There are few things in the world as alluring to heavy metal fans as a big package tour featuring some of their favorite bands. While these concerts might be an exciting spectacle for the audience, the combination of oversized egos and logistical hurdles have been known to create boundless tension and bitter rivalries between musicians.
Here are ten bands who hated sharing the stage with each other.
Metallica / Guns N’ Roses
Co-headline tours might look great on paper for fans, but inflated egos and logistic balancing acts between major bands are often a sure-fire recipe for disaster. From brutal on-stage pyrotechnic mishaps resulting in serious injury to full-scale riots, the Metallica and Guns N’ Roses arena run of 1992 will forever live in infamy. If the multiple overt disasters weren’t bad enough, behind-the-scenes tensions between the rock and metal titan simmered in a constant dull rage. Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum summed it up pretty well when he said: “Axl’s intention was to rule the world and wasn’t afraid to say it. Then Lars Ulrich came along and he wanted to rule the world. We were like, ‘You’re going to have to open for us because we rule the world.’ They were very competitive with us.” The animosity lingered for years, and Axl Rose ran his mouth about the thrash titans in a 2008 interview James Hetfield hit back by saying: “Guns N Roses are a different type of band [than us]. And I use the word ‘band’ very loosely. It’s a guy and some other guys.”
Iron Maiden / Ozzy Osbourne
Tension between Iron Maiden and the Osbournes came to a boiling point during the 2005 Ozzfest tour when Sharon Osbourne accused Bruce Dickinson of consistently disrespecting the headliner and the audience. In a calculated act of revenge, Sharon, who was undergoing chemotherapy, strategically positioned her nurses in the crowd to pelt Dickinson with eggs during Iron Maiden’s San Bernardino performance. The band faced frequent power disruptions, and a roadie even chanted “OZZY!” over the PA system. After this tumultuous show, Sharon Osbourne publicly branded Bruce Dickinson a “prick.” Iron Maiden later expressed their disappointment through a statement. For his part, Ozzy said of the Maiden frontman: “Bruce Dickinson is a great singer, but as a person, I’ve worked with him, and he’s not very nice.”
Motörhead / W.A.S.P.
The 1997 co-headlining tour with Motörhead and W.A.S.P. had the makings of a legendary rock spectacle but unraveled into chaos. THe marriage of two of hard rock’s most grandiose and towering figures in W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister promised an unforgettable experience. However, W.A.S.P.’s shock-rock theatrics and ritualistic stage shows sparked a feud, leading to backstage tensions and logistical disputes. The tour collapsed due to various issues, from missed soundchecks to dressing room confrontations. Despite public disputes, both bands eventually reconciled.
Faith No More / Guns N’ Roses
For years, rumors swirled about Mike Patton’s bizarre acts of “Shit Terrorism.” The eccentric Faith No More frontman claimed he didn’t use toilets as a hobby and even defecated on a bench near Buckingham Palace. While the 1992 Guns N’ Roses/Metallica tour has gone down in history as one of the most tumultuous concert runs in history, tensions between headliners were downright pleasant in comparison to how opening act Faith No More felt about Axl Rose. As resentment grew, Patton’s fecal pranks escalated astronomically. He poured urine over himself standing on Axl Rose’s monitor and collected a jug of urine to toss into the crowd. While he didn’t put feces in Axl’s orange juice as the longstanding rumor claimed, he did insert it into a chocolate cake, but the plan was thwarted by a crew member.
Godsmack / Mötley Crüe
When Godsmack signed on as support during Mötley Crüe’s ‘Crüefest 2’ tour in 2009, the Massachusetts rockers were anticipating a fun run of gigs with one of their favorite bands. However, tensions quickly spiked between Godsmack frontman Sully Erna and Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx over how their friends and family were treated backstage at the shows. After the tour, the disgruntled openers used their resentments for inspiration for the song “Cryin’ Like A Bitch!!” Erna and Sixx have been trading barbs in the press ever since.
Black Flag / Venom
Hardcore punk and metal might seem somewhat interchangeable in our current landscape, but that was far from the case during the heydays of both genres in the mid-1980s. This deep-seated animosity was vividly evident on April 2, 1986, when Black Flag served as the opening Venom at City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey. The discord began even before Venom’s arrival at the venue, as they had missed their flight from Atlanta to Trenton, causing Black Flag to experience delays. Frustrated by the situation, the punks decided to draw pentagrams on their palms, intending to use them as a form of mockery directed at the British scum-rockers throughout the night. Black Flag roadie Joe Cole wound up with a soundboard recording of Venom’s set from that night, to which he cut out the songs to highlight Cronos’ hyperbolic stage banter, which Thurston Moore subsequently released on his Ecstatic Peace! label.
Megadeth / Aerosmith
When Aerosmith set out on tour to promote their Get A Grip album in 1993, one of the more interesting openers they had scheduled for the run was Megadeth. However, the thrash titans tenure on the tour was cut short after just three shows. The reasons for the abrupt exit were attributed to bad behavior and drug addiction, as well as general support band animosity. According to David Ellefson’s book, My Life with Deth, Dave Mustaine felt that Megadeth weren’t getting proper representation at the shows. Allegedly, there were incidents during the tour that added to the friction, such as Dave Mustaine blowing his nose into an Aerosmith shirt onstage.Although Steven Tyler attempted to talk to Mustaine and smoothe things over, the damage was done. According to Ellefson, Megadeth found out they were fired from the tour through a waitress who mentioned that Jackyl was opening for Aerosmith later in the day.
Insane Clown Posse / Coal Chamber
The cult of ICP might be very large and very real today, but they didn’t get there without a bit of trial and error. When the Detroit rappers set out on their “Amazing Jeckel Brothers” tour in 1999, this first stab at playing arenas led to half-empty venues and real financial concerns. As support act Coal Chamber proved costly for Psychopathic Records and failed to attract fans, Insane Clown Posse gave the nü-metallers the boot after just three shows. This decision led to legal battles and a public feud with Sharon Osbourne, who was managing Coal Chamber at the time. While ICP originally claimed Coal Chamber’s dismissal was due to logistic issues, they admitted the real reason over a series of confrontations with both Coal Chamber and Osbourne on The Howard Stern Show.
Six Feet Under / Cattle Decapitation
Chris Barnes isn’t exactly the best-loved guy in metal. According to Travis Ryan Cattle Decapitation, his band turned down five separate Six Feet Under tours due to Barnes’ less-than-sterling reputation with support bands. When the California goremongers finally relented in 2012, Ryan learned firsthand that his peers weren’t kidding about the former Cannibal Corpse frontman’s propensity for bullshit. After a few days worth of mean-spirited comments directed toward the opening band, Ryan attempted to smooth things over and allegedly wound up getting sucker punched by Barnes in the process. The Cattle Decapitation frontman promptly took to social media, explaining their departure from the tour while claiming Barnes had been berating them and lashing out due to low merchandise sales. Barnes denied the sucker punch and suggested that Ryan had provoked him by calling him an “asshole” behind his back.
Rob Zombie / Marilyn Manson
They might have patched things up over time, but all was not well between the shock rockers during Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson’s ‘Twins Of Evil’ tour in 2012. Manson complained incessantly about Zombie’s stage time during the co-headlining run and even went as far as to make claims about kicking Zombie’s ass. On the last night of the tour, Zombie addressed the issues during an onstage rant in which he asked the crowd, “Does it look like my ass has been kicked?” while venting about “Some fuckin’ weirdos [who] like to talk a big game.” He concluded by urging everyone to put aside the whining and complaining, focusing on the music instead of “rock star motherfuckin’ bullshit.”