Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 5 – The Sears Silvertone

Jerry arrives the next day with the Sears Silvertone and the amplifier that came with it. It’s a cheap red and black small solid body guitar that is cheaply made with its solid state transistor amp with the little 8 inch speaker in the amp.

I absolutely love it.

I strap it on and Jerry proceeds to show me the three note thing I need to do during his solo on the song Draw the Line.

I am ecstatic.

He’s such a great guitar player and I’m nothing but a teenager that got the chance to sing with these real musicians and have a band, I’m just so happy. Things are really progressing. We’re building our repertoire and now I’m learning guitar.

He teaches me how to hold my fingers and do the notes to carry the rhythm. The guitar feels so good in my hands. A slender light electric starter guitar I can handle. It’s full of mystery and promise. This is what I’ve wanted my entire life. Why couldn’t my parents see this? Why did they waste two years of piano lessons on my sister Janice when I was the child who loved and craved music?

Maybe I needed to go hunt it down like the Keith Richards, Jimmy Pages, and the Paul McCartney’s before me. I want to walk in their footsteps. I’ll find my way like they did.  Rock and roll isn’t born from sitting day after day taking piano lessons to please your father. Rock and roll is a little bastard sprung from anger and frustration and the blues. The blues rose out of slavery, rape, kidnapping, murder, hatred, oppression and a people who had rhythm in their souls long before there were white people. We just took it and made it our own.  The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, all listened to black artists that really lived and breathed music and got it.

I was a weak, anxiety ridden mess that was always a victim. Picked on at school, and at home. Just a pimple faced, braces wearing, greasy haired loser that couldn’t throw a ball or even do well in school. School bored my creative mind. I hated it. School was a place I had to go by law that was nothing but torture for my mind in my formative years.

But music… Oh my love. You always please me. You sound like my soul. You know me. I feel your fury. I will learn how to harness this instrument and feel better. I want this guitar so bad. When I hold her she’s like a sweet extension of myself. I can for the first time express myself with sound. I love music. I’ve drawn pictures, I’ve sculpted things out of clay.

But now I may have a chance to have a voice. A voice I’ve never had in this life. A weak frightened loser. I don’t fit into school or the neighborhood. I have few friends, and sadly they all look like me with our sad faces. Broken by our teachers, bullies and worst of all our fathers.

But now I have this lovely instrument in my hand.  She has finally come to me. I will learn how to caress her and love her, and I know I won’t be the fastest gun in the West like Jerry, or Page, or Hendrix, or Eddie Van Halen. I just want to learn how to make her sing in my arms.

I just want to dance with her.

Most of all I want to write songs with her. That’s my 2nd goal. Learn how to play a bit, then create. That’s it. That’s my mission.

 

When we play Draw the Line, I love to put her on and do my part. It’s feels better than a black and white milkshake on a hot day to just riff with the band. To be a guitarist in a band. It’s so little but it’s so big to me to play with this band. This is me emerging from a pit of shit was my life in puberty. I’m coming out. There is a solution. Things can get better. Your life isn’t just a series of fear and failure.

“Hey, Chaz, you like the guitar?”

“I love it Jerry. I’ve been listening to my records and I got my sisters piano books and I’m studying chords and I think I’m coming along.”

“I see that, and that’s good. But here’s the thing.”

“Oh fuck. What?”

“I have to buy a Valentine’s present for my girlfriend and I don’t have any money.”

“Go on…”

“You can have the Silvertone if you give me $15 so I can get Rachel something.”

“Can you throw in the amp?”

“Yea. No problem the guitar and the amp are yours. I have to get her something and I don’t need that piece of shit anymore.”

I didn’t even check with my mom, I just went up to my room and go the money from my little safe stash. I worked as a busboy at the shore so I had a little bit of cash lying around and also in my savings account.

“Thank you! Rachel will be happy, thanks to you.”

“Thanks Jerry. This guitar IS my Valentine this year.”

“Well it’s yours now.”

 

This little Sears Silvertone would be my axe for the next year as I practiced relentlessly to learn how to play guitar. My friends would want me to come out of the house to hang and I would stay alone in my room, practicing the guitar and listening to my records, learning songs and getting better.

I even went to a little music store down on Rising Sun Avenue and bought a better amplifier. It was badass little amp that had a 10″ speaker in it and it had some cool effects on it like tremelo and reverb. It was made by a company called Marlboro. I look back on it now and I’m sure it was a shit amp but it was only $100 bucks back then (A fortune for a teenage boy in 1978) but it did the job. I even bought a pre-am box for it to make it louder and more distorted. (Love it!)

I even eventually bought a Univox superfuzz pedal just like Jerry’s. I wanted that heavy distorted sound he had. I didn’t know it at the time but I was writing songs and shaping a sound that would later be adapted by bands like Metallica. But I missed that boat… (More about that later when I go to L.A.)

This was a watershed moment in my life and would shape who I was in the years to come in Jersey and L.A.

 

We used to play this song from Aerosmith’s second record and I loved it so much. I liked it because it was by my favorite hard rock band, but it was sad and gentle.

Just like me.

 

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Farrah Fawcett – 1947 to 2009 – Life Uncovered – Part 5

Finally Out Of Jail

In 2016, the distraught son Redmond O’Nea was released from prison. After he had been jailed in 2015 for violating probation regarding previous drug possession convictions, it was rather unexpected when he was spotted out to dinner with his father, since he was initially given a three-year sentence. Redmond reportedly promised Farrah he would stay clean, but in 2011 he was found in possession of illegal substances and a firearm. He was imprisoned during Farrah’s last days, but he managed to visit her one last time before her death.

Cheating On Every Man’s Fantasy

In 1997, the couple knew one of the hardest years of their lives due to O’Neal’s notorious inability to stay faithful. Apparently, the same woman featured on every teenage boy’s wall in the 70’s caught her long-time lover doing the dirty deed in his Malibu pad. O’Neal was forced to recount his infidelity during a testimony he gave in a lawsuit pressed by the University of Texas years later, in which he confessed to messing around in the sheets with Leslie Ann Stefanson, star of The General’s Daughter.

A Valentine’s To Remember

Fawcett decided to surprise O’Neal for Valentine’s Day the day she discovered the truth. O’Neal described the horrible moment in detail: “It was terrible, I didn’t expect to see her down there. I tried to put my pants on, but I put both legs in one hole. Leslie dived under the covers.” O’Neal hoped Farrah didn’t realize what was happening, but in vain. “I thought Farrah was going to attack her, but she said, ‘What’s your name?’ Leslie said, ‘Leslie.’ And Farrah walked out.”

Special Guest At Farrah’s Funeral

A private funeral was held for Farrah in Los Angeles on June 30, 2009, and there was a very special guest in attendance, her son. Fawcett’s son Redmond was in jail at the time of her funeral, but he was thankfully given the permission to leave his California detention center to attend the funeral, where he gave the first reading. While being released, Redmond was photographed in his blue jumpsuit. Fawcett was buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Not A Vain Bone In Her Body

One time, O’Neal asked Fawcett about her chosen and very distinct hair style: “I said, ‘Why do you wear your hair like that?’ and she said, ‘I can’t see to the right or left, and that way I don’t have to see people looking at me.’” Farrah was also not one to spend hours on grooming rituals. In fact, she once said: “I’m always more comfortable when I have on hardly any make-up, my hair is brown and I’m very unattractive.”

The Secret Affair

According to court papers, Fawcett had a secret affair with her university sweetheart during her final years behind Ryan O’Neal’s back. He claimed in a deposition that they rekindled their relationship in 1998 and were a couple for 11 years until Farrah died from cancer several years ago while she was 62 years old. The undercover love triangle was revealed in a bitter legal battle over the ownership of a $26 million Andy Warhol portrait of the former Charlie’s Angels actress and model.

Fawcett’s Football Flirt

Greg Lott, 67, a former football star, first dated Fawcett when they were both at the University of Texas. Lott, now a car dealer in Texas, claimed O’Neal prevented him from seeing Fawcett in her last days. “He kept me from seeing the love of my life before she died,” he said. “Photos don’t make a relationship. I know what I had with her. He didn’t have that. He blew it.” O’Neal and Lott were photographed arguing in the street several months after her death.

A Whole Lott Of Money

Fawcett left all her artworks to her old university but when the collection was handed over it was discovered that one of the valuable portraits was hanging in O’Neal’s bedroom. O’Neal claims that before she died, Fawcett gave him the Warhol painting to pass on to their son. Fawcett didn’t include O’Neal in her living trust but left $80,000 to Lott, who testified that it was the actress’s wish to bequeath all of her artwork to her alma mater, including the Warhol portrait.

Lott’s Love Letters

In court, Lott claimed to have years of handwritten notes between him and Fawcett. In one letter dated, Dec. 8, 2008, written from her hospital bed in Germany, Fawcett wrote, “I miss you so much, and sometimes the loneliness makes me cry. But this is a daunting journey one must take oneself, and there is very little anyone else can do to help. I wonder if at the moment of surgery I can do it, so I pray for strength and courage and it comes.”

Close Call

Fawcett and O’Neal fought often and loudly, and these arguments took a toll on their son, Redmond. The six-year-old once threatened to hurt himself to stop his parents from fighting. O’Neal recounted a particularly heart-stopping example that occurred during an argument in their bedroom. Redmond was standing in the doorway in his Winnie-the-Pooh pajamas, holding a butcher’s knife and said, “I’m going to stab myself if you don’t stop it!” That ended the argument.

 

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Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 4 – Draw the Line

“Me? But I don’t know how to play guitar.”

“Yet. You don’t know how to play guitar… yet.”

(That is not a Sears Silvertone guitar. That is a semi hollow body Kay guitar borrowed from a friend. But that is a me at around 16 years old.)

One day we were in the basement working on some new tracks. One of the songs we really wanted to do was Draw The Line from Aerosmith’s latest self titled album. I was a huge fan of Aerosmith and had gotten that album for Christmas.

We started working on the song, which wasn’t that hard. The only difficulty I faced was the last verse. The lyrics aren’t written down anywhere and it’s mostly just Steven Tyler screaming a bunch of nonsensical rhyming phrases. It’s incredibly hard to decipher what he’s saying, so I had to keep playing it over and over and listening very carefully to Mr. Tyler scream the final lyrics.

But eventually me and a couple of my friends figured it out. The lyrics are here:

Checkmate, don’t be late
Take another pull
That’s right, impossible
When you got to be yourself
You’re the boss, the toss
The price, the dice
Grab yourself a slice
Know where to draw the line

You can hear the whole mess at the 3:16 point of the video below.

So that problem was solved. Now trying to sing it. I could sing, but I’m no Steven Tyler. Not by any stretch.

As we continued to work out the song, we came upon another problem. There is a point in the song where they do a musical break before that final onslaught of lyrics. While guitarist Brad Whitford keeps the rhythm going along with bassist Tom Hamilton, Joe Perry does a solo using a slide.

Jerry addresses the problem with me and Larry.

“Larry can carry the riff on bass, but I can’t play the rhythm guitar part and play the solo.”

“So what do we do?”

“I need another guitarist to play those three notes over and over until the solo is done and then I can pick it back up again. That’s when you sing that last bit.”

“Well we can’t bring in another guy to play three notes in one song!”

“We already have the guy.”

“Who?”

“You.”

“Me? But I don’t know how to play guitar.”

“Yet. You don’t know how to play guitar… yet.

(Smiling from ear to ear) Okay, Jer. I’m down. How do we do this?”

I still have my first electric guitar before I bought the Strat. It’s a Sears Silvertone. You can use that and I’ll show you how to play it. I’ll bring it with me tomorrow.”

“Okay… okay.

Oh my God! It’s a brand new world. I’m the lead singer of a rock and roll band and now I’m going to learn how to play guitar!

All my dreams are coming true!

 

 

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Farrah Fawcett – 1947 to 2009 – Life Uncovered – Part 4

Badmouthing Her Besties

When it came to her close friends and former co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, Fawcett never had a bad word to say about them and reacted well when people would try to pry into any drama that occurred between them while filming. During an interview with controversial radio host Howard Stern, he kept trying to get Fawcett to badmouth Jackson and Smith but she refused, explaining that there was nothing but love between them. Farrah had their backs!

The Farrah-Flip

You know that a star has reached new levels of fame when a haircut is named after them! Fawcett’s signature blonde and feathered hairstyle actually has its own name! If you want to get your hair cut like Farrah’s, all you have to do is say that you want the “Farrah-do” or the “Farrah-flip.” Using these magic words in any salon should get you a cut and or color to match that of the late movie star’s.

The Dating Game

Before Fawcett was famous, she was a contestant on The Dating Game! It was a game show where a woman was given a choice of three single men. She could talk to them, but she could not see them until the end! You can bet that these men were dancing in their seats and trying to make an excellent impression to win their ways into the heart of the blond haired-blue-eyed beauty. Do you really blame them?

Baby Naming

When it comes to picking a name for your baby, especially when it’s a girl, most parents want to choose a name that people will associate with a beauty icon or famous actress. Right after Charlie’s Angels made its big debut, Farrah quickly became one of the most popular baby names in the United States! But you have to admit, Farah is a pretty catchy name. It can also be seen as an alternative to the popular name Sarah.

Contacting The Departed

Just when we thought that Fawcett was close with her former co-stars, her relationship with Tori Spelling proved to be even closer, but in an interesting way. Farrah used to be neighbors with Tori Spelling, and the two had developed such a connection that Spelling was able to contact her even after she left this world. Spelling said that she visited a psychic who helped her talk to Farrah after she had passed away. We wonder what they chatted about.

Cover Girl

Farrah rose to stardom rather quickly, and it was only a matter of time before she was literally everywhere. That means billboards, shampoo bottles, and even a Super Bowl commercial, but some of her favorite work was modeling for magazines. Fawcett has appeared in noteworthy magazines such as Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Time, but she stated that being in Playboy was the highlight of her life. We’re sure that her spread in the magazine was also a highlight of other people’s lives as well.

Farrah Went Plastic

It’s every girl’s dream to enter the world of plastic becoming a Barbie doll, literally! After years of fame on both the big and small screens, Fawcett finally joined the ranks of other stars who have had one of the classic dolls modeled after them. The iconic image of Farrah in a red swimsuit was ultimately recreated in a limited edition Barbie doll complete with a gold chain and her signature girl-next-door golden locks. The likeness is uncanny!

Midnight Plane To Houston

Fawcett and her former husband Lee Majors served as the inspiration for the song Midnight Train to Georgia. Singer/songwriter Jim Weatherly, who was a friend of Majors, phoned him, but the call was answered by Fawcett. As Weatherly and Fawcett chatted, she told him she was going to visit her mother and was taking “the midnight plane to Houston.” Although Majors and Fawcett were both successful at that time, Weatherly used them as characters in his song.

Reclaiming Her Fame

Farrah may have been America’s favorite calendar girl when she was on Charlie’s Angels, but her film career was not as successful and eventually began to decline after she starred in Sunburn, Somebody Killed Her Husband, and Saturn 3. Farrah made a remarkable comeback after finding her niche in made-for-TV movies, specifically those based on real stories, and was awarded much praise for her role in the 1984 television movie, The Burning Bed, which tells an emotional tale of domestic abuse.

The Best-Selling Poster In History

You know the picture of Farrah that everybody knows? The one with the famous one-piece red bathing suit? Well, that’s the best-selling poster in history! The photo which was spontaneously taken resulted in the 1976 poster that wound up plastered on millions of bedroom walls. The photographer used a blanket from Mexico that served as the seat cover for his beat-up 1937 Chevy pickup with colors that matched the suit. Original copies of the poster now run anywhere from $299.99 to $399.99 on Amazon.

(I own one in mint condition still rolled in its plastic tube!)

Isn’t it weird she died from cancer?

 

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Tales of Rock – Led Zeppelin are Thieving Bastards

Led Zeppelin are remembered for two things: banging a groupie with a mudshark and recording songs that rocked harder than any band had ever rocked before. Too bad a bunch of that shit was stolen.

Don’t believe us? Well, here’s a whole laundry list of songs they stole; but if the words of a dawn-of-the-Internet era website aren’t enough to convince you, consider their classic song “Dazed and Confused.”

A young Jake Holmes played a song of the same name (and chords, and lyrics kind of) at a show in 1967 where he was opening for The Yardbirds, who featured–say it with us!– Jimmy Page on guitar. “Dazed and Confused” became a mainstay of The Yardbirds live sets and eventually found its way onto Zep’s 1969 debut album, where it was credited to… nobody. Holmes never took legal action but he did eventually send Page a letter asking for acknowledgement and maybe a little gas money if he could spare it (he could). The letter went unanswered.

But who cares, right? We’re talking about Led Zeppelin here. The band who wrote “Stairway to Heaven” man! It’s the most popular song in the history of sound! It’s the song that was playing on the van stereo when your father shot the load that would become you into your mother’s moist and eager lady parts! That one song is enough to secure the legacy of 10 bands!

Too bad they jacked that shit too. The opening notes (and easily the most recognizable part) of “Stairway” were taken almost note-for-note from a song called “Taurus” by Spirit. Spirit was a band they opened for in the late sixties.

How did nobody notice that? Because nobody knows who the hell Spirit is. But for the record, Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on their first U.S. tour, so it’s safe to assume they were familiar with the band. Repaying an opening spot on a tour of the States by stealing a guitar riff is sad, but what’s even sadder is that Spirit’s guitarist, the awesomely named Randy California, knew exactly where “Stairway to Heaven” came from but was too nice of a guy to say anything – he just wanted them to say “Thank you.”

They never did.

Check this out:

http://forums.ledzeppelin.com/index.php?/topic/12956-the-thieving-magpies/

 

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Farrah Fawcett – 1947 to 2009 – Life Uncovered – Part 1

Farrah Fawcett was the first female actress/model/celebrity I ever fell in love with. Later in life as Farrah aged, I was horribly unfaithful to my idol with super model Alessandra Ambrosio.

But Farrah with always be, First, Last and Always.

I loved Farrah so much I decided to write a little series in her honor. I hope you enjoy it.

Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts came up with the idea for a series about three beautiful female private investigators as a breakthrough but also escapist television series. Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg first considered actress Kate Jackson during the early pre-production stages of the series. She had proven popular with viewers in another police television drama, The Rookies. Jackson was initially cast as Kelly Garrett, but was more attracted to the role of Sabrina Duncan, and her request to switch roles was granted. Farrah Fawcett was next cast as Jill Munroe, but much like Jackson, did not audition for a role. She was offered a part by Spelling after he had viewed her performance in the science-fiction film Logan’s Run (1976). Jaclyn Smith was among the hundreds of actresses who auditioned for the role of Kelly Garrett. Despite liking Smith, Spelling and Goldberg were wary about hiring her because their initial concept concerned a brunette, blonde, and red-headed woman. Smith was the only brunette that auditioned for the role and was cast only after producers liked the on-screen chemistry she shared with Jackson and Fawcett.

In 1976 I was 13 years old. Yea…puberty explosion! Charlie’s Angels comes on and of course I start watching it. I think it was the 2nd episode, it was called, Angels in Chains. That title stuck with me. The premise of that episode was that the Angels would have to go undercover and pose as inmates at a prison. I remember two scenes in particular. The first one was where all three girls are standing wrapped only in skimpy towels. The other being them trying to escape chained together. What I found most remarkable about Farrah was that it appeared she had nipples the size of pretzel bites and never wore a bra. So you had these three hot girls running around and wearing hot outfits and braless breasts were pouting and jiggling.

Who cares what the show is about. I’m 13 years old. All I want to do is watch the show by myself in a locked room, with a large box of tissues.

The show became known as “Jiggle TV” and “T&A TV” (or “Tits & Ass Television”) by critics who believed that the show had no intelligence or substance. These characterizations stemmed from the fact that the lead actresses frequently dressed scantily or provocatively as part of their undercover characters (including roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner, or just bikini-clad), and the belief that their clothing was a means of attracting viewers. Farrah Fawcett once attributed the show’s success to this fact: “When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”

Reflecting on the 1970’s female-driven drama, Cheryl Ladd believes the series was “inspirational” to women despite the critics calling it a “jiggle show.” She notes, “there hadn’t been a show like this on the air [with] three powerful women who had the latest hairdos, wore the coolest clothes and could walk around in a bikini. We were very inspirational to a lot of young women. Young women would write us and say, ‘I want to be like you. I want to be a cop when I grow up and taking chances to be something else other than the acceptable school teacher or secretary’. Charlie’s Angels was called “Jiggle TV”, she adds, “which made me laugh, I never went braless, and I was married and the mother of a 2-year-old. The ‘Angels’ were grown-up Girl Scouts. We never slept with anyone; my most “Aaron Spelling” moment was wrestling an alligator. With the feminist movement, we were kind of half-heroes, half-goats”.

Time magazine called Charlie’s Angels an “aesthetically ridiculous, commercially brilliant brainstorm surfing blithely atop the Zeitgeist’s seventh wave”.

Camille Paglia, an American academic and social critic, said that Charlie’s Angels was an “effervescent action-adventure showing smart, bold women working side by side in fruitful collaboration.”

So there’s two sides of what Charlie’s Angels was. I loved it. If I had the opportunity I would have watched it with the volume at zero and my stereo cranking Aerosmith. I’d ejaculate twice as fast!

I joined Farrah’s Official Fan Club. And over the years I collected posters and pictures of her. I dug out this old photo of me from back in 1982 in my apartment in L.A. That whole wall is Farrah. I even had buttons pinned to my guitar strap that were pictures of Farrah! Fanboy or a shrine to my queen? You be the judge!

(Now that I look at this pic, it may be the very first “Selfie” I have ever taken!)

With an old Kodak instamatic flash camera!

I think my parents were just happy I didn’t turn out gay. (Which they thought I was for years!)

 

 

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Tales of Rock – The Creator of Fender Guitars Couldn’t Play Guitar and Didn’t Like Rock Music

If the name Leo Fender doesn’t ring a bell for you, here are some others that might: Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Guitar-Playing Dude from the Chili Peppers. The one thing these men have in common, besides certain venereal diseases, is that they all favored Leo Fender’s guitars.

Fender’s influence on rock music is second only to that of cocaine: He didn’t invent the electric guitar, but most agree that he perfected it. And since the man lived until 1991, he got to hear all the awesome music his instruments helped create during the golden era of rock.

What He Was Really Like:

Leo Fender not only never learned to play the electric guitar, but wasn’t even a fan of rock ‘n’ roll. When he created his first electric guitars, he made them with country music stars in mind, because that kind of instrument was a staple in country music. The entire reason he went into the business was that he wanted to provide better instruments for the cowboy songs he loved so much.

Despite the fact that his entire business revolved around manufacturing and constantly improving guitars and amps, Fender never actually got around to learning how to play them and didn’t have any interest in doing so. He relied on actual musicians to help him with the design of the guitars, since he probably didn’t even know which way to pick them up. When Fender was testing an amp with a guitar, other people in the shop had to go in and tune the instrument when they couldn’t take the noise anymore. To Fender, it didn’t make much of a difference.

All of this makes Fender’s accomplishments even more impressive. His guitars aren’t preferred by so many famous rockers simply because they look cooler, but because they objectively are — his biggest achievement, the Fender Stratocaster, was noted for its clean sound and durability. According to songwriter Jonathan Richman, it was “everything your parents hated about rock ‘n’ roll.”

We should all learn something from Leo Fender. So you can’t drive? Try to invent a new car! You aren’t a licensed doctor? Come up with a new method of open heart surgery! Maybe you’ll get arrested … or maybe your name will become synonymous with the craft. It’s happened before.

Here’s a dude who knows to do with a Strat.

RIP, Stevie Ray.

 

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