The 10 Nastiest Rock and Roll Feuds of 2023
There's never a shortage of feuds in the rock and roll world, and 2023 featured some real doozies. From early January until late December some of music's biggest stars were trading barbs with current and former bandmates, other peers, ticketing companies and one of the world's largest beer brands.
To find out who squared up against who, what they were fighting about and how many swear words each side used, check out our list of the 10 Nastiest Rock and Roll Feuds of 2023:
Journey: Neal Schon Vs. Jonathan Cain
After a chaotic 2022 filled with internal feuds, lawsuits and lineup changes, quarreling Journey members Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon picked up right where they left off in January 2023, with Cain suing Schon for allegedly using the band's credit card for $1,000,000 in personal charges. Meanwhile, Schon accused Cain's wife of improperly accessing the band's bank accounts. There were also some public squabbling about the possibility of former keyboardist Gregg Rolie rejoining the band on tour. Despite all this friction, Cain and Schon were able to successfully complete the 2023 leg of Journey's 50th anniversary tour.
Mick Mars vs. Motley Crue
Six months after retiring from live performances due to his ongoing battle with ankylosing spondylitis, Mick Mars filed suit against his Motley Crue bandmates in April 2023, alleging that they were trying to fully remove him from the group against his will. The two sides began trading accusations, with Mars saying the band used backing tracks on their most recent tour, and the rest of the group countering by saying they only did so to mask Mars' poor performance. Mars is set to release his debut solo album The Other Side of Mars in 2024. His former bandmates, with new guitarist John 5, have also promised to release new music at some point in the new year.
Kiss' Paul Stanley vs. Ace Frehley
The intermittent feuding between Ace Frehley and his former Kiss bandmates reached a bizarre new peak in 2023. After Paul Stanley joked that the band would have to be re-named "Piss" if they allowed Frehley back on stage, an angry Spaceman demanded a public apology and promised to air "some dirt that nobody knows about" Stanley and Gene Simmons if he didn't get one. Frehley also revealed that he had written notes detailing numerous such accusations locked in a safe, and that he had instructed his attorneys to release it to the press should anything ever happen to him. According to Frehley, Stanley instead called him to say "Fuck you, Ace. I'm not going to apologize," before hanging up. Frehley thought better of the threat and kept his information private, but promised that his upcoming 10,000 Volts album would make Stanley "look like an imbecile" for questioning his sobriety and work ethic. He ended the year by having a good laugh at the digital avatars his former bandmates unveiled during their farewell concert.
Hall vs. Oates
Just before Thanksgiving, Hall and Oates fans were surprised to learn that Daryl Hall had gotten a restraining order against his longtime musical partner John Oates. In short order it was revealed that Hall was trying to stop Oates from selling his share in the duo's song catalog to Primary Wave music. In addition to the business disagreement there has clearly been emotional damage done, with Hall declaring himself "blindsided" by Oates' actions, and Oates responding by saying he was "deeply hurt" by Hall's response.
Black Sabbath: Ozzy Osbourne vs. Geezer Butler
In November of 2023, Ozzy Osbourne accused his former Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler of not reaching out during the singer's recent extended series of health woes. "You do find out who’s a genuine friend when you’ve been through what I’ve had,” Osbourne told Rolling Stone UK. “Tony Iommi has been so supportive of me since my illness. Geezer Butler hasn’t given me one fucking phone call. Not one fucking call.” Butler promptly replied, insisting that he had left two unanswered messages for Osbourne and declaring that he didn't want to "engage in a tit for tat."
Soundgarden vs. Chris Cornell Estate
In April 2023, Soundgarden fans received word that the band had settled their four year-long legal battle with the estate of late singer Chris Cornell, seemingly clearing the way for the band's final recordings to see the light of day. However in November drummer Matt Cameron explained that those plans were back on hold. "We're still in the middle of a dispute with the estate," he told the Vinyl Guide Podcast. He declined to offer further details but warned fans "as of right now, it doesn't look like it's going to happen next year."
Nuno Bettencourt vs. Guns N' Roses' Richard Fortus Ends Peacefully
Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt, who also served as Rihanna's touring guitarist for several years, started some trouble after suggesting Slash didn't have the range to perform with the pop star. This prompted Richard Fortus - who coincidentally performed with Rihanna prior to Bettencourt- to defend his current Guns N' Roses bandmate. "There is very little Slash couldn't do on guitar (if he wanted to)," Fortus observed. "This gig wouldn't be a struggle for him."
Fortus' 52-word post initially drew a scathing and voluminous reply from Bettencourt, but a few days later Nuno apologized, calling his initial statement about Slash "absolutely ridiculous" and declaring, "bottom line is this is on me. I need to keep my fucking mouth shut." The two quickly made peace and agreed to share a beer and a laugh together as soon as possible.
The Cure's Robert Smith vs. Ticketmaster
After hearing that his fans were being charged unexpected extra fees for tickets to the Cure's summer tour by Ticketmaster, Robert Smith sprung into action. "I'm as sickened as you all are by today's Ticketmaster 'fees' debacle," he tweeted, promising to get to the bottom of the case. The very next day he made good, revealing that Ticketmaster had agreed to partial refunds for every ticket buyer.
Kid Rock vs. Bud Light
In April of 2023 Kid Rock released a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light with a machine gun. He was angry that the company partnered with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an online marketing campaign, and that they sent Mulvaney a custom beer can with her face on it. "By sending that can to the trans kid, you kind of signaled to us that you support that lifestyle, and more importantly, men being in women’s sports or in my granddaughter’s locker room,” Rock later told Fox News. “Most of us draw a hard line right there.” Despite his protest, it was later revealed that Rock still sold Bud Light at his bar, and in August he was captured on video drinking the same brand. In December he declared his war with the company over. "Do I want to hold their head under water and drown them because they made a mistake? No, I think they got the message," he told Tucker Carlson.
Pamela Anderson vs. 'Pam and Tommy' Producers
In January, actress Pamela Anderson demanded a public apology from the producers of the miniseries Pam & Tommy, which explored her marriage to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and the chaos the couple endured when their private sex tape was stolen and sold to the public. "I just felt kinda run over with that one," she told Howard Stern about the show. "I thought, 'what the hell is this?' No one called me. No one asked me. ....I don't think they portrayed Tommy or I positively." Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the show's producers insisted they did try to contact Anderson, and that they sought to tell her side of the story. "This portrayal was very much a positive thing," said showrunner D.V. DeVincetis. "We cared a great deal about her and wanted her to know that the show loves her."
Nastiest Rock Feuds
Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening