Rock the Casbah!.
"How much did you pay for the chunk of his guitar
The one he ruthlessly smashed at the end of the show?
And how much will he pay for a brand new guitar
One which he'll ruthlessly smash at the end of another show?
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones"
, "Rock and Roll Lifestyle"
A rock star gets so into the hardness of the music, that he/she actually destroys instruments. Typically this is smashing a guitar (hence the trope name) on the stage as hard as possible, pounding it to fragments with a few whacks. Some rock bands take it Up to Eleven
and set their instruments on fire. And these aren't fictional works trying to make rock seem bad
. This is Truth in Television
Now this might seem like a waste of a perfectly good instrument, and sometimes it was, but smashing a guitar is much harder than you'd expect from seeing this trope in fiction. Many a young guitarist have gotten frustrated with their instrument in the middle of the show and decided to smash it
, only to find out that their instrument is Made of Iron
(or plywood). Bands where the instrument destruction is more planned and theatrical will often rig an instrument to smash apart easily in order to please the audience.
Although it was a few decades ago, so this is now more played with in fiction than showing up in Real Life
Compare Great Balls Of Fire
, Can-Crushing Cranium
, Dramatic Shattering
. At times they can push it further with Trash the Set
Despite the name, this is not limited to guitars.
- A PBS promo ("Be more passionate") featuring a String Quintet (playing the scherzo from Brahms op. 34) finishes with the performers trashing their instruments.
- In Soul Music, the only time the band variously known as Insanity, Suck, and Supporting Bands got a positive reaction from their audience was when one of them smashed his guitar on-stage. But only because he'd smashed it on another band member.
- Later Death, with all the style Supporting Bands wished they had, smashes The Guitar. It explicitly does not destroy The Music, but it does limit its power.
- Kids In The Hall spoofed this with Dave trying to play folk on a standard acoustic guitar, the strings kept breaking, and in the end, Dave said "What the hell. Long live Rock & Roll" and smashed the guitar.
- A Mystery Science Theater 3000 invention exchange featured "The Rock & Wreck Guitar," a guitar which could be reassembled after being smashed, for garage bands who can't afford to keep buying new equipment.
- Another invention exchange had the Mads create guitars made from squeeze toys. After playing a hard-rocking, squeaky song, Forrester and Frank smash the guitars.
- Another time Brain Guy pulled the whole burning the guitar bit ala Jimi Hendrix, until Bobo wrecked the mood by roasting marshmallows over it.
- In Pod People, Joel's invention exchange is a new guitar chord designed particularly for ending concerts. It's so complicated that it takes two hands for Joel to fret it, and when strummed it causes the guitar to explode in his hands.
- This happens with Tommy in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. But the guitar isn't his.
- Parodied during one of the musical games on Whose Line Is It Anyway? At the end of a song, Wayne Brady begins to do this with an Air Guitar - before putting it gently back on its stand instead.
- In another game, Ryan does it straight (just also with an air guitar).
- Horrible Histories has the Luddites perform a song in the style of the Sex Pistols. Naturally, they smash their instruments at the end.
- Spoofed in an episode of The Monkees. At an art gallery, Mike wanders into a room where it looks like a high-class piano recital is about to take place. Liberace walks in and, instead of playing the piano, takes a sledge hammer out of a case and smashes the piano to pieces.
- Discussed in Apollo Justice Ace Attorney. Trucy asks Klavier if he'd ever smash his guitars, and he says he wouldn't because he thinks of them as his lovers. He's also extremely upset when one of them (albeit one with high sentimental value) gets burned during a performance.
- One of Nikki's Personal Techs in Chrono Cross has him smash his guitar over an enemy's head.
- Rock Band 2 has this sometimes during a Big Rock Ending.