7 Stupid Ways that Great Bands Broke Up
There’s a rumor going around that No Doubt is breaking up over their involvement in the latest Guitar Hero spinoff. While this is clearly a joke, it wouldn’t be the first time a band has broken up over something so trivial. From fast women to fat jokes, numerous bands have fallen apart over petty differences. Not only are many of these breakups downright foolish, but some are also incredibly depressing. So grab a drink and brace yourself.
(‘’)1. Crazy Fits of Rage: The Beach Boys (1961-1985ish) – There’s a fine line between genius and madness. This was certainly the case with Brian Wilson. Best known for his revolutionary work with The Beach Boys, by the late sixties collaborating with him became increasingly difficult. This was due in no small part to the fact that Wilson had gone completely insane, spending months at a time in his bed and taking so much LSD that friends worried his brain might be “permanently fried.” Surprisingly, it wasn’t his overall insanity that broke up the band, but rather his crazy musical talent. Band member Mike Love objected to Wilson’s progressive style, which he called “avant-garde shit.” The friction ultimately led to the departure of collaborator Van Dyke Parks. After that, Wilson gave up his frontman position and stopped performing regularly with the band. His departure paved the way for The Beach Boys to become the pathetic nostalgia peddlers they are today.
2. Our Frontperson Is Too Hot: Blondie (1975-1982) – Also known as “my guitarist got a disease called pemphigus and wants to think things over,” but that wouldn’t be as glamorous, now would it? Debbie Harry and Chris Stein started Blondie back in the mid-seventies. Stein and the rest of the band quickly discovered out that hot, blonde namesakes often hog the precious limelight. Tension came to a head in the early 1980s, and the band finally called it quits because of Harry’s tight grip on the band’s destiny and image. 3: Keeping It in the Band: The Mamas and the Papas (1965-1971) – Remember the rule about not hooking up with your co-worker? Well, that’s partially the reason why The Mamas and the Papas split up in 1971. Their harmonious sounds seem to color the music of the sixties, but hot music leads to hot lovin’ and hot lovin’ leads to hot tempers. The marriage of John and Michelle Phillips took a turn for the worse after Michelle had an affair with fellow band mate, Denny Doherty. Then, the ever-fragile Mama Cass was talking to Mick Jagger at a party when Phillips called her something rude. We don’t know what was said, but we’ll go ahead and guess it had something to do with her weight. The rest is history. 4: Yoko Ono Effect: The Beatles (1957-1970) – It seems every group of male musicians has its Yoko Ono at some point: a beautiful damsel who gains the love of the genius and threatens to break up the band. Unfortunately for the Beatles, their Yoko Ono was actually Yoko Ono. Rumor has it that Ono tore the already tenuous band apart. Even so, Let It Be was released to rave reviews post-breakup.
5. Dumb Manager: The Sex Pistols (1975-1979) – Engineered by concept manager Malcolm McLaren, the Sex Pistols were to punk what Elvis was to rock n’ roll: hot, unstoppable, and drug-addled. One day, Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten began complaining about bassist Sid Vicious’ lack of focus. In turn, the trigger-happy McLaren kicked out Rotten and replaced him with the heroin-loving Vicious! Perfect! At least the Sex Pistols broke the news to Rotten compassionately by abandoning him in Los Angeles with no money and no plane ticket back to England. The band didn’t survive Rotten’s forced departure and dissolved shortly thereafter. 6: We’re Too Cool To Be Cool: The Clash (1976-1986) – There’s nothing like classic British punk, and that’s why we love the Clash. Formed in 1976, these dudes defined punk and the era of the young pissant. But being popular didn’t sit well with the anarchistic, anti-mainstream band. After producing several chart-topping hits and signing a major record deal with a cushy touring gig, the band decided to walk away from the fame and pursue solo projects. But still, in trying to avoid fame, they ended up becoming one of the most famous bands of all time. Rolling Stone ranks them at number 30 on their list of the 100 greatest artists. 7: Bad Communication (Via Radio and Fax Machine): The Pixies (1986-1993) – While the Pixies may have broken up for your run-of-the-mill reasons (creative differences, infighting, etc.) their method of breaking up was uniquely idiotic and earns them a place on this list. The dynamite group from Boston struck music gold with wildly popular albums such as “Bossanova” and “Surfer Rosa.” But by 1993, singer/guitarist Black Francis was fed up with the band, and so he announced to the world via BBC Radio that the Pixies were breaking up, with no explanation or consultation with other band members. Bandmates Kim Deal and David Lovering found out the band was ending the old-fashioned way, which is to say by a faxed memo. Better than a text message or tweet, one supposes.