6 Weird Things That Sparked Band Breakups

When there's tension, even the silliest things can cause complete chaos.

Ultimate Guitar

When there's tension within a band, even the silliest things can cause utter chaos and the ultimate breakup.

Such things have happened even with major bands, here's a few examples, six of 'em to be precise.

Classic Guns N' Roses Breakup Was Sparked By The Rolling Stones Cover

In late 1994, GN'R covered The Rolling Stones classic "Sympathy for the Devil" for the "Interview with the Vampire" soundtrack.

The track marked the entrance of guitarist Paul "Huge" Tobias to the GN'R fold. Tobias is Axl Rose's childhood friend, and he was brought to the band by Mr. Rose.

The tension within the group severely rose after this tune, and is named as one of the key factors in Slash's 1996 departure.

Second guitarist Gilby Clarke didn't even appear on the cover, and said that the song foreshadowed his exit from GN'R, noting:

"They did that while I was on the road touring for my solo record. ... I knew that that was the ending because nobody told me about it. Officially I was in the band at that time, and they did that song without me.

"That was one of the last straws for me, because nobody had said anything to me, and they recorded a song by one of my favorite bands. It was pretty clear I'm a big Rolling Stones fan, and they recorded the song without me. So I knew that was it."

YouTube preview picture

The Smiths Breakup Was Sparked By Morrissey's Fondness of '60s Pop Covers

Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr were not seeing eye to eye about many things, but Johnny once noted that Morrissey's fondness of covering '60s pop hits was the last straw that caused his departure in 1987.

"I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs," the guitarist said.

YouTube preview picture

RATM Breakup Was Sparked By Tim the Bassist Climbing a Palm Tree

A fake palm tree, that is. We're talking about the well-known incident that took place at the 2000 MTV Awards, when Limp Bizkit won the award over RATM, and Tim the bassist decided to storm the stage and climb the tree.

Although guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk didn't seem too upset about the incident, and even supported Tim the bassist, singer Zach de la Rocha was reportedly very "disgusted" and "humiliated" by Tim the bassist's behavior.

One month after the VMA show, Zach announced that RATM are no more, saying: "I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed. It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal."

YouTube preview picture

The Eagles Breakup Was Sparked By Guitarist Saying 'I Guess'

Back in 1980, tensions were high in The Eagles ranks. Original members Don Henley (drums/vocals) and guitarist Glenn Frey were in charge of things, new bassist Timothy B. Schmit (did someone say Tim the bassist?) was just following orders, but longtime guitarist Don Felder was tired of the toxic atmosphere within the band.

During the band's appearance at the benefit show for Senator Alan Cranston, Senator's wife went backstage to thank the boys for performing, at which point Don said "Nice to meet you... I guess" or "You're welcome... I guess" according to some sources, utterly enraging Frey.

The two went on to spend the entire show telling each other how they're going to whoop each other's arse. Felder remembers telling Frey during the show: "Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal."

YouTube preview picture

David Bowie's Spiders from Mars Breakup Was Sparked By Lust for Lamborghini

One moment, drummer Woody Woodmansey and keyboardist Mike Garson are chatting on a plane, with Woody saying how he badly wants this Lamborghini car.

Then, Garson tells Woody he should be able to afford one, Mr. Bowie pays well after all.

Then, they discover a huge difference in wages Mr. Bowie is paying them.

Then, tension began.

Finally, during the band's July 1973 show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, Mr. Bowie had announced that the gig was the band's last, surprising the crowd, and even the band.

YouTube preview picture

The Mamas and the Papas Breakup Was Sparked By Mick Jagger's Presence

Back in the late '60s, "California Dreamin'" hitmakers were already troubled by romantic relationships within the band, but their first breakup in 1968 was sparked by an incident that took place at a party in October 1967.

During the party, guitarist/vocalist John Phillips insulted vocalist Cass Elliot in front of her idol, Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, causing her to leave the band the same night.

Both John and Cass have since passed away - John died in 2001, while Cass left us way back in 1974 due to a heart attack.

An eerie bit of trivia - Cass died in the very same London apartment in which The Who drummer Keith Moon passed away four years later. At the time he died, Keith was the same age as Cass when she died. Spooky...

YouTube preview picture

Got more to share? Do it in the comments.

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Tim the bassist... I wonder if he has a last name, or if he's like "Cher", just "Tim"
    "The tension within the group severely rose after this tune" I see what you did there UG.
    Jeez man even I got second hand embarassment just from watching "Tim the bassist" climb that tree, let alone Zach De La Rocca, could totally see why he'd feel humiliated.
    Well, for me it was just... uh... really weird and derpy. And Fred Durst's reactions were surprisingly not annoying.
    Technically speaking the Bowie breakup wasn't because the guy wanted a lamborghini. It was because they didn't get equally paid, the lamborghini conversation just made them realize they weren't making the same money.
    I'd like to see an article on all the incidents of people leaving Megadeth after an argument with Dave Mustain!!!
    The Belgian band School Is Cool recently tossed their drummer out after he ski'd over the frontman's girlfriend. It's a great story because it's so lame.
    Quality decision making by Zack there for RATM. You have a platform that reaches millions upon millions of people. Your bassist gets f'ed up and climbs a tree and you throw that away? Great. Now his message, which seems to be all he cares about, is being heard by 5 people. Good job. Really thought that one through.
    Didn't one of the original Misfits lineups break up over cheeseburgers or something?
    Specifically for the GnR break - Axel had his friend record a second guitar solo to go along with the first one that Slash put down. Slash did not know about this and was upset. Sounds pretty awesome though.
    According to Slash his parts were doubled by Axls buddy, without anyone asking Slash. He also wanted to scrap the song after seeing the movie, but Axl went ahead with it anyways.
    Oasis break Noel said that on the night of his departure - which led to the cancellation of a headline slot at a Paris festival - Liam stormed into the dressing room wielding a guitar like "an axe". "He nearly took my face off with it," he said. Noel said he regretted the way the band ended, splitting with just two shows to play. He added that if the group had finished the tour and had time to reflect, "we'd never have split up". Noel is to launch his post-Oasis career with a new album, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, on October 17, the first of two albums which have been completed. The second will follow next year. Noel revealed that tensions had been heightened on the night of the Paris showdown because the band had been forced to cancel a headline slot at the UK's V festival because Liam had failed to show up due to "a hangover". The official cause of the cancellation was Liam suffering from laryngitis. The climactic row in France also led to Liam throwing a plum at his brother, which splattered against the dressing room wall, shortly before they were due on stage. "Part of me wishes it did end like that - 'plum throws plum'," said Noel.
    I always thought Rage broke up because of the disagreement between Tom and Zach to release the Renegades album