The “Prince of F–king Darkness” has a well documented wild-side that extends far back into his days with Black Sabbath. He added his own unique twist to the hotel-trashing cliche by flinging bits of a dead shark around the room (a tribute to Led Zep?), and was once so out of it during a press conference that he was unable to process words or speak, and his bandmates jokingly moved him like a puppet!
After getting kicked out of the group for -you guessed it- being too out of control, he entered into his most legendary phase of craziness, biting a head off of a dove in front of record execs, (apparently) biting a head off of a bat during a concert, and drunkenly urinating on the Alamo while dressed in his wife’s clothing. This last incident caused an uproar, resulting in an arrest and a decade-long ban from San Antonio.
But perhaps his most extreme moments came during a tour with fellow party gods, Motley Crue. Osbourne and the Crue constantly tried to one-up each other to see who could be the most insane, and Ozzy was determined not to lose this gross-out showdown. After Nikki Sixx snorted the biggest line of cocaine that the group had ever seen, Ozzy bent down onto the sidewalk (once again in a sundress, according to legend) and snorted a line of ants (reportedly fire ants) off of the pavement. But he wasn’t done. He then began peeing on the sidewalk and…well, it just went downhill from there. “From that moment on. We knew there was always someone who was sicker and more disgusting than we were,” Sixx reflected.
2. Keith Richards
“It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it.” So writes Keef in the opening of his long-awaited 2010 memoir Life, a truly incredible document from a man who crammed so much living into his ’60s and ’70s heyday that he should probably be dead at least a dozen times over. There’s a rumor that the only reason he’s alive is that he had his blood entirely replaced at a Swiss clinic. It’s not true, but it kind of deserves to be. He may be clean now, but he went HAM back in the day. Here are just a few highlights…
-When cops raided a party at his country estate in 1967, Richards’ was apparently tripping so hard on LSD that he mistook them for uniformed dwarfs and welcomed them in with hugs for all. The resulting bust very nearly put him behind bars.
-The Playboy Mansion has clearly seen its share of debauchery (and Dave Navarros), but Keith went above and beyond when he almost burnt it to the ground during a party in the mid ’70s! He and sax player Bobby Keys had retired to the restroom to “play smörgåsbord” with some drugs, and somehow managed to start a fire. When staff broke down the door to put out the blaze, a totally oblivious Richards was enraged, fuming, “How dare you burst in on our private affair?”
-He purchased a S3 Continental Flying Spur, one of only 86 ever made, specially outfitted with secret panels to conceal his stash. He used the vehicle to go on a multi-day acid-tinged road trip with John Lennon, a journey which is “almost a total blank” to the man himself.
-Although it was pioneered by The Who‘s Keith Moon (more on him later), Richards’ made important contributions to the art of dropping televisions from hotel rooms. Thankfully a camera crew, filming the Rolling Stones‘ unreleased documentary C–ksucker Blues, caught the master at work in 1972. Watch the grace and skill as he releases a set from the 11th floor balcony at LA’s notorious party hotel, the Continental Hyatt House (A.K.A. “the Riot House”).
1. Keith Moon
The patented exploding drummer literally did it ALL -even things you could never have possibly imagined. He maybe never drove a Lincoln into a Holiday Inn swimming pool, but he definitely DID drive his Rolls Royce into a pond. He bought a hovercraft, stalling it out on railroad tracks. He blew up his drum kit on national television, passed out in the middle of an arena gig, and terrorized the population by making hilarious fake announcements from the PA system installed in his car. His penchant for practical jokes, elaborate costumes and getting naked is matched only by his superhuman intake of drugs and alcohol. But that wasn’t what fueled his antics…he would have done it all, anyway.
Of course, he also created hotel trashing as we know it, sometimes employing cherry bombs to pulverize toilets. The authors of Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The WHO estimate his hotel plumbing bill at around $500,000! Other times he wrecked rooms the old fashioned way: by hand. Pete Townshend loves to tell of the time that the band were driving to the airport and Keith insisted they return to the hotel, saying “I forgot something!” Then he ran back to his room, grabbed the television and threw it out the window into the swimming pool. “I nearly forgot!” he said, climbing back into their limo.
There’s too much mayhem to begin to get into here. For much more, check out Tony Fletcher’s excellent book, Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon. Just watch this video for a taste. He’s the original.
Runner Up: Ace Frehley of KISS
We can’t forget the Spaceman! Watch this classic clip of Ace tearing up the The Tomorrow Show in 1979.
[Photo: Getty Images]