Rock Star Rumors: Believe It or Not, They’re True

You know those obscene clickbait titles that end up being completely false? The “scandalous rumor confirmed” one that lifts your spirits up, only to bore the heck out of you when you start scrolling through? Refreshingly, this isn’t the case here. We’ve rounded up the most insane rumors that seem way too obscene to be true, yet they happened.

Photographs of rockers
Source: Getty Images

And what better place to look for stomach-turning stories than the tumultuous world of rock ‘n’ roll? From hauling sharks through windows to ripping off bat heads, some rock stars just don’t know when to stop (yes, Ozzy Osbourne, we’re looking at you).

Finally, here’s a list of confirmed rumors that were ACTUALLY confirmed.

Ozzy Osbourne Really Did Rip Off a Bat’s Head

It’s one of the creepiest rumors in rock and roll history and one that we were all hoping would be a total lie. Sadly, it’s not. Ozzy Osbourne really did tear off the head of a dead bat during one of his concerts in 1982. But he insists that he didn’t mean to.

Ozzy Osbourne posing for a portrait / Ozzy Osbourne with a bat in his mouth
Photo by Paul Natkin, Getty Images / Source: YouTube

The bat was thrown on stage by a crazy fan, and Ozzy took it to be a rubber toy. Which makes sense, because, really, since when do people throw actual bats at each other? Unfortunately, he shoved the bat in his mouth without thinking twice and regretted it the second he felt the light fuzz between his teeth.

A Decapitated Plush

After the concert ended, Ozzy was rushed to the ER and given a shot for rabies. Nowadays, the freaky incident has become an integral part of his wild child image. In 2019, for example, the artist tweeted a link to his store with the words, “Today marks the 37th anniversary since I bit a head off a f**king bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head.”

Ozzy Osbourne posing in front of a red velvet curtain
Photo by Ilya S Savenok / Getty Images

The plush quickly sold out. His little stunt was so appalling that people are still talking about it nearly four decades later! Out of all the rumors on this list, this one is probably the grossest. But no worries, the following confirmed rumors are no less bizarre.

Nikki Sixx Was Really Clinically Dead for Two Minutes

Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx was hooked on basically everything, and his addiction almost cost him his life. In December 1987, he took too much and reportedly died for two minutes. In the 2001 memoir The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, he recalled:

Nikki Sixx posing for a portrait in 1983
Photo by Chris Walter / WireImage / Getty Images

“It felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white.” He was brought back from the other side by a paramedic who stuck two syringes in his arm to pump his body with adrenaline.

Back From the Dead

When Nikki Sixx woke up in the hospital, he was a complete mess. In his book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, he wrote, “I ripped out my tubes and staggered in just my leather pants into the parking lot, where two teenage girls were sitting crying around a candle. They had heard on the radio that I was dead and looked kind of surprised to see me.”

Nikki and Courtney Sixx on the red carpet
Photo by Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Sixx says he remembers very little of that night. “[All] I know is that someone called an ambulance and saved my life,” he recalled. “Today I am 16 years sober and a decade into recovery advocacy.” The rock star has used his second chance at life to try and help others struggling with addiction.

Charles Manson Really Wrote a Song for The Beach Boys

The idea of having a murderer write a song for The Beach Boys seems too insane to be true, yet it is. Before executing a set of gruesome murders in L.A., Manson apparently had other dreams in mind. He wanted to be a songwriter and musician.

Charles Manson being led through prison
Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

Manson wrote the lyrics to The Beach Boy’s 1968 hit, Never Learn Not to Love, originally titled Cease to Exist. He also befriended another huge name in the industry, Neil Young, who believed Manson was very unique. “I thought he really had something crazy, something great,” he stated. “He was like a living poet.”

They Didn’t Give Him Any Credit

The Beach Boys probably also thought Manson was a poet. Until, of course, he committed those hideous crimes. The band altered the song before it was released, and they didn’t give Manson any credit for the writing. Understandably, the cult leader was furious.

The Beach Boys posing for a portrait around mo-peds on a yellow background / Charles Manson looking angrily over his shoulder
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images / Albert Foster, Mirrorpix, Getty Images

He confronted Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson by leaving a bullet on his bed and threatening to harm his kids. Oh, and he also stole Wilson’s gold records, wrecked his Mercedes, and cost him a reported $100,000.

James Brown Really Led Police on a Car Chase

James Brown had several run-ins with the police throughout his career, but his most absurd one happened in September 1988. Brown stormed into an insurance office holding a gun, yelling and complaining that “strangers were using his bathroom.”

A mugshot of James Brown from 1988 / James Brown performing
Photo by Kypros, Getty Images / MJ Kim, Getty Images

He ran off in an attempt to flee the police, leading them into a six-mile chase through Georgia and South Carolina. He even tried to ram their cars with his pickup truck. Finally, police shot two of his tires, and he gradually lost control of the truck.

Repeat Offender

Brown spent six years behind bars for that stunt. Incredibly, that didn’t hold him back from getting into trouble again. He was released in 1991, and almost ten years later, in 1998, he did pretty much the same thing: He discharged a gun at his South Carolina home and led the cops on another car chase.

James Brown placing his hands in concrete on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Photo by Chris Walter / WireImage / Getty Images

This time, he went straight to rehab, but even that didn’t last for too long. In 2004, at 70 years old, he was arrested on domestic violence charges against his wife. Two years later, he died of congestive heart failure, leaving behind a wild legacy of car chases and havoc.

Freddie Mercury Really Did Throw Huge, Bizarre Parties

In 1978, Freddie Mercury held a massive party at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, a party that would go down in rock and roll history. Some of the details surrounding the event have been called out as a total exaggeration, like that Queen’s members hired bald dwarfs to carry “snow” on their heads.

Freddie Mercury hanging out with Billy Connolly and DJ Kenny Everett at a party
Photo by Dave Hogan / Getty Images

But other stories have been confirmed by people who attended those wild gatherings. In the 2011 memoir Is This the Real Life: The Untold Story of Queen, author Mark Blake wrote: “As Queen arrived, a flock of transvestites, fire-eaters, dancing girls, snake charmers and strippers dressed as nuns, appeared from the wings.”

Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars a Night

Mark Blake reported that the outrageous celebrations cost the guys at least $200,000 a night. Some more unbelievable things that happened in Queen’s parties include naked waiters and waitresses, entertainers biting heads off chickens (live ones), and nude people wrestling in bathtubs.

Freddie Mercury with a woman and the bands manager laughing around a restaurant booth
Photo by Richard Creamer / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

For his 41st birthday, Mercury invited 700 guests, including Bon Jovi and Boy George, to witness a spectacular fireworks display. Throughout the course of the evening, nearly 400 bottles of champagne were poured, and 232 glasses were shattered.

Axl Rose and David Bowie Really Did Clash

In 1989, Axl Rose decided that he wanted to shoot a bondage-themed clip for “It’s So Easy.” He marched to the Cathouse Club in Hollywood, got his then-girlfriend Erin Everly to wear racy S&M attire, and began performing sexually charged scenes with her. Then came David Bowie.

A portrait of Axl Rose / A portrait of David Bowie
Photo by Kevin Mazur, WireImage, Getty Images / Christian Simonpietri, Sygma, VCG, Getty Images

Drunk and in a naughty mood, Bowie entered the club and started hitting on Everly. Rose got angry at all the attention Bowie was paying to his girl, so he started chasing him down the street yelling, “I’m gonna kill you Tin Man!”

A Cease-Fire

Axl and Bowie eventually made up. Bowie asked for forgiveness, and Axl, well, he felt for the drunk guy. So, he agreed to cool down and forget their ridiculous fight. “Bowie and I had our differences,” Rose explained, “And then we talked and went out to dinner and then went down the China Club and stuff.”

Axl Rose and David Bowie on the red carpet
Source: Twitter

At the end of their night together, Rose thanked Bowie for “being the first person that’s ever come up to me in person and said how sorry they were about the situation and stuff.” Even though they were never the best of buddies, Rose ended up liking Bowie a lot.

Jimmy Page Really Purchased Aleister Crowley’s House

There are plenty of rumors surrounding Jimmy Page, the most famous one being that he’s a devil worshipper. He’s never actually denied those claims, probably assuming that they were a good addition to Led Zeppelin’s already bizarre image.

Aleister Crowley / The home that belonged to Aleister
Photo by Underwood Archives, Getty Images / Source: Wikimedia Commons

Page was also a bit obsessed with the occultist Aleister Crowley and eventually decided to purchase his old house. It’s believed that Crowley, also known as “the real-life Wicker Man,” practiced black magic there between 1899 and 1933.

A Haunted House

According to Page, before Crowley purchased the home, the house served a church which was tragically burned to the ground. “The bad vibes were already there,” Page told Rolling Stone magazine, “A man was beheaded there, and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down.”

Jimmy Page speaking onstage
Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

While he claimed that he never actually heard the head roll down the stairs, Page shared that his friend (who knew little about the ghostly rumors) told him he had heard strange thumps around the house. When asked about what attracted him to the house in the first place, he answered, “The unknown. I’m attracted by the unknown, but I take precautions. I don’t go walking into things blind.”

Van Halen Really Did Have “No Brown M&Ms” in His Contract

This might sound petty, but it isn’t. The story goes like this: Van Halen demanded that their concert organizers supply them with a bowl of M&Ms but asked that all the brown ones be taken out. And if they happened to find any in that color, the concert promoters had to leave the show.

Van Halen posing together for a portrait
Photo by Fin Costello / Redferns / Getty Images

But before you get mad and call Van Halen a bunch of spoiled, entitled rock stars, the guys had a really good reason for requesting this. David Lee Roth explained, “If I came backstage… and I saw brown M&Ms on the catering table, then I guarantee the promoter had not read the contract rider.”

A Sneaky Test

As it turns out, the M&M bit was in the contract just to check if the concert staff was doing its job. Van Halen was loading huge amounts of sound and lighting equipment each concert and without specific guidelines, old arenas could collapse, risking the lives of both the band and the fans.

Van Halen backstage posing
Photo by David Tan / Shinko Music / Getty Images

Whenever they found brown M&M’s backstage, they instantly did a full checkup, inspecting every little part of the sound, lighting, and stage set up to ensure it was fine. As silly as it may sound, it was the band’s way of making sure things turned out well.

Tony Iommi Really Burned Bill Ward

Tony Iommi got a kick out of pranking his Black Sabbath bandmate Bill Ward. And while some of his pranks were funny, a few of them were seriously dangerous. Iommi told The Guardian that he and the other band members covered Ward in gold paint, which almost killed him.

The members of Black Sabbath posing together
Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, and Tony Iommi. Photo by Chris Walter / WireImage / Getty Images

Ward started having convulsions. Thankfully, the paramedics arrived quickly and gave him adrenaline. “We had to use paint stripper to get it off,” Iommi recalled. “He looked like a beetroot by the end.” The medics who took care of Ward were seriously enraged by the band’s stupidity.

Ward Lit Up Like a Bomb

As if burning his skin with gold paint wasn’t enough, Iommi once tried a different tactic to ruin Ward’s skin for life – he lit him on fire. The rock star told The Guardian, “I tipped rubbing alcohol over him. Normally, it just burned off, but this time it soaked into his clothes.”

Bill Ward sitting in front of shelves filled with books
Photo by Jorgen Angel / Redferns / Getty Images

Lo and behold, when Iommi lit it, Ward went up like a bomb. The poor guy was rolling on the floor, flailing his arms frantically and letting out shrieks of pain. This time, Iommi didn’t think it was funny. He admitted that he felt “bloody awful.”

Elvis Presley Really Took His Wife to a Morgue

Elvis loved Priscilla Presley with all his heart, but his way of showing affection was, at times, disturbing. Like the time he took her to a morgue. The singer promised his wife the experience would “scare the fire out of her,” and, as it turns out, it really did.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley on their wedding day
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

In a 1985 interview with People magazine, Priscilla shared that she and Elvis had come across a dead baby’s body. Her husband consoled her by saying, “You have to see things like this sometimes. This is the hard, cold fact – reality. When you look at a body, you realize how temporary it all is, how it could end in a matter of minutes.”

God Works in Strange Ways

Priscilla reportedly burst into tears when she saw the dead baby. She wanted to know why an infant with no apparent scars would die at such a young age. Elvis responded with, “Sometimes God works in strange ways. I guess it was just meant for the little fellow.”

Priscilla and Elvis Presley about to board a private plane
Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

Elvis had a twin brother who had been stillborn, and apparently, he had always felt a bit guilty about it. Although he never knew his sibling, he never forgot him and spoke about him frequently in interviews. He was buried in nearby Priceville Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Keith Moon Was Really Replaced by Someone From the Audience

During a 1973 concert in Daly City, The Who ran into some trouble. Keith Moon, who was struggling with drug and alcohol issues, was unable to play the show. Pete Townshend later revealed that the reason he was so out of it that night was because he had taken animal tranquilizers.

Keith Moon behind the drums
Photo by Chris Morphet / Redferns / Getty Images

When Moon collapsed at the end of playing the song “Magic Bus,” the group decided that they needed to find a new drummer from the crowd. Townsend looked at the massive audience and asked, “Anybody play the drums? I mean somebody good.”

Enter Scot Halpin

They selected a 19-year-old boy named Scot Halpin, and he did such a fantastic job at jamming with them that’s he still remembered by fans to this day. Pete reportedly told him, “Watch me. I’m going to lead you. I’m going to cue you.” The guitarist was both patient and mainly grateful that the young man was willing to step up and help in front of such a huge crowd.

Keith Moon lying on the ground
Photo by Chris Morphet / Redferns / Getty Images

Halpin ended up winning Rolling Stone’s Pick-Up Player of the Year award! But his 15 minutes of fame never prompted him to seek stardom. In 2009, when news of his passing hit, the band paid tribute to Halpin on their website.

Axl Rose Really Did Throw a Huge Tantrum Over Contact Lenses

March 26, 1986 was supposed to be a grand day for Guns N’ Roses. They were scheduled to sign a contract with Geffen Records, but unfortunately, Axl Rose threw a fit at the last minute. You see, he lost his contact lenses and got all paranoid about it because he assumed someone had stolen them to prevent him from reading the paperwork.

Guns n Roses performing
Photo by Marc S Canter / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

The meeting was delayed for four hours as Rose desperately searched for his lenses. He flew into a rage, yelling to his bandmates that they should go on without him. Slash and the band’s manager eventually found the contacts – in Rose’s pants.

He Meditates to Cool His Nerves

In 2015, the manager of Guns N’ Roses, Vicky Hamilton, told The Daily Mail, “I think we were about four hours late. Luckily, they had all waited – except David Geffen – but the others had.” Even more surprising was that no one was really mad at them. Not being on time was sort of the status quo back then.

Axl Rose holding up his hands in peace signs
Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc / Getty Images

After that minor incident, Axl was found meditating on top of the infamous bar Whisky a Go Go. Clearly, being a famous rock star is a high-stress job. His bandmates found him on the roof in a lotus position, trying his best to stay put and relax.

Steven Tyler Really Enjoyed Stealing Things

Steven Tyler did many crazy things in his glory days, including, surprisingly, stealing goods. According to Joe Perry, author of the book Rocks: My Life In And Out Of Aerosmith, the rock star used to steal whatever wasn’t anchored down.

Steven Tyler on the red carpet in 2019
Photo by Amy Sussman / Getty Images

He even lost the band a gig once because he decided to steal a slide projector. His kleptomaniacal ways caused a tear in the group. Years later, the band revealed that their main issue was that they never talked things out. They would keep to themselves until they couldn’t hold back any longer and would just blow things up out of proportion.

Rescued by a Sword-Wielding Friend

In a more severe incident, Steven was held up at gun point after stealing $2,000 from someone’s briefcase. Author Joe Perry described how things heated up when “the back door suddenly crashed open,” and one of the band’s friends, Gary Cabozzi, barged in wielding an enormous sword.

Aerosmith standing against a wall with Steven Tyler standing a bit to the side
Photo by Jim Steinfeldt / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“Cabozzi won the day. He said that twenty years later he learned that it was Steven who took the money,” Perry wrote. While the argument shouldn’t have reached the point of guns and swords, Tyler really shouldn’t have stolen the cash in the first place.

Keith Richards Really Ingested His Father’s Ashes

For years, rumors floated around that Keith Richards had mixed his dad’s ashes with “snow” and snorted them. He first claimed that he had, but then he denied it. His reps also denied it, but years later, in 2015, the rock star came clean and shared the creepy truth.

Keith Richards posing on a couch
Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

Richards had, in fact, ingested his dad’s remains. The story goes like this: Keith initially planned to spread the ashes around a tree, but things didn’t go as planned. When he pulled the top off the box, his dad’s ashes landed on the table. And then…

A Line of Papa

Richards admitted, “My dad knows I’d always liked my cocaine, a snort here and there. So, I just… had a line of Dad.” Yup, fair enough. In another interview with NME magazine, Keith said, “He was cremated, and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared.”

Keith Richards on the red carpet
Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Richard’s father, Bert, was a factory laborer who was wounded in WWII. He died in 2002 at the age of 84. We’re not sure what his thoughts would be on his son snorting him, but let’s just take Keith’s word for it that he would have been delighted.

Billy Idol Really Was Kicked Out of a Hotel by the Thai Military

In 1989, Billy Idol decided it was time for a nice, toasty vacation in Thailand. But his calm, sunny dreams turned out to look more like a violent tornado as he spent three weeks in the country racing from hotel to hotel and throwing wild parties.

Billy Idol sitting on a motorcycle in front of a trailer
Photo by Ebet Roberts / Redferns / Getty Images

He eventually checked into the Mandarin Oriental, where he rented the penthouse suite. But unlike the previous places, this hotel wasn’t willing to put up with Idol’s barbaric behavior. After he wrecked the rented room, the hotel kicked him out.

He Had to Be Sedated

Billy Idol didn’t like being told to leave, so he acted like a man child and ignored their request. The staff ended up calling in the army, who came and shot the rocker with a tranquilizer so they could carry him out on a stretcher.

Billy Idol posing with his guitar
Photo by Ross Marino / Getty Images

“Eventually, the Thai police and military had to sedate me and Bubbles,” Idol explained. “They had to tie us to gurneys and send us back to the States. We spent an entire 14-hour flight in the baggage compartment.” The rocker joked that the film Hangover was loosely based on his time in Bangkok.

Jimi Hendrix Really Did Set His Guitar on Fire

Guitarists need their hands for obvious reasons. But it looks like Jimi Hendrix didn’t quite think about that little fact when he pulled his dangerous stunt on stage. At one of his concerts, just when he wrapped up the song “Fire,” Hendrix decided to set his guitar on fire.

Jimi Hendrix pouring lighter fluid on his guitar on stage
Source: Twitter

Now it’s one thing to sing about fire, but it’s another thing to literally light up your instrument. Hendrix obviously didn’t care. He went ahead and covered his guitar in lighter fluid and blazed it up. But his little stunt didn’t really uh… work out the way he planned.

Up for Sale

The blaze reached a height of four feet and got way out of control, burning his hands. Hendrix and a man who’d rushed to help him were both hurt, but they were lucky enough to get away with no severe wounds. Surprisingly, the scorched guitar somehow survived, and in 2008 it sold for a whopping $450,000.

Jimi Hendrix performing
Photo by David Redfern / Redferns / Getty Images

That’s a lot of cash to spend on the remnants of Jimi’s fire!

Even though Hendrix was able to continue performing on another guitar, he was later taken to the hospital to be checked and treated for his minor burns.

KISS Really Did Use their Blood as Ink

Believe it or not, KISS literally left their blood on the hands of their fans. Back in 1977, the group teamed up with Marvel to craft a KISS comic series and planned on mixing the members’ actual blood with the ink of the first edition, all in the name of art!

KISS performing
Photo by Paul Kane / Getty Images

Their original contract with Marvel stated: “This is to certify that KISS members, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss, have each donated blood which is being collectively mixed with the ink to be used for the first issue of the KISS comics.”

Blood Brothers

The members allowed their blood to be drawn during a concert break and later on flew to New York to add their blood to a barrel of red ink. Nowadays, the blood-infused comic sells for hundreds of dollars. Writer Stark Raven wrote about KISS’s bizarre decision and explained that artists will go to great lengths to bond with their fans:

Kiss holding up a giant KISS comic at a signing
Photo by Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

“A bond exists now and forevermore among KISS, their fans, and Marvel Comics. A blood-brotherhood of truth, justice, and rock ‘n’ roll.” The monumental first issue became Marvel’s bestselling comic issue ever!

Ozzy Osbourne Really Did Trash the Room With a Dead Shark

Ozzy Osbourne should probably stay away from animals. There’s the disgusting bat story, of course. And there’s also the time he allegedly snorted a line of ants like blow. But both stories are nothing next to the outrageous shark incident Tony Iommi shared with The New York Post.

Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne on the red carpet
Photo by Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

He casually told the interviewer that “With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window.”

Yup, nothing like the usual soak-the-room-with-shark-blood stunt to spice things up.

Michael Jackson Really Did Have a Pet Chimp

Everyone knows the story of Michael Jackson’s chimp, but it’s way more bizarre than you might think. The King of Pop purchased Bubbles the monkey from a research facility and took him in as his new dearest friend. Bubbles even went on tour with him, even meeting the mayor of Osaka at one point!

Bubbles posing with a photograph of him and Michael Jackson
Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Bubbles lived at the Neverland Ranch for a while, where he apparently slept in a crib in Jackson’s bedroom, used his toilet, and ate his candy. But as time went on, the chimp grew and became more aggressive until he could no longer be around humans.

Michael Loved Bubbles

Bubbles was first sent to a California animal trainer but was later moved to the Florida Center for Great Apes, where he still lives to this day. The chimp spends his time at the center painting and listening to flute music. In spite of the singer’s death, Jackson’s estate continues to support the annual costs for Bubbles.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles as a young chimp
Source: Twitter

The singer deeply cared for Bubbles and thought of him as his first child. Animal trainer Dunn once mentioned in an interview with News of the World that “Bubbles and Michael were close friends and playmates. The last time he visited, Bubbles definitely recognized and remembered him.”

David Bowie and Mick Jagger Really Did Hook Up

All you need is one glimpse at Bowie and Jagger’s music video Dancing in the Streets to understand why so many rumors circled around their relationship. Was it strictly friendly? Was there anything more? Finally, in 2012, David’s ex-wife, Angie Bowie, finally spoke up.

Mick Jagger and David Bowie performing / Mick Jagger and David Bowie talking while arriving at an event
Photo by Brian Cooke, Redferns, Getty Images / Ron Galella, Ron Galella Collection, Getty Images

In an interview with Christopher P. Andersen for his 2012 book Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger, she shared that she came home one day and was informed that there was someone in her bed with Bowie. Weirdly enough, it was Jagger.

Dancing in Bowie’s Bed

According to Angie, Bowie and Jagger were lying butt naked together between the sheets. Angie confessed to feeling “absolutely dead certain that they’d been screwing. It was so obvious, in fact, that [she’d] never even considered the possibility that they hadn’t been.”

Mick Jagger lying on a sofa / David and Angie Bowie posing together
Photo by Michael Putland, Getty Images / Zak Hussein, Corbis, Getty Images

While neither of them has ever explicitly come clean about it, it’s safe to say that Angie Bowie wasn’t dreaming. She reportedly asked them, “Did you guys have a good night?” But they were so hungover and drained that they could hardly respond.