We can all think of some musicians who like to destroy a guitar or two during a gig. The first one that comes to mind is probably Kurt Cobain from Nirvana. But it turns out some guitarists are much more violent than Cobain. He might not look like it, but Matt Bellamy from Muse might becoming a vandal…

History of destroying instruments

In the early 1950s, there were stories about Jerry Lee Lewis burning pianos on stage. In 1956, a guitar was smashed at the end of a performance on an American TV show. In other words: there’s nothing new about destroying instruments on stage.

We might think destroying guitars and other equipment is part of the rock (‘n roll) scene. But jazz legend Charles Mingus didn’t hesitate to destroy his bass on stage either. In fact, Pete Townshed of The Who was the first rock guitarist to smash a guitar in the 1960s. Rolling Stone Magazine named this destruction as one of the “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll“.

Matt Bellamy

As we said, there are some musician with whom you associate guitar smashing more than with Matt Bellamy from Muse. But it’s the name of Muse’s frontman that’s in the Guinness Book of Worldrecords for breaking the most guitars on one tour. Matt Bellamy destroyed 140 guitars in 2004 during the ‘Absolution’ tour.

Part of the performance or an act of vandalism? If you forgive Bellamy, maybe you want to take a look at Muse’s 10 best live performances.