Rock & Roll's Top 10 Brawlin' Brothers
Note: Not real brothers. We just liked the picture.
Brothers share a link that is unique and special. Same DNA, same familial backgrounds, quirks, talents, and sometimes musical taste. They can also argue, get physical, try to overpower one another, and hold grudges over years that are hard to explain, even to people in their immediate families. Bands come preloaded with the same traits, and grow to feel like a family of brothers, and sometimes sisters.
It makes sense that a band featuring brothers in its lineup would be a recipe for disaster in some cases, but not always. Take the Abbotts, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. They swore allegiance to themselves their whole lives, in Pantera and the bands that came after that one's demise, until Dimebag was shot and killed onstage in 2004.
For the brothers that do get along, they have the advantage of being a ruling majority in most bands, or banding together in a duo to call the shots. Most people see Van Halen as a tool of Eddie and Alex, with singers and bassists just hired guns. True, the boys do have a trove of tracks they have recorded together, that sometimes leak online.
The DeLeos in Stone Temple Pilots, Dean and Robert, are seemingly at the mercy of Scott Weiland's whims, but seem to be stable on their own. The Greenwoods, Jonny and Colin, are dutiful Radiohead soldiers, and the only person in that band who seems to be haughty is Thom Yorke.
The brothers, and cousin, in Kings of Leon have been known to get into dust-ups, like seen on the trailer for their upcoming documentary, Talahina Sky, but it looks like they benefit from not spending 24 hours a day together.
Then there are the ones who take blood-relation fussing and feuding to a whole new level, with their own problems and drama almost overtaking the music until all you remember are the fights and bitchy bickering. Tons of bands, great ones, have been undone by brotherly rivalry.
The story of the Everly Brothers is one of the most prominent when it comes to brother-on-brother hatred. For two siblings that made such sweet enduring melodies, they hated the shit out of one another. Don and Phil Everly made music that would help give birth to the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike, but they were at odds for the last decade of their union together until July 14, 1973, when Phil smashed his axe onstage and Don finished the show drunk and alone. They deserve a biopic too.
Ray and Dave Davies are forever the Kinks, helping craft some of the best garage and proto-punk hits over the heyday of the band. Did you know that there were stabbings with forks over stolen fries, trashed gear, and fistfights during their time together? They officially broke up in 1996, but there have been rumblings of one-off reunion shows for a few years now, though Dave thinks it would be a morbid affair. During Ray's solo gigs, he usually tells warm stories of the '60s smackdowns, though, so he doesn't seem sore still.
Some people have never even heard an Oasis song, yet when you bring up Liam and Noel Gallagher, they know that these Brits hate each other's guts in an almost biblical fashion. It finally broke up the band a few years ago, and now the guys claim to have excised all human ties with each other. See you at the reunion show next decade.
Rich and Chris Robinson seems to be undone by their success in the Black Crowes. Their relationship soured as the band got bigger to the point where they rarely spoke outside of musical duties. They are now on an indefinite hiatus, and Chris Robinson's new project, the inventively named The Chris Robinson Brotherhood is at Fitzgerald's on August 27. Like Oasis, expect a $$$-loving reunion in a few years.
Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson formed the nucleus of the Beach Boys, but as the '60s took it's toll on the band and attitudes and tempers changed, the trio was pulled in different directions. Once again, the work overshadowed the family connection. Having a tyrannical father as your prototype for loving interaction didn't help either. Today, Brian is the only living Wilson Beach Boy.
You would think the freewheeling and dancy sounds of the Bee Gees would lend itself to love and hugs between Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, but as the tastes of the record-buying public changed after disco, so did the warm feelings between the brothers. Even when Maurice died, they Barry and Robin tried to make competing tribute albums to their fallen brother. Jive talkin', indeed. Also, Robin looks like a baby Mr. Burns.
Tom and John Fogerty built Creedence Clearwater Revival in the mid-'60s, but as John grew to be the band's primary songwriter and face, the men grew apart. The band would only last five years as CCR until they broke up in 1972, though Tom left in 1971 for a solo career. On the outset, it looks like once the band finally broke up that the brothers started getting along. Tom died in 1990 of AIDS, which he contracted after getting a tainted blood transfusion in treatment for back problems.
AC/DC's Malcolm and Angus Young understandably partied a lot during the initial run of the Aussie nut-breaking rock band. But with partying and drinking comes strife. It's said that Malcolm's drinking, which earned him a touring break in 1988, strained his and Angus' relationship. With age and time, the men seem to be in fine spirits these days.
For a guy who sang about the love and punishment of Christ, Ira Louvin of the influential country duo Louvin Brothers was kind of a maniac, which leads some to think it was all an act to sell records, which is kind of cool. Brother Charlie, who just passed this year, was the sweet brother, while Ira was a drunk who was once shot by one of his wives while he was trying to strangle her. Satan is real, for real y'all.
In the Jesus and Mary Chain, Jim and William Reid made some of the loudest and most dense alternative rock of the '80s and '90s. William walked offstage in 1998, and the band wouldn't play together again until Coachella in 2007, and that took Scarlett Johansson took coax them back out onstage.
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