10 great moments when music met alcohol
Published: December 19, 2012
Best Live & Loaded Performance, Concert Division: The Replacements
The legendary Minneapolis post-punk band were as well known for their blotto concert appearances as they were for the quality of their songs. Lead singer and author of "Beer for Breakfast" Paul Westerberg was stage-shy and uncertain, and got hammered just to be able to perform. Like their spiritual heirs Guided By Voices, they would frequently refuse to play at any venue that restricted on-stage drinking.
Best Live & Loaded Performance, Movie Division: The Germs
Want to convince your kids to stay away from the sauce? Forget all the lectures and statistics: just sit 'em down in front of Penelope Spheeris' classic punk rock documentary The Decline of Western Civilization and make 'em watch Darby Crash. The Germs frontman is so completely shattered with drink that he can't even stand up, let alone sing, perform, or form coherent sentences. By the time he collapses in a corner, hollering "SOMEBODY GET ME A BEER," you'll be saying, "No thanks."
Best Live & Loaded Performance, Awards Division: Guns N' Roses
People who aren't drunks or musicians often wonder how you can do something as physically complex as playing a wicked guitar solo when you're almost too polluted to stand. The answer? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, my boy, practice! But sometimes — like in 1990, when Slash and Duff McKagan danced, slurred, and stumbled their way through a post-victory press conference at the American Music Awards — no amount of training is enough, and you just end up trying and failing to pronounce the word "integrity" over and over.
Best Live & Loaded Performance, TV Division:The Sex Pistols
In 1976, the Sex Pistols — already the most notorious band in British music history — made an appearance on Today, a chat show hosted by the antagonistic Bill Grundy. The Pistols were three sheets to the wind (and reportedly, so was Grundy), and the host pushed them non-stop to do or say something outrageous. They happily obliged, and the result was talk show history, as well as one of the most bizarre alcohol-fueled moments in all of live television.
Best Musical Spokesmen for Booze, Hip-Hop Division: Tha Alkaholiks
Ol' Dirty Bastard may have been more drunk more often, but his story has a tragic ending. Tash, J-Ro, and E-Swift — the L.A. collective known as tha Liks — made drinking sound real; their signature anthem, "Only When I'm Drunk," features utterly familiar stumbling, belching, forgetting lyrics, and gasping to recover. But they also make it sound fun. "Try to get up, but I can't move/maybe I'm stuck in the groove/what the fuck was I tryin' to prove?" spits E-Swift, and suddenly, being down there on the floor with him sounds like a pretty good idea.
Best Musical Spokesman for Booze, Cabaret Division: Tom Waits
No musician as prolific and talented as Tom Waits can possibly be as drunk as he seems to be. Or can he? He certainly keeps up appearances: in every video, interview, and song he's ever done, Waits looks, sounds, and probably smells like a guy who exists solely on whiskey and cigarettes. But whether it's performance or reality, he'll leave behind a legacy — including immortal boozed-up classics like "Closing Time," "Warm Beer and Cold Women," "Jockey Full of Bourbon," and "Gin-Soaked Boy" — that will forever establish him as pop music's greatest romantic alcoholic.