Phoebe Bridgers Defends On-Stage Guitar Smashing: “It’s Hilarious to Me People Care So Much”

Phoebe Bridgers SNL
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Phoebe Bridgers SNL
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Photo Credit: Graeme Anderson / CC by 2.0

Phoebe Bridgers smashed her guitar after her SNL performance last weekend. The internet went wild.

After a clip of the guitar-smashing ended up on Twitter, several people responded for and against the action. David Crosby responded to a fan’s question about the stunt, calling it “pathetic.” Later on Monday, Bridgers saw Crosby’s tweet and responded, “little bitch.” Crosby couldn’t help but chime in further after that.

“Guitars are for playing, making music, not stupidly bashing them on a fake monitor for childish stage drama,” the 79-year-old rocker writes. “I really do NOT give a flying F if others have done it before, it’s still STUPID.” Perhaps Mr. Crosby forgets that the point of SNL is to make fun of ‘slice of life’ occurrences.

Bridgers herself was totally unmoved by Crosby’s rants. “I stand by it!” Bridgers told Variety. “The fact that it made people so mad is kind of what’s punk rock about it. No thought whatsoever went into what it represented or meant: I’d never done it before, so might as well do it [on Saturday Night Live], where it’s gonna be immortalized. It’s hilarious to me that people care so much, but, I mean, there’s a video of a steamroller crushing a bunch of Gibson [guitars] as a tax write-off because they weren’t selling all of their stock — let that piss you off!”

If there’s one thing rock stars are famous for, it’s trashing hotels and smashing guitars on-stage.

Paul Simonon of The Clash is on the cover of their London Calling Album; his intact guitar preserved there and only there for eternity. Kurt Cobain’s shows were infamous for their destruction by the end of a Nirvana performance. Even Jimi Hendrix famously burned two guitars at three shows during his career. He famously poured lighter fluid over his guitar and set it on fire, even though “I’d just finished painting it that day.”

Hendrix pulled his little flaming guitar stunt to out-do The Who. Guitarist Pete Townshend is famous for guitar-smashing the same way Neil Armstrong is famous as the first man to walk on the moon. It’s estimated that Townshend broke more than 35 guitars in 1967 alone.

But so what if others have done it, Crosby gripes on Twitter. It’s still stupid. Here’s something that’s much more ‘stupid’ by a measure. As Bridgers noted, in August of 2019, Gibson was caught destroying unsold guitars in a leaked video released by a former employee.

The video shows a large collection of Firebird X guitars being destroyed by a massive construction vehicle. “Gibson literally could not sell these guitars and they were on the books.” Instead of being donated or re-purposed, the guitars were deemed unsalvageable and destroyed.

The poor-selling guitars incorporated auto-tuners, in-body software, and toggle switches. They were ultimately destroyed as part of the ousting of former Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. That move was part of a painful bankruptcy proceeding in 2018 – with the company ultimately restructuring.

When news of the destruction got out, Gibson responded, calling the Firebird X ‘unsafe.’ “This isolated group of Firebird X models were unable to be donated for any purpose and were destroyed accordingly,” Gibson responded.