Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – The best and worst rock star attempts… so far!

Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – The best and worst rock star attempts… so far!

Each week on Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them over the years.

Behold: the Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! Leaderboard! Here are the results so far, ranked from highest scores out of 10 to the lowest (sorry, Martin Kemp).


Tim Booth, James: “I last spoke to Morrissey when he breezed past me and said: ‘Oh, are you still alive?’” 

Oh sit down! Tim talks Mozza’s pettiness, offering Kurt Cobain a massage, Batman Begins and trying to join the cult from Netflix’s Wild Wild Country.

Dave Clark, The Dave Clark Five: “When Laurence Olivier saw Freddie Mercury singing, he said to me: ‘Now my dear boy, there’s an actor!”


The drummer and leader of the 1960s Tottenham beat combo recalls his friendship with the late Queen frontman, a Beatles rivalry and receiving a fan letter from Tom Hanks.


Pauline Black, The Selecter: “Bette Midler asked me: ‘Hey, how do you manage to jump around like that without your titties hurting?’”

The two-tone pioneer is on fiery, no-holds-barred form as she recalls mid-gig punch-ups and Debbie Harry’s dubious “tea party”.

Paul Smith, Maxïmo Park: “My latest suit is by Paul Smith because I’m a cheesy idiot who thought it would be funny!”

The Maxïmo Park frontman doesn’t do graffiti — but NME does sing to him in French.


Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! - Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess: “Putting cocaine up your arse is: ‘Oh my God’, followed by ‘talk, talk, talk

The Charlatans frontman on hanging out in LA with Val Kilmer and Robbie Williams (“Batman and Rob…bie”), putting cocaine up his bum and the time he got locked in Ronnie Wood’s fridge.


Andy McCluskey, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD): “I used to tell Kerry Katona she had Marilyn Monroe syndrome”


The synth-pop frontman on how Kraftwerk suggested creating Atomic Kitten, touring with Joy Division and The 1975’s Matty Healy being an OMD fanboy.

Tim Wheeler, Ash: “NASA once used ‘Girl From Mars’ as their telephone hold music”

The Ash frontman on cross-dressing, being chased by angry farmers and orgies with The Strokes.

Russell Mael, Sparks: “We nearly had Andy Warhol duet on a Sparks song”

The Sparks maverick on pretending to be Doris Day’s son, Paul McCartney impersonations and tying to steal Brian May from Queen.


Alice Cooper: “I’m standing there with a loaded gun on Elvis Presley – a tiny devil inside me said: ‘Shoot him!’”

The original shock-rocker on dining with Salvador Dalí, Elvis and being eaten by Bigfoot.

Dave Mustaine, Megadeth: “Harry Potter likes Megadeth? Get the fuck out!”

The metal legend on Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper and hiding in trees from bikers.

Sylvain Sylvain, New York Dolls: “Our first gig involved David Johansen riding a saddle to guys standing next to Roman columns wearing only white bath towels”

The New York Doll on playing ‘Man’s Country’, The Killers and what part of his anatomy appealed to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Rick Astley: “I write things under my own dressing room name – like ‘RICK ASTLEY…is a tit’”

Rick Astley explains why exactly he defaces his own dressing room doors (and how Noel Gallagher once got the blame).

Jacoby Shaddix, Papa Roach: “Marilyn Manson asked: ‘Do you wanna get in a bubble bath with me?’”

Jacoby on lathering up with The God of Fuck, wrestling with Eminem and Papa Roach’s bizarre Deerhunter connection.

Adam Lambert: “If you get everybody talking, you’ve done your job in the pop world”

The pop star and current Queen frontman on Taylor Swift, strippers and Brian May’s hair care products.

Lucinda Williams: “I’ve found out I’ve got fucking Trump supporters as fans!” 

The country-rock legend on hanging out with the New York Dolls, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and upsetting red MAGA hat-wearers.

Graham Coxon, Blur: “I wanted to take a scrubbing brush to Pete Doherty’s nails”

The Blur guitarist on being replaced by a cardboard cutout, ‘Sir Elton John’s Cock’ and being chased out of radio stations with shotguns.

Rick Witter, Shed Seven: “When The Killers’ first album came out, our friends asked: ‘Is this you under a guise?’” 

The Britpopper on Stone Roses advice, cruel tongue-twister headlines and why Noel Gallagher needs Velcro shoes.

Stephen Malkmus: “Being the ‘Grace Kelly of indie rock’ is better than being the Molly Ringwald of indie!”

The Pavement frontman on Beabadoobee, Mark E Smith, Courtney Love – and how many points P-A-V-E-M-E-N-T is worth in Scrabble.

Vernon Reid, Living Colour: “With the likes of Trump, our song ‘Cult of Personality’ feels even more relevant” 

The guitarist and founding member of Living Colour on working with Public Enemy, convincing self-described “Glamour Boy” Little Richard to rap and jamming with Prince.

Stephen Jones, Babybird: “People still write to me and say: ‘We’ll give you £50 to sing ‘You’re Gorgeous’ at our wedding’” 

The prolific Babybird frontman on Royal Family DJ sets, nights out with Kate Moss and Smurf hate.


Does Rock N Roll Kill Braincells?! - Betty Boo - NME interview

Betty Boo: Simon Cowell originally dismissed Hear’Say’s ‘Pure and Simple’, which I wrote, as the worst song he’d ever heard”

The ‘Doin’ The Do’ singer/rapper on touring with Public Enemy, Madonna and having The Tweenies sing about cunnilingus.

Pete Tong: “I once spent 24 hours handcuffed to a Smurf”

How many questions does the DJ get right and, er, Pete Tong?

Jason Williamson, Sleaford Mods: “I don’t think I’d have a laugh with Alex James. He’s terrible!”

Williamson on hanging out with Robbie Williams, feuding with Noel Gallagher and why he’s unlikely to share a cheese platter with Blur’s Alex James.


Shakespears Sister: “In Germany, they thought we were witches raising the dead”

Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit on Prince, Alice Cooper, The Cure and Mr Blobby.

Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre: “You only get decent cocaine in the UK in the members’ bar of Parliament!”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre maverick on Dig!, requests from ghosts and cooking for Anthony Bourdain.

Francis Rossi, Status Quo: “Bono might talk like the second coming of Christ, but he looks and sounds like that bloke from Police Academy”

Brace yourselves! The unfiltered veteran rocker on Freddie Mercury, “Quoasis” and communal band wanking sessions.

Mark ‘E’ Everett, Eels: “I had a little telephone onstage and I would occasionally call and ask Snoop Dogg to turn it down a notch”

E on The Queen, Batman, Shrek and Spinal Tap.

Jake Shears: “Elton John calls me Britney Shears” 

The Scissor Sister and solo star on Josh Homme, being mistaken for Peter Andre and meeting Debbie Harry wearing only a gas mask, G-string and two cock rings.

Matt Shultz, Cage The Elephant: “I ended up having a dance-off against Mike Jagger!”

The Shultz brother on Dave Grohl subbing as Cage The Elephant’s drummer and comparing mugshots with Juliette Lewis.

Suzi Quatro: “I told Liam Gallagher: ‘Don’t try and be an idiot with me!”  

The Detroit rocker on Prince Charles, knocking out Chuck Berry and being electrocuted on Midsomer Murders.

Brian Baker, Bad Religion guitarist and Minor Threat founder: “Getting our first Fugazi-fan President would be better than the living horror we have now”

The Bad Religion guitarist and Minor Threat founder on Bring Me The Horizon, Dag Nasty, NOFX and “Senior Threat”.

Perry Farrell, Jane’s Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza founder: “We recorded a children’s song and Gary Oldman directed the video – he’s very intense! As I’m sat on a tricycle, he’s getting so mad and grinding his teeth like he’s Winston Churchill!”

Farrell talks Kurt Cobain, writing songs for Erasure’s Andy Bell and the gift he gave Tony Blair.

Britt Daniel, Spoon: “I don’t know anything about spoon-bending”

The Spoon frontman on Sleater-Kinney, Stephen King, working with The Kinks and Uri Geller’s powers.

Shy FX: “People thought I was making drugged-up devil music”

The rapper on battling Boy Better Know and A$AP Mob, meeting Stevie Wonder and unusual connections with pop combo Steps.


Bonnie Tyler: “Why is a Bonnie Tyler satnav the worst Christmas present ever? Cos it keeps telling you to TURN AROUUUUUUND! and EVERY NOW AND THEN IT FALLS APARRRRRRRTTTTT!”

The power ballad queen dramatically sings punchlines, talks Whitney Houston asking for her autograph — and discovers there isn’t a character in Hollyoaks called “Holly Oaks”

Deryck Whibley, Sum 41: “I was once voted second in Kerrang!’s Ugliest Singer award poll — I think Chad from Nickelback beat me!” 

The Sum 41 rocker on partying with The Strokes, encounters with Oasis and dressing as Chavril.

Jez Kerr, A Certain Ratio: “Joy Division left a pig’s head on my amp for a prank”

Jez Kerr of the Manchester experimentalists on Grace Jones, being mistaken for a religious sect and upsetting Madonna.


Skin, Skunk Anansie: “Grace Jones taught me to hula-hoop in her living room at her birthday party” 

The Skunk Anansie legend on a life like no other: being mistaken for a Nazi band, punching racist Sex Pistols fans, singing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela, duetting with Pavarotti – and more!

Róisín Murphy: “They had to put this cow in a big ski lift and it was fucking tremendous!”

The former Moloko singer-turned-solo disco superhero on milking an angry cow on a Swiss Alp in a suit of armour, zombies and gay chimpanzees.

Louise Wener, Sleeper: “We were almost dropped as Blur’s support act for eating their cheese plate”

The Sleeper frontwoman on recording songs with George Michael, playing poker against Courtney Cox and what bizarre fetish Swedish poppers The Wannadies introduced her to.

Andy Bell, Erasure: “San Francisco once voted for me to go back in the closet!”

The Erasure frontman on Kate Bush, getting drunk with Pet Shop Boys and almost forming a supergroup with his Ride namesake.

Nina Persson, The Cardigans: “Ozzy Osbourne said our songs were the creepiest thing he ever heard!”

The Cardigans frontwoman on Black Sabbath covers, banned videos, turning down James Bond themes and Emmerdale cultural appropriation.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor: “Dave Grohl told me: ‘You have no idea how much we play your music in our house’”

The ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ pop star on the collaborations with the Manics, winning ‘Eurovision’ and unexpected connections to Oasis.

Shaggy: “I already learned how to fire a gun on the streets – the military taught me how to balance my chequebook!”

Mr Boombastic on being a marine, Ali G, Cardi B and constantly getting mixed up with Sean Paul.

Baxter Dury: “I’ve got Google Alerts on my own name – I bet Bobby Gillespie doesn’t do that!”

Baxter Dury on beating up the Fat White Family, making child actors cry, awkward encounters with Lou Reed and Lana Del Rey, and pissing on Joe Strummer’s head.

Grant Nicholas, Feeder: “Brian Eno said he really liked ‘Buck Rogers – he’s the last person I’d expect to like that song!”

The Feeder frontman on the Dandy Warhols, Band Aid 20, Bargain Hunt and inheriting the Village People’s “dirty pink” tour-bus.

Megaman, So Solid Crew: “Duetting ’21 Seconds’ with the robot is the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen Romeo do in his life. It’s going to haunt him for the rest of his days!”

Megaman on potential biopics, shelved So Solid Crew albums with Kelis and Nelly Furtado and Westlife picking fights at the Brit Awards.


Beth Ditto, Gossip: “Was I shot at by his dad while he was wasted and driving a golf cart?”

The ever-iconic Gossip force-of-nature on dancing with Sacha Baron Cohen, Skins, Blondie co-signs and naked NME cover-stars.

Johnny Borrell, Razorlight: “I wore all-white for every public appearance for a year”

Herrrrrre’s Johnny on Snoop Dogg’s Razorlight fandom, jamming with The Kinks and beefing with The 1975’s Matty Healy.


Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy: “I trended on Twitter for the only time of my life after winning Celebrity Mastermind because millions of One Direction fans went: ‘Is that Niall Horan?!’”

The Divine Comedy frontman on Father Ted, Doctor Who, Daniel Radcliffe, Frasier and Vampire Weekend.

Josh Franceschi, You Me At Six: “We could get quite American Horror Story about it and set up areas onstage with different methods of torture throughout the song”

The rocker on why you should bring your sledgehammers to You Me At Six gigs, psyching out World Cup teams and Foo Fighters covers.

Cheryl ‘Salt’ James, Salt-N- Pepa: “Tupac sent us a congratulations cake shaped like a gun. When we opened it, we didn’t know if we were being threatened!” 

The rap trailblazer on Deadpool, Jürgen Klopp cover versions and Queen Bey cosplaying as Salt-N-Pepa.

Lee Ranaldo: “Sonic Youth thought Oasis were the biggest yobbos we’d ever met. To us, they were like country bumpkins”

The former Sonic Youth guitarist on Madonna covers, Babes In Toyland and The Simpsons.

Wendy James, Transvision Vamp: “People didn’t think a woman could look like me and have feminist opinions”

The Transvision Vamp frontwoman turned solo artist on Miley Cyrus, touring with Lou Reed and Björk, and getting drunk with Vic Reeves and then both hurling abuse at Piers Morgan.

Ryan Tedder, OneRepublic: “The first time we’re with Oasis, Liam gets in a fistfight because some drunk guy tells him his band sucks!”

The OneRepublic frontman and top-drawer hit-writer on Paul McCartney’s friskiness, Adele,  Beyoncé and the Jonas Brothers.

Jenny Lewis: “Bea Arthur told me horrifying ghost stories on the set of The Golden Girls

Jenny Lewis on childhood acting, Rilo Kiley deep cuts, The Postal Service and giving Kanye advice.

Martyn Ware, Heaven 17: “I was mates with Johnny Rotten until he turned into a right-wing bastard”

The Heaven 17 mastermind and founding member of The Human League on LCD Soundsystem, Kylie, Chaka Khan and nights out with John Lydon.

Tjinder Singh, Cornershop: “We were anti-Brexit before Brexit was even there”

The Cornershop frontman on protesting against Morrissey, Guinness World Record attempts and disastrous meetings with Lou Reed.


Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?! Shaun Ryder NME

Shaun Ryder: “I don’t remember Bez trying to steal Stonehenge – but then I don’t remember a lot of the fuckin’ ‘80s and ‘90s!”

The Happy Mondays/Black Grape singer gets his melon twisted on hanging out with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahn, Gorillaz collaborations and being dubbed ‘The Queen Mother of Junkies’.

Natasha Bedingfield: “Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers – there’s a whole bunch of artists that age who always run up to me and start singing ‘Love Like This’”

Natasha Bedingfield on Faye Dunaway wanting her to play her in a biopic, acting with Lisa Kudrow, Jay Z, Obama and weird duets with her brother.

Russel Hobbs, Gorillaz: “Isaac Hayes should play me in a Gorillaz biopic”

The Gorillaz drummer on trying to recruit Daffy Duck, working with Madonna and banning Glee from using their music.


Bob Mould: “Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter told me: ‘I listened to Sugar’s ‘Copper Blue’ every day for six months”

The Hüsker Dü and Sugar legend on almost producing Nirvana, writing for wrestling and Lady Gaga.

James Blunt: “Three out of 10 is probably the best score I’ve had for anything in NME in my lifetime!”

The singer-songwriter and BFF of Sesame Street’s Telly Monster on Boris Johnson, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, and Kanye West.

Alex Gaskarth, All Time Low: “People send me clips of The Only Way Is Essex saying ‘This is you – these are your people’”

The rocker on doing shots with Kanye before his Taylor Swift stage invasion, Rod Stewart’s green-fingers and chimpanzee video shoot diva fits.

Sean Paul: “I played doubles against Serena Williams. She beat my ass!”

Sean Paul on Beyoncé, Little Mix and being mistaken for Shaggy.

Gordon Gano, Violent Femmes: “At a New Year’s Eve gig, a drunk Dennis Roadman came onstage and started playing the drums – then poured a pint of beer over my head”

The Violent Femmes frontman on being reviewed by JK Rowling, appearing on Sabrina The Teenage Witch and supporting Nirvana.

Limahl, Kajagoogoo: “I used to see Lemmy from Motörhead kicking the shit out of the fruit machine. He’d get pissed, and would literally get hold of it and start slamming it against the wall”

The Kajagoogoo hero and solo star on Stranger Things, being murdered on American Horror Story, inspiring an X-Men character and The Stone Roses.

Sébastien Tellier: “I’ve smoked a lot of joints over the years and drank a lot of vodka, so my brain is just cheese now!”

The oddball-pop genius on Eurovision, The Weeknd and visiting naked parties with Dita Von Teese.


Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Tom DeLonge, Angels & Airwaves - NME interview

Tom DeLonge, Angels & Airwaves: “Liam Gallagher goes: ‘Are you Blink-182? You’re the best I’ve seen in America’. I said: ‘You like us?!’ And he goes: ‘I didn’t say that – I said you’re the best I’ve seen in America’”

The former Blink-182 member turned Angels & Airwaves frontman on playing with Oasis, dog-fornicating and having his music used to torture terrorist cell leaders.


Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Martin Kemp, Spandau Ballet - NME interview

Martin Kemp: “Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were like Oasis and Blur”

The ’80s pop star fails to remember his career while actually recalling being slagged off by Johnny Marr, hanging with Grace Jones and giving Alan Partridge a Toblerone addiction.


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