Follow TV Tropes


Berserk Button / Music

Go To

When a nice, normal character suddenly goes into a rage over something apparently innocuous, you've hit his Berserk Button.

  • "Coward of the County" by Kenny Rogers, about a pacifist man named Tommy who goes wild on the Gatlin boys (no, not Rogers' country music contemporaries Larry, Steve and Rudy) after learning they raped and badly beat up his girlfriend, Becky. Tommy's reluctance to fight was influenced by his father, who ironically had told him not to ever fight or become physical as he had in his wild, trouble-making days. In the climactic scene, it is implied that Tommy brutally beat up all three Gatlins by himself, especially after they had sneered and laughed at him after they first saw him, and then after he left...only to lock the door.
  • Advertisement:
  • Post-hardcore band At the Drive In's (and now The Mars Volta) Cedric Bixler-Zavala flips a shit when people mosh, slam-dance, or crowd surf during their shows, and has been known to patronize the audience by calling them sheep and baah-ing at them. Omar Rodríguez-López also hates slam-dancing to the point where he slams his guitar on the ground and stops playing.
  • Bat for Lashes has expressed her anger over people comparing her to Tori Amos. Then there's the unfortunate implication that she's saying that it's insulting to be compared to her, period.
  • Elvis Presley had quite a few:
    • "You can burn my house, steal my car, drink my liquor from an old fruit jar. Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh, Honey, lay off of my shoes..."
    • He would often Shoot the Television, especially if it showed Robert Goulet, and was rumored to have a basement full of spares to vent on. Apparently according to Elvis' friend, Marty Lacker, the real reason Elvis developed such a hatred of televisions is because while he was in the army, Robert Goulet added a post-script to a letter written by Elvis' girlfriend, Anita Wood, that slyly told Elvis that he was personally taking care of Anita. Elvis didn't like that and he never forgot so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out.
      Marty Lacker: Elvis harbored some bad feelings about Goulet from back in the late 50's when he was in the army. Elvis' girlfriend Anita Wood was a singer and she did shows with Goulet and Buddy Hackett. Anita would often write Elvis in Germany and one time Goulet added a post script to one of them telling Elvis in a sly way that he was personally taking care of Anita. Elvis didn't like that and he never forgot so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out.
    • Advertisement:
    • He really hated tabloids, and wasn't shy about ranting on-stage about them.
    • He really didn't like being called "The King" or "The King of Rock and Roll". In life, he was a devout Christian and a genuinely humble man, so the only person who deserved to be called King was Jesus. Another reason for this is because he's a huge fan of Fats Domino, who was in his mind the true "King of Rock and Roll" and a far better musician; he resented how his moniker as "The King" came from him being white while Fats Domino wasn't.
  • Don't insult Eminem's daughter, Hailie Jade. Ja Rule and Benzino found this out the hard way.
  • Eric Bogle's song "Do You Sing Any Dylan?" is about the question guaranteed to cause any folk singer to fly off the handle.
  • Mark E. Smith of The Fall is a fairly amiable guy. Except if you mention Pavement to him. Do that at your own peril.
  • Advertisement:
  • For years, mentioning the other members of Kajagoogoo was a good way of making Limahl very, very angry. (Their '80s split was not at all amicable.)
  • Madonna doesn't like hydrangeas.
  • Call Mark McGrath "Sugar Gay" and see what happens.
  • Try calling Mark Wahlberg 'Marky Mark' and see how that goes for you.
  • Don't call Meat Loaf "Marvin".
  • Don't bother asking Al Jourgensen of Ministry about their earlier Synthpop material, especially "With Sympathy". Don't even ask him to sign a copy of it either unless you're willing to spend $1,000 to do it. Also, don't ask him about any previous members of the band that he now holds grudges against.
  • Miranda Lambert doesn't like beach balls being thrown around at her concerts, owing to an incident where one collided with her mic stand, causing it to fall over and bust open her lip. Ever since, if a beach ball is bouncing around the room and ends up on stage, she will deflate it with a razor or another sharp object she has with her onstage for this exact purpose. Fans seem to relate (or at least the fans who don't bring beach balls to shows do): In one audience-taped video it's obvious some of the crowd knows what's coming since someone clearly shouts "Get it, Miranda!", and the deflation is met with applause.
  • Monty Norman wrote the James Bond theme, not John Barry. If you go on record saying that he didn't write it, you will be sued (and you will lose - he's done it before and he's always won).
  • My Chemical Romance: Do not mention that you think they're emo, particularly to singer Gerard Way, who has voiced his hatred for emo many times and really doesn't like people labelling them as an emo band. (For the record, they're pop punk or alternative rock.)
  • When asked about smooth jazz saxophonist Kenneth "Kenny G" Gorelick, guitarist Pat Metheny gave a well-reasoned argument as to why he didn't like his music but generally had no ill-feelings towards the guy. HOWEVER, when Gorelick dubbed himself over jazz great Louis Armstrong, Metheny delivered a superbly out of character verbal assault, labeling his performance "lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing."
  • Go on, confuse Rick Springfield with Bruce Springsteen. It will be the shortest interview of your life. It angers him so much that...he made a song out of it.
  • In The Replacements song, "Shootin' Dirty Pool," the protagonist loses it when someone shouts out, "Why don't you get a haircut, sister!"
  • Chief Keef's Signature Song, "I Don't Like", is an entire song around his Berserk Buttons. Some of them include: unpleasant and/or fake people in general, snitches, sneak dissers, hypocrites, and fake clothes.
  • If you are Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, do not, under ANY circumstances refer to your bandmate Charlie Watts as "my drummer." Last time Mick did something like this, Charlie slugged him and said, "Don't you ever call me your drummer again! You're my fucking singer!"
  • It was a bad idea to mention Vivian Campbell in front of Ronnie James Dio. Behold. The ranting starts at about 45 seconds in. Bear in mind this is coming out of probably the nicest, most considerate guy to ever make heavy metal music.
  • Scatterbrain's Don't Call Me Dude. An extreme case, in that the narrating character is getting out of the psycho ward at the beginning of the song.
  • Never refer to the front-man of the gothic-rock band The Sisters of Mercy, Andrew Eldritch, as a Goth within his hearing.
  • Tell Slash to play "Sweet Child o' Mine".
  • Being called 'wacky' used to be a major one for Tommy Scott of Space, although he decided a couple of years ago to embrace his wackiness. As former guitarist Jamie Murphy put it, "Yes, we're wacky, we're quirky, so what?" On a more serious note, never joke about the Hillsborough Disaster in front of the band. Not only are they Liverpool supporters, but It's Personal for keyboardist Franny Griffiths as he is a Hillsborough survivor.
  • Abbie Hoffman learned the hard way that, whether or not Pete Townshend agrees with your socio-political opinions, if you interrupt his band's set to rant them, you will get a guitar to the face.
  • Considering how much of a prima donna he's known to be, it's easier to list what doesn't count as a Berserk Button for Axl Rose. The guy's been known to show up late to shows, then walk off thirty minutes in if the lighting is wrong.
  • Chevelle's song "The Red" is about a character whose button is pressed when someone calls him a freak.
  • Ask Thy Art Is Murder to play any of the Brendan van Ryn-era songs, and odds are good that CJ McMahon won't just refuse, but will also go on a lengthy rant amount how much they (and him especially) hate those songs and their lyrics.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: