Biggest Assholes In Rock, Part 1: Gene Simmons, Sting, Phil Spector and Mike Love Edition!

With the interweb rabble-rabbling itself into a stupor over former Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock's assertion that his exit from the Lips was racially motivated and that singer Wane Coyne is a humongous asshole, we at The Shit thought it would be a shitload of fun to celebrate some of the Biggest Assholes In Rock.

Come to think of it, if the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame was to rechristen itself the "Biggest Assholes in Rock" Hall Of Fame, would we not all stop dead in our tracks and yell, "Road trip!"?  With that in mind, here's our off-the-cuff list of the most conniving, two-faced, back-stabbingest, Rock & Roll Assholes with a capital "ASS".

Gene Simmons

It's one thing to brag in the press repeatedly that you banged 4,000 women during Kiss's heyday, or to merchandise your likeness to the point of overkill (Kiss Kasket, anyone?), but to singlehandedly stand in the way of the original line-up's performance at the induction ceremony is the absolute height of Assholedom.

It wasn't that Peter and Ace didn't want to play, or couldn't play, or wouldn't play.  Both were quite vocal about the fact that they would both love to take part in a performance by the original line-up that would be for the fans who put them there.

But Gene would have none of it.  See, the idea of doing anything "for the fans" that does not also include charging them the most exorbitant price possible is as foreign a concept to Gene as smiling is to Dick Cheney.  Gene could have played nice in the press, bit his tongue for three songs at the ceremony, and basked in the warm, loving glow of the Kiss Kommunity.  But, instead, Gene chose to project an air of pompous negativity and vitriol.  This is a guy who literally believes that he made Ace and Peter who they are and that they should show some fucking appreciation.

Does he not remember how many Ace Frehley posters Aucoin Management sold to us kids back in the day? Gene was all "I spit blood and spew hell-fire", but we kids were actually planning on having some girls over at some point and didn't want the mood broken by your girlfriend catching Gene Simmons glowing eyes from the back of your closet.  An Ace poster on the other hand...that wouldn't have broken the mood one bit.

The very idea that anyone but him had anything to do with the band's success has never occurred to him and, for that reason, Gene Simmons is one of the Biggest Assholes in Rock.  He seems okay with it, though, going so far as to name his last solo album, Asshole.

(the fun begins at the 3:39 mark)


Much as I have always loved The Police over the years, Sting has always been the least interesting member of the band, for me at least.  Sure, he wrote great songs and was a decent bass player, but you could also say the same for David Steele.

If not for an insanely ambitious Stewart Copeland plucking him from soul-crushing obscurity in a low-rent English jazz band, none of this would have ever happened, yet it was Sting who couldn't wait to get away from Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers to bore us to tears with dreams of blue turtles and such.

Truth be told, his solo career has never been about the music, but about testing the limits of his female fan base while maintaining the lifestyle to which he became accustomed due to the success of The Police.  "How far will they follow me?" he seems to be asking with every lute album and Broadway-bound celebration of his childhood.

Even back in Police days, literal fist-fights would break out: Sting vs. Stewart, Sting vs. Andy, or even Sting vs. Stewart AND Andy.  One of the highlights of our time in L.A., in the late '90s was having the chance to meet both Stewart and Andy and to have them share some very colorful Sting anecdotes, which one could easily dismiss as sour grapes if not for the fact that Summers' and Copeland's stories are startlingly consistent.

After all, it was Sting who rolled up to the sessions for Ghost In The Machine with his own private keyboardist and a hell-bent desire to slather his new musical partner's keyboard wankery all over the entire album.  Reasoning with Sting didn't work and many a polite conversation would end in physical confrontation.  Andy and Stewart may not have won every fight, but the resulting album managed to feature only one song with Sting's buddy's grandiose circus keyboard work ("Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic").  Unfortunately, Stings spends the rest of the album pouting about it.

By the time the band convened to record Synchronicity, Sting's popularity had now given him the power to call all the shots, thereby relegating Andy and Stewart to session players in Sting's seemingly endless quest to turn the Police into modern-day Genesis.

Phil Spector

Spector may have been the creator of the legendary "Wall of Sound" production style behind such hits as The Ronettes' "Baby, I Love You" and "Be My Baby, The Crystals' "He's A Rebel" and "Do Doo Ron Ron", and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", but he was also an egomaniac with a mercurial temper whose fondness for weaponry ultimately led to the murder of Lana Clarkson at the producer's home in 2003 and the current incarceration of Spector.

Prior to that, stories of Spector's outlandish behavior - reportedly pulling a gun on the Ramones and aiming a crossbow at Leonard Cohen's head while barring the singer from his own sessions, among others - had long been the stuff of rock & roll legend, but the Clarkson incident shined a spotlight upon Spector's lengthy history of intimidation and abuse.

Mike Love

Never has someone with so little talent as a musician been as big an asshole as the Beach Boys' Mike Love. The guy writes some of the clunkiest lyrics to ever be set to music, doesn't play an instrument, and can barely sing anymore, yet he's the one with the rights to tour under the name "The Beach Boys", and the sole person responsible for "firing" Brian Wilson before their 50th anniversary tour was even finished.

Now before one of Mike Love's devoted fans (I'm not kidding) accuses us of siding with that sand-box-loving lunatic Brian Wilson, please know that we have no horse in this race, as the supposed genius of the Beach Boys has always eluded us.  Seriously, The Beach Boys are to rock & roll what Happy Days was to television; commercially successful, iconic even (!), but ultimately about as edgy as a sippy cup.

As for Mike Love's supposed crimes against music, humanity and Hawaiian shirts, here's a quick list of some of his "greatest hits" from Noisey's brilliant "Mike Love Is Kind Of An Asshole", by Luke Winkie:

—During the recording of the now stone-cold classic Pet Sounds, Mike Love responded to one of the glorious, spellbinding harmonies with “Who is gonna hear this shit? The ears of a dog?” Brian Wilson would later use this as inspiration for the album title.

—Love later claimed he was the one that came up with the album title.

—Mike Love sued Brian Wilson for songwriting credits on a ton of Beach Boys songs even though his actual contributions were laughably minimal. Like, his contribution to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was “Goodnight, my baby/ Sleep tight, my baby.”

—Mike sued Brian Wilson again because of a free promotional CD that was given out for Brian Wilson’s 2004 release of SMiLE, claiming that it misappropriated the Beach Boys' likeness and that it “damaged” the band’s reputation. The case was thrown out and Mike Love was revealed to be the Grinch.

—Decades after single-handedly ruining the SMiLE project, Love claimed he wrote all the SMiLE songs once the album actually came out.

—Also, Love had the gall to talk about how great SMiLE is in the promotional commercial for last year’s The SMiLE Sessions.

—Love somehow controls The Beach Boys’ name and has only used that power for evil throughout his entire life.

—He didn’t even write the songs on his solo record.

—Love sued longtime Beach Boy Al Jardine for touring under the name “Al Jardine of the Beach Boys.”

—He wrote “Kokomo”.

—He donated a bunch of money to Tipper Gore to help censor pop music.

—Love launched the “Brian’s Back!” campaign, which pressured a still very mentally unstable Brian Wilson back into performing, which quickly resulted in him sinking back into addiction.

—He was a giant drunken idiot at The Beach Boys’ Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame induction.

—He thinks “Surf’s Up” sucks.

So, without further adieu, "fuck Mike Love".


  1. Is Ringo "No More Fan Mail, Please" Starr in Part 2?

  2. Hank, not sure about your specific reference but "No More Fan Mail, Please" seems like a common sense thing to say if you are a Beatle.
    I think fan mail is silly anyway unless you are a child. No matter how much you love the art someone makes, the emotional connection is with the art, the music made, not the person. You can only be emotionally connected to a person if you actually have a real life relationship with them. Otherwise, its just starf--king, an adoration with the fame as you do not really know the person.
    Plus, any connection you think you have with the person is a one way street. They do not know or care about you, that does not mean they do not appreciate you spending money and loving their work but they are not able to have an emotional connection with someone they do not know.
    As for fan mail, think about it, 7 billion people on the earth, if only one percent are fans and we know its probably higher, and then one percent of that one percent send fan mail that is 700,000 pieces of fan mail. Even in a lifetime that is almost impossible to keep up with.
    And fan mail makes Ringo no money, its just a giant expense for him. And even if he commits to all that staff and the millions of dollars over his lifetime to keep up, there is no real personal experience for anyone, not for the fan, not for him.
    No matter what anyone writes, 100 other people a day are basically writing the same thing, can I have an autograph, a picture, can I borrow money, I love you, I love your work, you changed my life, you saved my life, blah, blah, blah.
    Everything that is written is really about the writer, not Ringo. Its nice but its like having sex with a beautiful model. If you get the chance once a year, its exciting, if Ringo got one letter a year it would be exciting for him, but if 1000 times a day beautiful models wanted to have sex with you, it would eventually get real annoying, you would want to have a life and to have something real, something real in real life. 1000 times a day is not about you, its about your fame, your name, what you did, not you as an actual person.
    Basically all those letters would be like those models, they just want something from you.
    Even if you want absolutely nothing from him, he no longer needs another human being that he does not know telling him how wonderful he is and what he means to them.
    Ringo wants to have a life, let the man have a life, all that fan mail is just a silly waste of time for everyone involved.

    1. It took me 65 years to write my first (and so far only) "fan mail" letter, and it was to Ringo Starr. I'd always thought he was a cool person, from his understated role with the Beatles to his work with children's programming on public TV, and I wanted to tell him so. I wanted to express my appreciation for the joy and excitement he generated "back in the day" and for the influence he and his pals had on my life. I simply wanted to say thanks while I still could. How you (and Starr?) manage to totally devalue and disrespect something like that is beyond me.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Saw him 15 years ago at Treasure Island at Disney in FL. Billed as Beach Boys. Did not deliver. What a slag.

    1. Obviously referring to Mike Love. Poser extraordinaire.

    2. Obviously referring to Mike Love. Poser extraordinaire.

  5. Sting and Bono are the two biggest poseurs in the music industry. Two of the most pompous idiots who are devoid of talent.

  6. I've got no beef with Sting as others might, so I'll leave that one alone. I was all prepared to give this article five stars for his Mike truths, but before he gets to that, the author goes and disses the entire BB history by saying they were as edgy as a sippy cup. Brian pushed the boundaries of art and music with PET SOUNDS, and everyone from The Beatles on down worshiped at his feet for it. Same when "Good Vibrations" came out. And perhaps the author never heard any of the SMiLE stuff, even back on the first box set. That stuff was OUT THERE. And now you can hear all of it in its proper context. It was "edgy" as HELL. Even in the early 70s without Brian, they were a progressively great band. After that, they were a joke, I'll admit. But those days when Brother Brian was in command, he had all the "edge" he needed.

  7. This is a guy who literally believes that he made Ace and Peter who they are and that they should show some fucking appreciation. rock review

  8. You forgot Kid Rock and Ted Nugent.

  9. You forgot Ted Nugent, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Anderson, Ginger Baker, Pete Townshend, Kid Rock and Others.

    1. Ginger Baker was a sociopath who should've teamed with Miles Davis -they could've killed each other during a session.

  10. Gene Simmons is a lawnmower of a human being...

  11. If you're going to talk about R&R aholes and not include David Crosby, sorry, you ain't saying much. The only reason that bloated, bilious yon got anywhere was because of his family's money. He was famous for being a talentless jackhole with a horrible personality....

  12. Spot on. He looked like a doof because he was one. The real chops with talent in that band was Graham Nash. The Hollies were never the same without him.

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