25 Times Drugs Pushes Musicians To The Extreme
Aerosmith live at the Midnight Special, 1974 - danschutz / Youtube
The illustrious history of popular music is replete with accounts of musicians and vocalists taking questionable paths in pursuit of thrill and dependence. There’s a reason why the old adage “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” came to be.
Achieving success as a musician encompasses an array of experiences: fame, the weight of expectations, financial prosperity, and a lifestyle that opens doors to a variety of chemical substances waiting to be abused.
Regrettably, in certain instances, these decisions led to the loss of everything they held dear, leaving us these fascinating tales of excess and deprivation that boggle the mind.
1. Funk legend Sly Stone ends up living in a camper van
Psychedelic pioneers Sly and the Family Stone had finally caught a big break following the success of their fourth album Stand! In 1969. This success also helped them secure a slot in the legendary Woodstock Festival. It should’ve been a steady climb forward from that moment on.
But the success came with something unwelcome: drugs, lots of them. Band founder Sly Stone himself reportedly carried around a violin case full of illegal substances. The drug problem led to interpersonal clashes, missing gigs, record label problems, and more, and the band dissolved.
By 2011, reports emerged stating that Stone had become homeless, residing in a van in Los Angeles. He expressed, “I like my small camper. I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”
2. 60s rock muse Marianne Faithfull becomes homeless
Marianne Faithfull was discovered at the tender age of 17 by the Rolling Stones manager and flamboyant hustler Andrew Loog Oldham and was swiftly thrust into the world of the latter’s band. Although she produced a series of unremarkably seductive pop tracks, her claim to fame was being the girlfriend and creative muse of Mick Jagger.
Faithfull notably co-wrote a song titled “Sister Morphine,” but the Stones took hold of the song’s reins, releasing it sans her credit on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers. As the 1970s drew to a close, she found herself homeless, inhabiting an abandoned structure in London. Such a fate seemed implausible for a woman exuding both beauty and sexuality, to the extent that still images of her alone stirred media frenzy. Remarkably, the muse would have the last laugh.
With her “whisky-soaked” voice (a byproduct of years of drug and alcohol abuse) she seized the opportunity to record an album and released Broken English – a candid, unfiltered narrative about a former glamor model and pop sensation who plunged into addiction, ultimately becoming a denizen of the streets. These somber revelations were accompanied by subtly tasteful musical arrangements that beautifully contrasted her sad tale. Broken English became her comeback success and catapulted her back to the limelight.
3. Aerosmith fails a comeback
Before they became the champions of mushy 90s ballads, Aerosmith were hard rockers that lived and breathed rock and roll’s life of excess. Their reputation was so potent that it even astounded counterculture hero and known druggie Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Amusing as it was, it has consequences.
Aerosmith had a decade of little to no commercial success. Their continued drug use had deteriorated their band’s path. When they tried to stage a comeback with their 8th studio album Done With Mirrors, the listening public was also done with them. They got revitalized with the most unlikely of collaborations: a rap-rock rework of their old song “Walk This Way” with popular rap group Run-DMC.
This gave them enough boost to once again turn heads. When they released their next album Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith gained their wings and status as rock deities.
4. Peter Green does not recover from a night out in Munich
Fleetwood Mac was once synonymous with blues rock goodness of the late 60s, and rightfully so. Legendary blues guitarist Peter Green led the band at that time during the proliferation of blues rock in the UK.
During the early months of 1970, Fleetwood Mac embarked on a tour across Europe. Upon their arrival in Germany, they received an invitation to partake in a gathering at a hippie commune in Highfisch, near Munich. It was during this event that the band asserts Green, after ingesting LSD, spiraled into a disastrous acid trip that fundamentally shattered his mental state. “All it took was a couple of tabs,” Green’s bandmate John McVie said, “and he never came back.”
A few months later after that episode, in May 1970, they would release their final single featuring Green, titled “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown).” Regrettably, this marked the conclusion of the Green God’s journey with Fleetwood Mac, as he officially departed from the band during the same month. Subsequently, he faced a mental breakdown and, with the exception of sporadic solo releases in the 1970s, he largely faded into obscurity.
5. The Beach Boys kick out Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson is known for his ingenuity in pop music composition and out-of-this-world musical aptitude. During the recording sessions of his personal passion project, Smile, he experimented with drugs but still retained masterful control of everything.
But the lack of support from his bandmates in his musical endeavors, compounded with the pressure of competing with The Beatles, the genius lost his touch and left did not release his album. Wilson would descend to near-unrecoverable addiction to cocaine.
Beach Boys, the band he founded and built with his songwriting prowess, kicked him out in the early 80s. Though he managed to stage a comeback and even rejoined his old band, many people were still left wondering what kind of solo success would he achieve had he released his other more personal compositions.
6. Syd Barrett malfunctions Onstage and melts Brylcreem in his hair
The quintessential classic rock force, Pink Floyd, was once undoubtedly Syd Barrett’s brainchild. Barrett authored an impressive 10 out of the 11 tracks on Floyd’s groundbreaking debut, “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.” His eerie vocals and experimental guitar expressions bestowed the album with a captivating brilliance.
However, his trajectory in the British rock scene swiftly transformed him into the most renowned victim of acid’s effects. Barrett’s frequent consumption of LSD incapacitated him, particularly during live performances with the band. He was seen strumming a single chord throughout the duration, retuning his guitar, and most memorably melting an entire tube of Brylcreem in his hair beneath a stage light. While audiences found these antics amusing, his bandmates, especially budding perfectionist Roger Waters, the bassist of Pink Floyd, were deeply irked.
To address the situation, Pink Floyd introduced David Gilmour as a second guitarist, eventually assuming the role of the sole guitarist. In April 1968, the band officially parted ways with Barrett.
Later on, this founding member of Pink Floyd slipped entirely from the public’s view. The years rolled on, marked by Barrett’s silence as his former band burgeoned into an immensely successful arena act. His demise due to pancreatic cancer in 2006 evoked an odd sensation, as he had already been lost in many ways for quite some time.
7. Courtney Love flashes David Letterman
Courtney Love’s entanglement with drugs traces back quite a distance; a shocking incident unfolded in her early years when her father reportedly introduced her to LSD at the tender age of five. This occurrence led to her father losing all custodial rights over her.
Subsequently, Love encountered the heartbreaking loss of her husband, Kurt Cobain, to heroin addiction (and a shotgun) in April 1994. Merely two months later, she experienced another blow as Kristen Pfaff, the bassist of her band Hole, succumbed to heroin addiction as well. Despite facing these profound challenges, Love demonstrated remarkable resilience.
Over the subsequent decade, however, Love’s life spiraled into turmoil. A significant cocaine and prescription drug addiction led to frequent arrests and stints in and out of rehabilitation centers. She made a controversial appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman,” leaping onto the host’s desk and exposing her breasts, followed by a largely incomprehensible interview.
While Love asserts to have been sober since 2007, her life has retained a degree of turbulence. In December 2009, she lost custody of her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, who even secured a restraining order against her own mother.
8. The Monkees release an experimental movie that Ends their career
Upon the release of Bob Rafelson’s debut film in 1968, Head, the Monkees found themselves completing a disheartening trajectory that shifted their status from an international phenomenon to a vilified entity within pop culture. This cinematic offering, which unfolds akin to a caustic farewell letter, shows the band on a surreal journey and kicks off with a jolt as drummer and vocalist Micky Dolenz leaps off a bridge.
This melancholic introduction encapsulated the prevailing despondency shrouding the Monkees’ trajectory at that time—coming mere months after NBC terminated their immensely popular television series.
According to legend, the diverse and unrelated sketches that constitute Head were collaboratively brainstormed by Rafelson, the band members, and a pre-fame Jack Nicholson in the Californian desert, fueled by copious amounts of marijuana. The resulting product emerged as a fusion of disparate genres: aptly dubbed “the most extraordinary adventure, western, comedy, love story, mystery, drama, musical, documentary satire ever made (and that’s putting it mildly)” in its tagline.
Subsequently, Nicholson purportedly pieced together the film’s screenplay while under the influence of LSD, having listened to recordings of the band’s ideas via a tape deck. The product of this bizarre process was, of course, something only a zonked-out mind can comprehend.
9. A paranoid James Brown pulls a shotgun on someone for using his toilet
Fans knew how powerful a performer Mr. Dynamite is onstage. That’s why it’s challenging to fathom how someone who exuded such confidence and mastery over himself could plunge into a state of disorder fueled by drugs. It’s worth noting that he even enforced a drug-free policy among his musicians, a stance that created distance with certain individuals, including Catfish and Bootsy Collins who eventually departed for Parliament-Funkadelic where drug experimentation seemed like a prerequisite.
However, the 1980s marked a period of decline for “Godfather of Soul” as he succumbed to the use of PCP. This era was marked by multiple arrests, culminating in a notable incident in 1988. Reportedly, he aimed a shotgun at an individual who had used the restroom in his office, before fleeing and initiating a police pursuit near the border of Georgia and South Carolina. Consequently, he faced convictions for possession, driving under the influence, carrying an unlicensed firearm, and assaulting a police officer.
The resultant sentence was six years in jail, though he was released after three. His interactions with the law continued to plague him during the final 15 years of his life, with charges, more often than not, stemming from incidents of domestic violence.
10. Neil Young performs with cocaine lodged in his nostril
Young has largely managed to evade cultivating a reputation as a heavy drug user. Nevertheless, there have been instances that came quite close. For instance, during his appearance in the Band’s concert film The Last Waltz in 1976, it’s believed that Young was snorting cocaine backstage right before his performance.
In Band drummer Levon Helm’s memoir, he recounted, “Neil Young had delivered a good version of ‘Helpless,’ but performed with a good-size rock of cocaine stuck in his nostril. Neil’s manager saw this and said no way is Neil gonna be in the film like this. They had to go to special effects people, who developed what they called a ‘traveling booger matte’ that sanitized Neil’s nostril and put ‘Helpless’ into the movie.”
Young had turned things around and even released the 1971 track “The Needle and the Damage Done” which remains one of the most moving compositions ever crafted about heroin and its adverse effects. His 1975 album Tonight’s The Night was also produced as a eulogy for his roadie Bruce Berry and guitarist Danny Whitten—both of whom tragically succumbed to heroin overdoses in 1973.
11. Ron Wood resorts to butt drugs after destroying nose
Addiction, folks. Some people can’t just quit, even after their nose falls off. Ronnie Wood was a guitarist of the Rolling Stones, a band that embraced the wildness of rock and roll life. Throughout the majority of their career, the Stones shared an inseparable connection with drugs, which inevitably became intertwined with their public persona. Moreover, the band boldly challenged societal norms by addressing this taboo subject matter in their songwriting, consistently touching upon the theme of narcotics in their music.
And these narcotics are, of course, the causes of some of the worst problems. Ron Wood, in his case, had basically melted off his septum in 1975 due to excessive cocaine use he had to insert a plastic replacement to continue having a normal-looking nose.
This, of course, did not stop the man. He started freebasing (smoking pure cocaine) in the 80s in order to get his fix. “Cocaine, heroin, booze, freebasing, I went for it all, but it’s the fags that are almost the hardest to kick,” Wood said.
He even had the wonderful idea of inserting the drug up his rear, just to have another way to get that high. Wood got his idea from his former bandmate Rod Stewart, who revealed it all in the 2012 memoir Rod: The Autobiography: “We started buying anticold capsules from the chemist’s. Separating the two halves of the capsules, replacing their contents with a pinch of cocaine, and then taking the capsules anally, where, of course, the human body being a wonderful thing, they would dissolve effortlessly into the system.”
12. Alternative rocker Cris Kirkwood gets shot at a post office
Meat Puppets achieved some homegrown success after the release of their subgenre-defining Meat Puppets II in the 80s. This album and the band’s subsequent performances caught the attention of a guy named Kurt Cobain.
The grunge legend invited Meat Puppets’ brother duo Cris and Curt Kirkwood to join him on MTV Unplugged for acoustic performances of their songs “Plateau”, “Oh Me” and “Lake of Fire”, which all came from Meat Puppets II. The live album from this performance, MTV Unplugged in New York, would become Cobain’s final album.
And, as everyone on this list, the success that followed brought disaster to the brothers in the form of illicit substances. The 1990s saw the brothers going into a tailspin due to drug abuse. Cris lost his wife and his best friend died of overdoses at his house in Tempe, Arizona.
In December 2003, bassist Cris found himself in custody after assaulting a security guard at the primary post office situated in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. During the altercation, the guard responded by firing multiple shots at Kirkwood, striking him in the abdomen. Subsequently, Cris wound up in jail for felony assault and served time at the Arizona state prison.
13. David Bowie is afraid of witches stealing his semen
The Thin Duke was no stranger to getting high. In fact, he had gotten so high during the recording of Station to Station in 1975 that he eventually lost recollection of the album’s production process due to the copious amount of cocaine he consumed.
Bowie’s dietary intake at this juncture primarily comprised cocaine, peppers, and milk, while he existed in “a state of psychic terror”, according to David Buckley, the author of Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story. Bowie had also started immersing himself in an environment illuminated by burning black candles and adorned with Egyptian artifacts. He reportedly harbored strange beliefs such as witches wanting to steal his semen, and that the Rolling Stones were transmitting covert messages to him. He also harbored a genuine fear of Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, who was said to engage in witchcraft.
If Bowie’s intention was to embark on a period of recovery post this album, his choice to relocate to Berlin with Iggy Pop took an alternate course. Nevertheless, the trilogy of albums he produced during this phase—comprising “Low,” “Heroes,” and “Lodger”—served to refine and solidify his artistic legacy.
14. Celtic punk rockstar Shane MacGowan eats a Beach Boys record
Celtic folk punk rockers achieved relative success in the 80s and 90s. Their most popular frontman, Shane MacGowan, infamously battled alcohol for the longest time, so it was easy to blame the substance when the man ate a CD of Beach Boys.
MacGowan’s long-time partner Victoria Mary, who has been with MacGowan since she was just 16, revealed how the singer’s battle with drugs often overshadowed his drinking over the years. “When he answered the door to me after having missed his flight to the United States to open for Bob Dylan, and there was blood pouring out of his mouth because he had eaten a Beach Boys record,” Mary recalled.
She believed that it wasn’t the gin and tonic that was the problem that time, but the hundred tabs of acid MacGowan had. ‘And when I found him on the floor with a needle in his leg, the drink was not the first thing that I worried about.”
The Irish singer-songwriter was revealed to have been sober, and Mary confirmed in 2016 that he was trying to stay sober.
15. STP’s Scott Weiland gets arrested buying heroin while dressed as a pimp
Although they were initially branded as grunge imitators, Stone Temple Pilots still went on to become one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the 1990s. Their frontman, Scott Weiland, who left in 2013, also attracted his own slew of controversies.
In 1994, during STP’s tour with the Butthole Surfers, Weiland initiated heroin use in tandem with singer Gibby Haynes. He got arrested while buying crack cocaine the following year. As he served his probation, he took up residence in a hotel room adjoining Courtney Love, and the two indulged in drug use together.
Weiland was arrested in 1998 trying to buy heroin while dressed as a pimp. This small episode began bigger when, in 2003, he got a DUI and was arrested again. Subsequently, Weiland shifted to grappling with DUIs, encountering arrests in 2007 and 2008, the latter culminating in imprisonment.
16. Rick James holds a woman hostage for a week, burns her with a crack pipe, and forces her to perform sex acts
The struggles with drugs that musicians face have frequently provided ample comedic fodder for comedians. However, none have been as comprehensively and uproariously parodied as Rick James. In a 2004 episode of Chappelle’s Show, Charlie Murphy showed a skit portraying James in outrageous sexual interactions.
Murphy humorously labels James as “a habitual line stepper.” In the midst of these antics, the actual Rick James intermittently emerges to offer no more rationale for his behavior than the declaration that “cocaine’s a hell of a drug.”
Sadly, the real story was much darker. In 1991, James faced allegations, along with his then-girlfriend Tanya Hijazi, of holding 24-year-old Frances Alley in captivity for up to six days. During this time, they reportedly restrained her, coerced her into engaging in sexual acts, and subjected her to burns on her legs and abdomen using the heated tip of a crack cocaine pipe. These incidents transpired during an extended cocaine binge.
It got even worse in 1993, while out on bail for the aforementioned incident, a coked-up James, assaulted music executive Mary Sauger at the St. James Club and Hotel in West Hollywood. Sauger asserted that the encounter began as a business meeting with James and Hijazi but devolved into a 20-hour ordeal where she was purportedly abducted and subjected to physical abuse. James was found guilty of both offenses and spent two years in prison.
17. A high David Crosby drives into a fence armed with a gun
Very few musicians from the 1960s who were burdened with severe drug-related issues survived and continued their tumultuous habits for decades to follow. One of them was David Crosby, a prominent member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In 1982, he underwent a nine-month prison sentence after facing charges of possessing cocaine and heroin. In 1985, while on probation for a DUI offense, he was arrested for crashing his car into a fence, the vehicle containing both a firearm and cocaine. In response to inquiries regarding the weapon, he cited John Lennon’s tragic murder by a deranged fan as the reason for his arming himself.
One of his CSNY bandmates once complained about Crosby halting a jam session to prevent his crack pipe from falling off his amplifier and breaking. Even as recently as 2004, Crosby encountered an arrest due to leaving his luggage—reportedly containing an ounce of marijuana and a firearm—in a hotel room.
18. Ozzy Osbourne snorts a line of ants with a straw
The Prince of Darkness has tons of stories about his crazy stunts, but almost none can compare to his insane act of snorting a line of ants in 1984 while on tour with fellow rock and roll excess life adherents Motley Crue. Tommy Lee recounted seeing Ozzy Osbourne leaping onto the ground after spotting a line of ants and snorting the poor critters with a straw.
However, Osbourne’s indulgences typically extended beyond mere ants. According to Ozzy himself, he actively embraced alcoholism and substance abuse for a span of 40 years, surviving the ordeal against all odds. Following his dismissal from Black Sabbath in 1979, he chose to seclude himself in a hotel room for a three-month period, indulging in an unrestrained spree of drugs and alcohol.
Although he managed to reclaim his bearings and launch a fruitful solo career, the “Crazy Train” of his life continued to veer off course. In the early ’80s, he infamously urinated on the Alamo, leading to his being arrested and subsequently banned from San Antonio, Texas. The late ’80s bore witness to another alarming incident: while under the influence, he nearly inflicted harm on his wife Sharon, an event that narrowly avoided turning into attempted murder.
19. Keith Richards snorts his father’s ashes
Keith Richards probably heard Ozzy’s snorting feat and decided to upstage him by snorting his father’s ashes. Being one of the most distinguished and familiar “hellraisers” in the realm of rock music spanning nearly six decades, Richards is the lead guitarist and founding member of the legendary British group, the Rolling Stones.
In a 2007 interview with NME, the rock veteran, known for his penchant for tequila breakfasts and drug-fueled escapades, shared an intriguing anecdote. He recounted an incident where he mixed his father’s ashes with cocaine and ingested the concoction. Richards told NME magazine, “The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father.” He added, “He was cremated, and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared; he didn’t give a damn. It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”
Richards also recalled a more perilous experience involving strychnine in his narcotics. “Someone put strychnine in my dope. It was in Switzerland. I was totally comatose, but I was totally awake.” He detailed how he remained conscious while others believed he had succumbed to the poison, saying, “‘He’s dead, he’s dead!’ waving their fingers and pushing me about. I was thinking, ‘I’m not dead!'”
20. Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx dies, revives, and goes home for another dose
Together with his band Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx gained infamy for his wild revelries during the height of the heavy metal era. His reputation as a bassist is as well-known as his escapades involving substances. Among Sixx’s most notorious incidents was an overdose that left him clinically deceased until resuscitated a few minutes later. This event stands as just one entry on a rather lengthy roster of overdoses.
His near-death story did not just end there. After being taken home by aggrieved fans – against his doctors’ wishes, of course – Sixx changed his answering machine’s message and proceeded to shoot up what he described as the biggest heroin dose he ever had.
His answering machine’s new outgoing message? “Hey, it’s Nikki. I’m not home because I’m dead.”
Many years after enduring a profound low, he chronicled his trials in an autobiography titled The Heroin Diaries. Fortunately, the musician sought help and managed to survive one of the most harrowing stories in the history of rock.
21. GnR’s Izzy Stradlin swallows entire stash and ends up in a four-day coma
While they changed rock during their heydays, the band also offended tons of people and there’s a long list of reasons out there why Guns N’ Roses became the most dangerous band in the world. Their massive appetite for destruction, and drugs for that matter, was well-documented.
Frontman Axl Rose was the first to kick the drug habit, especially after they achieved success, though he never downscaled his proclivity for anger, drinking, and madness. Slash, on the other hand, persevered in his drug habits. He candidly admitted in a GQ interview that his addiction to heroin was boundless, stating, “I’d take as much as I could get my hands on. If one batch ran out, I’d immediately search for more.”
Bassist Duff McKagan’s drug abuse reached such extremes that his pancreas exploded in the 1990s, inflicting third-degree burns within his body. But Izzy Stradlin almost never woke up in his worst drug addiction story.
During a tour stop in Japan, the band’s tour manager instructed rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin to dispose of all his drugs. In response, Stradlin ingested his entire stash, which tragically led to a 96-hour coma.
22. Corey Taylor overdoses and was left in a dumpster
Despite being a well-established rockstar with two well-known heavy metal bands to his name, Corey Taylor lived a tough life in Iowa. He claimed that he overdosed twice before the age of 16. Taylor also had bouts of suicidal tendencies and reportedly survived two attempts.
But one of his worse experiences as a teenager was when he woke up in a dumpster. Apparently, his friends left him for dead thinking he suffered a fatal overdose. The future Stone Sour and Slipknot frontman was left shocked that his so-called friends just left him in a dumpster of all places.
“Instead of taking me to a hospital, they took me somewhere and dumped me in a trash can, thinking I was dead. So I come to, I’ve got no shoes on, I’ve got no T-shirt, I’ve got blood on my face. I’m 12 miles from my house, and I proceeded to walk from there. The whole way home. I was like, I’ve gotta get out of here.”
Taylor would later leave his old home in Waterloo, Iowa, and live with his grandmother in Des Moines. His grandmother became the young Taylor’s legal custodian and encourage him to go to school and pursue music,
23. The Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones drowns in his swimming pool
Brian Jones had once lofty musical dreams, hence he worked hard to establish a blues rock band. The band later became The Rolling Stones, a name he off-handedly said when asked by a journalist for the band’s name. He was the uncontested leader at that time.
But the Stones were a band first built as the antithesis to The Beatles: “threatening, uncouth and animalistic”. They brazenly and openly embraced rock and roll’s worst accessory: drugs. Heck, this list had two other members of the band with their own outrageous stories.
When Jones met his tragic demise in his own swimming pool in 1969, he had recently been ousted from the Rolling Stones due to his escalating drug use, which had rendered him incapable of contributing any meaningful musical input to the band.
The rest of the Stones moved on and pressed forward, both in terms of their music and their substance habits. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had encountered drug-related arrests and imprisonment during the 1960s, and their indulgence persisted as they became tax exiles and embarked on hedonistic arena tours in the 1970s.
Even the typically steadfast Charlie Watts eventually succumbed to heroin use in the mid-1980s. Bassist Bill Wyman leaned more towards romantic pursuits than drug experimentation, while Mick Taylor, who replaced Jones, entered and exited the band with relatively minimal exposure to substance abuse. However, his successor, Ron Wood, presented a different narrative that warranted an entry in this list.
24. Sid Vicious does not remember killing his girlfriend and overdoses to death months later
In the archives of rock musicians making severe mistakes, few instances are more extreme than fatally stabbing your girlfriend and not remembering about it. After a party in October 1978, bassist Sid Vicious, a heroin addict with no band to play after the disbandment of Sex Pistols earlier that year, awoke in his room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York to the discovery of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen’s lifeless body in the bathroom, bearing an abdominal wound.
It was found out that Vicious’ missing hunting knife, which had vanished alongside Spungen’s money, was the weapon used in the killing. Facing a murder charge, Vicious provided conflicting narratives regarding the sequence of events. He initially denied stabbing Spungen, then claimed a lack of memory of what happened, and then later asserted that they were engaging in an fight and she inadvertently fell onto the knife.
Although arrested and charged with murder, he was not detained and later attempted suicide that same month. Vicious would be once again after a brawl at a rock event. He was released in February 1979 but would die of a fatal heroin overdose the following day. His remains were cremated, and his mother discreetly scattered his ashes over Spungen’s grave.
25. Kurt Cobain kills self twice
Kurt Cobain’s story about drug abuse stands out as an intricate and intense ordeal among rockstars. It’s also one of the more tragic ones: a rockstar killing himself at the height of his superstardom. The lore and tragedy surrounding his death nearly eclipsed Cobain’s achievements as a genre-defining musician.
Initially, he displayed a strong aversion to heroin during his formative years; when a friend suggested trying it, he distanced himself from that friend. However, he eventually succumbed to the drug. When Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic asked him about the experience, Cobain nonchalantly responded, “Oh, it was all right.” Nevertheless, his dependency grew.
By the time Nirvana appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Cobain’s heroin addiction had deepened to the point where he was vomiting and could hardly stand until the performance. Remarkably, he managed to pull himself together enough to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Territorial Pissings” live on television. In March 1994, Cobain made his first suicide attempt by consuming a significant amount of flunitrazepam along with champagne while in Rome. He nearly lost his life and remained in a coma for a full day. According to Novoselic, he was never quite the same mentally after this incident.
An intervention was staged for Cobain, and he was sent to a rehabilitation facility in California. However, he managed to escape the facility by scaling a six-foot wall and somehow secured a seat on a flight back to Seattle, seated next to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.
Despite the tensions between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, the two musicians connected. Upon his return home, Cobain made another suicide attempt, this time with utmost determination. He administered a fatal dose of heroin and then shot himself in the head with a shotgun, effectively ending his life twice. He was just 27 years old.