or Alex Lifeson in public then races up and gushes “ I LOVE YOU,” is likely to get a smile, a handshake, maybe a photo or an autograph. A fan who does the same to Neil Peart is likely to get uncomfortable silence, even a cold shoulder, and come away thinking, “That guy is a real jerk.”

Is that fair? Probably not, but that’s life in show biz.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:25 PM
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Fans who saw the Rush documentary “Beyond the Lighted Stage” probably got a better feel for drummer Neil Peart than they ever have before. On the whole, he comes across as a smart, funny, and perfectly decent man. But as he himself acknowledges, he often comes across as a sourpuss because he’s an introvert and isn’t comfortable with strangers- even NICE strangers.

A fan who spots Geddy Lee or Alex Lifeson in public then races up and gushes “ I LOVE YOU,” is likely to get a smile, a handshake, maybe a photo or an autograph. A fan who does the same to Neil Peart is likely to get uncomfortable silence, even a cold shoulder, and come away thinking, “That guy is a real jerk.”

Is that fair? Probably not, but that’s life in show biz.
Yep, this is the one I was coming here to say. I've read Peart's various books about bicycling across Africa and riding his motorcycle across the US and Canada--he seems to have a really good insight into himself, and he doesn't apologize for the fact that he "can't pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend." He doesn't attend meet-and-greets, and refuses to do the social thing at concerts, but from all accounts he's actually quite cool and funny with his friends.

I would like to meet him, but even if I saw him in public and recognized him I would never approach him because I know how much he hates it and it makes him uncomfortable.

So kind of unpleasant, yeah, but I think justifiably so. He's not a narcissistic jerk like some "rock stars."
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:33 AM
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A bit surprised no one's mentioned Brian Jones yet. By all accounts, he had a pretty serious personality disorder and was an inveterate woman-beater.

Then there's John Phillips -- learning about his ickiness has actually somewhat spoiled my pleasure in listening to the Mamas & the Papas (and that's not something that usually happens with me).
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:37 PM
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A bit surprised no one's mentioned Brian Jones yet. By all accounts, he had a pretty serious personality disorder and was an inveterate woman-beater.
Even Charlie Watts, who has always seemed to me to be quite the gentleman, said that "Brian Jones was not an easy person to like."

Be that as it may, I've also read that Charlie and Bill felt sorry for Jones as Mick and Keith grew more openly contemptous of him (perhaps with good reason), and as it become increasingly obvious that he was circling the drain.

.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:13 AM
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Peter Gabriel


Unpleasant? Doubtful. Evidence: I sent an invitation to Peter Gabriel, Bath, England in 1984 for a party I was having to coincide with the Los Angeles summer Olympics. It was a weekend affair and featured made-up Olympic events as part of the proceedings. I sent it to a couple of dozen celebrities and Bill James wrote back with a brief, but very nice note. P. Gabe, however, responded in multiple paragraphs in a very warm, personal, and witty way. Someone stole the letter at the party. I should look for it on eBay, I suppose.

I also once met a music video director who said that during pre-production meetings P. Gabe would be very quiet, but also extremely thoughtful and considerate when asked his opinion on something. The director had a very favorable impression of him.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:43 AM
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Billy Corgan has the reputation for being difficult, to say the least.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:51 PM
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Prince
Miss (Diana) Ross
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:54 PM
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Billy Bob Thornton.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:15 PM
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I have personally witnessed Billy Corgan being a complete asshole to an adoring fan. I initially dismissed it as him being tired after the show, but others in the room confirmed that he was like that all the time. Shame really. I think he's just short of brilliant, but what a douche.

On the flip side, Eddie Vedder was so surprisingly cool. I had heard he could be a little standoffish to fans backstage, but I must have caught him on a good day. He was gracious and shook everyone's hand and posed for pictures with everyone back there.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:41 PM
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Van Morrison was mentioned by the OP, and a coworker of mine saw him live a couple of years ago and said he was such a jerk it changed how she felt about him as an artist. She didn't meet him or anything, she said he was just being a huge jerk on stage and kept stopping to yell at the band or complain about things. She said at one point he halted the show to insist that the backup singers be moved to a different part of the stage, for no apparent reason.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:24 PM
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Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot. In the "Behind the Music" show on the band, one of its members said they succeeded in doing the impossible: uniting the disparate heavy metal community by DuBrow getting them to all hate Quiet Riot.

Among musicians several generations ago Ethel Merman and Al Jolson were abrasive.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:34 PM
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For unexpected dickishness, I offer Jonathan Richman. How could a guy whose songs sound almost like a kid's album be such a jerk at his shows and in interviews?
That is the exact opposite of my experience. I have seen Jojo perform maybe a dozen times and have chatted with him before or after the show at most of them. He's a bit of a strange guy but I have found him to be nice, charming and to genuinely enjoy talking to fans. I have never seen him be anything close to a jerk at his shows.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:06 PM
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John Lennon wasn't a nice guy, for most of his life, by his own admission. He was, I am given to understand, getting better later on, but...that arc was truncated, rather forcefully, not long after his 40th birthday.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:37 PM
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John Lennon wasn't a nice guy, for most of his life, by his own admission.
I think he blew hot and cold. Nowadays it seems fashionable to focus on his assholish side, probably in reaction to his being practically canonized in the years following his death.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:49 PM
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Well, we've all seen the "woman from the audience" video, a wonderfully generous and warm Paul Simon episode.

Nevertheless, he's carried a bad reputation for a very long time.


.
Edit: has anyone mentioned Chuck Berry yet?

Last edited by TreacherousCretin; 06-17-2011 at 04:50 PM.
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