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Rock musicians are often known for their tough exterior and their reckless behavior. However, as with most celebrities, fans forget that at the end of the day, rock stars are also just people. They have their weak moments and they have their quirks. They have accomplishments other than fame. These weird facts about your favorite rock musicians will surprise you, and even make you laugh.
Sid the Hamster
The Sex Pistols are the face of 70s punk, often lauded as being at the top of the list of best punk bands in the world. Even the most mainstream listener knows who they are and the kind of reputation they have: Intimidating, outrageous, and the classic image of the drug-using, sex-having rock star.
The bassist of the band, Sid Vicious, is one of the most enduring icons in music. But despite his bad attitude and violent tendencies (i.e. knocking a fan in the face with his bass), his name is 100 percent ironic.
Born John Simon Ritchie, the young punk musician got his stage name from his hamster. Johnny Rotten's hamster, to be exact. The lead singer's small, furry pet bit the bassist one day, to which he said, "Sid is really vicious!" The words stuck and Ritchie became Sid Vicious ever after. That is the story of how one of the most controversial musicians of all time was victimized by a rodent. Tell us that doesn't top your list of weird facts about your favorite rock musicians.
Joey Ramone and His Debilitating Disorder
To many, he is the epitome of cool, but did you know that Joey Ramone suffered from debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? At times it was so bad that he required hospitalization and was often told that he could never be a functioning member of society, let alone a world-famous musician.
Now that we know more about OCD, we are able to identify its symptoms and how severe they can be. But back when The Ramones were making a name for themselves, the world was different. One act of OCD Joey did was quite extreme. After returning to New York City from England once, he was adamant about driving all the way back to the airport so that he could make sure he had made the correct steps.
While his bandmates knew there was something mentally off about Joey, Johnny Ramone also pegged him as being a drama queen; someone who made ridiculous requests for the sake of being appeased and made to feel important. Of course, the world now knows that OCD isn't a choice or a personality flaw, and decades later, The Ramones are still considered major trendsetters and one of the best punk bands in history.
Young Anthony Kiedis the Red Hot Drug Mule
Lead vocalist of The Red Hot Chili Pepers, Anthony Kiedis, had a messed up childhood. Now that's not very surprising, as many great rock icons (cough, Marilyn Manson) come from twisted pasts. The shocking part is the extent of Kiedis's father's negative influence. Quality time with dad was time spent doing and dealing drugs. Little Anthony was only in the sixth grade when it all started.
"Smoke Up, Johnny!"
While this famous line from The Breakfast Club refers to cigarettes, Kiedis's father offered him much harder stuff as a child. When the future rock star moved out to Los Angeles to be with his dad as a pre-teen, one of the first things dad did was hand him a joint. You may not think smoking weed qualifies as weird facts about your favorite rock musicians, but that was just the beginning.
The father-son relationship quickly spiraled even more out of control, as Kiedis's dad took him to night clubs where they got hopped up on everything from alcohol to Quaaludes. Kiedis soon began working as a drug mule for his father, moving weed around Hollywood like a seasoned professional.
En Garde, Bruce!
Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson remains one of the biggest rock icons in the world, as his legendary metal band still continues to win Grammys. But before he was part of a group of famous musicians, he was one of the best fencers in Britain.
From the time he was a wee lad up until his early 20s, he worked so hard at his craft that he actually ended up ranking as seventh best in the nation. In 2013, he also competed against 2012 fencing Olympian Bartosz Piasecki. Dickinson ended up losing, but the silver medal winner admitted that the aging icon had some impressive skills. Dickinson still fences when he has down time and has never lost his love for the sport.
And the list of weird facts about the metal influencer doesn't stop there, by the way. He is also a pilot and a beer brewer.
James Hetfield the Janitor
Today, it's hard to imagine James Hetfield doing anything involving sweeping unless it's on the guitar, but before he become one of the most recognizable faces in metal, he held several random jobs to get by. One of those jobs was being a janitor. Sometimes, weird facts about your favorite rock musicians include the idea that they were once ordinary people.
Picturing one of the most famous musicians in the world doing a job as humble as janitorial work seems bizarre, but it is an important lesson for all musicians trying to make it: most successful musicians started from nothing.
Dave Mustaine Rolls Deep with the G-Men
The stereotype that runs rampant in the world of rock 'n' roll is that every musician breaks the law at some point — some getting in trouble more than others. Fortunately for Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, he doesn't have to worry much about that. Why? He says he's got deep connections with virtually very important U.S. government faction.
Reportedly, he is hooked up with people in the Secret Service and the FBI, and has been a guest at both the Pentagon and the White House. So if the "big four" musician didn't already intimidate you, he should now.
Corey Taylor Loves More Than One Stage
Corey Taylor made his name doing vocal duties for the heavy metal band Slipknot. Part of the band's lasting reputation is not only due to their musicianship and songwriting skills, but their theatricality. Every member of Slipknot has their own kind of specially-made mask. But Taylor's admiration of theatricality doesn't end there. Outside of metal, he is a huge fan of musicals.
Taylor's favorite musical is, hands down, Les Misérables. Not only does he love reading the book and watching the musical be performed, but he frequently jams the soundtrack in his free time. Taylor is not shy about admitting that those songs turn him into a puddle of tears every time he listens to them.
Travis Barker's Good Hand
Blink-182 member Travis Barker is considered one of the best drummers in the world. He is such a talent that he has branched out of the pop punk scene and worked with some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Riff Raff and Asher Roth. Being such an excellent drummer, you would never think that Barker's left hand is partially numb. But it is.
What Does It Take to Be a Drummer?
Because playing the drums involves virtually the entire body, one would think that the lack of feeling in a drummer's hand would be a huge detriment to their performance. But as Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen and many others have proved, having two good hands can be overrated! If you're a passionate and hardworking musician, you can rocket to the top in spite of your potential handicaps, just like Travis Barker.
So go forth and let these weird facts about your favorite rock musicians inspire you!