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Instrument destruction madness

  • By MisterCharlie Author Avatar
  • 29 September 2012

Last week saw Green Day's Billie Joy Armstrong revive that most punk of gestures: the raging guitar smash. To be honest he did it in a kind of petulant toys out the pram way, guitar weakly flailing about til his guyliner smudged and snot ran down his nose. BUT. It did make us think how much we love a good bit of pointless destruction. Here are 10 notable anger management free examples of artists with either too much money or not enough sense. Encore? Um…. Maybe I could hum it?


Note how the scrawny limbed smack weakling Kurt doesn’t humiliate himself trying to actually break the guitar, instead he just chucks it through the drum kit and gives his cheering fans a hateful ‘happy’ grimace. Of course, had he had a gun with him, that ax would have been toast.

The Who

The undisputed masters of stage mayhem, back in the days when you could wear the glittering outfit of a fruity 18th Century highway man AND still be a badass. One time Keith Moon packed his drums with explosives, the resulting Ka-Ba-BOOM causing a piece of cymbal to become embedded in his arm used to put explosives in his drums. He is now dead.


Art of Noise

And who said rock n roll got all the fun? Sample pioneers Art of Noise spend the video of their ’84 breakdance classic getting a sly dig in at their critics, taking chainsaws and mallets to an orchestras worth of instruments... Geddit?? They 'chop' up 'sound'. Very clever chaps.


Ritchie Blackmore

Yeah g’wan Ritchie! Look at him smash that mother! GOOOOO!  Wait. Hold up. Did he just throw that vicious looking lump of cracked wood and twisted metal directly into someone’s face in the crowd? This was clearly filmed in the magical time/ place before ordinary gig goers had any rights, and mega stars could mete out violent, potentially blinding attacks with no repercussions. We think it’s called the 70s.

Sonic Youth

And here Sonic Youth suck all the glee and primordial chaos out of instrument smashing and replace it with clever. Watch them spend 4 minutes very, very seriously smashing up a piano. It’s called art and you don’t get it.

They've also disabled embedding of the video. Those guys really are the enemies of fun. Watch the video here for 4 minutes you'll never get back.

DJ Swamp

Swamp is like the lank haired Pete Townshend of turntablism. His act usually concludes with him setting fire to his hands, and then setting fire to his turntables with the raging inferno his fingers have become. We’re pretty sure that if the music thing dries up there’s space for him in some sort of vigilante super villain ass kicking squad.


Paul Stanley milks this extended smash as much as you’d expect a man sporting full face make up and a spider shaped diamante chastity belt would.

Green Day

Looks like it’s not just Billie Joe from Green Day who likes to batter his kit. Tre Cool takes the drum destruction thing beyond the chucking shit around stage into the ‘lighting a raging inferno’ quite possibly giving hordes of dumb festival kids a great idea of how to deal with portaloos.

9. The Clash

OK, so no youtube video for this one, only the most iconic punk rock photo EVAAAA. Paul Simonon, smashing his bass on the cover of one of greatest rock n roll albums of all time. A picture so damn rocking it even looks cool when Paul is replaced with a muppet.


The Mummies

Horror loving 80s garage punks The Mummies’ entire set would be spent busting everything on stage, and they still sounded totally sick. Look at the head Mummies keyboard. It’s held together with gaffer tape and sarcophagus scut, and he just don’t care. Fun fact: Underneath the bandages The Mummies were, in fact, hell goblins.