Part 3: Hecklers and Other Interruptions


Mama told ya never to talk back, but guess what: mama ain’t here. It’s time to get your heckle on. Just make sure you watch out for Vince and Mike — they ain’t yo momma, but it turns out they might be yo daddy.

1. Mötley Crüe

22 November 2006: Tampa, FL

After an idiotic drunk spit on Vince Neil mid-song, the Crüe frontman launched his guitar at the offending cretin, then jumped off the stage and onto the very surprised “fan.” Mayhem ensued, security removed the culprit, and Neil retook the stage, finishing the song as well as the set. (AW)

2. The Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players

8 August 2006: Philadelphia, PA

An impromptu mid-set Q+A session saw an audience member ask Trachtenburg patriarch Jason about a hidden daughter who is not talented enough to play in the family-based band. A momentary silence followed… the rumor was false; the band had started it. Bet they wish they hadn’t… (KP)

3. Nick Cave

6 February 2006: Manchester, UK

Sporting a newly grown handlebar moustache and taking to the stage in customary bible black, Nick Cave is greeted by one brave, eagle-eyed heckler who, noting his resemblance to a skinny Lemmy, shouts, “play ‘Ace Of Spades’!!” Nicks looks up, and with a stare like death replies, “You’re a funny cunt… Actually, you’re just a cunt.” Gulp. (ML)

4. Wilco

20 October 2006: Latrobe, PA

Frontman Jeff Tweedy had a flurry of soundbites worth including in this piece, but the one response that didn’t make a bit of sense was when he answered heckles about his infamous attack on an adoring fan earlier in the week by saying, “By the way, I’m not going to punch you in the face. You can kiss me. Really.” No thanks. (BB)

5. Akron/Family

14 January 2006: New York, NY

Everyone in the crowd was singing along. Well, almost everyone: one tall gentleman with steel-gray hair refused to utter a word as Akron/Family charged hard through a set of raucous psychedelic folkers. In a break between tunes, the man started to yell nastily, and the band called him out, demanding that he sing along or at least smile. His response? He gave them a big middle finger. Things were about to turn ugly, when the band realized that the onlooker was in fact legendary Swans frontman Michael Gira, the owner of their label. (PJ/AP)


Kids say the darndest things, but musicians do the drunkest. Whether distracted, intoxicated, or just plain confused, these 2006 rockers made the grade by forgetting that, like, there’s actually an audience out there.

1. Guns N’ Roses

6 November 2006: Portland, ME

A leopard doesn’t change its spots, and Axl Rose is still an unpredictable prima donna. Prior to the gig, fire marshals informed the band that local laws prohibited the consumption of alcohol on stage. Rose threw his usual hissy fit and bailed, leaving thousands of fans holding the bag — yet again. When it comes to Axl’s traveling road show, caveat emptor. (AW)

2. The Strokes

19 May 2006: New York, NY

Playing as part of the bill for the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash, the Strokes embarrassed themselves as only a bloated and drunken former band-of-the-moment could. Inebriated and completely inept, the band’s near-insulting tribute proved that irrelevance doesn’t mean you can’t make a mockery of yourself. Stick a fork in ’em; their 15 minutes have been over for hours. (AW)

3. The Lemonheads

13 December 2006: Philadelphia, PA

Evan Dando welcomes us with a slurred “Hello Susquehanna,” falls to the floor, plays a song from said position, abandons the song, and lets fans in the front row play his guitar. He even pulls a crowd member up to sing “Mrs. Robinson” before declaring: “Motherfucker, I hate that song.” (KP)

4. Meat Loaf

4 November: New York, NY

Playing a “One Night Only” gig under the bright lights of Broadway, a visibly haggard Meat Loaf forgets actor rule number one: if you don’t know your line, fake it. Backed by a full orchestra, the rock-opera wunderkind stumbles through the first verse of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” then wheels around and waves off the twenty or so musicians behind him. Cutting off an orchestra is no easy feat, but when the players finally stop, the singer is left standing mid-stage, lost in deep thought. Finally turning to the crowd, he laughs, “You ever stop something because you thought you were wrong and then realize you were actually right?” (AP)

5. Geoff Berner

1 September 2006: Wakefield, QC

Berner punctuates his set at the Sheep with readings from his “instructional chapbook,” How to be an Accordion Player, stories of debauchery in the UK, and spontaneous exclamations at his fiddle players’ apparently astonishing chops. What’s more, it seemed like he could go on like this for hours if he wanted to. Someone get this man a drink! (AP/CC)

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