Pompous, moi? 40 arrogant quotes from 40 different musicians

Courtney Love, David Lee Roth, Gene Simmons, Axl Rose, Little Richard
(Image credit: Vinnie Zuffante/Icon and Image/Monica Schipper/Kevin Mazur/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Sometimes they're tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes they're deadly serious. Sometimes they're delusional. But the rock stars we remember are the rock stars who give good copy. Those who aren't afraid of bluster, who understand the value of column inches and controversy, who never let modesty get in the way of a good soundbite. 

Here are 40 examples of breathtaking, brilliant arrogance from some of the biggest names in music. We'd be nothing without them. 


David Bowie: “I’m an instant star, just add water and stir.”

Michael Hutchence (INXS): “People lead really flat lives. They need some sort of peak. I like to be that peak."

Noel Gallagher (Oasis): “With every song that I write, I compare it to The Beatles. The thing is, they only got there before me. If I’d been born at the same time as John Lennon, I’d have been up there."

Liam Gallagher (Oasis): "Being me is the best fucking gig in the world.”

Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) “We all used to go out to the pub together, all of us lot. Then I stopped. I decided to become elusive, enigmatic and untouchable."

John Lennon: “When I was a Beatle, I thought we were the best fucking group in the world, and believing that is what made us what we were."

Mike Rutherford: “I don’t mean to sound big-headed, but I don’t think we’ve put a foot wrong in 20 years." 

Dave Mustaine: “The reason there have been so many line-up changes [in Megadeth] is because you get somebody into the situation and all of a sudden they forget what the main ingredient is – and the main ingredient is my songwriting.”

Kid Rock: "I could have been good at school, I just didn’t see any use for it. If people want to study hard to be a doctor or a lawyer that’s great. I had to work at other things: fucking bitches, counting money, how to make money…"

Yngwie Malmsteen: "Anyone can learn to play fast, like anyone can learn to type quickly. But not everyone can write a book."

Yngwie Malmsteen onstage

Yngwie Malmsteen writing a book (Image credit: Rob Ball/Getty Images)

Michael Jackson: "I love ET cos it reminds me of me. This person is like 800 years old and he’s filling you with all kinds of wisdom.”

Gene Simmons: "I’m most proud of me. Why? I came from nothing. I couldn’t speak a word of your language. When I came to America, one of the first phrases I heard was: “Are you stupid? Can’t you speak English?” Many years later those people wind up working for me."

Carlos Santana: “If I touch the right notes, I can make your hair stand up. I can make you cry. I can make you horny. I can make you dance. I don’t have to play that many notes. I have my own beauty."

David Lee Roth: "Seriously, I don’t have any rivals. You can’t have me and a second-rate impersonation of me and tell me that here’s my rival. No contest! There is such a thing as being original. Without it, no matter how good the impersonation, you’re nothing.”

Mike Dirnt: "Green Day is like sex. When we’re good, we’re really good. When we’re bad – we’re still pretty damn good."

Steven Tyler: "It’s cool when I meet young guys from other bands who say how much of an impact Aerosmith has had on them and how much they like me. I’ll give ’em that ‘C’mon, you don’t mean that’ routine, but in my heart I know where they’re coming from."

Ian Brown (Stone Roses): "I think we’re relevant, we’re important! I think we’re exciting, mind-expanding!”

Howlin' Pelle Almqvist: "The Hives would like to thank the bands who played here these three days for warming up the crowd for us.”

John Paul Jones: "At our very worst, we were better than most people. And at our very best, we could just wipe the floor with the lot of them.”

Robert Plant: “It’s not only that we think we’re the best group in the world. It’s just that in our minds we’re so much better than whoever is number two."

Robert Plant onstage

Robert Plant, official Golden God (Image credit: Richard McCaffrey/Getty Images)

Courtney Love: "I do wish I ruled the world – I think it’d be a better place.”

Jerry Lee Lewis: "Other people – they practice and they practice. These fingers of mine, they got brains in ’em. You don’t tell them what to do – they do it. God given talent."

Freddie Mercury: "People are always asking me what my lyrics mean. Well, I say what any decent poet would say if you dared ask him to analyse his work. If you see it, darling, then it’s there."

Iggy Pop: “I stare at myself in the mirror and I think, ‘Wow, I’m really great-looking’. I think I’m the greatest, anyway.”

Kanye West: "God chose me. He made a path for me... I am God's vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live."

Slash: "I don’t care if you think I’m being bigheaded. This is the only rock’n’roll band to come out of Los Angeles that’s real, and the kids know it."

Perry Farrell: "Nobody can tell me I suck, because I simply don’t believe it."

Pete Townsend: "Sometimes I really do believe that we’re the only rock band on the face of this planet that knows what rock’n’roll is all about.”

Madonna: “I’m ambitious. But if I weren’t as talented as I am ambitious, I would be a gross monstrosity."

Lady Gaga: "I don’t know if this is too much… but I can actually mentally give myself an orgasm."

Lady Gaga onstage

Lady Gaga, yesterday (Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Brian Molko (Placebo): “If Placebo was a drug, we would no doubt be pure heroin – dangerous, mysterious and totally addictive."

Morrissey: "I don't perform. Seals perform."

Bono: "U2 is an original species. There are colours and feelings and emotional terrain that we occupy that is ours and ours alone."

Jim Morrison: "I see myself as a huge, fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps, ‘Oh look at that!’ Then – whoosh, and I’m gone, and they’ll never see anything like it ever again, and they won’t be able to forget me – ever."

Axl Rose: "I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it."

Simon LeBon (Duran Duran): "I'm not a snob. Ask anybody - well, anybody who matters."

David Hassellhoff: "I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Checkpoint Charlie.”

Richard Ashcroft (The Verve): “Legend is an overused term, but in my case it's totally appropriate.”

Thom Yorke: "I'd like to run for President. Or Prime Minister. I think I'd do a better job."

Little Richard: "I am the innovator. I am the originator. I am the emancipator. I am the architect of rock'n'roll!"

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