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Eight Rockstars Worthy Of Biopics

With the Jimi Hendrix biopic just about to hit cinemas, we had a think about which other rock icons have led such outlandish lives we need to see them on the big screen. From tales of eating tampons to being brought back from the dead – we reckon these stories are worth a go in Hollywood.

Al Jourgensen (Ministry)

Al Jourgensen if fond of telling a story of the time he was shooting heroin at the legendary beat author William Burroughs’s house. He was going through the writer’s things and found an unopened letter from the then US president Bill Clinton. Burroughs was barely even aware he had been received it and, much to Jourgensen’s surprise, he had to read it to him. This is the sort of weird shit that happens in Jourgensen’s life, and it’s why it would make a hell of a film. There are other wild moments – there’s the time a venomous spider bit him while he was at a dealer’s house and he had to sell almost everything he owned to afford the medical bills to prevent doctors from simply cutting his arm off. Or there was the time he nearly lost his foot, again when doctors wanted to cut it off after it was wounded by a hypodermic needle. Best of all, perhaps, is when he hung up on Stanley Kubrick, who wanted Ministry to soundtrack his film AI: Artificial Intelligence, then said to Steven Spielberg (who actually ended up making the film): “Hey, Steve, baby, what’s the deal? I thought A.I. stood for ‘Anal Intruder’ and this was supposed to be a porno film.” There would, of course, be tears too – the Ministry story is not without its deaths and tragedies – so, with any luck, a Hollywood script writer is fashioning Jourgensen’s life into gold right now.

Mike Patton (Faith No More)

Any man who has taken a shit in a hairdryer deserves to have a film made of his life. And it’s not just hairdryers: the Faith No More frontman has crapped in just about everything – orange juice cartons, onstage, on the bench outside the house that Prince Charles and Diana used to live in – you name it. He’s eaten tampons left onstage by members of the band L7, he’s had a slash into his own shoe and then drunk it. Who wouldn’t want to see that movie? Even better, there are few more anti-establishment figures than Patton, whose complete refusal to play the rock star game has led to him preserving an alluring mystique while allowing him to indulge in utterly off the wall side-projects like Laborintus II – a collaboration with a Belgian orchestra and a Dutch choir to perform an Italian poem from 1956. Perhaps more of an art house biopic, all things considered. Or a scat film.

Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne)

Ignoring the fact that, by making the TV show The Osbournes, we’ve already seen a fair bit of Ozzy Osbourne’s life on screen already, there is still an incredible story to be told. An early life of delinquency led to a later life of full-on stardom in which there are more tales than can possibly be contained within a biopic: the briefcases full of drugs, the time Ozzy asked his management for a Rolls Royce just so he could sell it because he was short of cash, the Alamo, the ant-snorting etc and so on. It barely even matters whether all the tales are true: when have the facts ever stood in the way of a good Hollywood story?

Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe)

There is a good reason that both The Dirt and The Heroin Diaries were such eye-popping, gob-smacking reads and it’s because the members of Motley Crue have lived lives of the kind of debauchery that can only properly be told on the big screen. Sixx’s life already reads like a film: from being abandoned by his mother to become a teenaged drug dealer and then being there at the birth of the Sunset Strip sound before becoming its biggest star. Add to that the cocktail of groupies and drugs – including the time he overdosed in London and his dealer attempted to kick start his heart by hitting him with a bat, before dumping him in a skip – and it’s quite the script.

Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

While any film featuring the life of Red Hot Chili Peppers singer would have to somehow get round the fact it would have to play the band’s music at some point – and thus risk half the audience walking out – there would be plenty of stories to pack out the plot. Kiedis grew up with his drug-dealer father and lost his virginity to his dad’s girlfriend and with that, the two central themes of the singer’s life are mapped out: girls and drugs. From receiving blow jobs in the crowd, to doing drugs just about everywhere, it would be an X-rated flick but certainly enjoyable.

**Ted Nugent **

It’s hard not to see how a film of Ted Nugent’s life couldn’t be a comedy, with the focus of much of the laughter directed at the movie’s own hero. Nugent has lived a long and fruitful life, peppered almost entirely by instances of idiocy and hypocrisy: he’s the right-wing, righteously anti-drug, pro-war, gun fanatic who dodged the Vietnam draft by doing crystal meth and soiling himself repeatedly. Or there was the time he adopted his underage girlfriend in order to make their relationship legitimate. And the time he threatened to shoot a Hare Krishna in the spine with one of his very many guns. Or when he called for Grateful Dead fans on acid to be raped in prison. And that time he called for anyone who thinks animals have rights to get an arrow through their lungs… the list goes on. The movie, however, would be the equivalent of a slapstick farce in which the central character continually smacks himself in his own face.

Slash (Guns N’ Roses)

There is a memorable moment in Slash’s autobiography where, in an attempt to get clean, the guitar legend heads to a fancy resort in Phoenix. The problem was, he took all his drugs with him. After an epic binge, he ran out of heroin, so decided to shoot cocaine instead – at which point he began to hallucinate that he was being attacked by tiny, little men and so he smashed up a shower then ran naked across the resort’s golf course and into the hotel lobby, whereupon the police were called. And somehow he avoided arrest. To top that moment, the film could also include the time Slash overdosed and died in September 1992, came round in hospital, then checked himself out because he had a gig that night. “I guess that puts Axl not getting up onstage into perspective,” he once said.

Dave Lee Roth (Van Halen)

Diamond Dave’s autobiography, Crazy From The Heat, is one of the all time great rock ‘n’ roll books in that it is utterly bonkers, completely self-absorbed (even for an autobiography) and thus entirely entertaining. As such, it would be a hell of a film: not only is it littered with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – the book opens with the singer shagging two strippers – it would also feature a central character, Roth, with an ego large enough for even the grandest Hollywood blockbuster.

Tom Bryant
Tom Bryant

Tom Bryant is The Guardian's deputy digital editor. The author of The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography, he has written for Kerrang!, Q, MOJO, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the BBC, Huck magazine, the londonpaper and Debrett's - during the course of which he has been attacked by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and accused of starting a riot with The Prodigy. Though not when writing for Debrett's.