Some of the craziest tour stories in the rock music history books

News 03/04/2019

Rock 'n' roll isn't quite the same these days is it? We don't hear quite as many crazy touring stories, fuelled by drugs, alcohol and god knows what else. But at least we still have the memories of the true rockstars; here are some of the more memorable:

ZZ Top's buffalo escaping
ZZ Top had a real life, living and breathing buffalo on one of their tours, and it wasn't the only animal tagging along. They also had a longhorn steer, two vultures and two rattlesnakes for their famous 1976 and 1977 Worldwide Texas Tour. 

You can imagine that having wild animals on tour is probably going to end badly, and you would be right - the animals escaped after a show on 12th June 1976 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, doing damage to the stadium field. The buffalo escaped again in November that year, close to wrecking the nine rented limos parked at the venue. 

Marilyn Manson doing $25,000 worth of damage to a hotel
After a concert in New York City in 1998, 29-year-old Marilyn Manson and his bandmates trashed the dressing room of the venue in a very 'rock 'n' roll' move. They then returned to their hotel where they started a food fight, and proceeding to completely trash one of the rooms. 

The posse ended up causing up to $25,000 worth of damage, including telephones struck in the middle of walls, burns on carpets and stained bathtubs from their purple hair dye. 

Van Halen's equipment ruining venue stage
Van Halen used to have a very specific request for their shows backstage - a bowl of M&Ms with no brown ones. While this seems ridiculous, the request was actually part of a larger tactic. Compared to other bands of the time, the band had quite an impressive stage production, including nine 18-wheeler trucks full of equipment. So the M&Ms request was actually to make sure the promotor had read all the requirements of the tour, including some strict safety masures - like whether the venue floor can withstand the weight of the stage set. 

At a concert at a university in Colorado back in 1980, the band found one brown M&M in the bowl - so they decided to trash their dressing room in true rockstar style. And it turned out the M&M trick worked - the contract was clearly not read correctly, and the venue floor couldn't hold the stage set. $80,000 of damage (a lot more in today's money) ended up being caused by the stage collapsing. 

Ozzy Osbourne goes missing on Black Sabbath tour
Ozzy single-handedly made some crazy rock 'n' roll stories over the years, some odd like snorting a line of ants, and some offending entire states of the US like urinating on Almano in Texas. 

A more amusing story though is when Ozzy went missing during a Black Sabbath tour in 1978. The band checked in to a hotel in Atlanta, and as they were preparing for their show that evening they realised Ozzy wasn't in his room. His luggage was there untouched with a made bed, proving he had never even arrived. The police and local TV and radio were notified, with alerts sent out to the public. 

Van Halen did their opening slot, then Black Sabbath got up on stage and apologised for having to cancel the show. Fast forward to 9am the next morning, and the band get a call from Ozzy asking when they're leaving for the venue. Turns out he had drank a bottle of something, went into the wrong empty room and blacked out for over 24 hours. When he woke up he thought he'd only slept for one night.