Kyle Busch celebrated winning the Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday by smashing his trophy – a Gibson guitar painted by artist Sam Bass. Bass was "stunned and heartbroken" by the act, according to Scene Daily’s Jeff Gluck. Busch’s explanation: he wanted to smash the guitar into individual pieces that he could give his crew.
Whatever the reason, Busch’s action was deplorable. Not that he did it. The guitar was his to do as he pleased. We’re disappointed in the smash itself. It was a Sally effort – hardly rock ‘n roll. Busch might be able to drive the heck out of a stock car, but when it comes to smashing guitars, he aimed for The Who but landed Ace of Base.
Look at everything that goes wrong here. The first swing fails to cause significant damage. Not only that, but Busch loses his grip. Had Pete Townshend employed a similar lack of hand-eye coordination in the 1970s, thousands of fans would have been killed during The Who’s world tours. Busch gives it two more smashes and then bails.
The problem was that Busch failed to snap the neck of the guitar. As any guitarist worth his butt-less chaps can tell you, that’s the key. Snap the neck and the integrity of the guitar’s structure is compromised faster than Angelina Jolie’s restraint at a free baby giveaway.
Kyle Busch, you might be the closest thing NASCAR has to a rock star, but you could learn a thing or two from these guitar-smashing heroes:
Pete Townshend – The Who
This is guitar smashing the way it was meant to be. Watch the first smash on this video. Even at his advanced age, Townshend obliterates the instrument on the second strike. Yeah, he’s lost a little something through the years, but the technique is sound, like a Mark Martin of guitar smashery.
Paul Simonon – The Clash
In the photo that defined the punk era, The Clash bass player Paul Simonon destroyed his bass on the cover of the London Calling album. Note the clothing. Simonon goes with the sleeveless shirt for full mobility. The guy knew what he was doing.
Of course, when all else fails, you can just set the thing on fire.
Below are ten more great guitar-smashing moments. This montage includes, I kid you not, the immortal Rick Springfield of "Jessie’s Girl" fame. He’s the second one. The video also includes a gentleman at the top of every guitar smashing list, the Kyle Busch of grunge rock, Mr., Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.