8 Biggest Jerks in Rock

When fame brings out the worst in people.

Ultimate Guitar
8 Biggest Jerks in Rock

Phil Spector

Spector may be somewhat of a legendary producer standing who worked with artists such as The Beatles and The Ramones. Unfortunately, he is also an insane asshole who did a fair share of crazy shit like pulling a gun on the Ramones and aiming a crossbow at Leonard Cohen's head while barring the singer from his own sessions, among others - had long been the stuff of rock & roll legend.  He was also fond of waving guns around his girlfriends, until he finally killed one of them, Lana Clarkson, in 2003. And now he's in prison. What a guy.

Liam Gallagher

While the rock of the 90's was full of assholes, Liam Gallagher proudly stands out of all of them. There's really a whole grab-bag of assholishness to choose from. Вitching out on a U.S. tour to go house shopping telling "I come first, before any fucker". Or Disappearing right before his band's MTV unplugged performance, only to materialize halfway through the set in the balcony, heckling big brother Noel, who was taking over vocal duties. "We're all big boys — I was only joking," he half-apologized on Behind The Music.

Anton Newcombe

In the documentary film DiG!, Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe pretty much destroyed any chance he had of creative, personal or professional success through a series of incidents displaying his brazen assholery. On top of that, Newcombe has been a first-class dick to his fans (once kicking a ticketholder in the head), his band (constant firings, more head-kicking) and other bands, most notably the hipper yet ultimately less talented Dandy Warhols (see BJM song "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth").

Gene Simmons

And instead of being in a rock and roll band -- who the hell wants to do that? I don't -- I want to be in a rock and roll brand. I want to be Disney without the overhead. And I'm on the way.

You don't even need the context to understand who said that.

It's one thing to brag in the press repeatedly that you banged 4,000 women during Kiss's heyday, or to merchandise your likeness to the point of overkill, but to single-handedly stand in the way of the original line-up's performance at the induction ceremony is the absolute height of Assholedom.

It wasn't that Peter and Ace didn't want to play, or couldn't play, or wouldn't play. Both were quite vocal about the fact that they would both love to take part in a performance by the original line-up that would be for the fans who put them there.

But Gene would have none of it. See, the idea of doing anything "for the fans" that does not also include charging them the most exorbitant price possible is as foreign a concept to Gene as smiling is to Dick Cheney. Gene could have played nice in the press, bit his tongue for three songs at the ceremony, and basked in the warm, loving glow of the Kiss. But, instead, Gene chose to project an air of pompous negativity and vitriol. This is a guy who literally believes that he made Ace and Peter who they are and that they should show some fucking appreciation.


Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent is a great guitarist. He likes to hunt. He's a true right-winger, well, that's ok as well. 
But damn he likes go over the top and say some fucked up stuff. Wishing the US had "Nagasakied" Iraq, threatening Obama and Hillary Clinton with bodily harm during a concert, verbally abusing anyone who disagrees with him, badmouthing Ozzy Osbourne, using racial slurs against blacks and Asians... the list goes on.  The worst thing that media actually gives him credibility and invites him to various talk shows.


"However nasty Morrissey can be in print about somebody, he's even nastier out of print," said photographer and Morrissey best friend Linder Sterling. He has been involved in endless feuds and controversy since he started to talk. Whether kicking his bass player out of his band by leaving a note on his windshield or comparing meat-eating to child abuse (demanding that no meat be served in the same venue he's playing) Morrisey is sure not the most pleasant guy to deal with.

Eddie Van Halen

Great musician. A backbone of a legendary band. A vindictive prick. Well, guys who take all the credit don't usually work well with others. Endless feuds with Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth are a clear proof of it.

Axl Rose

Getting in fights with your own band makes you human. Getting in fights with other bands makes you kind of a dick. But leaping into the crowd to beat up someone who actively paid money to see you — now there's an asshole.

During his heyday, Axl Rose managed to pick up fights with everyone around him, he called Slash "cancer", fucked his bassist's girlfriend, stormed off the stage in the middle of a set for the smallest reasons. But he is, without a doubt, one of the most talented assholes of all time.

155 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Having EVH there but not Yngwie? Pleaseeee
    I wasn't even aware that Eddie was considered a jerk, but I was certain that two people; Yngwie and Gene Simmons would definitely make the list.
    Not sure he's an asshole. he's just kinda arrogant. I don't think he actively tries to fuck with other people.
    Most of these guys are unpleasant rock stars, but Phil Spector is another level of evil. What he did to Ronnie Spector, locking her up in his house for years and all that, is right up there with thr murder. It is sad how many people laughed off stuff like that because of his talent as a producer.
    Yea as you say, he is in a different type of category all together - kind of a true hit below the belt for the other guys on the list to be in the same arena ...
    Yeah there is a very big difference between money grubbing rockstars who act like divas and a psychopath who has abused, killed and held hostage people. Put Phil Spector on a list with the singer who put a hit out on his wife, and the guy who raped a baby, not these guys.
    All of five finger death punch?
    Except besides UG folk disliking them for no actual reason... They haven't done anything wrong. (Other than Ivan and the whole thing with his girlfriend. He needs psychiatric help, and some jail time if it's true. If it's not true, the guy still clearly needs some help.)
    Yeah let's just shrug off domestic violence like it's nothing!
    Literally just said he needs therapy and jail time. Don't think that's treating it like nothing. Did anyone actually read my whole comment? 
    They havent done anything wrong, other than that thing they did wrong. Thanks Alex Jones
    We can't blame all of FFDP for that thing one particular mentally unwell person did.
    UG doesn't like them because their music is ass. Add a poorly handled domestic violence case to that and you got yourself a shit ass band. 
    Because it's not like music is subjective or anything like that. FFDP are a really respected band outside of UG. It's just cool to not like them here.
    Where on the internet other than fan forums have there been generally positive things said about FFDP? Facebook comments on articles about them are generally negative and I can't imagine Metal Sucks is very kind to them. Places like Consequence of Sound, Rolling Stone, and Stereogum don't give them the time of day.
    I'm not talking about the internet. Everyone's angry on the internet. FFDP thrive at their live shows (when Ivan actually does them) because they're excellent live. But really, let's be honest, Ivan is the problem here. The rest of the band seem like nice dudes, and they're massively talented.
    I love many Megadeth albums, but I think Dave Mustaine could have easily made this list too. 
    How bout a top ten Jerk UG Commenters
    With like a million honourable mentions... ...a la "top 42 bands from *insert that country nobody ever thinks about*...
    Lol, that would be a good one. actually UG isnt even as bad as google+, those dudes on there are brutal
    where is fred durst
    1: I was really not expecting that hair when I scrolled down to see Phil Spectors picture. 2: Liam Gallagher not only is a cunt, but he fucking looks like one. 3: The seeming racism here belongs to my Grandad, but everything said about Gene Simmons sounds exactly like every Jewish person my Grandfather has ever described.
    So, let me get this straight - EVH is a "jerk" because he doesn't get along with 2-3 people? By that measure, I guess 99% of the human race are jerks.
    Where's Maynard James Keenan ? Surely the biggest prick on the planet!!!  And fred durst a close second 
    I don't know, i think a lot of people who appreciate Tool understand that Maynard is one of those guys that works the system and has fun with the media (kind of like Dylan would). However, calling him a jerk is missing the mark completely. The man does not have his head up his ass at all. Also i have witnessed may times in concert him saying some of the most respectful things to the men and women in military duty, and veterans alike. That is not a jerk, that is a man of respect.
    Ted Nugent loves the military and does the same.  Does that mean he is not a jerk?
    I didn't mention Ted Nugent in my comment here. But, I suppose if you don't find him to be a jerk that is a valid opinion. It is subjective anyway.
    I know you didn't, you said that you felt that Maynard was "...not a jerk, that is a man of respect" and your reasoning was that he lauded the military.  I'm saying that Ted Nugent does the same thing, and then I asked you whether or not you felt he was a jerk too.  You didn't answer, and I think they're both jerks.
    No, i don't care for Ted Nugent. But it has more to do with his violent and oppressive opinions of others not like him. Maynard i don't find to be a jerk, maybe pretentious and aloof at times, but not a jerk.
    I kinda disagree with Ted Nugent being on here. Yea the guy says crazy shit, and politically were pretty different. However I had the opportunity to meet the guy and actually spend some time around him (not just a meet and greet hand shake) and he's actually a really nice guy. Albeit the crazy shit coming out of his mouth. He's actually cool to the people around him
    I love Uncle Ted
    He's a cousin fucker though
    Well AXL fu***d Adler's girlfriend on 'Rocket Queen' and that is the actual sex sounds heard. Dont know about no 'Bassist girlfriend' they mentioned...
    No Ricthie Blackmore? No Lars? Both great musicians,but they come off as being jerks. IMO
    Never knew Blackmore until recently, watched his documentary and fell in love with his playing. But imo also he was a total prick, he must have been horrible to play with. So talented though, but the personality of selfish baby,
    I bet he's both the worst to play with, and the most awe inspiring. He speaks better with the guitar than he does with words. His proficiency led to him respecting those that were his match, like "The Lord".
    Couldn't have said it better. Cheers my friend
    Lars definitely has that aura about him, especially circa 2002-03, but he is the nicest guy to his fans, and very professional.
    No Mustaine? Just last week there was a nice article about what he likes about Ultimate Guitar. Coincidence?
    I hate morrisey. Horrible singer, take your flower and shove it up your pretentious asshole
    You don't have to like his personality, or even his music, but the fact that he's an incredible vocalist is indisputable. I don't have to like a band, a genre of music, or whatnot to know when someone knows how to sing, and Morrissey can sing. He sounds like no other vocalist, and has his own style. A Smiths or Morrissey song sticks out like a sore thumb. And even if you'll never like Morrissey, at least give Johnny Marr's guitarwork props.
    Didn't say anything about the smiths! Musically they are brilliant, but morrisey is a shit stain in desperate need of wiping
    I hate his vegan crap too, but I find his arrogance endearing in a way. You called him a "horrible singer" though and I had to comment on that. Even if the Smiths were totally not my style, Morrissey objectively has incredible pipes.
    By "vegan crap" you mean his zero tolerance for animal abuse?
    No I think its his insufferable pretensiousness being reffered to. Be vegan all you want, dont force your ideas and beliefs on others - see - a whole venue of your fans and a ton of venue staff that dont care about you or your beliefs.
    The whole point of veganism is to push it on other people. It's a dogma, not a dietary/lifestyle choice.
    I wouldnt say he is a talented vocalist. What I think he is is a great emotion conveyer.
    Where is Kid Rock?
    This is correct. Never read or heard anything come out of his mouth in interviews that i liked. He is trying VERY hard to be the next Ted Nugent.
    And talk about insincere. Tried to be Eminem when white rappers were in, failed. Tried to be Korn when Numetal was in, failed. Tried to be the next Lynyrd Skynyrd when Southern Rock started its resurgence, failed. The guy doesn't have an ounce of originality in his entire body. And acting like he was Hank Jr's kid....SO creepy.
    But just like somebody else said about Ted Nugent, Kid Rock is actually pretty cool in person. He treats people well, and he treats his fans well. He's been doing $20 fish fry concert tours for like 5 years (with fixed low prices to fend off scalping and make sure fans can get in)
    Mike Love of the Beach Boys? Tried to block Brian Wilson's creative progressiveness is favour of profitability, had him kicked from the band multiple times, sued him multiple times for the most miniscule of songwriting credits, made an ass of himself at the 1988 R&R hall of fame inductions
    Mike Love would be pumping gas or bussing tables if it wasn't for Brian Wilson. He's a bum and a hack.
    Reading that Axl Rose is a talented asshole felt kind of wrong. That's something you'd expect to read about a porn star. He's a supertalented musician, tho, and was an arse back in the day.
    The whole piece on Axl has all the facts wrong and messed up. He never wished Slash had cancer he said "There's zero possibility of me having anything to do with Slash other than by ambush, and that wouldn't be pretty. Slash either should not have been in Guns to begin with or should have left after Lies. In a nutshell, personally I consider him a cancer and better removed, avoided and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better." Get it right however wrote this pile.
       Axl never slept with Duff's wife either. It was Steven's girlfriend he slept with for the sex sounds on Rocket Queen. This is very common knowledge. This is as bad as a previous article claiming the Slash and Axl feud was over Michael Jackson's allegations. You don't even need to dig that up, you just need to follow the timeline. Jackson's allegations were in '93, Slash recorded with Jackson in '91.
    Axl is just one of those guys that has that attitude and that look on his face that makes everyone assume things without facts. Has Axl been a diva and a bit of a twerp a few times in concert sure, so have many others, i think he is an easy target to put the jerk stamp on his forehead, though not necessarily completely accurate at all times. 
    Eddie Van Halen is a real artist and he does deserve most of the credit. It's called Van Halen ffs... not Lee Roth.
    I never thought Eddie was too bad, and then I read Rex Brown's Official Truth 101 Proof and what Rex said about Eddie's behavior at Dime's funeral kind of pissed me off  There were a huge number of Dime’s musician friends there, and Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde were asked to give speeches. I was sitting in  the second row behind Eddie, who was just totally out of line, really  disrespectful actually.  I told Eddie on numerous occasions to shut the  fuck up but there was no point. Zakk was always one of Dime’s best  friends, as well as being, like Dime, a great guitar player, but on this  occasion he was in the bizarre situation of having to keep Eddie Van Halen — who was coked out of his head and acting like a complete idiot —  in line.  “Fuckin’ shut up,” Zakk told Eddie after he had rambled on for a  while while he was giving his eulogy — something about his ex-wife if I  remember it right — but that didn’t stop him, he just kept going. It was  really disrespectful. Everyone that follows music knows that Eddie had a problem with cocaine, but going to Dime's funeral, HELL, any funeral, coked out is just beyond disrespectful. 
    Pretty awesome that he delivered his "#2" to be buried with Dime tho, when his wife had asked for a replica, stating that "Dime was an original, so he deserves an original".
    Gee Halen
    I wanted to say that DLR is probably a bigger prick, but then I thought about it a bit and came to the conclusion that he is a megalomaniac attention seeker and not necessarily a prick. He can be annoying - REALLY annoying - but I can't really remember him e.g. badmouthing people to _excessive extents_. EVH on the other hand has been usually quiet - compared to DLR at least, but that's hardly a feat - over the many decades, but he stirred some serious shit about his bandmates/other musicians/misc. - discrediting them completely. Some of the stuff he has said in interviews are just blatant lies or such a convoluted version of reality that makes you wonder whether this person still lives on planet Earth. It really got the worst of him cca 12-15 years ago when he was in his heaviest drinking habit. He pissed off so many people (and companies) with his erratic behaviour that it makes you wonder how the hell people are still working with him. That said, he's still one of the most influential guitar players of all time, no doubt about it.
    He embraced sobriety some time ago and is working hard to repair his reputation.   I can think of many other musicians people in rock that should be on here instead of Eddie.
    "badmouthing Ozzy Osbourne" makes you a jerk? well then why isn't bruce dickinson on this list? or Ronnie James Dio? dislike me all you want, but dio was a dick to Tony and Geezer, as well as his own guitarists, as well as being such a big bitch that he wouldn't even share a stage with Ozzy Osbourne, considering himself too dignified to be on the same stage with "that clown"
    Yeah, for a while after he died it was considered bad taste say it, but it's pretty clear from those who worked with him and his interviews that Dio was quite a twat. Not that he didn't mean well, but he was so up himself and tended to play the victim, which put him at odds with people who really didn't deserve the trouble.
    Ted Nugent is the biggest wannabe-tough guy in America. He acts like he's some patriotic badass that loves guns and warfare, yet he literally shit his own pants and stewed in it for like a week so he wouldn't be drafted to fight in Vietnam.
    Ted Nugent is a good musician and maybe an average guitarist. Please dont call him a great guitarist. Forget his politics and his tongue, he is by no means somebody who deserves that phrase. Maybe he is a great showman or a great musician, but no way a great guitarist....
    I was going to say Ian Watkins. Then I thought about it and realised that "jerk" is too light.
    Fred Durst? Granted, he has mellowed out quite a bit these days, but back in Limp Bizkit's heyday, he was like the Axl Rose of nu metal.
    Axl was definitely a jerk, but he seems to have mellowed quite a bit since then. Maybe show him a little love, guys? 
    GN'R Dude
    Therapy and medication I'm sure helped a lot. Axl fought a lot of demons when he was younger like an abusive childhood and bipolar disorder. And Chinese Democracy.
    Chad Kroeger??
    there is a difference between someone like Lars and Chad, who are disliked without arguably doing anything to warrant it (i say "arguably" because Lars has a few skeletons in his closet worthy of consideration, far more than Chad, in my opinion, but i don't follow Nickelback as much as Metallica), and people like axel rose and varg vikernes, generally shit people who are liked for some dumbass reason
    Didn't Ted Nugent dodge the draft too? Kinda funny how pro-war he is
    circus musician
    Yeah, he acts like a tough guy and he's more than happy for other people to go off to war but he stewed in his own shit for a week to get out of going to war.
    I think Anthony Kiedis would be another candidate for that list, with all the sexual assault and all that.
    Are you trying to make the list? Throwing sexual assault claims on an individual you don't know without any proof is pretty asshole-like.
    read his book he speaks  openly about it.. the guy is a douchebag... just like maicheal jackson he gets a pass because he is famous! 
    No John Lennon, a shame. Absolutely agree with Gallagher, what a shitbird. Most interviews: "I don't get why no one considers us the rock legends we really are, we have a legendary sound". *Proceeds to sound exactly like The Beatles but worse*
    I was going to say "why no GG Allen?" and then realized its only a list of people that are still alive. makes sense makes sense.
    liam and noel should be on the first place
    Yeah they're assholes, but they don't pretend to be anything else. With them, you know what you're gonna get. Which kinda lessens their asshole-ish-ness a bit
    Noel Gallagher is a WAY bigger jerk than Liam. Either put them both up, or replace Liam with Noel. Seriously. Noel is a douche.
    Although Billie Joe brings kids up on stage and stuff, I've known people who have worked with him/for him and been around him, and apparently he is just a narcissistic asshole.