California Dreamin’ -1982 to 1984 – Dariella – Into Darkness

Let me preface this by saying that I’m no prince charming, but even I have limits. I met Dariella one night after a show at Madam Wong’s West in Santa Monica, and she seemed interesting and metal. Naturally I wanted to see her again.

The First Date:

I found out she doesn’t drive, which isn’t a problem. I also found out that she lived down in Long Beach, not great, but I wanted to spend time with her so I took the drive to pick her up. When I arrived I also found out she lived with her parents, and was unemployed, again, see seemed great so I decided it wasn’t a big deal. We went to one of the local haunts to get some food and get to know one another better. That’s when I found out she was a part time Dom in a local dungeon. Okay to each their own, people have different tastes. Everything else during the date went smoothly. She was hot and exotic. The night ended and I drove her home.

The Second Date:

She wanted to go to this great bar that she knew about. I was all for it, something new. It turned out to be a really seedy dive bar. It was like something out of a movie. Everybody knew her, and she even had some family there. She proceeded to get wasted while I took in the sights and got to know the people. There was an old Hell’s Angel that told me about his youth, and how he was the king of the skating rink back in the day. I got to see a midget line dance to Copper Head Road. My date ran into a friend she’d met in county lockup. (Nice) All in all, it wasn’t too bad. I really enjoyed the place more than spending time with her though. She ran up a HUGE bar tab while we were there and expected me to pay which wasn’t really cool.

The Third Date:

Back to the bar! This time I brought the guys from the band and a few of my friends along. Everyone loved the place. Crazy group of people that looked like, rockers, punks, goths, hookers, bikers, and hippies. It was nuts. But things took an odd turn on the way to the van to drop off my date and her cousin. Her cousin stops and makes a comment about having just about the right amount of people for an orgy. My date replied that it wouldn’t be the first time. What did her cousin think she did at all those parties she went to? The level of crazy just went way up. Her cousin was smokin’ hot too, so we went back in the bar and put it to the group. Everybody was down, so off we went back to somebody’s house.

Sadly, phicklephilly is a dating blog, not a sex blog so I can’t go into all of the details of the orgy back at her cousin’s house. But it was insane and my first one!

Here’s and excerpt of a conversation I later had with my buddy, bassist, Frank.

Me: “That shit was crazy, right?”

Frank: “Fuck sake, mate. Remember the one I was with?”

Me: “Dariella’s hot cousin or that chick with that Bow Wow Wow Mohawk?”

Frank: “Mohawk.”

Me: “Okay.”

Frank: “After I gave it to her she said she’d been smoking meth with her boyfriend earlier that day.”

Me: “That’s fucked up.”

Frank: “And she said how she hoped she wasn’t pregnant!”

Me: “By you or her boyfriend?”

Frank: Fuck sake, I wore a sweater with her, thank fuck!” (condom) But that’s not the worst part.”

Me: “What?”

Frank: “She stole like $80 out of my wallet!”

Me: “I told you that chick was a hooker!”

 

Sadly, that was the last time I went out with Dariella. I think the band was all to weirded out by what had happened.

I miss that bar though.

 

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Tales of Rock – John “Bonzo” Bonham

1. John Henry Bonham was born in Worcestershire, England on 31 May1948.

2. He began teaching himself drums at age 5, making a primitive drum kit out of empty coffee containers, pots and pans, and other assorted kitchenware. He got his first real snare drum at age 10, and his first full kit at 15.

3. His early influences included big band jazz drummers like Gene KrupaJoe Morello and Buddy Rich.

4. By 16 he was playing in his first semi-professional band. While they were recording a demo, the sound engineer told Bonham that he played too loud and was unrecordable. Bonham later sent him a gold record with a snarky note saying, “Thanks for your advice.”

5. A middle school principal once wrote on Bonham’s report card, “He’ll either be a dustman or a millionaire.”

6. At 17 Bonham married Pat Phillips. A year later in 1966, they had their first child, Jason Bonham.

7. Money for the young family was extremely tight and they lived in a small, government-subsidized apartment. Nonetheless, Bonham would often pretend to go work in a factory while instead heading to a music store, where he performed drum demonstrations for a nominal fee.

8. He first played with Robert Plant in a group called The Crawling King Snakes; the band took their name from a John Lee Hooker song.

9. Other bands he played in included the Blue Star Trio, Gerry Levene & the Avengers, Terry Webb and the Spiders, The Nicky James Movement, The Senators, and Band of Joy. Oh, and also Led Zeppelin.

10. When Page and Plant began to form Led Zeppelin after the demise of the Yardbirds, other drummers they considered included Ginger Baker, Clem Cattini, Aynsley Dunbar and B.J. Wilson.

11. Bonham was at the time also considering offers from Joe Cocker and Chris Farlowe. Robert Plant and manager Peter Grant besieged the reluctant Bonham with dozens of telegrams sent to his favorite pub, until he finally agreed to join.

12. Led Zeppelin played their first live gig at the Mayfair Ballroom, in New Castle Upon Tyne, on 4 October 1968.

13. In November, they signed with Atlantic Records and scored an unprecedented $200,000 advance.

14. With his first check from Led Zeppelin, Bonham bought a Jaguar.

15. Led Zeppelin embarked on the first American tour only after the Jeff Beck Group cancelled theirs and Peter Grant convinced promoters to take Zeppelin instead.

16. The band made its American debut in Denver, Colorado, on 26 December 1968.

17. They opened for acts like Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, and Country Joe and the Fish.

18. Vanilla Fudge’s drummer, Carmine Appice, befriended Bonham and introduced him to double bass drum kits incorporating larger, 26-inch Ludwig bass drums (then only used in marching bands), which enabled Bonham to increase his volume onstage.

19. The band’s first album, Led Zeppelin, was recorded in only 36 hours. Released in early 1969 to generally poor reviews, it would nonetheless remain on the Billboard charts for 73 weeks and to date has reached sales in excess of 8 million in the United States alone.

20. Their second album, the imaginatively titled Led Zeppelin II, also released in 1969, has sold over 12 million copies and is widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential albums of all time.

21. This album featured the instrumental track “Moby Dick.” When performing it live, Bonham would solo anywhere from 6 minutes to half an hour, sometimes tossing his sticks to the audience and beating on his drums with his hands.

22. Led Zeppelin IV, released in 1971, sold 37 million copies worldwide. It features a song you might have heard called “Stairway to Heaven.”

23. Led Zeppelin’s excesses on tour were legendary. Bonham once drove a motorcycle – a gift for his 25th birthday – through the halls of the Continental Hyatt House Hotel in Los Angeles, where the band had rented out multiple floors for their entourage (both Keith Moon and Keith Richards reportedly dropped TVs out the windows of the same hotel, which acquired the nickname “The Riot House”).

24. Bonham suffered from stage fright and would often have panic attacks before the band took the stage.

25. In 1972 Bonham bought a 100-acre farm in England’s Midlands called Old Hyde. His father and younger brother helped restore it to a working Hereford cattle ranch and he would enter his calves in livestock competitions. In a bid to keep his home and work life separate, he didn’t even keep a drum kit on the property.

26. Bonham’s second child, daughter Zoe, was born in July 1975.

27. In 1976 he appeared in the film Son of Dracula, along with Ringo Star, Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson. The rock ‘n’ roll vampire movie was poorly received and remains unavailable on either VHS or DVD.

28. Bonham died at the age of 32 after asphyxiating on his own vomit following a drinking binge on 25 September 1980. Rather than carry on with a new drummer, Led Zeppelin disbanded.

29. The band did play a one-off, 2007 reunion show, with Jason Bonham taking his father’s seat behind the drum kit. Reunion tour rumors have arisen every year since.

30. Some quotes about Bonham and his legacy:

“The greatest rock-and-roll drummer of all-time was John Bonham.” – Roger Taylor of Queen

“He was the best.” – Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones

“To me, hands down John Bonham was the best rock drummer ever.” – Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers

“I think he will forever be the greatest drummer of all-time.” – Dave Grohl, of Foo Fighters and Nirvana

 

 

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Tales of Rock – 6 Famous Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think

Sometimes, the more you know about a song the less you enjoy it. You start out thinking the singer of some ballad totally identifies with your situation, then later find out most musicians are creepy sex maniacs, and boring at the same time.

With that in mind, here’s six popular songs that aren’t nearly as awesome once you find out what they actually mean.

6

Bryan Adams “Summer of ’69”

This annoying as all get out little ditty from Bryan Adams’ Reckless album has been a staple of wedding dances for over two decades now. And it’s no wonder, people love to reminisce on days gone by when life was simpler and anything seemed possible. But what exactly is Bryan Adams reminiscing about?

It seems straightforward enough. He bought a guitar, played it until his fingers bled, started a band, the band broke up because Bryan Adams blows, he met a chick, she didn’t realize he was going to grow up to be Bryan Adams so she made out with him. Those were the best days of his life, and ours, because we hadn’t heard that song from the Robin Hood soundtrack yet.

What It’s Actually About:

Some people speculate that Adams may be singing about, um, something else. Here’s a hint, complete this sentence … “Wine me, dine me, __ me.” Still not getting it? Fine, some people think he may be singing about oral sex. Just what we like to think about when it comes to Bryan Adams.

And as you’ll notice in a few of the songs on this list, the dirty, double meaning that sounds like it was thought up by a horny 12-year-old often turns out to be true. In an online interview, Adams said: “One thing people never got was that the song isn’t about the year 1969. It’s about making love, a la ’69!” A la ’69? What a dork. Then there’s the interview with the Binghampton Press & Sun Bulletin where Adams confirmed “the title comes from the idea of ’69 as a metaphor for sex,” confirming he has both a child’s sense of humor and understanding of metaphors. Anyway, coming from the source itself, that seems pretty convincing.

Jim Vallance, the song’s co-writer has said, “Bryan Adams is a great writer, a great singer, and a great friend. He’s entitled to his recollections as to what inspired the song ‘Summer Of ’69.’ My recollections just happen to be different than his.” So who’s telling the truth? As a default, we always choose not to believe the guy who claims Bryan Adams is a great writer. We’re pretty sure Adams himself wouldn’t even say that. There’s also the fact that Adams didn’t turn 10 until November of 1969, and we refuse to believe Bryan Adams was a cooler 9-year-old than us.

Unfortunately, pretty much every single sign points to “Summer of ’69” being another ill-fated attempt by Bryan Adams to be edgy, like that time he dressed like Kurt Cobain for a year or so back in the ’90s.

5

The Rolling Stones “Angie”

With the possible exception of “Wild Horses,” no Rolling Stones ballad is more beloved than “Angie.” The mournful lyrics speak clearly of the sadness of love lost, which is strange coming from a guy who tends to sing songs like “Under My Thumb,” where the lyrics suggest a relationship dynamic somewhere between groupie and sex slave.

But a popular rumor suggests that Mick may be singing about something far more disturbing than romantic heartbreak.

What It’s Actually About:

Some claim the “Angie” in the song is Angela, the now ex-wife of David Bowie. Lending credence to that claim is that the former Mrs. Bowie herself is one of the ones making that claim. According to her, after returning home from a trip, she walked into her bedroom to find Bowie and Jagger in bed together. While their thin white dukes weren’t in action at the time, they did just happen to be nude. And probably high, skinny to the point of borderline anorexia and, even in the post coital glow of dude-loving, far more attractive to most chicks than any of us ever will be.

Yes, the song you’ve probably dedicated to your ex-girlfriend is about the heartbreak someone else felt upon finding out you boned David Bowie.

While Jagger and Bowie understandably deny the incident ever happened, Bowie’s wife has for the most part stood by her story. Adding fuel to the fire, after she divorced Bowie she wrote a book and made a famous appearance on the Joan Rivers Show in which she reiterated her belief that Jagger and Bowie had indeed been having sex shortly before she walked in.

Now, Keith Richards does say he came up with the chord sequence and title a full year before the incident that allegedly inspired the song. It’s not known where Richards snorting his father’s ashes fits in that timeline, but it is widely speculated that Keith Richards’ perception of the time-space continuum is utterly fucked, even if he’s not just fudging it to protect Jagger’s reputation.

For the rest of us, there’s the simple fact that around the time he got caught by a woman named Angela in bed with David Bowie, Mick Jagger wrote a song about the haunting, sad eyes of a girl named Angie. And then there’s this picture, taken around that time.

4

Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight”

“In the Air Tonight” stands alone as Phil Collins’ sole flirtation with being awesome. With its spooky production and hammering drum patterns, the song pulled off the gargantuan feat of making television viewers believe Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson wearing pastel suits amidst mountains of cocaine was a plausible setting in which a crime other than forced sodomy could actually occur. It’s no wonder that a song with that much force behind it would have an equally powerful back story attached to it.

It varies wildly depending on who you’re talking to, but the most popular story behind the song, and the one awkwardly quoted by Eminem in the almost as popular “Stan,” goes like this: As a kid, Collins witnessed a tragic incident in which a man drowned as another man who could have helped stood by and did nothing. Later, presumably through some form of leprechaun magic, Phil tracked the no-good Samaritan down and arranged for him to be sitting in the front row of the concert where he debuted “In the Air Tonight,” singing the song directly to the man who sat uncomfortably under a spotlight. Were it not for that one Genesis video that starred a Ronald Reagan puppet, this would qualify as the creepiest moment of Phil Collins’ career.

Aaaaah!What It’s Actually About:

Not a damned thing. Some songwriters do try to tell a story with every song, but others (like, say, Phil Collins) tend to just pick out words that sound catchy when matched up with the music (like, say, “Sussudio”).

On the VH1 Classic series “Classic Albums,” Collins explained that he made up the lyrics to “In the Air Tonight” in the studio, based on what he felt was appropriate for the vibe of the song. Yes, after all that, it turns out the song literally has less coherent meaning than “My Humps.”

3

Tom Petty “American Girl”

“American Girl,” the first single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ debut album, features the kind of enigmatic lyrics that send fans into fits searching for meaning. Apparently, Tom Petty fans are a morose bunch. According to an extremely popular story, Petty wrote the song about a University of Florida student who jumped to her death from the balcony of her dorm room.

It’s an understandable conclusion if you take a look at some of the lyrics. Among the references that draw the attention of suicide song enthusiasts are “old 441” which is the name of the highway in Florida that runs past the dorm where the suicide allegedly occurred and “she stood alone, on the balcony” which is generally what people do shortly before hurling themselves off said balcony. Toss in the fact that Petty is from Gainesville where the University of Florida is located and what you have is one perfectly reasonable theory about the meaning of the song.

What It’s Actually About:

It’s not true at all. In the book “Conversations With Tom Petty,” the ugly-stick-beaten rocker set the story straight.

In his words, the story is an “urban legend” and was actually written while he was living in Encino, CA. The 441 in question refers to an expressway that ran outside the apartment he lived in at the time. And unlike the Jagger song, Petty has no reason whatsoever to lie since it pretty much makes the lyrics less cool than people want to believe they are.

But if it’s any consolation, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” is totally about weed.

2

Fleetwood Mac “Sara”

“Sara” remains a favorite among Fleetwood Mac fans despite rarely being played live. You might chalk that up to the crazy drum pattern a presumably coked-up Mick Fleetwood wrote to accompany the song, which Stevie Nicks composed entirely on piano. But what about the lyrics? After all, it would sound like an ordinary everyday love song, were it not for the song being written by a heterosexual woman to someone named Sara.

So what’s the deal?

What It’s Actually About:

Well, one ungodly depressing theory suggests the song is about Don Henley. And if the image of a naked Don Henley flopping his manhood around with Stevie Nicks isn’t enough, it gets worse.

Some have suggested the mysterious “Sara” in the song is a child Nicks was pregnant with that was aborted. Why would she abort the child? Did you miss the fact that the father was Don Henley?

“C’mere, I wanna give you a baby.”While Nicks never confirmed the rumor, in true stand-up guy fashion, Henley was more than happy to confirm that he believed the song to be about both him and the terminated pregnancy.

In particular, the lyric “when you build your house, call me home” seemed to have particular importance as Henley was in fact in the process of building a house. And according to Nicks, the original version of “Sara” was 18-minutes-long and featured several verses.

That’s got all the makings of someone sharing every detail of their personal life, ill-fated relationships with Don Henley included, and then realizing how bad an idea it was, and scaling it back. At this point, people writing about either musician pretty much take it for granted that the story’s true. Plus, 18 minutes is a lot of song to fill. For all we know, there was a verse or two about us in there

1

John Mellencamp “Our Country”

It’s a well known story that in 1984, Ronald Reagan’s campaign for reelection tried to use Bruce Springsteen’s blue collar protest anthem “Born in the USA” as a rallying cry. By now, most people understand that a song about a Vietnam Vet who ends up unemployed and in jail isn’t exactly an endorsement of trickle-down economics. What you might not know is that you probably made the exact same mistake as Reagan about the admittedly less awesome John Mellencamp song “Our Country.”

While there’s plenty of room for confusion in the lyrics, there is one thing most everyone can agree on. Those fucking Chevy commercials need to stop. Since approximately week three of the 2006 season, NFL fans nationwide have entered into each and every commercial break paralyzed by the fear that, at some point during the break in action, the words “The dream is still alive” will act as the harbinger that signals the beginning of the 30 least pleasurable seconds of their Sunday football watching experience. The least pleasurable, that is, until the whole experience is repeated 15 more times throughout the game. And the game after that.

It’s not surprising that Chevy chose the song. Thanks to the ultra patriotic verse from the ad, and the whiff of almost territorial nationalism in declaring the country OURS, you can’t help but think of a NASCAR infield full of flag-waving hillbillies.

What It’s Actually About:

If that’s what comes to mind, you don’t know shit about John Mellencamp. The problem is that the 450,000 times you’ve heard it, the song started at this verse:

“The dream is still alive

someday it will come true

and this country

it belongs to folks like me and you.”

Yep, sounds like a sentiment even Lou Dobbs could get behind. But anyone who thinks Mellencamp is going to start catering to the Toby Keith set ignores one important fact about the man. Springsteen wasn’t the only guy who spurned Reagan in ’84. Mellencamp also refused Ronald Reagan when he asked to use his blue collar anthem “Pink Houses” on the ’84 campaign trail. In fact, Mellencamp recently asked John McCain to stop playing “Our Country” at his rallies too. The verse we all know and hate from “Our Country” is actually the last verse. Now check out the verses that come before it.

“There’s room enough here

for science to live …

And poverty could be just another ugly thing

and bigotry would be seen only as obscene

and the ones who run this land

help the poor and common man

this is our country”

That’s right, our country is basically an idealistic American version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Of course Chevy chose not to include all that “end poverty, help the poor” business that reads like an endorsement of the welfare state.

We’re not sure whether or not to blame Mellencamp for letting Chevy take the song out of context. Maybe he was being subversive, letting them use the song for an ad campaign aimed at the people who would most hate its real message. If so then it’s being subversive in a way that makes him approximately three bajillion dollars in endorsement money. Which in itself is perhaps a meta-statement about the state of American popular culture as a means of protest. Or maybe he just really likes money.

 

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Tales of Rock: Insane Stories From Aerosmith’s Drug-Fueled Rise To The Top – Part 1

Just how much did Aerosmith embrace the sex and drugs typically associated with a rock-and-roll lifestyle? Well, if it’s any indication, enigmatic front man Steven Tyler estimates he blew through a whopping $20 million on drugs. Their drug use was so notorious that Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were labeled the “Toxic Twins.”

Most of Aerosmith’s stories of debauchery take place long before most people ever heard the now-legendary “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in the Armageddon soundtrack. The ’70s and ’80s were the band’s most hedonistic years, during which Tyler and Perry would swap women as wantonly as they would swap drugs. They even hired a roadie just to sneak cocaine under their noses during live shows.

Since their height of fame, Tyler appears to have come out on the other side and sticks to a strict 12-step program after numerous stints in rehab. That doesn’t erase the over-indulgent, mind-boggling toxic twins stories of Aerosmith’s past. Here are some of the craziest, most unbelievable shenanigans the band carried out in their nearly 50-year career.

Tyler Remembers Sharing Women ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Insane Stories From Aerosmith's Drug-Fueled Rise To The Top
Photo: daigooliva/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
Tyler Remembers Sharing Women – And STIs – With Perry

Aerosmith, like most rock bands of the ’70s, were known for the sheer amount of groupies they worked their way through during their chart-topping career. Even though there were certainly enough women to go around, sometimes the band members decided to share. This didn’t always go in their favor. In fact, after one group love-making session, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry woke up in the same bed only to find out later that everyone had developed an STD.

 

“I remember one night on the road when Joe and I were sharing a bed with two girls and woke up in the morning with a seafood blue plate special…” Tyler wrote in his memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? “Crabs for everybody!”

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Photo: ChrisGampat/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
Perry And Tyler Confirmed The Band Had A Roadie Whose Sole Job Was To Give Them Cocaine

The guys from Aerosmith were the kind of rock stars who didn’t wait until after the show to party. Both Joe Perry and Steven Tyler hired a roadie whose sole job was to give them bumps of cocaine during their set.

Joe [Perry] had vials of coke with straws in them at the back of the stage, and when the lights would go out he’d go over there like he was checking something or making a guitar change and [a roadie] would put the straw in his nose; he’d take a hit, then the lights would come on again,”

Tyler wrote in Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? Perry confirmed this fact to NME:

“Yep,” he said when asked if Tyler hired a roadie to give them coke on stage. “We’ve done everything… stuff happens man, and we’ve done it and managed to survive. We’re lucky.

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They Once Got Arrested And Narrowly Evaded Serious Jail Time By Ditching Their Drugs In The Police Station

Aerosmith’s drug habits were so notorious that it’s unsurprising they had a few run-ins with the law. One of the most nerve-wracking was when they got pulled over, arrested, and taken to the police station with drugs in their pockets.

 

Bassist Tom Hamilton recalled the incident. The band was driving around the New Jersey Turnpike in a rented van. Each of them had drugs in their pockets when they were pulled over by the police. After a search, the officer spotted a marijuana seed in the car. He handcuffed the five of them and hauled them off to jail.  They were handcuffed to a railing in their cell so they were a fair distance apart from each other. So how did they get out of it? A little bit of luck and a little quick-thinking.

 

“Brad actually had two bags of pot,” Hamilton told NME.

There was a room right adjacent to where we were handcuffed and there was an empty room, lights were off. Steven said “Gimme the pot, Gimme the pot,” and he just chucked two bags of pot into this room. Then we waited a while. Then a detective or somebody came down, flicked the lights on and said “Okay, time to fingerprint you guys.” So, we all went in one by one to get finger printed and everybody could see where the pot was, but the police didn’t.

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Photo: Baying At The Moon/Amazon
Angry Crew Members Used The Band’s Catering As Toilet Paper

Aerosmith band members were big stars with big personalities. No doubt their wild antics were a lot to handle – especially for the people in charge of making their shows run smoothly. Sometimes, the crew would get really angry and retaliate in the most disgusting of ways, or so Tyler remembers. Apparently, some scorned crew members would regularly wipe their butts with the bologna on Aerosmith’s catering tray and put it back for the band to consume like nothing ever happened.

 

“I found out years later (through a crew member confessional) that when the techs would get pissed off at the band, they’d wipe their ass with the bologna and put back on the deli tray,” Tyler wrote in Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?

SONGSThe Best Aerosmith Songs of All Timesee more Aerosmith lists
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Tales of Rock – In Search Of The Forgotten Heroes Of 70s Rock

Oh, I love this so much!

We all know about the 70s. The Beatles quit, glam came along — T.RexBowie, Slade; in the background, Floyd, Zeppelin and Sabbath sold squillions of records as 70s rock icons. Yes, ELP, Mike Oldfield and Genesis did prog for educated chaps. Then disco: ELO, ABBA and Queencompeted with it, then joined it. Punk rebelled, then came post-punk and Joy Division, plus 2-Tone. There was other stuff, like Bob Marley and Eagles. And we wore platform-heeled hot pants. Cool. Perhaps.

But are the 2010s only about Adele and Ed Sheeran? Beneath their mass appeal lies hundreds of other acts making great music. It was the same for 70s rock coulda-beens: brilliant bands rocked audiences of thousands, made fantastic albums, then faded. Fondly remembered by a troupe of diehards, these acts are almost ignored by the rock’n’roll historians — though many deserved to be lauded like their celebrated contemporaries. Here are but a few: remember them with love, or discover them afresh.

It wasn’t enough for Focus to boast a brilliant guitarist in Jan Akkerman; they had a wily way with a tune and succeeded with an unfashionable form of rock: instrumentals. Focus were The Netherlands’ leading 70s rock band. Formed in 1969, they won attention through early single ‘House Of The King’. The theme for four UK TV series(!), the unwary might have mistaken it for a Jethro Tull ditty thanks to the flute of Thijs Van Leer, though his group were very different. Their second album, 1971’s II, was Focus’ breakthrough, delivering an international hit in the fierce ‘Hocus Pocus’. Their third album delivered the elegant descending melody of ‘Sylvia’, winning further fans worldwide, with Akkerman drawing admiration. The guitarist left in 1976 but returned several times; Focus are still on the road.

 

Akkerman wasn’t alone: the 70s adored a guitar hero. Robin Trower, formerly of Procol Harum, was seen by some listeners as the heir to Jimi Hendrix. Trower formed his own power trio in 1973, teasing weeping and wailing from his Stratocaster over a series of fine records, and riding high in the album chart with Bridge Of Sighs in ’74 and For Earth Below in ’75 — chiefly in the US, rather than his native UK. Another notable guitar band were Wishbone Ash, though they went one further, with the double lead axes and vocals of Andy Powell and Ted Turner mesmerising fans. Pilgrimage (1971) and Argus (1972) were 70s rock classics, mixing melody, blues and a mythological element. Their ‘Blowin’ Free’ was banned from some guitar shops which grew sick of budding strummers playing its intro. Among them was Steve Harris, heartbeat of Iron Maiden, for whom the Ash was a major influence.

The second-division 70s rock bands were not remotely generic. Behind the sleeve artwork of famed designer Roger Dean, Osibisa played Afro-rock that mixed Ghanaian highlife, searing rock and Caribbean grooves; ignore their biggest hit, ‘Sunshine Day’, and check out their eponymous debut LP and its ’74 follow-up, Woyaya: both made loon pants rave. The Strawbs blended folk (Sandy Denny was an early member, as was Rick Wakeman) with rock, glam and social comment, hitting with ‘Part Of The Union’ and ‘Lay Down’ in 1972. The band were too diverse for its own good, though Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios (1970) and Grave New World (’72) were widely played and respected. And spare a thought for the Illinois singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes, a multi-tracking one-man-band given the tag of “the new Paul McCartney”. Gulp. His second, self-titled, album is so full of beautiful, melodic tunes, tending to the baroque, that it’s baffling that it only made №29 in the US in 1970. Talent? You bet.

 

The harmonious progressive rock of California quartet Ambrosia illuminated the second half of the 70s. Their imaginative eponymous debut (1975) adapted a Kurt Vonnegut poem for the single ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’, while ‘Holdin’ On To Yesterday’, an orchestrated beauty with the sort of beat now regarded as a downtempo groove, was a big US hit. The following year, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled sent FM DJs quietly wild; further fame came when the group cut ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ for the Beatles/war documentary oddity All This And World War II. Scoring warm soul-styled hits in the 80s, these alluring soft rockers are still touring.

The wonderful Atlanta Rhythm Section faced one drawback: their acronym was ARS. But they made it. No prizes for guessing where they’re from. They delivered five albums between 1972–76, with little fuss and low sales figures: that changed in 1977 when ‘So Into You’, a cool, steady-chugging chunk of soulful Southern rock, went Top 10 in the US, bringing their A Rock And Roll Alternative with it. The next year they scored again with ‘Imaginary Lover’ and the strolling ‘I’m Not Going To Let It Bother Me Tonight’, both from the platinum-selling Champagne Jam. Further hits came courtesy of ‘Do It Or Die’ and a revival of ‘Spooky’ — two members of the band had been in Classics IV, who’d first hit with the in ’67. ARS were a class act.

Want something that blends with them? Try ‘Jackie Blue’ (1974), the biggest hit by Missouri’s Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Mixing AOR with country-influenced sounds (check out the boogie of ‘If You Want To Get To Heaven’) and a sense of the absurd (their third LP was called The Car Over The Lake Album, and the sleeve showed just that), they were a reliably fine time on vinyl between 1973–80.

 

Staying in the south, Wet Willie were named after a schoolyard prank but were no joke. From Alabama, they boasted five or six core members, plus backing singers The Williettes, who included British solo star Elkie Brooks for a while. Their biggest hit was the laconic, steady-rollin’ ‘Keep On Smilin’’ in 1974, title track to their fourth album. For the full blast of their grittily funky rock, however, try the previous year’s superb live set, Drippin’ Wet. And let’s also recall Manassas, who cut two fine albums in 1972–73. And they would be fine, since they were the vision of a bona fide superstar, Steven Stills, and featured Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers amid an array of truly great players. The group’s self-titled debut offered four sides of glorious rootsy country-rock — and whatever else took their fancy. Everyone involved thought the band was amazing, so why weren’t they bigger? Perhaps because fans wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash, instead.

At the opposite end of the fame spectrum, British 70s rock band Brinsley Schwarz, named after their guitarist, were famously over-hyped when flown to NYC to open at the Fillmore East in front of a gaggle of music hacks, but settled into a low-key country-rock and roots vibe that was a cornerstone of London pub-rock. Building a loyal, if small, following, they toured constantly, supported the likes of Wings and Dave Edmunds, but disbanded unheralded in 1975, leaving us half a dozen albums such as the country-inclined Nervous On The Road. Most members went on to success, notably bassist and songwriter Nick Lowe, who produced The Damned and Elvis Costello, was part of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile, and wrote Dr Feelgood’s biggest hit, ‘Milk And Alcohol’. Another downbeat hero, Scottish guitarist Miller Anderson, breathed blues-fuelled fire into records by Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, Ian Hunter, Jon Lord and many more. His sole solo set of the 70s, Bright City, on Decca’s progressive Deram imprint, was ambitious, thoughtful and had a theme concerning 70s urban life, with brilliant orchestral arrangements. It sold… not at all. A dirty rotten shame, as Anderson’s under-exposed vocal talent deserved exposure.

 

Prog stars Camel, led by guitarist/flautist Andy Latimer and featuring keyboardist Peter Bardens, cut Camel for MCA in ’72, featuring the climactic gem ‘Never Let Go’. Swapping to Deram, Mirage found a following in the US, and 1975’s instrumental suite, The Snow Goose, became a surprise runaway success, despite a dispute with Paul Gallico, the author of the kids’ book of the same name, involving an unseemly mix-up about whether the band were related to the cigarette brand (they weren’t). The following year’s Moonmadness was another hit amid various line-up changes, and the group kept charting until 1984.

Another act who had to earn it, baby, were prog stalwarts Barclay James Harvest, a quartet who got through five albums without pestering the Top 40, finally scoring with Live, a double set that reflected a fanbase built on hard graft. LPs such as Everyone Is Everyone ElseOctoberonand Time Honoured Ghosts are classics of their type, with great songs such as ‘Mocking Bird’ and the wry ‘Poor Man’s Moody Blues’ undeservedly little heard today. Then there’s Gentle Giant, who grew (and grew) from the psychedelic-era act Simon Dupree & The Big Sound (and late-60s curiosity The Moles) into one of the most reliable progressive bands of the 70s. While they barely hit in their native UK, a decade of albums on Vertigo label and Chrysalis won a strong following in the US, with Free Hand going Top 50, and the likes of Octopusand The Power And The Glory proving fascinating those with ears to hear.

 

Finally, two more British 70s rock bands who, sadly, barely registered: Spring, a highly melodious five-piece whose charming self-titled 1971 album is mostly recognised for copious use of the Mellotron (without sounding remotely like The Moody Blues). What ought to be more noted, however, are the heartfelt and distinctive vocals of Pat Moran, who went on to produce Iggy Pop, among many others. And should you think T2 is just a movie, you haven’t heard It’ll All Work Out In Boomland, a legendary progressive album that should have made stars of the trio that recorded it. If you want to know where Neil Young and Bowie meet, hear T2’s singer-drummer Peter Dunton, and you’ll also enjoy the tough guitar stylings of Keith Cross. Despite BBC sessions and an 80s reunion, fame proved elusive for the group. 70s rock fans didn’t know how lucky they were.

This has been one of my favorite Tales of Rock to write. These are glorious songs from my past that were nearly forgotten, but I resurrect them here for you to witness!

Enjoy!

 

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Tales of Rock – Steven Adler’s Brother Reveals Why Guns N’ Roses Are ‘Greedy And Inhumane’

Original Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler’s brother Jamie has posted the following on a Guns N’ Roses Facebook group.

“This man right here is what you call a true survivor. He went all the way to the depths of hell and was able to make it back alive. When most died he lived. What an amazing story of redemption my brother has to tell. Salute to the greatest big brother/ grooviest drummer I’ve ever known. This man has a heart of gold. The biggest heart of anyone in his caliber. The most humble, loving, gracious person I’ve and anyone else who’s ever met him has known. If only Slash, Axl, and Duff had 10% of the heart this man had then maybe he would be on tour with GNR.

If those guys had an ounce of decency, compassion, love, care, and acceptance maybe they would have allowed my brother to play more then one song in Argentina after they flew him all the way out there and TEASED him to only play one song. ONE SONG ONLY!! The only thing the fans wanna see is Adler back behind the kit especially since the world knows Adler is no longer on drugs or alcohol. It took him longer to drive down the hill from his house to the bottom then he was allowed to perform on stage in Argentina. What kind of inhumane people would ever be that cruel to someone?? Greedy, selfish people only.

With out Steven Adler there would never have been GNR or the greatest rock album of all time. Adler did teach Slash his first guitar chord and gave him his first guitar. For all we know if Slash never met Adler he may have never even found the guitar. People forget to often where they come from. Let’s remind Slash right now how he picked up even being the greatest guitar player of our generation. Steven Adler handing you your first guitar. Facts!! Adler’s groove made that album what it is today. That’s why No other drummer since Adler has been able to duplicate that sound in GNR. It’s a gift from God not any drum lesson can teach you what he was born with.

They have no heart so that’s why he has to go out and do his own thing. He loves his fans so much and he wants to play for each and everyone of you. Do you actually think Steven Adler got sober and Changed his entire life style to sit around the house and do nothing? NOPE!! He did it, so he can finish what he started. My brother is stronger then ever and will show the world once again this May when he begins his world wide tour with his own band. You would think the guys in GNR would be overly proud that their once fallen brother has returned to health and happiness and would want to share their new found success with him this time around.

Well, my brother is alive and well so it’s never too late. I write this because I see a lot of fans making comments on why is Adler doing his own thing and not with GNR. Please ask GNR that Adler would love to be back on stage with GNR. That’s his dream. He’s never been healthier and more alive as you see in all his pics. For those who struggle with addiction and Life issues my brother is an example and inspiration that you can turn your life around and Live a life beyond your wildest imagination. If he can clean up then it proves anyone can. I send all my love and respect to all who read this and love it or those who may disagree with what I said. I felt it was necessary to get this off my chest. GNR is and always will be the greatest 5 piece Rock n Roll band of my generation. I’m just grateful I was a little part of it. My brother is alive and well today and I want the whole world to know this.”

 

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Tales of Rock – 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song

Everybody dies. That’s no secret. Even you, you’re going to die some day. Accept it. Once you accept it, write a bizarrely specific song that details how exactly you’re going to die, live up to your prediction and voila! You’ll be an entry in a Cracked article, just like these guys.

 

6

Richie Rich feat. Tupac – “Niggas Done Changed”

Let’s just get it out of the way: Nobody knows who the hell Richie Rich is. According to the lyrics of this song, he’s got a hand full of game. For all we know, that is still true. Maybe even a sack full of game by now. We don’t care. The real star of this tune, featured on the Seasoned Veteranalbum, is Tupac Shakur. His verse on “Niggas Done Changed” is the stuff that conspiracy theories are made of.

This probably isn’t the right one.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“I been shot and murdered, can tell you how it happened word for word, But best believe niggas gon’ get what they deserve.”

What Happened Next:

Pac was shot and murdered, just like he said. The shooting happened on the strip in Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight. Obviously, at a time like that not many people were around, so nobody saw the shooter and the case remains unsolved. Unsolved for most people anyway. Some others are convinced they know exactly what happened. Tupac faked his own death! The logic went as follows: Since Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli advocated faking one’s own death, and Tupac used Makaveli as a stage name, then he must still be alive. That’s shaky reasoning, even before you take into account that the real Machiavelli didn’t actually say much of anything about faking your own death.

If he was dead, could he do this?

But when “Niggas Done Changed” was released less than two months following Tupac’s death, the “Pac’s Still Alive” movement was off and running, and it hasn’t let up since. Group psychology experts contacted by Cracked attribute the movement’s seeming refusal to die (sorry) to the fact that Tupac Shakur has released at least seventy-three studio albums since his death and also to the fact that he’s totally alive, y’all.

 

5

Lynyrd Skynyrd – “That Smell”

Have you ever put a curse on somebody? Like if you came home and found that your roommate ate your leftover Chinese food and you got pissed and told them you hoped it gave them explosive diarrhea and then it actually did and you felt really bad because you didn’t realize your own powers? Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell” is kind of like that. Except substitute “diarrhea” with “horrible plane crash” (although with a title like “That Smell” it totally could have gone either way).

The song was written to express lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s disappointment with the lifestyle lead and rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington was leading, as his drug and alcohol problems had started to negatively affect the band. After a verse poking fun at a recent alcohol-fueled car accident Rossington had, Van Zant starts pouring on the ominous.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Say you’ll be alright come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you.” “Angel of darkness upon you.” “The smell of death surrounds you.”

What Happened Next:

On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of the now unfortunately titled Street Survivors, the plane Lynyrd Skynyrd was traveling in crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The line “the smell of death surrounds you” took on a whole new ugly meaning after Rossington survived but three bandmates, including Van Zant, perished. As if the song and the album title weren’t enough, thanks to the plane crash, Street Survivors now had, quite possibly, the most inappropriate album cover ever.

Yes, that’s the band and, yes, they are on fire. In the wake of the plane crash, original copies of the album were recalled and replaced with a cover image of the band standing against the completely non-depressing black background. Of course, the fire cover was restored for the deluxe CD reissue of the album in 2008. Like almost every other crime, there is a statute of limitations on bad taste. Apparently, it’s 30 years.

 

4

Jeff Buckley – “Dream Brother”

Jeff Buckley’s “Dream Brother” is said to have been written about a friend who was about to leave his girlfriend and child. In the song, he warns of the sadness to be had by following in the footsteps of Buckley’s father, Tim Buckley. The elder Buckley was a promising young musician who had his career cut short by an accidental heroin overdose. He also walked out on Jeff and his mother shortly after Jeff was born. It’s that last part Buckley is singing about, but he probably should have considered penning a few lines to himself regarding the “musician gone too soon” part. Or, did he?

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“The dark angel he is shuffling in.” “Don’t be like the one who left behind his name.” “Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over.”

What Happened Next:

We’ve never given relationship advice to a friend that involved any mention of a “dark angel shuffling in,” so we’re not sure how that first line would apply to a dude leaving his girlfriend, though we will concede that the second one fits. But the third? “Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over,” well, that’s just pretty fucking creepy. Less than three years after the release of “Dream Brother” Buckley died. By drowning. This leads us to an obvious question: “Hey, Jeff Buckley, how about taking your own advice?” We’re guessing the reply would be something like, “Hey, leave me alone you assholes, I’m dead.”

3

Hank Williams – “I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive”

Immediately, there’s nothing too shocking or particularly insightful about the title of this song. It’s obvious that everyone is going to die at some point. Most of those people, however, won’t crank out a comical tune about it right before they go. Released in 1952, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” was the last single Hank Williams released in his lifetime. The lyrics are your standard down-on-your-luck type of stuff. Troublesome, sure, but nothing life threatening going on. But still, there’s that chorus…

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“No matter how I struggle and strive. I’ll never get out of this world alive.”

What Happened Next:

After reportedly struggling and striving, Hank Williams barely made it out of the rest of the year alive. On the morning of January 1st, 1953, just months after the song was released, he was pronounced dead at the Oak Hill Hospital emergency room.

“Doctor, hurry, he’s struggling. And striving! Oh no…”

There is a myth that the song was actually #1 on the Billboard charts at the time of his death, but “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” actually didn’t reach the top spot until shortly afterhis death. Today, Hank Williams is hailed as an innovator in the field of record promotion for being the first to employ the “Die Young and Sell a Ton of Records” technique.

 

2

John Lennon – “Borrowed Time”

You may not know this, but most posthumously released songs are indeed recorded before the artist dies. Although “Borrowed Time” wasn’t released until four years after the death of John Lennon, it was actually the first song he recorded following a five year exile from the music business. The unnervingly upbeat tune wraps lyrics about the frailty of life around the type of instrumentation you would expect to hear during dinner on a Carnival cruise ship. It was inspired by a Final Destination-like escape from death Lennon pulled off while sailing to Bermuda through an intense storm. An experience like that would probably just inspire us to shit our pants and stop showering. Lennon, on the other hand, was inspired to start rocking again.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Living on borrowed time, without a thought for tomorrow”

What Happened Next:

John Lennon was sometimes criticized for not practicing what he preached. Like how he sang about imaging no possessions but lived in a million dollar apartment. You could argue that he totally lived up to the lyrics of “Borrowed Time,” but you’d be a fucking prick for doing so. We only mention that criticism because it was Mark David Chapman’s main beef with John Lennon.

Speaking of beef, holy shit, right? Mooo, right?

Chapman delicately handled this beef by shooting Lennon to death, about six months after the song was written. Hopefully, Lennon practiced what he preached this time and genuinely didn’thave a “thought for tomorrow,” because, unless that thought was “be dead,” he was guaranteed to be pretty disappointed.

 

1

Jimi Hendrix – “The Ballad of Jimi”

In 1965, before most people even knew who he was, Jimi Hendrix entered a New York recording studio and probably weirded out everybody in the room by cutting a new tune about how some dude named Jimi was going to be dead in five years. “The Ballad of Jimi” starts with a declaration from Hendrix that the song is dedicated to the memory of his best friend. That the friend’s name is a guitar player named Jimi is apparently to be chalked up to coincidence.

Hendrix further confuses matters with the line “that is my story” before ratcheting the creepiness up considerably.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Many things he would try, For he knew soon he’d die.” “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone. His memory still lives on.” “Five years, this he said. He’s not gone, he’s just dead.”

What Happened Next:

“I’m gonna go over there and die, now.”

Next, Jimi Hendrix suffocated in the most horrible way imaginable that doesn’t involve cock. He choked on his own vomit. Conveniently, for the purpose of this article, he died almost exactly five years after recording “The Ballad of Jimi.” “Five years, this he said. He’s not gone, he’s just dead.”

Disturbing as all fuck, isn’t it? Probably the only reason he didn’t get more specific than that was that nothing rhymes with “choked on vomit.”

 

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