11. and 10. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith
The so-called Toxic Twins of rock had a shared credo during their arena-filling heyday: “We believed anything worth doing was worth overdoing.” And that especially held true for partying and living the classic rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle filled with $100,000 hotel bills, trashed suites, groupies and, of course, “substances.” While working on the followup to their multi-platinum smash Rocks in 1976, the band renovated a convent on a 100-acre spread in upstate New York, where they shot guns in the attic, crashed brand-new sports cars, and generally did a LOT of drugs.
Joe Perry claims to have used them as an aide to write music. “I started studying the folklore of opium as a sacrament and really got into it,” he writes in his memoir Walk This Way. “It helped me concentrate on my work and became a good writing tool for me at the time … before it turned into this f–king monster.” They hit an extremely dark phase by the early ’80s, with Tyler and Perry deep in the throes of addiction. “Jerry Garcia says that we were the druggiest bunch of guys the Grateful Dead ever saw,” Tyler said years later to Rolling Stone. “They were worried about us, so that gives you some idea of how f–ked up and crazy we were.”
9. and 8. Jimmy Page and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin
All of Led Zep were pretty wild, but Pagey and Bonzo pretty much wrote the rules on quintessential rebellious rock-star behavior and excess, outlined in Steven Davis‘ classic book, Hammer of the Gods. They were among the first bands to buy their own jet -nicknamed the Starship- which they tricked out with a bar, electric organ, and huge bedroom fit for entertaining…While on the ground they stayed at the most expensive hotels in town and trashed their suites, but encouraged others to get in on the fun. When a hotel employee told band’s manager Peter Grant that he’s always wanted to throw a television set off the roof, Grant handed him a wad of bills and replied “Here, have one on me.” Women lined up outside their rooms to catch a glimpse (or more) of their heroes.
Page in particular was known for having something of a scandalous sex life (to put it mildly). He was rumored to travel with a suitcase full of whips, and apparently had to be chained to his toilet on more than one occasion to “calm down.” John Bonham, dressed as a waiter, once wheeled Page -naked and covered in whipped cream- into a crowded room of fans, which certainly resulted in even more wildness. On their 1978 tour Page requested a motorcycle to race around the hotel hallways, and a 10-foot python…for reasons that remain unknown, and it’s probably best to leave it that way.
The stories are endless, but the proverbial cherry on the debauchery sundae is The Mud Shark Incident, which is among the most repeated (and controversial) stories in all rock ‘n’ roll lore. Never heard it? Errr, just read about it here…While staying at the same hotel several years later, the band hid 30 dead mudsharks around their rooms. Needless to say, they were promptly banned after that.
7.-4. Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil and Mick Mars of Motley Crue
“Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend.” Thus begins Motely Crue: The Dirt, a 448-page “confession” of their epic tales. They label themselves as the “most notorious band,” and it’s hard to argue: They’ve dated porn stars, made sex tapes, thrown televisions out hotel windows, donned makeup and heals, injected tequila directly into the veins…and that’s just off the top of our heads.
In the early days, the group would invite the whole crowd back to their home base just off of Sunset Boulevard to keep the party going. This escalated as the band gained fame, with Vince Neil building a personal Playboy Mansion, complete with stripper polls, bars, pools, drug dealers and outdoor mud-wrestling. As years progressed they began to get increasingly out of hand, to the point where managers literally chained Tommy Lee to his hotel-room bed in an effort to keep him from going out. It was so bad that even Aerosmith contacted the group and urged them to get clean.
Things got serious when Nikki Sixx OD’d in fellow wildman Slash’s hotel room. His heart stopped for two minutes and he was actually declared legally dead! Thankfully, paramedics arrived in the nick of time and revived him with two shots of adrenaline to the heart (inspiring the song “Kickstart My Heart”). In fact, one of the EMTs happened to be a Motley Crue fan. “Apparently, the paramedic took one look at me and said, ‘No one’s gonna die in my ambulance,’” Sixx said later in his book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star.
Despite the scary situation, Sixx was not dissuaded from his hard living. When he awoke in the hospital, he ripped off the IVs and tubes and sprinted from his bed wearing nothing but his leather pants. Two women found him in the parking lot and gave him a lift to his house, where he proceeded to shoot up MORE heroin in his bathroom and pass out. By his own admission he overdosed about half a dozen times before he made a successful trip to rehab, including a time in London when he was thrown out into a garbage dumpster and left for dead!
Of course, we cannot forget the shenanigans they got up to while partying with…