Some bands take it easy only in song.
As with any art form, music is rife with passion, energy and -- inevitably -- heartbreak and frustration.
It may be that any pursuit into which people put hundreds of hours of time and emotion results in dysfunction to some degree. In the arts, it might even be necessary. But maybe it's something about the visceral nature of rock and roll that's made for so many insane moments and fiery animosity.
There was a lot to choose from but we whittled it down to these seven artists:
Eagles narrowly finished first in our poll. As a band, the Eagles might be the most functional. The band's compilation, Their Greatest Hits, has been certified 29-times platinum and was the best-selling album in the United States for years. Does all their success mean they were dysfunctional? Maybe they were highly functioning in the midst of dysfunction? Maybe they thrived on it; we don't know!
What we do know is that, for a long time, just about all of the members of the Eagles thought they should be the bandleader and they all hated each others' guts. They even documented it on film! Later, they famously excluded from their Kennedy Center Honors founding bassist/songwriter Randy Meisner and longtime guitarist (and writer of the "Hotel California" riff) Don Felder. That's cold.
Nevertheless, a band called the Eagles will be back on the road this year (RIP Glenn Frey), playing all the hits and selling out every place they play, regardless of what's happening backstage...in their separate dressing rooms.
Lots of artists compare being in a band to a marriage. You're with your bandmates all the time; you work together, live together and so on.
But what about a band of married couples? What about a band of divorced couples? What about a band with couples that date on-again-off-again for years? Fleetwood Mac has all those things AND they're back together now -- as a band, not as married couples.
'It's complicated' doesn't even begin to describe it.
Guns N' Roses was the living, singing, rocking embodiment of mayhem. The band that served as a sort of bridge between the glam rock boom of the '80s and the edgier, gloomier heavy rock of the '90s underwent a number of lineup changes before even getting its first record deal!
The classic GNR lineup kept it together for just about four years until years of drug, alcohol and verbal abuse began to take their toll.
The band struggled to get along backstage and frontman Axl Rose struggled to show up for anything on time. That led to riots at shows and a lineup overhaul that left Rose the only remaining member and sole owner of the band's name.
More than 20 years of animosity between Rose, bassist Duff McKagan and guitarist Slash finally got put aside (in exchage for a pile of cash) in 2016 when the three reunited for the Not in This Lifetime...Tour.
Most working musicians credit a sibling for early inspiration, whether it was an older sibling who brought home an instrument or an important record or if it was from learning and playing music together.
For The Kinks' Davies brothers, Ray and Dave, playing together in the yard eventually became playing together in a hugely successful rock band.
Unfortunately, Ray and Dave were never very good at playing nice. The pair fought rabidly throughout their decades-long career together and still don't get along, even today.
The Sex Pistols' dysfunction made them legendary and hugely influential on the rebellion that catalyzed the punk rock movement. These guys were so out of control they were only together for about two years, just long enough to released one studio album and a handful of singles.
Frontman Johnny Rotten quit the band after a show in California. And bassist Sid Vicious was accused of murdering his girlfriend, then committed suicide while on bail.
Changes is personnel are to be expected in any business, including the business of rock and roll.
In Van Halen, again we have siblings here in Eddie and Alex Van Halen. These two get along fine and are the only constant members of the band through the years. Longtime bassist Marc Anthony had a solid spot in the band, too, until 2006. That's when Van Halen went on tour without inviting Anthony(!), replacing him with Eddie's son, Wolfgang.
In their heyday, VH had all the sex and drugs stuff going on behind the scenes, but the reason they are on this list is their two iconic frontmen David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.
The short version of it is original frontman Roth left in the mid-'80s over creative differences at the height of the band's success. Hagar joined, VH continued to churn out hits until their record label asked for a Best Of compilation.
Hagar quit, Roth came back briefly until he found out VH was auditioning singers behind his back (really, guys?), Gary Cherone did an album that pretty much no one liked, Van Halen went on hiatus, Hagar came back and then Roth came back again. Anthony started another band with Hagar, called Chickenfoot. And that's where we are today. Whew!
There are literally two bands touring in 2017 using the name Yes, that feature former members of Yes. That should explain all you need to know.
As Rolling Stone's Andy Green says, "It's been almost 50 years of backstabbings and betrayals and this complex web of alliances that always shifts and changes."
One of the versions of Yes still around today (featuring guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White) kicked out founding singer Jon Anderson in 2008 after he was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure and was TOO SICK TO TOUR!
Anderson got better eventually. The other version of Yes, Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman, formed after the band's 2017 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Anderson announced backstage that as the only surviving founding member (RIP Chris Squire), he had rights to the band's name and was damn well going to start using it!
Rock and roll wouldn't be the same without dysfunction. We couldn't reasonable fit everything into one article: Here are some honorable mentions:
Anything involving Ozzy Osbourne
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The list goes on and on. Let us know what your favorite rock and roll train wreck is!
Photo: Getty Images