The 10 Biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll Beefs

Music Lists

Hip hop gets the bad rap when it comes to dueling, though the genre has certainly had the most serious escalations in its musical rivalries. East Coast/West Coast pride, allegiance to various R&B families … the list goes on in the realm of Biggie versus Pac, Nas versus Jay-Z, etc.

But the rock world isn’t immune to brawls—and that’s just what we’ve compiled for you today. Here are 10 of the biggest recent beefs outside of hip-hop.

10. Marnie Stern versus Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast)

How it all began: A few weeks ago, guitar goddess Marnie Stern poo-pooed on chillwaver Cosentino’s songs about talking cats and boys, according to Impose Magazine.

“You might as well then be an ‘80s hair metal band saying, ‘I want pussy,’” Marnie told IM, echoing her disapproval of Best Coast’s straight-forward lyrical approach.

Days after Stern’s searing comment, according to a fewbloggers, Cosentino retaliated during a show in Philadelphia with: “There’s nothing wrong with writing songs about your cat and boys … Haters can suck my dick.”

Any chance of making up? Outlook’s not good at the moment, but give it a few more weeks and hell, perhaps the two will record a single together. Well, we can dream.

9. Beth Ditto (the Gossip) versus Katy Perry

Summer 2009. Boisterous Gossip frontwoman and outspoken LGBT supporter Ditto called Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl” an outrage.

“She’s just riding on the backs of our culture without having to pay any of the dues and not being actually lesbian or anything at all,” Ditto told British gay magazine Attitude. She went on to call Perry a “boner dyke” (a straight girl simulating lesbian tendencies in an effort to intrigue straight men) in a Prefix interview.

Perry told a London paper that Ditto didn’t impress her, either.

Any chance of makin’ up? Ditto and Perry have seemed to fall off each others’ radar as far as the treacherous remarks trade-offs go, but with Perry’s continuing support of the gay community, who knows?

8. Jared Swilley (Black Lips) versus Nathan Daniels (WAVVES)

How it all began: June 2009. Black Lips bassist Jared Swilley talked mad trashto Norwegian radio station NRK about WAVVES’ Nathan Daniels, calling him a “baby” and a “real dick.” Pitchfork Music Festival 2009 featuring both bands came and went with no bloodshed and it seemed all was forgiven … right?

Right. Until September. Blogger Pop Jew reported that the bar incident in which Swilley emerged slathered in blood and Williams just emerged insulted.

“Talking shit about me on the Internet is one thing,” Williams said in a statement on Brooklyn Vegan. “I can handle that all day but when some dude is just looking for a fight at four in the morning talking shit to my face and his girlfriend is spitting in the face of all my friends it’s a whole different story.”

Swilley complained in a statement on Buddyhead of a cracked skull and asserted that WAVVES had little to do with the fight. But he did kind of keep referring to Daniels in a not-so-nice, kinda-homophobic way, admitting to approaching Williams with, “You’re that faggot from WAVVES and I don’t like you,” that fateful night at the bar.

Any hope for making up? Uh … at least Swilley’s ready to kiss and make-up as evidenced by this March 2010 video interview on The New Gay back in March. Watch him try to erase his zealous dropping of the other f-bomb below:

No news since Williams’ nonchalant response in an interview with Phoenix New Times just a month after the altercation.

7. Michael Jackson versus Paul McCartney

How it all began: Even though Jackson and McCartney appeared to be real bosom buddies, collaborating on songs like “The Girl is Mine” and “Say Say Say,” all that crumbled when Jackson outbid McCartney and Yoko Ono for legal rights to the Fab Four’s catalog in 1985.

Any chance of making up? If Jackson were still alive, probably. When he passed, McCartney said on his website: “It’s so sad and shocking. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.”

6. Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre) versus Courtney Taylor (Dandy Warhols)

How it all began: The psychedelic rivalry is best captured in the 2004’s documentary, Dig.

In short, they were cronies for a while but then the Dandies tasted a bit of fame, Newcombe got jealous or mad or something and lashings ensued. Lashings including a song from each party regarding the mutual disenchantment … and here they are:

Dandy Warhols — “Bohemian Like You”

Brian Jonestown Massacre — “Not if You Were the Last Dandy on Earth”

Any chance of making up? Despite the venomous encounters captured in the documentary, Taylor describes the beginning of the rivalry as an image thing to parallel the Blur v. Oasis feud during a 2004 interview on MTV’s Subterranean. According to Taylor, they “talk all the time,” which sounds like pal status to us.

5. Oasis versus Blur

How it all began: A harmless battle of one-uppance between the two Brit bands and scoring chart hits in the ‘90s spiraled downward from there. They shot off singles on the same day for the seemingly sole purpose to piss each other off and fuel media coverage of the squabble.

The brawl’s also explored in 2003’s documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop.

Any chance of making up? Done and done. Oasis vocalist Liam Gallagher proclaimed the conflict had settled between the two limey groups in 2007 to Mojo.

And Noel Gallagher’s buried the hatchet so deep, praising Dan Albarn’s work with Gorillaz, a whole freaking garden’s cropped up. Now if the brothers could just stop squabbling among themselves…

4. Mick Jagger versus Keith Richards

How it all started: Ahh, the Glimmer Twins. They can tolerate each other, but they certainly don’t like each other. It’s not terribly clear exactly which incident triggered the animosity between the two very different members of the Rolling Stones. It is clear, though, that this grudge has been hanging ten for a very long time, stretching from the ‘70s well into the ‘00s.

With 2003 and Jagger’s knighting came Richards’ increased disapproval of his vainglorious air.

“I told Mick it’s a fucking paltry honor …” Richards told Uncut Magazine. “It’s not what the Stones is about, is it?”

In 2005, tensions still stretched even more tightly when Richards teased Jagger about the size of his … er, penis.

Any chance of making up? We’ve got no expectations of such a thing. Richards really pounded in the last nail in the coffin when he announced an upcoming release of a tell-all autobiography with an emphasis on The Stones history and Jagger.

3. Dave Mustaine versus Metallica

How it all began: Mustaine responded to a newspaper ad to join the then-unknown band. Things went well until Mustaine’s substance abuse escalated, thus catalyzing his booting from the band in 1983. From there he continued raging with drug tendencies while participating in his new band Megadeth.

As Metallica’s star rose, so did Mustaine’s ego and insistence that he penned most of the hard rock band’s hits. Press battles wore on between the two metal entities.

Weirdly enough, Megadeth and Metallica co-headlined a tour in the ‘90s.

Any chance of making up? In 2009, Mustaine published an open letter on Megadeth’s website saying he felt proud for Metallica, despite the lavish accusations from years past. Looks like the Symphony of Destruction has fizzled to a close.

2. David Lee Roth versus Sammy Hagar

How it all started: Hagar replaced Roth as Van Halen’s lead singer in 1985 after Roth had a falling out with the band. From there, sheer jealousy and ego inflated, breeding bitterness.

Any chance of making up? The two banded together in 2002 for the Sans Halen Tour (AKA Sam & Dave Tour), which made a rekindling look imminent, however, the dissolution of the tour bred immediate audacious remarks.

“I think Sam came out to prove something and maybe came up a little bit short,” Roth

Roth went on in the same interview to assert that he never considered Hagar a colleague and feels he always holds a competitive agenda.

Since then, no revival efforts seem realistic.

1. Courtney Love versus Dave Grohl

How it all began: Really this could probably be Courtney Love versus TheWorld.

Compared to Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono’s symbiotic dislike of each other, Love and Nirvana drummer Grohl veer towards bickering about — what else? Money.

As the widow of Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain, Love battled with Grohl and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic for years over the band’s royalties, delaying the release of the box set With the Lights Out.

Love also says Grohl’s been siphoning bundles of dough from her and Cobain’s daughter, Francis Bean.

Listen to a clip of Love appearing on The Howard Stern wielding the axe toward Grohl here.

Listen to the song Love claims disses her, “Stacked Actors” by Foo Fighters here.

Any chance of making up? Not likely. As of last year, Love continued to trash talk Grohl all over Twitter after a Guitar Hero release featuring Cobain’s likeness dropped. The bitterness remains very much intact.

Share Tweet Submit Pin