What the Hell Is Wrong With Rock Frontmen?

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It seems that the pressure of making good rock music in a world plagued by illegal downloading and falling album sales is getting to some people more than others. In the world of rock music, a few bands are starting to break down under that pressure, with two of my favourite bands recently falling to similar fates: something I like to call the ‘frontman fever’ condition. Basically, it’s where the frontman (in both cases I’m about to outline, the singer, guitarist and main songwriter) falls victim to the pressure of spearheading a rock band with a strong cult following, buckles, and eventually explodes onstage. Allow me to outline the issue to which I am referring.

Before Christmas, alternative metal group CKY, a band who have always sought to work against the system and do things their own way, announced a show dubbed “Christmas with CKY”, potentially the last chance to see the crumbling band before they, at the very least, took a hiatus, if not broke up. Everyone was pretty pumped: fans were buying up tickets in flocks, band members spoke highly of the upcoming event, and there was plenty of time for band and venue alike to prepare for something really groundbreaking. The band also managed to score guest appearances from close connections Bam, April and Phil Margera, the famous brother, mother and father of drummer Jess Margera, respectively. Everything was shaping up to be awesome.

And while the night started off pretty normal, with some standard high-class renditions of CKY classics like ‘Escape from Hellview’ and ‘Flesh Into Gear’, unfortunately it all went downhill somewhere in the middle of the set. As videos on YouTube will show (see below), frontman Deron Miller was quite intoxicated during the show, and while many will undoubtedly scream “It’s rock music, what do you expect?”, unfortunately it was a little too much this time. Miller gave up on tuning his guitar, played sloppily and blatantly spoke bad about his bandmates, even onstage. He eventually ended up throwing his guitar across the stage, nearly decapitating Margera, and pathetically swaying his way through the last couple of songs. With a nice goodbye from lead guitarist Chad Ginsburg, it now looks as if CKY are over for good. That is a serious loss.

Pretty much the same thing has now been brought to my attention about another band I love. Radio Moscow are a psychedelic blues rock band from Iowa, and while they are probably even less well-known than CKY, they are still very important to a large number of people. As demonstrated and explained by a fan-shot video (below), band tensions were running high when the trio took to the stage in their hometown for what was being billed as the last gig with the long-term lineup of Parker Griggs (guitar, vocals), Zach Anderson (bass) and Cory Berry (drums). As can be seen in the video (honestly watch it, it’s quite shocking), when ending a song Griggs threw his guitar across the room in a similar style to that of the CKY frontman, hitting his drummer in the process. Berry then proceeded to throw the guitar back at Griggs, which is understandable, hitting Griggs full-on in the face and causing him to need 14 stitches in his forehead.

Now, I’m not exactly educated on the subject, but it doesn’t seem like this kind of behavior is to be expected of professional musicians, and you wouldn’t exactly expect to see it at a Foo Fighters or Muse gig (although Matt Bellamy has thrown his guitar at Dom Howard a good few times over the years, though not in a malicious way!). It’s such a shame to see good, ‘true’ rock bands destroyed by internal disputes which are then manifested in the form of onstage violence, and it really feeds into the stereotypical image of some rockstars being ‘thugs’ or whatever else one might call them. CKY have been very vocal about being disheartened and uninspired by the current ‘state’ of the music industry, and it seems that this may be having a direct effect on the work of other bands too. Here’s hoping the situation improves, and these great bands return and flourish in the future.

And let’s not even mention Oasis

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2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Good piece, though hardly a new phenomenon.

    This sort of thing always seems like a horrible display of arrogance to me…

    • avatar

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      No, it’s not a new phenomenon, you’re right; there have been loads of displays in the past of conflicts within bands, but I just find it weird that a few of my favourites are suddenly falling victim to it, and I just wanted to chat about it a bit.

      And whether it’s arrogance or not, I’m not sure. I guess it is in part, and definitely in the two cases I’ve outlined, as the frontman is trying to make their opinion the strongest and don’t care about the other band members. But I also think the pressure is getting to them.

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