The Top 10 Musician Huffs, Ranked by We Are Scientists’ Keith Murray

Ahead of the release of his band’s new album “Huffy,” Murray counts down the most inspiring huffs committed by household-name artists.
The Top 10 Musician Huffs, Ranked by We Are Scientists’ Keith Murray

Ahead of the release of his band’s new album “Huffy,” Murray counts down the most inspiring huffs committed by household-name artists.

Words: Mike LeSuer

August 06, 2021

Between the energetic-yet-even-tempered rock music they make and the comedic extracurricular videos, podcasts, and capital-P Posting the duo We Are Scientists churn out, the term “huffy” doesn’t seem like a proper adjective to apply to Keith Murray and Chris Cain. The duo returned this summer with a music video for the first single from their forthcoming album—titled Huffy—called “Contact High,” which combined audiences’ love of tight riffs and TV shows where important-looking guys hand off important-looking briefcases to one another repeatedly, which they’ve just followed up with “Handshake Agreement,” a single/video that matches our love of good, uplifting choruses and *grunts* snare with the needless commentary of YouTube reaction videos.

“Huffy,” however, does describe the character Cain plays in the latter video, which demonstrates how much the descriptor plays into the pair’s sense of humor—in fact, the 10 examples of musicians getting huffy that Murray cites below all feel like they could be bits written by Keith and Chris. As that’s probably not the case, we’ll have to settle for Murray’s commentary on Billy Joel’s theatrical dissatisfaction with piano stools and a whole bunch of other things Joel has a hard time with in the writeup below. 

Huffy is out October 8 on 100% Records—you can pre-order that here.

10. Billy Joel Besmirches London Drivers

A pretty minor huff, and one that inexplicably erupts after five-plus minutes of jubilant piano-slides, stage-shimmies, and crowd-walks. Perhaps thinking about the harsh post-show come-down that awaits him on the drive home, Billy gets all huffy and gripes about London’s traffic, not-unreasonably claiming that it “sucks” and is “on the left side of the road.”


9. Henry Rollins (miscellaneous) 

It can be hard to know which of Henry Rollins’ many public huffs are actually legitimate—remember, we’re talking about a man with acting chops robust enough to land him a plum role in Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II. In any case, Rollins at least plays huffy with the best of them.


8. Billy Joel Besmirches “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

To err is human; to then go on a rant about how your #1-charting, platinum-selling single is “one of the worst melodies [you] ever wrote” is huffy. Demerits are given for his then succumbing to the ecstatic crowd’s demands by going ahead and playing the rest of the accursed song.


7. Travis Scott Dunks on a Member of the A/V club

Travis comes out of the gates pretty huffy, indeed, halting his show and admonishing a festival-employed photographer to “get [his] nerdy ass off the stage.” He later pumps the brakes on his aggression, though, assuring the now-unemployed, nerdy-ass subject that he means “no disrespect.”

 6. Morrissey

Whatever Morrissey is doing right now, it’s almost certainly the sixth-huffiest thing there has ever been.

5. Billy Joel Besmirches His Piano Stool

To err is human; to so over-enthusiastically gesticulate on your piano stool that you fall, onstage, and then insinuate that the clearly perfectly functioning stool is to blame for the calamity is huffy.


4. Elton John Is Mad at Security for Not Taking a Load Off

Elton John, a man who sits down the entire time he’s working, does not like to see other people willfully standing while doing their own jobs. Extra huffy points for issuing the vague but chilling warning that, should security not kick back, immediately, they’re “going to be in fucking trouble.”  


3. Billy Joe Armstrong Is Mean to Justin Bieber Because He (Billy Joe) Didn’t Keep His (Billy Joe’s) Eye on the Clock

Billy Joe gets huffy because he’s paced his setlist poorly and has run out of time, so he takes a swipe at poor old Justin Bieber (who, presumably (?!), had little to do with managing the I Heart Radio Festival’s stage times) and then tricks poor, unwitting bass player Mike Dirnt into smashing his own instrument in huffy solidarity.


2. Billy Joel Does Not Want to Have to Look Upon His Audience

Billy comes on all huffy because the lighting tech at his show is “lighting the audience,” which, everyone knows, makes it impossible for him “to do [his] show.”  A couple of piano-flips and mic stand smashes later, we have to assume that the lighting guy took the hint and bathed the audience in the total cave darkness that Billy demands.

1. Oscar the Grouch Tries to Harsh Grover’s Mellow by Playing Him Audio Evidence of a Murder

Oscar the Grouch (who, yes, counts as a musician—check out his violin skills at 2:35) avoids spending quality time with Grover by playing him a recording of the time he committed vehicular manslaughter. To his great discredit, Grover not only appears perfectly unperturbed, but demonstrates his own sociopathic tendencies by declaring this evidence of wanton murder as “exciting,” and begs Oscar to continue delivering more of the same. Understandably, this only increases Oscar’s already-superlative huff.