We’ve all heard about Ozzy Osbourne snorting ants and Phil Specter killing women, but there are tons of crazy stories involving musicians that most people don’t know about. So, Jason Buhrmester, author of the awesome new book Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story Of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery
, gives us six of the lesser-known weird moments in the history of music.
6. BLACK SABBATH RUN FROM SATANISTS
In the early 70s, Black Sabbath needed gigs–just not one performing at Stonehenge for a Satanic organization. Despite the rumors of the band’s love of the occult, they had no interest in performing for a bunch of Satanists. After refusing the show, the band was allegedly “cursed,” which became a bit too real for Ozzy and company when a knife-wielding man climbed on-stage in Memphis and ran at guitarist Toni Iommi. Later, when the band noticed black-robed people roaming their hotel and found one of their doors adorned with an upsidedown cross daubed in blood, they did what any Satan-loving heavy metal band would do—they called security.
5. SHANE MACGOWAN PAINTS HIMSELF BLUE
While on tour in New Zealand, Shane MacGowan, the snarl-toothed, booze-chugging singer for the Pogues, stayed in a hotel built on an ancient Maori graveyard. During his stay, MacGowan claimed to hear Maori spirits and, got totally paranoia, painted his room and clothes blue in order to prove his worth as a Maori warrior. Unsatisfied, he stripped naked and painted his entire body the same shade of blue, which is how the band’s tour manager found him in the morning.
4. GEORGE JONES BECOMES DONALD DUCK
In his autobiography "I Lived to Tell It All," country legend George Jones describes a mega-bender of booze and drugs that continued until his brain snapped and he found himself locked in a Donald Duck voice that he couldn’t stop using when he spoke. Let me reiterate: George Jones got so wasted that he was only able to speak in a Donald Duck voice for days on end. He performed several entire concerts in his Duck impression and, at one point, to make matter worse, he locked himself in his dressing room and wouldn’t hit the stage until he was introduced as Hank Williams.
3. JOHN LENNON SEES A UFO, WANTS TO COME ABOARD
While sitting naked on the roof of his New York City apartment, peacenik John Lennon claimed to have spotted a UFO hovering roughly 100 feet away. According to his then girlfriend, Lennon screamed for the spacecraft to take him. He later immortalized the sighting on the back of his album “Walls and Bridges” with the words “On 23 August 1974 I saw a UFO J.L.”
2. JOHNNY CASH CREATES A RING OF FIRE
The man behind “Ring of Fire” started his own blaze while driving his rolling drug den —a beat-up Winnebago with the windows spray-painted black that Cash had dubbed “Jesse James.” While off-roading, the Man in Black sparked a forest fire that burnt down 508 acres of the Los Padres National Forest in California. The U.S. government sued him and settled for $82,001 making him the first person ever successfully sued for starting a forest fire. When told that the inferno killed 49 of the area’s 53 endangered condors, Cash replied, “I don’t care about your damn yellow buzzards.”
1. KEITH RICHARDS SNORTS HIS DAD’S ASHES
When Keith Richards’ father passed away in 2002 at age 84, the Rolling Stone guitarist and walking corpse couldn’t stop himself from taking a little taste. "He was cremated," Richards told NME magazine, "and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared." How good was a fine line of Richards’ pops? "It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive."