We've all seen the famous footage of Jimi Hendrix humping, burning, and finally smashing his guitar to bits at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. What not many people realize is he initially performed this act of musical instrument immolation some months before, at the suggestion of writer Keith Altham, at London's Astoria Theater. On this, the 43rd anniversary of that auspicious event, Rocks Off takes a look at other notable acts of destruction. No actual instruments were harmed in the writing of this piece.
Pete Townshend was the pioneer of guitar-smashing, but the band took the spectacle to new heights duringthis performance of "My Generation."
Drummer Keith Moon had his bass drum overloaded with gunpowder, and the resulting explosion was the apparent beginning of Townshend's tinnitus. And possibly his baldness.
This iconic photo was shot during a Clash performance at the Palladium in New York. Simonon is one of the few bass players to get in on the smashing act, though we can't imagineJoe Strummer
was too fond of the practice.
We wanted to show a clip of "The Killer" setting fire to a piano from one of his legendary (and possibly apocryphal) shows, but couldn't find any footage (aside fromthis clip
from that lame Dennis Quaid movie). So here'sMutemath's Paul Meany
doing his darndest to destroy his own keyboard. Keep trying, kid.
According to front man Butler, a string broke halfway through the band's performance of "Intervention," leading tothis impromptu bit
of guitar smashery. It also didn't hurt that he apparentlyhated the guitar
to begin with.
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Nirvana was one of the last bands of note to fuck up their equipment with any frequency. And from the expression on Cobain's face at the endof this clip
, you can tell he's totally enthused by this fact.