"Get the **** off my stage before I punch you in the ****ing face": Ten times a band stopped a gig to lambast a member of their own crowd

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Thom Yorke has never been one to mince his words from the stage. The Radiohead frontman was captured last week performing with his new-ish project The Smile, playing one of their quieter numbers, when Yorke could hear audience members chatting and snapped. “It’s five minutes and then you can talk all you want,” he said, “so why don’t you just shut the fuck up?”. Yorke possesses one of rock’s most beautiful and yearning voices, a fragile vocal that is often the soulful and solemn centrepiece of his songs. But make no mistake, he gives a good “shut the fuck up”:

There is nothing like watching your heroes turn into the scariest teacher in school to give someone in the crowd an almighty dressing down, except this teacher is allowed to swear liberally and they have written some of your favourite songs. For the person on the end of the telling off, it must be a very confusing situation. Here’s ten times a star has interrupted their own show to chew out a punter in the audience.

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Thom Yorke

I mean, this could probably be a list of ten times the red mist has descended upon Thom Yorke because he’s heard some chat in the crowd during a gig. This clip is my favourite, mainly because it’s in such an intimate setting that it must have been intensely galling for whoever was on the receiving end. It was at a warm-up show by Atoms For Peace, the spin-off group Yorke formed with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea and a few others, in LA. The crowd were getting treated to a very early stripped-down version of the future Radiohead number Present Tense, but someone must have thought, ‘Oh, acoustic song, good time to ask Dave what he had for dinner!’. Big no no. “Talk when I’m fucking done!” is the pay-off to Yorke’s glorious rant.

Billy Corgan

Billy Corgan has made a career out of being a big angry man. The guy’s most famous lyric is “Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage” for Christ’s sake – don’t poke that bear! But one fella thought he would. The Smashing Pumpkins were coming to the end of a mammoth set at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee in 2016 and were halfway through a show-closing rendition of The Rolling Stones’ Angie when a punter thought that would be the perfect opportunity to climb onto the stage and stand gawping next to Corgan for a moment. In the tone of a man who has long given up counting to ten, Corgan calmly informs him, “Get the fuck off my stage before I punch you in the fucking face”, which was actually also a working title for Cherub Rock.

Royal Blood

You know this one, it’s still fresh in your memory. But in case you’ve forgotten, let’s cringe all over again: this is the moment when Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher made total arses of themselves last year at the Radio 1’s Big Weekend festival, lambasting the audience for not caring enough about rock music even though, you know, it was Radio 1’s Big Weekend that they had been booked for so what did they expect, a crowd full of fans begging them to play Slayer B-sides? The disappointment isn’t Royal Blood losing it here, it's more that none of the jibes really land, it’s all very Christian Bale shouting at the lighting guy that time.


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Eddie Vedder

It’s not always that shows get stopped because some diva artist is aggrieved about how their experience of the gig is going, though. Often you get the good crew such as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder keeping an eye out to make sure there’s no wronguns misbehaving in the throng. Admire the speed at which Vedder pulls the plug on the group’s punky cut Lukin midway through a show to rebuke a bad lad in the crowd, and then admire drummer Matt Cameron’s sassy wave as he’s escorted out, and then admire how they simply pick up the song where they left off.

Amy Lee

In a similar vein, lots to be saluted in Evanescence’s Amy Lee here, taking the polite but firm route as she establishes the facts just to make sure that the guy she’s accused at this show in Perth, Australia of being an arsehole is, in fact, an arsehole. “Alright, no violence, just get out of here,” she says, closing the case. She’d definitely be the good cop in a good cop, bad cop scenario.


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Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl, meanwhile, could probably play both good cop and bad cop. I wouldn’t want to cross the nicest man in rock, would you? I reckon the nicest man in rock could kick the shit out of me if he was in the mood. Have you seen how hard he can hit a drum? The Foo Fighters leader takes the Vedder and Lee approach here, spotting a troublemaker in the crowd at a Roundhouse show in 2011 and informing him, “get the fuck out of my show right now.”

Shirley Manson

The prize for best breaking up of a fight goes to Shirley Manson, though. Manson famously ‘encouraged’ two women to stop fighting in the crowd at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas shindig last year, spotting a brawl as Garbage were playing their set and dismantling it with a stern scolding. 5/5, absolutely fantastic.

Puddle Of Mudd

The career of Puddle Of Mudd singer Wes Scantlin is filled with misdemeanours, with reams of footage of Scantlin intoxicated and losing it onstage, including one odd show in Doncaster where the rest of his band left the stage and he remained, sitting down and babbling until a soundman turned his mic off. The weirdest, however, is at a show in Ohio when he spotted someone in the crowd and accused him of stealing his house. “Are you the fucking guy who stole my house,” he says, which is pretty much the gist of the whole video, until he gets tired of saying it and picks up his leather jacket and exits.

James Hetfield

To quote Austin Powers, “Who throws a shoe?!”. This was the question pondered by James Hetfield during one show in the 90s. Metallica had just performed a section of their shoe slightly mocking the drug woes of their peers (and subsequent long-term friends) Alice In Chains when one audience member felt aggrieved enough to remove their boot and fling it at the stage. It was impressively caught by Hetfield but he felt the need to admonish the culprit. “Why did you throw that at me?” he demands. “We’re here to play some music, man, not to look out for crap like this…. But we play a lot better when we don’t have to look at shit flying at us.”

Vince Neil

It is not cool to throw things at the stage, do not do that. But if someone had not thrown something at this Motley Crue show in 2009 then we never would have had this entertaining video of Vince Neil very, very determined to find the offender, like a shrill-voiced Detective Inspector of bottle-throwing investigations. “Who threw the bottle? Did you throw the bottle?” he seemingly asks every single audience member individually as the band plays on. He's probably still there asking them now. We’re glad you didn’t get hurt Vince, but this is funny, man…

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.