Rock 'n' roll guitarists have been smashing guitars onstage since at least 1964, when Pete Townshend of the band The High Numbers got a bit upset and wanted everyone to know about it. The audience was impressed, and he repeated the stunt quite a few more times as the band became known as The Who. After that first time, it was always planned, because guitars are quite expensive. Other musicians followed, impressed by the sheer ballsiness of the gesture.
“I grew up lucky enough to have seen The Who in ’68. I saw Jimi Hendrix twice,” Kiss frontman (and avid guitar-smasher) Paul Stanley told AllMusic in 2016. “The idea of almost ritualistically smashing a guitar is something so cool and touches a nerve in so many people that it seemed like a great way to put a period or to dot the i or cross the t at the end of a show—that this is finite, that this is over, it’s the climax.”