Rock Rants: The 10 Most Epic Musician Meltdowns Ever Caught On Tape

by (@JordanRuntagh)

2. Paul Anka Hates T-Shirts 

Frankly, we didn’t realize that ’50s malt-shoppe crooner and tune-smith Paul Anka had enough clout to go HAM on his band like this. One of the earliest examples of covertly recorded rants, a band member captured this over the top critique of his group’s musical performance and personal appearance. It has been referred to (quite perfectly) as a “Revolution No. 9 of profanity,” and lines were pulled verbatim for Al Pacino‘s character in Ocean’s 13. When later asked recently about tapes on NPR’s Fresh Air, Anka said that they were recorded by “a snake we later fired.”

Highlights: “The guys get shirts.”

“Do you want your jobs?”

“Don’t make a f–kin’ maniac out of me!”

“You guys are on thin ice, all right? And when I f–king move, I slice like a f–king hammer.”

“I have a new philosophy. I don’t care if it’s Jesus Christ. I’m the only important one on that stage. If you don’t do it my way, then it’s the highway.”

F-Bomb Count: 25


1. Buddy Rich: The Bus Tapes

These tapes from jazz drumming pioneer Buddy Rich are arguably the gold standard against which all other musician rants are judged. Pianist Lee Musiker secretly recorded his temperamental boss giving his usual obscenity-laced post-show debriefing in the tour bus back in the early 1980s, with Rich laying into the guys for reasons as diverse as facial hair (he threatens to fire trombonist Dave Panichi over his beard), to musicianship. The tapes soon hit the bootleg circuit and spread like wildfire, gaining serious notoriety among comedians. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were huge fans, incorporating quotes into several episodes of their show, Seinfeld. The Beastie Boys paid their own tribute to Buddy’s legendary temper in their song “Sabotage” with the line “I’m Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle.” Apparently even Rich himself couldn’t resist listening, requesting to hear them mere days prior to his death in 1987.

Highlights: Too many to name.

F Bomb Count: Lost count

[Photo: Getty Images]

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