Firing real machine guns into the crowd, inviting a fan to replace your drug addled drummer or returning to finish a gig after breaking your on stage is a bit nuts! 


You can imagine the conversation backstage before The Doors went on stage in Miami in 1969: 'A lamb Jim, you sure about that?' 'Yeah man, a lamb, it'll be far out'. This could have been the preamble to Morrison's inebriated performance which consisted of forgetting the lyrics, rambling about stuff and encouraging the whole crowd to have sex before whipping out his own bits and claiming that everyone was there to see his penis anyway. And his piece de resistance? Getting lusty with a little lost lamb who had magically appeared on stage at the end of the night (an actual lamb, this is not a metaphor). Because the '60s. 


Famed for his frenetic live performances, Jackie Wilson a.k.a ‘Mr. Excitement’ had a string of hits in the ‘50s and ‘60s including Reet Petite, To Be Loved and the 1967 classic (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer put everything into his live performances – splits, jumps and even vocal acrobatics. His stage antics influenced everyone from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson and Prince.

On September 29, 1975, while performing Lonely Teardrops, Wilson collapsed onstage at a New Jersey nightclub. Having suffered a heart attack, he went into a coma from which he never recovered. He died aged 49 after spending eight years in a coma.


In November 1973, the Who were riding high on the success of their rock opera masterpiece, Quadrophenia. Unfortunately, the band's tour in support of the album proved disastrous. Perhaps the lowest point came on the opening night of the tour when Keith Moon took PCP to calm his nerves before going on stage. Halfway through the classic anthem Won't Get Fooled Again, Moon slumped over on his drums and passed out cold.

The show must go on, however, and when guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend asked the crowd, “Can anybody play the drums?” 19-year-old fan Scot Halpin took to the stage and proceeded to play drums with the legendary band for the rest of the show. 


In 2004, Bowie was performing at the Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo when a lollipop flew from the crowd, hitting the Thin White Duke in the eye with the stick lodging itself in between his eyeball and eye socket.

Bowie swore at the unknown confectionary culprit, lost in the crowd of 7,500, and stated that he only had one good eye as the other had been damaged in a childhood fight (giving him his unique, different colored eyes).

“Lucky you hit the bad one,” Bowie said, demanding to know who threw the lollipop to no avail.


This incident has embedded itself into Rock’n’Roll folklore and catapulted Osbourne to legendary status. After someone threw an unconscious bat on stage at a Black Sabbath concert, the already infamous lead singer picked it up and bit the head off it, reportedly believing it was a rubber toy. Having continued to decapitate the bat after realising it was a living creature Osbourne underwent an intensive course of rabies treatment.


Whoever says Rock’n’Roll is dead has to answer to this man. Dave Grohl needs to do very little to be considered one of rock music’s most revered icons, being in Nirvana, Queens of the Stoneage and of course the Foo Fighters. Breaking your leg on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans is pretty hardcore but getting back up with your leg in a cast and playing the remainder of the show is legendary.


Furious about the child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, Sinead O’Connor decided to use her appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992 to make a point. Without telling producers in advance, she tore a photo of the Pope in half after a performance Bob Marley's War. This is long before the public was aware of the Catholic Church's role in covering up child abuse, and the incident ignited a firestorm. To this day O'Connor says that she has no regrets, but it definitely dealt a near-lethal blow to her career.


In 1969, Jimi Hendrix played a stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock as part of a medley that incorporated sounds of war and taps, the bugle call played at military funerals. Hendrix was the last artist to play, and many onlookers called his performance a defining moment of the era. 


After a chaotic performance of 3AM Eternal aided by Extreme Noise Terror (which concluded with a real machine gun firing blanks at the audience) the band announced their retirement from the industry via the medium of a dead sheep left at the after party. The words ‘I died for you’ were scrawled on a piece of paper tied to the animal’s corpse. 


L7 formally achieved Rock Infamy in 1992, at Reading Festival. When the band experienced sound problems during their set, the crowd got punchy and began pelting the stage with mud. L7’s lead singer, the inimitable Donita Sparks, responded by removing her tampon and directed the rabble to “Eat my used tampon, f***ers!”




Life on the road can be tough for musicians, even the stratospherically famous ones. One of the few pleasures of being on tour (besides the armies of hysterical fans, adding three zeros to your net worth and gallivanting across the globe in five-star luxury surrounded by hordes of sycophants) is having a bit of fun with the tour rider. Herewith are some of our favourites from across the decades…

Van Halen – M&Ms

The ‘80s was the golden age of the rider and Van Halen’s request for a bowl of M&Ms with all of the brown ones taken out is infamous. The band later claimed that this was just to test whether the venue was actually reading their important but fantastically tedious technical specs for amp sockets and so on. “If I saw a brown M&M in that bowl, I’d line-check the whole production,” says vocalist David Lee Roth in his autobiography. “Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.”

Kanye West – Smooth carpets

Kanye is known for his outrageous statements, so it’s hardly surprising that his rider reportedly includes some equally outrageous demands. Apparently the rapper demands imported Versace towels on hand at all times, and that his drivers wear clothes made from 100 percent cotton. According to some sources, Kimmy Kardash also demanded that his dressing room carpet was ironed by an assistant because it was “too bumpy”.

Iggy Pop – Crudites

Always a man concerned with getting his 5-a-day, Iggy Pop’s 18-page rider parody included “Cauliflower/broccoli, cut into individual florets and thrown immediately into the garbage.”

Beastie Boys – Colourful contraception

Back in happier frat-rap days, the Beasties were known to put in a possibly optimistic order for rainbow-coloured condoms. Let’s face it, they put them over their heads and blew them up.

Mariah Carey – Furry menagerie

Diva-ish demands are a given with Mariah Carey, who wants a dressing room festooned with fluffy kittens, puppies and bunnies. God knows what happens to them afterwards.

Slayer – Goat-ageddon

Slayer’s rider from 2011’s Fun Fun Fest sounds anything but ‘fun’. With possibly the most metal rider of all time – which may or may not have been serious – the band requested 100 goats for slaughter, a Halal butcher to carry the whole bloody practise out, as well as freezer bags and coolers to preserve the goat until the band could get it home.

Eminem – Gone fishin’

Prior to an appearance at Tennent’s Vital festival in Northern Ireland in 2011, Eminem requested that a wooden pond be built in his backstage area and filled with koi carp. Other items on his rider for the festival included dumbbells, a microwave and seedless watermelons.

Katy Perry – Carnations and human contact forbidden   

Katy Perry wants you to say it with flowers but “ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.” Perry also reportedly forbids her drivers from making eye contact or conversation with her. If you ever have to pick Katy Perry up from somewhere, just make sure you don’t greet her with carnations and a hug.

Dillon Francis – These are a few of my favourite things

“A framed photo of any action star from the years 1985 to 2005, Black Tar Heroin, a replica of the whip in Indiana Jones”…just a few creature comforts to remind him of home when DJ and producer Dillon Francis is on tour.

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10 Minutes with Turbowolf


We caught up with Bristol's shape-shifting hard rock outfit Turbowolf during a recent visit to Factory Studios. Turbowolf has blown the cobwebs off the UK rock scene with high-octane shows that trade in crunchy, dinosaur-shaped riffs, the death-or-glory spirit of DFA1979, and the pantomime stage antics of 80s metal. 

What’s the most unexpected thing that’s happened to you in a recording studio?

We once wrote a song that sounded exactly the same backwards as forwards.

Besides music, what inspires your creative process?

Chocolate, donuts and cauliflower hot wings

When you’re touring, which one item will you never leave home without?

My new cam, tampons and my powerful attraction to frogs.

Who or what has been your biggest influence?

The Visitors.

What are the key challenges of the music industry today?

Standing out.

What’s your advice on overcoming those challenges?

Stand out.

What’s your masterpiece?

Creating such a wonderful fanbase.

Which artists are you most excited about at the moment?

Death from Above 1979.

It’s desert island time…which three records would you take?

Only need one: Leonard Nimoy – The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy



Redfest is back this weekend (August 5th and 6th) with a brand new weather-proof format encompassing a whole host of venues on Church Road. Factory Studios will be in the thick of things, with a jam-packed line-up in the Old Stillage, Redfest’s main music venue. Catch We’re No Heroes, Sleeptalking and our good friends Alfresco Disco on Saturday and The Rupees, Cousin Kula and Mankala on Sunday. See you there! 

Redfest 2017 - Factory Studios @ The Old Stillage


The Old Stillage

2pm Alfresco Disco DJs and live art
4pm No Violet
5pm China Bowls
6pm Moc Tonk
7pm We're No Heroes
8pm Rozelle
9pm Sleeptalking
10pm - Alfresco Disco DJs

Sunday 6 August
5pm Lady Nade
6pm Joe Probert
7pm The Rupees
8pm Cousin Kula
9pm Mankala






We were delighted to have Ocean Colour Scene back at Factory Studios recently. With five top 10 albums and over 20 top 40 singles to their name, OCS shared their sage advice for those hoping to make it in the music industry today...

What's the most unexpected thing that's happened to you in a recording studio? 

Staying sober. 

Besides music, what inspires your creative process? 

Newspapers, Radio 4 and beer. 

When you're touring, which item will you never leave home without? 

Passport and poetry. 

What are the key challenges of the music industry today? 

I should imagine the shift away from old fashioned sales towards touring as the main source of income for new young bands. 

What's your advice on overcoming those challenges? 

Always write as much as you can. 

What's your masterpiece?

Staying together for 30 years. 

Which artists are you most excited about at the moment?


It's desert island time...which three records would you take? 

The White Album, Neil Young's Decade and Bowie's Greatest Hits. 


M.A.S Records Seeks Young Bristol Bands

We're giving away free mentoring, rehearsal space and studio time to 30 exciting new bands. Factory Studios is on the hunt for bands with members aged between 16 and 18 to participate in this year’s M.A.S Record’s scheme whose patrons include Robert Plant and Underworld’s Karl Hyde. 

The M.A.S label provides emerging artists with a bridge into the music industry, combining expert music industry knowledge and experience with conventional training and education. 

Based at Factory Studios, every band participating in the scheme will get around £3,000 of free services along with invaluable mentoring from music industry luminaries. Over the past 10 years M.A.S has set a number of bands on the road to success securing professional management and recording contracts with major labels for Swim Deep, Deluka, Octane OK and many more. 

We're inviting applications from bands and musicians of all abilities with auditions taking place on July 19th and August 22nd. To apply please send an email registering your interest to before August 18th. 

“We’re delighted to be running the M.A.S scheme again,” said Leon Curry, co-director of Factory Studios. “The music industry has changed dramatically over the past decade and M.A.S now fills the role of a record label development department, offering promising young bands a route to success. We’re really looking forward to meeting this year’s intake.” 

6 Music Festival Bristol

The dust has now settled on the hugely successful 6 Music Festival in Bristol this weekend and this week BBC Radio 6 Music has helped us relive the weekend’s festivities with some brilliant shows covering music from all the main bands as well as fringe acts and featured interviews. Factory Studios' very own Sol Curry appeared on Steve Lamacq's show yesterday to do ‘Good Day Bad Day'. Factory Studios was also lucky enough to hear a few preview snippets of sets from acts such as Kurt Vile and Elbow’s Guy Garvey before their shows at the festival when they rehearsed with us over the weekend. What an extraordinary weekend for music in our home city of Bristol. 

Skindred release latest album!

Today sees the release of 'Volume', the mighty Skindred's 6th studio album.

And that's not all. Fans ordering the deluxe CD/DVD digipack of the album will also receive the band's 17 year in the making documentary film 'Rude Boys For Life' featuring a behind the scenes look at life on the road, it's ups and downs, festival appearances, headline shows and studio footage including their time spent at Factory Studios over the years, where the last three of their albums have been both written and rehearsed.

The Great Escape 2015

Well, what a fun-filled few days Factory Studios have had at this year’s TGE festival!

It’s enough to make your head spin; 450 artists, 3000 music business professionals and 18,000 festival goers, all converging on the (occasionally) sunny seaside town of Brighton.

Highlights include The The’s Matt Johnson at the Fireside Sessions, JOLTA live at the Mash Tun and more convention networking events than you can shake a drum stick at.

TGE we salute you.




Shapes Masked Ball 2015

Last Saturday saw the return of the notorious Shapes Masked Ball to Factory Studios. This was the 3rd consecutive year that the event has taken place here and this year’s celebrations saw a 2nd Masked Ball marriage proposal! The music on the night was tip-top as always, with sets from Matthew Styles, DJ October, Chris Farrell, ELA 303 and Shapes residents. Big thanks to Shapes for a fantastic night and to all the punters for such superb costume efforts!

Photos courtesy of Here & Now.

Factory Studios Christmas Opening Times

Monday 22nd December - OPEN 7-11pm
Tuesday 23rd December - CLOSED
Wednesday 24th December - CLOSED
Thursday 25th December - CLOSED
Friday 26th December - CLOSED
Saturday 27th December - OPEN 10am-6pm
Sunday 28th December - OPEN 10am-10pm
Monday 29th December - OPEN 7-11pm
Tuesday 30th December - CLOSED
Wednesday 31st December - CLOSED
Thursday 1st January - CLOSED
Friday 2nd January - OPEN 7-11pm 

An Evening With...Floating Points

Factory Studios was honoured to be the first venue chosen for the launch night of 'An Evening With' on Saturday 6th December. The event is a new venture from some of the team behind Bristol's Shapes collective and see's carefully curated parties showcasing some of the most respected artists from the spectrum of house & techno, for the entire evening.

The first artist to be featured was the phenomenal Floating Points and it was an absolute pleasure to have him at the studio: Producer/DJ/Musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has been on the scene since his debut release in February 2009. Sam has been a firm fixture of radio show playlists worldwide and has steadily built a back catalogue of music that can be heard gracing the sound systems of the globe’s more respectable nightclubs and warehouses.

Down ‘N Outz

Factory Studios had the great pleasure of having the Down ‘N Outz in the studio last week getting ready for their upcoming tour which started in Bristol. The band is fronted by legendary Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott (Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards) and also features The Quireboys’ Paul Guerin (Guitar), Guy Griffin (Guitar), Keith Weir (keyboards), Phil Martini (drums) and bassist Ronnie Garrity (Raw Glory)...was a great to have them here!

Gene Clark No Other Band

We were very excited to have the Gene Clark No Other Band in the studio last week rehearsing for their exclusive UK show at End Of The Road Festival last weekend. The super group is made up of top musicians from the bands Beach House, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, The Walkmen and Fairport Convention along with members of Wye Oak, Celebration and many more! The band were put together by Beach House to reproduce Gene Clark’s underrated 1974 album which has been performed live by the band across the US this year. Gene Clark was a founding member of the The Byrds, one of the most influential bands of the 1960’s and released numerous solo albums throughout the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s before his death in 1991.

Redfest 2014 Offical Video

Last weekend's Redfest Festival in St George Park was a blinding success! Approximately 5 thousand people visited the park to witness an array of musical and artistic talent from some of Bristol's finest acts. The weather held out (just) and the sun shone practically all day long. All the bands that performed on the main stage did a fantastic job and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Here is the official video for Redfest 2014, enjoy...

Redfest Bristol 2014

Redfest festival will be taking place in Bristol's St George Park tomorrow, Saturday 2nd August. It's a community festival and Factory Studios are heavily involved in the production as well as programming the main stage. This year we have Yes Sir Boss headlining as well as music from 45's, Dub from Atlantis, John E Vistic Experience, Kirris Riviere's Blues Band, Baila La Cumbia, The Cadbury Sisters and Beyond Rivers. It's a wonderful festival which is absolutely free to the public and well worth a visit. Here is some footage from last year's festival to get you in the mood!

Thunderbirds Are Go!

Factory Studios was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ Glastonbury set this week when conductor Charles Hazlewood and 14 top musicians from bands such as Goldfrapp, Portishead, Get the Blessing and Loose Tubes, rehearsed their 45 minute show which will be performed on the Park Stage at 1pm today.

In the build up to The Thunderbird’s 50th anniversary next year, the ensemble will present the genius music of Barry Gray, including Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, and the Mysteron with Francois Evans playing Barry Gray’s own Ondes Martinot, the iconic Mysterons sound!

Paolo Nutini Comes to Bristol

Paolo Nutini and his 9-piece band performed a sell-out show at Bristol's Harbourside last night, the show was a warm-up gig for his Glastonbury set and was watched by over 5000 people. The singer songwriter was also promoting his critically-acclaimed third album Caustic Love, currently one of the best-selling albums of the year. Factory Studios was lucky enough get a sneak preview of the set when the band rehearsed in the studio on Tuesday for both upcoming shows.

The gig took place at the Canon's Marsh Amphitheatre and was the first major standalone gig to have been held on the Harbourside for a decade. Tonight will see the Pogues, supported by the Rails, perform at the same venue.

House Of Mask Comes To Bristol

In association with Cubanisto Beer, House Of Mask is taking place across the UK throughout the Summer and is coming to Bristol on Friday 30th May 2014, it will then go to Manchester in June 2014, then to Glasgow in July and then London in August.

"House Of Mask will take place at a hidden location marked by a neon skull and will reward the curious and favour those looking to discover the unknown. To divulge too much would spoil the fun, but a night of mystery, surprise and intrigue is promised. The last event in Shoreditch that took place in April saw Groove Armada, B Traits and Troupe DJs and the Bristol Event will feature Next Men and other very special guests".

Get your free tickets at