Rock Stars Who Ditched Awkward Interviews

For rock stars, interviews are part and parcel of the job as they use these interactions with the press to sell tickets to shows or promote their latest albums. While most of these sessions normally go off without a hitch, there are rare instances when a discussion takes a swift left turn — for some reason or another — and ends with the interview subject saying, "Smell ya later." These events might not be dramatic or shocking enough to be included in the most legendary stories in rock, but they are awkward to the point that they leave people scratching their heads over what just happened.

From Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee struggling to stay focused as a female companion tries to seduce him to Slipknot's Chris Fehn not having the patience for Nardwuar's shenanigans, there have been plenty of interviews that made everyone cringe. Fortunately, none of these were the final interviews of famous rock stars, so at least these musicians had the opportunity to have better interactions with the media thereafter.

Brian May from Queen

When it comes to rowdy or misbehaved rock stars, Queen's Brian May hardly finds his name mentioned alongside notorious bad boys like Axl Rose from Guns N' Roses or any of the members of Mötley Crüe for that matter. In fact, May comes across as a largely calming presence and a gentleman in his interviews. However, even he has his days when he isn't in the mood to speak to the press.

In an interview with Dutch news program TweeVandaag from years gone by, May made it clear to the interviewer that he wasn't there by choice. Bad start already. As the conversation continued, the musician looked visibly uncomfortable and annoyed. Finally, he interrupted the interviewer to ask if they were going to discuss an upcoming show or continue playing clips for him to watch. The guitarist got up, apologized, and said, "What matters to me tonight is this show." He shook the interviewer's hand then motioned to leave. In an unexpected plot twist, though, May returned, apologized to the camera, and sat down to continue the interview. However, he proceeded to leave once again.

Zacky Vengeance from Avenged Sevenfold

In the 2010s, BryanStars was a recognized name in the rock scene, as he interviewed a number of high-profile musicians for his YouTube channel. As is the case with most interviews, some of them turn out better than others. However, one of the most awkward exchanges occurred when BryanStars interviewed Avenged Sevenfold guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates in 2010.

Speaking to the musicians backstage at a concert, BryanStars began by asking them fairly generic and harmless questions about themselves and the band. Not even two minutes in, the interviewer asked them to discuss the meaning behind their music. As Gates started to answer, Vengeance looked around and disappeared from the interview, leaving his bandmate to conduct the rest of the discussion by himself. BryanStars made a nervous quip about Vengeance's departure, but it was clear no one expected it to happen.

Discussing the incident years later, BryanStars revealed his disappointment about what unfolded, explaining how he was only 18 years old and Avenged Sevenfold was one of the biggest rock bands in the world but also took his share of the blame. "Overall, that was a very bad interview," he said. "One of the band members walked off, the other member clearly did not want to be there, and I would definitely say they were rude to me. But again, I don't blame them. I wasn't prepared, I didn't do my research, and I wasn't a very good interviewer at the time."

Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe

It isn't unusual to find Mötley Crüe embroiled in big controversies, as the rock band appears to be a magnet for endless scandal and salacious stories. Expectedly, they have also had "incidents" during their interviews. One of the most memorable exchanges about seemingly nothing happened in 2015 when lead singer Vince Neil appeared on the radio show "Tanner in the Morning."

Neil was called up to discuss what was then supposed to be one of the Crüe's final shows as a band (they would come out of retirement in 2019). The host pivoted to ask the vocalist about the feud between Mötley Crüe and Lars Ulrich from Metallica, as drummer Tommy Lee had taken a dig at Ulrich on social media and there had been reported issues between the groups in the past. Neil denied knowledge of any tension between the Crüe and Metallica.

The radio host pressed on, though, detailing how Metallica accused Mötley Crüe — in this instance, it would be Neil specifically — of lip-syncing on stage. Annoyed, Neil rejected the claims, saying he always sings live. Then, he hung up the phone live on air, leaving the host bewildered at what had just happened.

Preston from The Ordinary Boys

Every interviewer knows the importance of extracting the most relevant and fascinating information from their subject, especially when it comes to a celebrity. This means diving deeper into topics that may include personal matters. However, there's always a fine line here, as many people don't feel comfortable discussing their personal lives with the media. As a result, an interview can go off the rails rather fast if the subject believes a certain boundary has been crossed. Case in point: Preston from the English indie rock band the Ordinary Boys.

In 2006, the singer appeared on "Celebrity Big Brother" and made headlines after he married the eventual winner of the season, Chantelle Houghton, in August of that year. There was a notable interest in them as a couple, as they even secured a six-figure deal from a major publication to cover their wedding. Yet, Preston wasn't too happy to discuss his then-wife when he appeared on the United Kingdom game show "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" in 2007. The series features its fair share of comedy and tomfoolery, and the vocalist looked to be having a good time interacting with everyone until host Simon Amstell pulled out Houghton's released memoir and proceeded to poke fun at it. The audience chuckled as Amstell read out passages from the book; however, Preston didn't react ... initially. When Amstell continued to read, Preston got up from his chair and walked off set.

Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly isn't the kind of musician to take the high road when something upsets him. The singer-songwriter has found himself involved in feuds with the likes of Eminem and Slipknot's Corey Taylor over all types of issues, and he's shown he isn't prepared to back down from a war of words. However, in 2018, he found himself rattled during an interview at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival.

In the nearly 12-minute conversation, MGK tackled a variety of topics, such as how he played Tommy Lee in the Mötley Crüe biography, "The Dirt," and his relationship with other celebrities. Nothing seemed to be too far out of the ordinary for interview standards until Kelly started to discuss his daughter and the music he writes for her. MGK became visibly emotional talking about his child while also addressing the hate he receives from fans for penning these songs.

He admitted he doesn't feel like he's any good at interviews and better expresses himself through his music. At one point, he stopped his chain of thought and said, "Now, I don't want to talk about this. Dude, I've done this so many times. I don't want to do an interview, man." He added how he has nothing further to say and urged people to listen to his music instead, ending the interview there and then.

Chris Fehn from Slipknot

Anyone who has ever watched a Nardwuar-conducted interview knows the reporter has an over-the-top excitable style to his conversations. To steal a term from pro wrestling, it's his gimmick. While most musicians appear to be in on the joke and understand what happens when speaking to Nardwuar, former Slipknot member Chris Fehn, aka #3, appeared to have had enough of it in a 2005 interview.

Speaking to Shawn Crahan and Fehn, Nardwuar proceeded to ask his usual array of playful and lighthearted questions. Crahan went along with it and spoke the most for the pair, while Fehn only chimed in occasionally, visibly fidgeting the whole time. Three minutes appeared to be all that Fehn could stomach of Nardwuar's shtick, as he raised his finger when the microphone was put in front of his face and simply walked off from the interview as the camera still rolled. "Where's Number Three going?" Nardwaur said, as Crahan stated Fehn was leaving. "No, he can't leave right now. Number Three! Number Three!"

Marilyn Manson

The Marilyn Manson abuse allegations shocked the music industry in 2021. In the previous years, however, rumors and innuendos had started to spread, especially involving his former girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood. While Wood had not mentioned Manson by name before February 1, 2021, people had been speculating to whom she was alluding to because of the timelines.

Metal Hammer's Dave Everley received the chance to conduct a telephone interview with Manson in September 2020 to coincide with the release of the rocker's album "We Are Chaos." Expectedly, the journalist also took the opportunity to ask the musician about Wood and the latest stories. According to the publication, though, Manson terminated the call as soon as Wood's name came up.

Metal Hammer stated that it had attempted to set up a follow-up interview with Manson to provide him with a platform to tell his side of the story. In the end, the publication sent 10 questions to Manson's U.K. public relations representative, who answered the questions on his behalf and stated that the PR firm advised Manson to not make any further comment.

Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd.

The Sex Pistols were renowned for their in-your-face attitude and their refusal to conform to society's norms. Even when singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, departed the band, he carried over the same attitude with him to his next project, Public Image Ltd. Lydon never feared confrontation or uncomfortable conversations, even on a television show.

In 1979, Lydon and PiL appeared on "Check It Out." During the show, presenter Chris Cowey showed footage to Lydon where English punk band Angelic Upstarts diss Lydon and his band PiL. Lydon lashed back about the comments and dismissed them; however, Cowey kept on pressing.

Lydon eventually replied, "Look, I don't have to explain myself to anybody and I ain't going to really bother. Now I was asked here to interview with the band here, PiL, but now we're facing a cheapskate comedy interrogation act and it just ain't on, pal. It's a joke. It's a Farce." Cowey tried to push for an answer one more time before Lydon got up and walked off set.

Never Shout Never

In 2012, BryanStars interviewed the rising rock band Never Shout Never for his YouTube channel. At one point during the discussion, the lead singer Christofer Drew and BryanStars started to have a back-and-forth interaction about the nature of the interview. Drew expressed his disappointment at the questions being asked and BryanStars' interview style, citing how his band members are real musicians and everyone wants to talk about questions related to the music — not the other trivial topics.

BryanStars pivoted and asked the members to discuss their brand-new album. However, Drew appeared to still be irritated by their previous exchange and wrapped up the interview after his bandmate answered the question. "Love you, guys — you fans. This is for you, not for this guy," Drew said as he gestured to BryanStars, then walked off.

After the interview, BryanStars spoke about his disappointment, explaining how he had driven over seven hours to interview Drew and his band and felt like he had been embarrassed on purpose.


Prince carried an aura with him quite like no other. When he walked into a room, there would be a mixture of gasps or screams from the audience as he was a bona fide superstar in every sense of the word. In 2010, he left the panel from "The View" starstruck when he unexpectedly sauntered onto the stage during an episode of the talk show.

Prince was in town for a concert at Madison Square Garden and dropped into the New York studio to visit. He sat down next to Sherri Shepherd who looked visibly in awe of being in his presence. After Prince promoted his concert and had a little back-and-forth with the hosts, he was preparing to say his goodbyes. However, this was only accelerated after Shepherd said, "You don't understand, Prince, I have wanted to make love to you my whole life." Prince shot up from this chair and left the stage.

Years later on her own talk show, "Sherri," Shepherd expressed no regret over her actions. Although, she admitted that her co-host Whoopi Goldberg wasn't left too thrilled about her behavior on the day.

Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe

For years, Mötley Crüe promoted hard rock and hard partying, becoming the physical embodiment of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. It's an attitude that they carried both on stage and even when dealing with the media. In 2009, drummer Tommy Lee met up with The Guardian's Tom Bryant for an interview but brought along a female companion.

Lee admitted to Bryant that he had only met the young lady that morning, but they were "going to have more fun than humans are allowed to have." As Bryant tried to conduct the interview, though, the reporter struggled to keep Lee focused as the musician's companion tried to seduce the star with provocative gestures and sexual innuendo.

Eventually, Lee caved in to the temptation and called time on the interview, remarking, "Look at how beautiful she is!" According to Bryant, Lee returned 10 minutes later for another interview, without his lady friend.

Sebastian Bach from Skid Row

Despite the glam rock scene being one of the most recognizable eras of the genre, many artists don't like to be associated with certain acts of the time. In a 2000 discussion with Much Music, former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach canceled a recorded interview after the reporter dared to draw a parallel between Bach's former band and Poison.

The interview started fine as Bach discussed his role in the Broadway version of "Jekyll & Hyde." He even seemed affable as he chatted about his former band and how much money he was making on Broadway. However, the conversation took a turn for the worse when the reporter mentioned a glam rock tour featuring Poison and other bands.

It was clear the journalist was leading to a question about Skid Row being a part of this retro tour with other bands of their era, but Bach snapped back, stating he couldn't see any similarities between Poison and Skid Row. It didn't get better from there, as Bach told the interviewer he was insulted and cut the interview short, saying, "I'm on Broadway. I don't wanna talk about f***ing Poison."


To be fair, Beck never looks too enamored to do most interviews. Even when Nardwuar spoke to him, one never got the feeling that the musician wanted to be there or to entertain the reporter's quirky interview style. Ultimately, this conversation went exactly as most people might have imagined.

For the better part of the discussion, Beck humored Nardwuar's questions with curt responses, only elaborating when it was a topic that piqued his mild interest. As the interview continued, Nardwuar didn't let up, running the gamut of his typical questions before asking Beck why people should care about him. The musician replied, "I have no idea."

Nardwuar continued to probe, asking the same question and adding, "They are not caring about your hair, your song 'Why don't you kill me?' and a coffin and a squeegee on fire in your video." That seemed to be the final straw that broke the camel's back here, as Beck replied with, "Oh, just f*** off," before hanging up the phone.

Ringo Starr of the Beatles

It isn't every day that someone secures an interview with a member of the Beatles. In 2008, "Live With Regis and Kelly" received the rare opportunity to speak to Ringo Starr as well as to showcase a performance featuring him and Dave Stewart on air. For all intents and purposes, this should have been a slam-dunk moment for the show. However, Starr, who sang lead vocals on 11 Beatles songs, ended up walking off the set before it started after failing to reach an agreement about his performance time.

According to Starr's publicist, Elizabeth Freund, the musician was informed on the morning of the show that the performance would need to be cut down. Starr offered a compromise to shave off 45 seconds to get the track to three-and-a-half minutes in length, but producer Michael Gelman insisted it must be under three minutes. "We offered to cut back our chat time and asked them to fade or go to commercial," Freund told the Associated Press (via Today). "They were not willing to do that and Ringo was not willing to cut it further, so without a compromise we were not able to stay."

An unnamed representative for "Live With Regis and Kelly" argued that Starr and his representatives had known about the performance requirements for some time, even having agreed to the terms.