10. Smash It To Bits
The list of well-known artist who have smashed a guitar on stage is long. It includes Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Garth Brooks. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Pete Townsend, guitarist for The Who. Or is it Paul Simonon, of the Clash?
9. Burn it
Jimi at Monterey. We all knew this was coming, right?
8. Toss it To Your Guitar Tech
Question: What is the only thing better than a super-cool, no-look stage exit?
Answer: A super-cool, no-look stage exit gone horribly awry!
7. Play a Love Song to Bluto Blutarsky
John Belushi’s iconic character in the 1978 movie Animal House may just hold the title for the most hilarious guitar-smash of all time. And considering the song, it was a perfectly justifiable response, in my opinion.
6. Spin it Around You, 80’s style
Anybody know who the first artist was to perform this maneuver on stage? I think the earliest guys I recall doing it were Tom Keifer and Jeff LaBar of Cinderella. Regardless, it’s probably responsible for more destroyed guitars than all other man-made factors combined.
5. Lend it to Quentin Tarantino and Kurt Russell
The Tarantino-directed movie The Hateful Eight contains a scene in which a female character, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, strums a guitar and sings. At the end of the scene, character John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, destroys the guitar in a fit of rage. The main filming was to be done using a priceless 1870’s Martin acoustic, on loan from the C.F. Martin Co. museum. Several “stunt-doubles” were also created, to stand in for the real thing when smashing-time came. Kurt Russell somehow didn’t get the memo, and mistakenly destroyed the real one by smashing it against a wooden post. Leigh’s reaction in the scene makes it pretty clear she was aware the newly-destroyed guitar was indeed the genuine article. Oops.
4. Lend it to Prince
At a 2013 taping of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, pop-icon Prince punctuated his performance by throwing his guitar to the ground, irreparably breaking it. Unfortunately, the guitar wasn’t his. It was a 1961 Epiphone Crestwood belonging to Captain Kirk Douglas of The Roots, that Prince had asked to borrow before the show. Click here to read an interview with Kirk Douglas about the incident. I guess Shakespeare had it right when he penned the words “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
3. Store it in a Floodplain
On May 1 and 2, 2010, more than 13 inches of rain sent Tenessee’s Cumberland River spilling over its banks. The unprecedented 52-foot flood claimed the lives of 24 people, and wreaked massive damage to buildings and property. One business ravaged by the flood was Soundcheck Nashville, a warehouse where many of the city’s most famous acts stored their stage sets, lighting, PA gear, mixing consoles, amplifiers, and of course, their guitars. Over 4 feet of water flooded the warehouse. As the water receded it left behind a mine-field of mud, spiders, and snakes that hampered recovery. About a thousand guitars and two thousand amplifiers, some vintage and irreplaceable, were damaged beyond repair, making it almost certainly the largest mass destruction of guitars and guitar-related gear in history. The emotional value of those lost instruments is incalculable.
2. Play the Snot Out Of It
You know…stomp it, kick it, and ride it like a surfboard.
1. Really Play the Snot Out Of It
You know….play it almost exclusively for decades, until it is worn clean down to the bones.
Tell us Your Story
Have you ever destroyed a perfectly good guitar? Have you ever watched someone else do it? On purpose? By mistake? Tell us your story!