Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Rock-Star Ghost Diaries 

These ghoulish tales will make you wet your pants with fear!

  • Christopher Smith

Most ghost stories are pretty damn lame, and most happen to everybody except musicians. If you attempt to seek out ghost stories from pop stars, you quickly discover that phantoms, freaky psychic phenomena, and even UFOs aren't nearly as numerous as popular culture has us believe. In fact, one might estimate that maybe one in five musicians has something to say on the subject, and when they do, odds are it's just about as exciting as the story your neighbor Hal tells about his mother-in-law's first cousin seeing her dead uncle take a bath in the family cottage.

But hey, Halloween is here again. After several months asking rock stars questions like "Have you ever had an encounter with the supernatural? No, not the lame television show!," we've collected some stories that might scare a toddler, and others that are almost as scary as a Stephen King novel. And like any good horror movie, they get more thrilling as you go along, so get out the garlic and spare proton pack, and brace yourself for the rock-star ghost diaries.

James Valentine, Maroon 5: "[We recorded our latest, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, in Rick Rubin's allegedly haunted house]. One night, I saw a figure walking up the stairs, when there was nobody else in the house except my girlfriend at the time. I was so certain that I'd seen someone that I called out to this thing and then went up to the room that it had walked into. There was nobody there. I don't know how to explain it, but that's what I saw. I got the impression it was a woman, and apparently other people had talked about a female spirit that they had seen."

Creep Factor: 4 out of 10. Odds are, it was just one of the girls that impossibly good-looking Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was banging between sessions.

Steve Bays, Hot Hot Heat: "I used to always play drums in bands. I grew up on an island, and there were never many good drummers. I always wanted to switch up and play different instruments, though. I met a guy who could play drums — and hard-hitting drums. At the time, I basically wanted to play metal or at least heavy music. [So] we formed this band together, and on the night of our first jam, we drove forever out to his place — this really forested area. He hadn't drummed in a year, because, he said, he'd been drinking and into drugs for that year. But he said, 'I've quit now.' So I played guitar. He played drums. But I remember he was sweating a lot through the whole damn thing. Rehearsal was great. I go home, and that night I have this really crazy dream, where I go into the bathroom and see this guy in the mirror. He's basically saying goodbye to me. This ghostly figure in the mirror is saying goodbye to me, and he gives me this necklace — this medallion. I didn't make anything of it, but I clearly remembered him saying goodbye to me through the mirror. The next day, I heard three hours after the jam, he died. His heart stopped. I guess his body was so run down that drumming for three hours essentially killed him. It's creepy. When he died was basically when I had the dream."

Creep Factor: 7 out of 10. Seriously, Steve, you could've just given the guy a break. Your unwillingness to let an ex-addict rest his weary heart is the scary stuff here.

Alice Cooper: "I get out of rehab [in 1983], and [Aerosmith guitarist] Joe Perry got out of rehab at the same time. I was going to write two songs for this movie I was going to be in and thought, 'I'll call Joe, and we'll do this together.' My manager set up this house in upper New York. Joe's assistant went up there. My assistant went up there. We checked into this big old house in the middle of farm country — this big gothic-looking thing. I'm putting my clothes away. I leave the room and come back, and the closet door is closed. The drawer I was packing is closed. Hmm, I don't remember closing that. This house was so full of whatever that on the second night we're there, we're sitting there eating dinner, and it sounds like somebody is moving furniture in the basement. It's making so much noise. It's not even trying to be subtle. I say to Joe, 'We're the only ones here, right?' I'm not going down into the basement to find out what's down there. I say, 'This house — every time I put my coat down, I come back and it's gone.' Joe says, 'The same exact thing is happening to me too. I thought I was just going through a recovery thing — being forgetful.' I say, 'No, this place is insane.' So we ran out of the place. I found out later this is where the guy who wrote The Amityville Horror wrote the story — there in that house."

Creep Factor: 10 out of 10. Hire Bruce Campbell to play Cooper, Lorenzo Lamas to play Perry, and this poltergeist caper could become next year's biggest Hollywood blockbuster!

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Jeff Blanchard @ Bogey's Comedy Club

    • Fri., Nov. 26
  • French Perspectives @ Severance Hall

    • Fri., Nov. 26
  • Christopher Titus @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Fri., Nov. 26

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation