Bands and music groups break up for all kinds of reasons. There’s no surprise there. But the cause of some of those breakups seem small and probably could’ve been fixed if each member admitted wrongdoing, forgot the past, then got back to making music, which is why they connected in the first place. And it seems more times than not, those small reasons for a band breaking up lead to huge cracks that don’t ever get repaired, making the split permanent.
That easily could’ve happened to Metallica, because in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster, they argued about their recording schedule. The problem was, lead singer James Hetfield wanted to record from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and didn’t want his bandmates to keep working once he left. Thankfully, for Metallica diehards, they were able to get over the scheduling conflict and kept playing together, but other bands haven’t been as fortunate. So we’ve listed some of those acts, detailed the petty reasons they’ve broken up, and shared what members said about each other.
Eagles members disagreed about supporting politicians
Throughout history, there have been bands that have openly supported politicians, while other groups have chosen to stay clear of anything even remotely political. But in the Eagles, there were at least two members who disagreed about the band being involved in political matters: guitarist Don Felder and singer Glenn Frey. On July 31, 1980, the band closed out their tour “with a benefit show in support of California Sen. Alan Cranston,” as Ultimate Classic Rock detailed. But, as Rolling Stone noted, “Felder didn’t want the band involved in political causes,” and when the band met Cranston’s wife, the guitarist said, “Nice to meet you…I guess.” That response infuriated Frey, which added to the long-running tensions that he and Felder already had. From there, they began “threatening each other on mic.”
“I felt Don Felder insulted Senator Cranston under his breath, and I confronted him with it. So now we’re onstage, and Felder looks back at me and says, ‘Only three more songs ’till I kick your a**, pal.’ And I’m saying, ‘Great. I can’t wait,'” Frey told The Long Run, according to GlennFreyOnline.com. “We’re out there singing ‘Best of My Love,’ but inside both of us are thinking, ‘As soon as this is over, I’m gonna kill him.’ And that would be the Eagles’ last appearance together until they reunited in 1993 for Travis Tritt’s “Take It Easy” video.
Oasis brothers came to blows and bowls of soup
The fighting between Oasis brothers Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher has been covered in the media ever since the band formed in the early ’90s, with Noel once calling his younger sibling, “The angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup,” he said during an interview with Q magazine, according to NME. Unfortunately for fans, Oasis broke up for good in 2009, but there was one time before that final split when Noel seemed to quit the band while in Barcelona. It was right after Liam implied that his brother’s daughter was illegitimate.
Pitchfork says that Noel jumped on his brother after hearing the insult, began punching him and busted his lip. Noel also remained angry for some time afterward. ‘”I’ve never forgiven him because he’s never apologized. He’s at arm’s length until he says sorry for what he’s done,” Noel told Q magazine about his brother (via OasisNewsRoom). And as for that comment Noel made about his baby bro being “a man with a fork in a world of soup,” Liam seemed to respond in a 2019 video by doing what else? Eating a bowl of soup with a fork.
Leaders of the New School broke up on TV
Most times groups breakup behind closed doors and fans find out about it through a press statement. But rap group Leaders of the New School broke up in front of a TV audience in 1993 during a taping of Yo! MTV Raps. Before it happened, tensions between group members Busta Rhymes and Charlie Brown were growing for a while. Plus, it was clear around that time that Busta was the group’s standout, so he was getting most of the attention.
In the famous MTV clip, group members start giving their names to host, Fab 5 Freddy. But when it was Brown’s turn to speak, he said, “[I’m] getting to know myself and what my capabilities are and what I’m gonna do in life.” Then later in the video, group members can be seen huddling, and it didn’t look like they were exchanging pleasantries. “I’ll never forget that day,” Rhymes told MTV News in 2011. “Me and C. Brown, we ain’t really dig each other for a long time.” After Brown opted out of giving a straightforward introduction, Rhymes recalled, “We’re stepping to Brown beefing, like, ‘What is this?’ [And he says,] ‘I don’t wanna be in the group no more.’ ” Shortly after that 1993 interview, Leaders of the New School parted ways and Rhymes went on to have an extremely fruitful solo career.
The Furious Five called Grandmaster Flash a fraud
When it comes to rap pioneers, New York’s Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is probably one of the first groups people think of. Plus, their song “The Message” is considered to be one of the first rap songs to take on social issues, creating a lane for what’s now called conscious rap. Then many years after that song came out and the group made a name for themselves, Grandmaster Flash was seen the most, often making lone television appearances and going on tours without the Furious Five. But according to Scorpio, one of the group’s founding members, Flash had nothing to do with their songs but still received top billing and more work. Scorpio even called the legendary DJ “The Milli Vanilli of hip-hop” in a 2015 interview with Yaheard.com. Milli Vanilli, of course, is the pop duo who got caught in a lip-synching scandal after winning a Grammy in 1990.
“At that time we were a group, but the biggest mistake the Furious Five made was to leave his name before ours,” Scorpio told Yaheard.com. “Being young kids we thought, ‘We started as a group let’s end like that.’ We didn’t know that ultimately it would turn around where he would use the brand that we all helped build against us.” Scorpio also claimed that Flash used the popularity of group songs to fatten his bank account through DJ tours and didn’t share any of his earnings.
Xscape couldn't agree on who the lead singer was
The role of lead singer often gets the most attention, it often causes a rift within the band. The R&B group Xscape ran into this problem, and it made them part ways. Xscape is made up of Tameka “Tiny” Harris, Kandi Burruss, and sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott. Fortunately for the group, they were able to achieve success right off the bat with their debut single, “Just Kickin’ It, ” which appears on 1993’s Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha. That single introduced Burruss as the lead singer, and Jermaine Dupri, who signed and produced the group, said it caused serious tension.
“I feel like my songs actually broke Xscape up,” he said on TV One’s Uncensored in 2019. “Xscape was Tocha’s group. Whoever’s group it is, that means they think they’re the lead singer. They meet Jermaine Dupri, and Jermaine Dupri writes a song, and he gives the song to Kandi because Kandi’s voice sounds like mine. It’s no other reason that I gave it to her besides the fact that I wanted her to sing the way I was having [TLC’s] T-Boz sing. That created friction already from jump.” But all four members reunited in 2017 for Bravo docuseries Xscape: Still Kickin’ It and a performance at BET Awards. Shortly after, Burruss said she didn’t want to record new music with the group. Harris, LaTocha, and Tamika released an album under the name XSCAP3, and Burruss showed the trio love on Instagram.
The Smiths split over a cover song
If one were to make a list of the most common reasons bands split, having creative differences would probably be among the top three. So it may not be surprising that such a problem would make British band The Smiths break up, but some might be shocked to know it was over one song. According to what guitarist Johnny Marr said to Record Collector in 1992 (via The Irish Times), The Smiths’ singer Morrissey wanted to cover a song called “Work is A Four-Letter Word” by late singer and TV host Cilla Blac, which infuriated Marr. “That was the last straw,” Marr told the outlet. “I didn’t form a group to perform Cilla Black songs.”
Sadly, Black died from a stroke in 2015 after falling in her vacation home in Spain, and while honoring her it was clear that Morrissey covered her song because he truly admired her. “Never stationary throughout the 1960s, Cilla Black made some great records,” he said in a statement (via Morrissey-solo.com). “‘The Right One Is Left,’ ‘Suffer Now I Must, It’s For You,’ ‘I’ve Been Wrong Before, What Good Am I?’ I’m very grateful for the songs, and it never occurred to me that such people could die.”
Dru Hill ran into problems after recording with Will Smith
It’s a common story among bands: A group of young friends get together and decide to make music, they find success after getting discovered, but then one member gets most of the spotlight. That is exactly what happened to Baltimore R&B group Dru Hill, who hit a fair amount of speed bumps once lead singer Mark “Sisqó” Andrews became the breakout star. And tensions came to a head when the quartet was recording a song with Will Smith for his film Wild Wild West. Besides Andrews, Dru Hill was made up of Tamir “Nokio” Ruffin, Larry “Jazz” Anthony, and James “Woody Rock” Green, who talked about that Will Smith studio session during an episode of TV One’s Unsung.
“From my own understanding, it was Will Smith featuring Dru Hill, but when we got there it seemed like it was all in the cards for it to be Will Smith featuring Sisqó,” Green explained. “Once again, you’re back to just being here just for the sake of being here. That was basically my departure.” Then in a 2017 interview on Hot 97, Andrews and Ruffin said that Green quit the group right in the middle of shooting the Wild Wild West music video. “If you look at the video, you’ll see four of us in the beginning and only three at the end,” stated Andrews.
The Police couldn't handle more than one songwriter
Some of the best bands are the ones that have multiple songwriters, as listeners can be treated to different styles and perspectives in a single project. But Sting saw having more than one songwriter in his group The Police as a nuisance and it eventually made the trio go in opposite directions. The members of The Police consisted of Sting, guitarist Andy Summers, and drummer Stewart Copeland. “Part of the frustration was that Stewart and Andy were driven to write,” Sting told Rolling Stone in 2007. “It’s difficult to tell somebody it’s not a good song and it was usually me.”
The members of The Police started to go their separate ways in 1984, but in Copeland’s opinion, it was more than fine. “People have asked what went wrong back in the day and the answer is it didn’t go wrong, it went rather well, actually,” he told The Guardian in 2007. “We broke up at exactly the right time. What would have gone wrong is if we had stuck together to the point where we hated each other and started to hurt each other and self-destruct. That would have been wrong.” Sting, of course, would go on to have a remarkable solo career, which began after he released his first project The Dream of the Blue Turtles, which nabbed the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200.
Simon & Garfunkel had a movie come between them
Bands often break up over something that has to do with the music they’re making, because maybe they can’t agree on a certain idea. It’s not every day, however, that a group splits because of a movie, but that’s just what happened to Simon & Garfunkel. It happened when Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon were cast in the 1970 film Catch-22, but only Garfunkel’s performance made the final cut. Garfunkel talked about how his role drove a wedge between himself and Simon, which he did after director Charles Grodin spoke about it at the Paley Center in 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I just think this is outrageous — you don’t take Simon & Garfunkel and ask them to be in a movie and then drop one of their roles on them,” Grodin said. “You just don’t do that.”
Garfunkel agreed with this sentiment, telling the audience, “Yes, Chuck’s gone right to the heart of the difficulty in Simon & Garfunkel when he says, ‘Artie and Paul were cast for Catch-22, and Paul’s part was dropped.'” Simon also spoke about the split in 2016 on former political strategist David Axelrod’s podcast, according to InsideHook, and he explained what Garfunkel told him when he was cast in Catch-22. “So he said, ‘Well, the way I see it is I’ll do movies for six months, and you’ll write songs and then I’ll come back and then I’ll sing … for six months.’ And I thought, ‘The hell with that. That’s not going to happen,” said Simon.
Blink-182 members were accused of slacking off
Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker didn’t get along with Tom DeLonge for years, and their beef eventually spilled into the press. In 2015, Hoppus and Barker said that DeLonge quit the group and was being replaced by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. But DeLonge denied quitting and on Instagram wrote, “Apparently those releases were sanctioned from the band. Are we dysfunctional? Yes.” Then in an open letter, he said that Hoppus and Barker’s lack of effort while making their EP ruined Blink.
“I told Mark and Travis that as long as we talked, and things were good between us as real friends, that I would be engaged and work passionately. I’d mirror our personal relationship. Exact words,” wrote DeLonge in the 2015 statement (via E! News). “Then, the EP was the test. Months later, we’re recording those songs. I was in the studio for two months and they came in for around 11 days. I didn’t mind leading the charge, but we had all agreed to give it 100%.” Barker told Rolling Stone that DeLonge “didn’t even care about” getting back together, with Hoppus adding, “His actions speak louder than whatever he feels compelled to write on an Instagram post.”
Could a reunion happen one day? Perhaps. In 2020, DeLonge assured Rolling Stone that he’d definitely play with the band again but they “just gotta figure out the timing.” Blink-180-woo-hoo!
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