Tales of Rock – Frank Zappa Attacked

The casino quickly caught fire and burned to the ground. All of Zappa’s equipment was lost, but he survived the fire. The event was the inspiration for the song Smoke on the Water by English rock band Deep Purple.

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Frank Zappa was an American musician that had a large impact on musical freedom. His father was Francesco Vincente Zappa who was an extremely intelligent chemist and mathematician who worked with the United States defense program. Zappa grew up near the Aberdeen Proving Ground and was regularly sick as child. He suffered from extreme asthma, earaches, and sinus problems caused by mustard gas exposure. Zappa’s upbringing gave him a negative stance on the use of chemical weapons. He often wrote references of germs, germ warfare, and the U.S. defense industry in his lyrics.

Frank Zappa was a great performer and his musical message was important, but deemed bizarre and strange by the media. His band’s debut album featured a song that asked Who Are the Brain Police? and in 1968 Zappa satirized the hippie culture as a motivation for money and profit. He was a charismatic personality and Zappa’s music was extremely popular in some European countries. He was also highly monitored by the U.S. government.

On December 4, 1971, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention were performing a concert at the Montreux Casino when a member of the audience decided to fire a flare gun into the rattan covered ceiling. The casino quickly caught fire and burned to the ground. All of Zappa’s equipment was lost, but he survived the fire. The event was the inspiration for the song Smoke on the Water by English rock band Deep Purple.

A week after the casino fire, Frank Zappa and The Mothers played at the Rainbow Theatre, London, with rented gear. During the encore of the show, an audience member rushed the stage and pushed Zappa into the concrete-floored orchestra pit. It was a long fall and Zappa was nearly killed. He suffered serious fractures, head trauma, and injuries to his back, legs, and neck. He crushed his larynx, which caused his voice to drop a third after healing. Zappa was lucky to survive the event and was forced to use a wheelchair for an extended period. The assailant was a man named Trevor Howell who told reporters that he believed Zappa was eying his girlfriend.

The two events had an emotional impact on Frank Zappa and he was concerned that someone was trying to murder him. After making a recovery, Zappa went on to have a successful career, but was regularly bashed by the U.S. media for his edgy lyrics. Frank Zappa is quoted: “What do you make of a society that is so primitive that it clings to the belief that certain words in its language are so powerful that they could corrupt you the moment you hear them?”

In 1990, Frank Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and the disease killed him in 1993. For some reason he was buried in an unmarked grave in Los Angeles. Many people have wondered why Zappa was not given a gravestone for identification. Some theories suggest a family request or evidence of mustard gas exposure Zappa experienced as a child.

 

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Tales of Rock – The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones Dies in his Swimming Pool

When Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool in 1969, he’d just been kicked out of the Stones as his drug consumption left him unable to contribute anything of musical value to the band.

There was a time when the Rolling Stones were the premiere rock band on drugs; they couldn’t even make it out of the ’60s without a member dying. When Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool in 1969, he’d just been kicked out of the Stones as his drug consumption left him unable to contribute anything of musical value to the band. Some believe he was murdered, but his autopsy noted his liver and heart were enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse and his altered state likely contributed to his drowning.

The other Stones pressed on, both musically and chemically. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been arrested and jailed in the 1960s for drug possession, and their excess continued as they became tax exiles and launched debauched arena tours in the 1970s. Richards in particular doubled down on his drug consumption; his descriptions of this period in his 2010 book Life read like an addict’s fetishistic bragging.

Even drummer Charlie Watts, long the most stable member of the Stones, started using heroin in the mid 1980s. Bassist Bill Wyman was more into girls than drugs and Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor entered and left the band relatively sober, but his replacement, Ron Wood, was a different story. By the time he joined the Stones he was an established rock star via his time in the Faces. In his forthcoming autobiography, Faces, lead singer Rod Stewart relays a story in which Wood showed him that he’d snorted enough cocaine to create a hole in his nasal septum.

 

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Tales of Rock – Zakk Wylde Accidentally Survived A Fatal Disease By Drinking All Of The Time

“Because you are shitfaced, all of the time.”

As a guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde isn’t a stranger to the world of wild partying, it’s fair to say. His last name is literally the word “wild” as spelled by a drunk person. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that this is the only reason he got into rock music.

However, after a monthlong bout of extreme illness finally forced him to see a doctor, Wylde discovered that he was suffering from a rare blood condition that caused his body to overproduce blood clots, which are things that can suddenly kill you at any moment without warning. Furthermore, he’d been suffering from the condition for several years. Wylde sagely asked how the hell he had managed to stay alive for so long with such a deadly affliction, to which the doctor responded, “Because you are shitfaced, all of the time.”

You see, the treatment for Wylde’s condition involves a course of strong blood thinners, which slow down the rate at which blood clots develop. You know what else thins the blood? Alcohol. Zakk Wylde’s years of being heroically wasted saved his life, although nowadays he’s banned from booze and restricted to taking standard medicine, which we feel is a little unfair to the booze.

 

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Tales of Rock – Badfinger

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists.

Possibly the most heartbreaking story in rock and roll happens to have happened to one of the best bands in its history.

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists. After supporting major outfits including The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and the Who, the band — then named the Iveys — was picked up by manager Bill Collins in 1966. It was a move that would help them reach early stardom and contribute heavily to their downfall. Ray Davies of the Kinks recorded three early demos, which Collins managed to get to Apple Records; Badfinger signed with Apple in 1968, making them the first band that wasn’t the Beatles on the label. After a lineup and name change to Badfinger, Paul McCartney penned their first hit, the timeless power pop classic “Come and Get It.” (Written for the soundtrack of The Magic Christian, a loopy, cameo-filled British comedy starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers that’s worth watching for the sheer absurdity of it all.) The song became an international hit. The band’s two primary songwriters, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, also wrote “Without You,” a standard since covered by more than 180 artists, including Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and, perhaps most famously, Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

George Harrison had them play on his 1970 album All Things Must Pass and featured them as part of his backing band at The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. The point is, Badfinger should’ve been rolling in dough, their names solidified among rock’s most important acts. But taking manager Collins’s advice, the band trusted their money to an American businessman named Stan Polley who absconded with their funds, leaving the band in contractual binds that made it virtually impossible to continue on their own.

Lead singer Ham — by all accounts, an incredibly sensitive, sweet man who believed to the very end in Polley’s honesty despite all indications otherwise — hanged himself shortly thereafter. (Polley, in a move that even most scumbags would be disgusted by, tried to cash in on Ham’s life insurance.) Inconsolable and unable to restart his own career in music, Tom Evans — who reportedly said numerous times over the ensuing years that he wanted to be “where [Pete] is” — also hanged himself eight years later. Badfinger finally got a sliver of the rediscovery they deserve when their 1972 song “Baby Blue” was used in the series finale of Breaking Bad. The nod helped the song’s Spotify streams jump an astounding 9,000 percent in the hours after the show ended, and to sell 5,000 copies of the single on iTunes in a single night.

 

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Tales of Rock – Red Hot Chili Peppers Lose Two Guitarists in a Row to Heroin

You can’t stop rock and roll…

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drug story is uniquely repetitive. It basically goes like this: Their guitarist has an adverse reaction to success, gets addicted to heroin and disappears—they’ve been through this twice. First, in 1988, after releasing their third album, the band’s first to hit the Billboard chart, Peppers’ lead singer Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Hillel Slovak had developed serious drug addictions. Slovak died from this in June 1988 and Kiedis was too gone to attend his funeral. RHCP regrouped, but drummer Jack Irons quit, saying he couldn’t handle the level of tragedy surrounding the band.

The band eventually replaced Irons with Chad Smith and Slovak with guitarist John Frusciante, and went on to record and release the most successful albums of its career; Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The latter album spawned four huge singles and launched the band on the charts, radio, MTV, television appearances and stadium tours. Frusciante wasn’t comfortable with this level of success and said so, and began behaving and even playing erratically. He and Kiedis stopped speaking, and he quit the band while touring Japan in 1993.

The Peppers, meanwhile, moved on; the Spinal Tap-esque nature of the band’s guitar slot continued as it played Lollapalooza with one guitarist, fired him and hired another, fired him and finally recruited Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro to play Woodstock ’94 and record an album. Navarro left the band because, as he later joked to Kurt Loder, “I don’t make funny faces.” Surprisingly, Frusciante, newly and firmly sober, returned for three more albums with the band before departing again. As usual, RHCP got a new guitarist and kept at it.

 

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Tales of Rock – Jim Morrison in Concert

“You’re all a bunch of idiots. What are you gonna do about it?” Then he said: “Let’s see a little skin, let’s get naked.”

Jim Morrison was one of the most charismatic singers in the history of rock music. He was a smart man and had a genius-level I.Q. of 149. Morrison was a great poet and was known for using spoken word poetry passages during his live performances. Jim would sing and then talk with the crowd. He was a social rebel that suffered from severe drug and alcohol abuse.

Morrison had the ability to spark riots and shifted the behavior of a crowd with his intense emotional sound. For this reason, Jim became a target for music censorship and was closely monitored by the U.S. government. He was accompanied by police on stage during many venues.

Jim Morrison was known for making wild and outrageous remarks during shows. One of the most infamous cases occurred on December 9, 1967, while The Doors performed at the New Haven Arena in Connecticut. During the concert Morrison was arrested by local police and became the first rock star to be taken off stage during a live performance. On the day in question, Morrison was discovered kissing a fan in the shower before the concert. A police officer found the couple and told them to separate, so Morrison responded “Eat it.” The policeman warned Morrison with mace saying “Last chance” to which he replied, “Last chance to eat it.” In response, the officer sprayed Jim Morrison in the face with the mace.

The New Haven concert was delayed for an hour so Jim could recover, but the event made him extremely angry. During The Doors first set Morrison suddenly broke into an obscenity-laced tirade to the audience and explained what had happened backstage. He verbally abused the New Haven police, so they arrested him. After Morrison was taken off stage the crowd began to riot. The violence spilled from the gates of the New Haven Arena into the streets.

Over the next couple years the behavior of Jim Morrison became more erratic and unpredictable. On March 1, 1969, The Doors gave their most controversial performance at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. During the show Morrison began to preach messages of peace and hate. He taunted the crowd by screaming “You’re all a bunch of idiots. What are you gonna do about it?” Then he said: “Let’s see a little skin, let’s get naked.” In response, people began to take off their clothing, including Morrison. Jim was later convicted of indecent exposure. He turned down a plea bargain from the Miami police who agreed to drop the charges if The Doors performed a free concert.

The Doors gave there last public performance with Jim Morrison at The Warehouse in New Orleans on December 12, 1970. During the show, Morrison experienced a breakdown on stage and slammed the microphone numerous times into the floor until the platform beneath was destroyed. He then sat down on the ground and refused to perform for the remainder of the show. The event caused The Doors to end their live acts, citing their mutual agreement that Morrison was ready to retire from performing.

Morrison joined his then girlfriend Pamela Courson in Paris in March 1971, at an apartment he had rented on the rue Beautreillis (in the 4th arrondissement of Paris on the Right Bank). In letters he described going for long walks through the city, alone. During this time, he shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months. He died on July 3, 1971 at age 27. He was found by Courson in a bathtub at his apartment. The official cause of death was listed as heart failure,although no autopsy was performed, as it was not required by French law.

 

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Tales of Rock: Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave Frontman, Dies at 52

So sad…

I was going to publish a piece today about Sly Stone ending up living in a van.

But not now.

Wednesday I was home, writing the epilogue of another lost girlfriend, and listening to Soundgarden and the solo work of Chris Cornell. I never do that. I was actually listening to Badmotorfinger, the full album on You Tube, while I wrote my blog. The irony has struck me hard, and I am still trying to understand what is happening. I love the song “You Know My Name” from the James Bond film, Casino Royale. I always think of it as my theme song.

I woke up Thursday to a text from my buddy, Church that Chris had passed. I was shocked and saddened. It comes with a heavy heart that I publish today’s blog.

Chris Cornell, the powerful, dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, has died at 52.

The death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has been ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit. The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed. There is no additional information at this time.”

Spokesman Brian Bumbery told the Associated Press that Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit’s Fox Theatre with the reunited Soundgarden, the band he’d fronted for over 30 years

Dontae Freeman, media relations manager for the Detroit Police Department, later told the newspaper, “He was found in his room with a band around his neck, but (the report) doesn’t say if it was attempted suicide or not.”

Cornell had appeared to be in good spirits Wednesday when he tweeted, “Finally back to Rock City” before the show. However, Freeman noted that the singer’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell after the show later that evening. The friend forced open his hotel room door and found Cornell unresponsive on the bathroom floor.

Bumbery called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family are in shock. The statement said the family would be working closely with the Wayne County medical examiner to determine the cause and have asked for privacy.

Chris was born in 1964 in Seattle and helped form Soundgarden 20 years later. Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” came a year later.

“Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from the swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll. Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.”

The group — which includes the guitarist Kim Thayil, the bassist Ben Shepherd and the drummer Matt Cameron — disbanded in 1997, but it reunited in 2010 and performed regularly since then. In a review of a 2011 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, The New York Times chief pop critic Jon Pareles called Soundgarden “one reunited band that can pick up right where it left off.” In 2012, it released “King Animal,” its first album in 16 years, which Mr. Pareles said “sounds like four musicians live in a room, making music that clenches and unclenches like a fist.”

The group played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and it had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.

Chris appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account on Wednesday announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page hours before his death.

Chris had admitted in interviews to struggling with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13,” who had quit by the time he turned 14.

After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, he told The Guardian in a 2009 interview, describing himself as a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin, and saying that he had gone to rehab.

Chris released five solo albums during and after his time with Soundgarden, starting with the 1999 LP “Euphoria Morning.” His 2007 album “Carry On” featured an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that served as the inspiration for a well-received version of the song on “American Idol.” He contributed the song “Seasons” to the soundtrack of “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene, and performed alongside other members of Soundgarden in the film.

In 2001, after Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, left the group, Mr. Cornell and members of the band formed Audioslave. The group released three albums before announcing its split in 2007.

In November 2016, Chris hit the road for the first time with another supergroup of sorts, Temple of the Dog, which features a blend of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The group was formed a quarter-century ago as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose.

Speaking to The New York Times, Chris said the group had decided to finally bring its songs to life to honor Mr. Wood. “I thought, well, this is one thing that I can do to remind myself and maybe other people of who this guy is and was and keep his story and in a way his life with us,” he said.

Incidentally, in a final footnote, I just learned that Chris was taking Antivan for depression. Two of the side effects of that drug can be “More Depression” and “Suicidal Thoughts.”

And in a final grim note, the final song of the show he played in Detroit that night. The final song Chris would ever play, was Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”

Thanks to everyone for following phicklephilly right up to my 100th blog post. It just sucks that it had to be about this. The Cornell family are in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9am EST.