Back in the 1960s and the 1970s, destroying your guitar, accompanying gear, or any other instrument or stage prop, was considered rebellious. It was more of a cultural and often even political statement. During the 1990s, it wasn’t as praised but it still felt edgy enough to anger some of the people outside of the rock music circles.
Today, interestingly enough, rock fans aren’t usually happy about this thing being done. Sure, we’re all aware of Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore all those who made history for breaking (or blowing up) stuff on the stage. But any type of instrument wrecking these days is often seen as an unnecessary and pretentious thing to do. At least that’s how a huge portion of the online guitar community reacted to Mike McCready’s guitar wrecking at a recent Pearl Jam show.
The performance in question took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands on July 26. The instrument he smashed during the performance of “Rockin’ in the Free World” is believed to be his Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster that’s worth around $15,000.
But going back to the online guitar community, Ola Englund has recently shared a video discussing this guitar-wrecking incident. Famed YouTuber and The Haunted guitarist reacted to the whole thing by saying (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):
“Look at that, he’s out there rockin’ in the free world, and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Well, fuck this song, fuck this amplifier,’ I guess (laughs), ‘Fuck this guitar!’
“He’s like, ‘I’m so happy right now, we’re having such a good time that I’m gonna destroy this guitar because – why not? It’s a $15,000 guitar, I have a couple of extras in my closet back home…’
“I don’t know what to say, man. The guy’s a rock star, let him be a rock star and smash a guitar. I wouldn’t smash a guitar [laughs] – that’s 15 grand, but he – look at him. Look at him go! That’s Mike McCready, he destroyed his guitar.”