From Jarvis Cocker’s stage invasion during Michael Jackson’s 1996 Brits performance, hospital to Courtney Love’s Twitter rampages, cialis via a bizarre racial rift between Kele Okereke and Johnny Rotten, see let Caitríona O’Malley regale you with tales of music’s most amusing spats…
Music award shows tend to be staid and sedate affairs. Generally, an artist collects their award or performs their song and trots along on their merry way. Unless you are Alex James, and you somehow set your hair ablaze by leaning too close to the candles in the men’s toilets, proceedings are slick and predictable. Jarvis Cocker, evidently, was disillusioned with all of this feigned politeness and simmering loathing at the 1996 Brit Awards. Midway through Jackson’s bombastic rendition of The Earth Song, Cocker loped onto the stage. He stared into the middle distance momentarily, as if bemused by his own actions, before waggling his bum at the audience and fleeing when pursued by security guards. Time has not diminished the hilarity of the bespectacled, gangly Sheffield man darting across the stage as Michael Jackson ascends in a cherry picker. Cocker later claimed that he was disgusted by Jackson’s ‘Jesus act,’ and never before or after has a simple shimmy of the posterior been so theatrical and so profound in its flourish.
Musical history is awash with similar incidents of embittered confrontation. In 2008, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke made the abominable mistake of asking Johnny Rotten, real name John Lydon, a reasonable question. Lydon allegedly responded with a racial slur. It was unpleasant and hostile. Thankfully, then, Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs was there to add levity to the ugliness. He muscled in to valiantly defend Okereke armed only with his steely resolve and an umbrella, which he used to fend off some burly bodyguards.
Not every musician has been so fortunate as to have an umbrella in their arsenal, alas. In perhaps the most strained literary segue of all time, Dave Grohl must surely have yearned for an umbrella to bat Courtney Love away with in 2012. Love accused Grohl of trying to seduce her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, through the delicate and discreet medium of a Twitter rant. Grohl, who has never been all that enamoured with Love, was naturally appalled and rubbished her claims. It must be his default setting by now after more than two decades of enduring Love’s nonsensical tirades. Once the reliable source of many of the most titillating bust-ups in showbiz, Love was most recently in the news for her theory on the fate of the Malaysian Airlines plane.
When Morrissey published his autobiography under the Penguin Classics division of the publishing house in 2013, he was accused of arrogance. However, that is not what is so flawed about his memoirs. In a tragic oversight, Morrissey failed to allude to the snide remarks exchanged between himself and The Cure’s Robert Smith back in the ‘80s. Following an insult aimed at him by Morrissey in an interview, Smith responded with a flurry of tame barbs. A savage litany of abuse from either side ensued, with Smith threatening to eat meat to spite Morrissey, while Morrissey retorted by referring to Smith as ‘a moaner.’ To this day, Cure fans regard Morrissey fans with mild disdain. Some wounds simply cut too deep to heal. And of course, who would truly want them to?
Musical spats are far too enjoyable!