Tales of Rock – Pattie Boyd

I loved writing this post!

Precious few of us will know what it’s like to hear a hit song on the radio and be able to say, “That’s about me!” If we do, we can only hope it’s not on a Beyonce track called “Uber Driver Smelled Like Piss.”

Even fewer of us will ever know what it’s like to have a former lover pen a top-40 song about our time together. Yet, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, such people walking the earth right now. These are the anonymous men who wish they had a platform to rebut Taylor Swift or Adele, or the unknown woman who tried to tell The Weeknd that he was probably having a stroke. It has to be flattering regardless of how you’re portrayed — whether your track falls into the “Your Body Is A Wonderland” or “You Oughta Know” category, at least you know you made an impression.

But within that select group is an even more elite subset of people who’ve gotten around enough that they became the subject of multiple hit songs, from different artists. This is the story of one such woman who inspired at least three of the most iconic love songs ever and is the subject of at least five songs overall (that we know of!). These tunes combined to sell tens of millions of copies and spawned dozens of covers — she is literally one of the most sung-about humans in the history of the species, and her name is Pattie Boyd.

Let’s start with “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, one of the most romantic songs ever.

It appears in shows and movies like Miami Vice, Friends, Captain Phillips, The Story of Us, and countless crappy Idol type shows. Every time it’s in a soundtrack, it’s to signal the deep infatuation between two characters. A more historically accurate use, however, would be signaling the love between a character and someone else’s wife.

See, Clapton wrote the song in the late ’70s for Boyd, his then-girlfriend. Reportedly, he was waiting for her to get dressed one night and instead of complaining that she should have started getting ready 30 minutes ago, he just wrote a classic song.

This was not a new occurrence for her, though, and her romantic history with famous songwriters was a long and tumultuous one. Years earlier, in 1968, George Harrison of the Beatles had written the song “Something” for his then-wife … also Pattie Boyd:

That’s “Something” as in “Something in the way she moves … ” aka, another of the most romantic songs in history. Harrison later changed his story and denied the song was for Boyd, but you would, too, after what happened next.

See, Harrison and Clapton were good friends at the time, which is why it was awkward when Clapton fell madly in love with Harrison’s wife. He even wrote a song for her. No, not “Wonderful Tonight,” this was still years earlier — we’re talking about “Layla,” the epic seven-minute rocker that, thanks to Goodfellas, you can’t hear without picturing dead mobsters in a ditch somewhere.

So, that’s another one of the greatest love songs ever. Upon hearing it, Boyd … didn’t care much for it, apparently, because she didn’t respond to Clapton’s advances, sending him into a four-year heroin binge. Admit it: How many of you out there are now sad that you never got the chance to know this woman?

It was only after that, when her marriage to Harrison had completely fallen apart, that she finally hooked up with Clapton. But wait, there’s more! According to Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, he and Harrison slept with each other’s wives in the ’70s and Wood wrote the songs “Mystifies Me” …

And “Breathe on me” about Boyd as well.

 

Look, let’s just assume every love song is about Pattie Boyd unless you hear otherwise.

 

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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1980 – Morey’s Pier

That photo above is of me rocking out on Morey’s Pier. You can see in the background my ex-girlfriend Lola wearing a shirt that reads: And on the eighth day God created Union Jacks.

Somehow we got a gig playing on Morey’s Pier. That’s the best amusement pier in Wildwood, New Jersey.

I remember the morning of the gig the band converged on the boardwalk with all of our gear.

We set up our stage in front of one of the amusement rides and went to Sam’s Pizza to get something to eat.

Back then I had terrible anxiety and it was hard for me to imagine eating before a gig, or anything for that matter.

I got a slice and a coke and laughed it up with the boys in the band.

This was going to be a watershed moment in our bands short history.

We went under the boardwalk to get ready and have a chat before the show.

I stayed behind telling the guys I’d be right up and ready to play after I took a piss.

I stood in the soft sand under the best amusement pier on the island. This was going to an amazing show. It was still early and the sea air was sweet and it was cool in the shadows beneath the pier.

I proceeded to throw up because I was so afraid.

I pulled myself together after several minutes and headed up the ramp to the sunny pier.

People were starting to fill the pier.

We needed to go on. The day was beginning.

I pulled my Ibanez Iceman from its case and put her on.

I never felt like I was anything until I put that guitar on.

I plug into my Marshall and we all tune up. I have to tune Mark the bass player’s bass because he’s tone-deaf. Can you imagine that? A kid whose parents are wealthy enough to pay for their music loving son great equipment who wants to be in a band and doesn’t have the physical chops to actually e a musician.

I need to get the fuck out of this band.

I love Jim, and he is a good musician and all but he’s into Lynyrd Skynrd and Clapton. I want to play music like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I no longer feel like I belong in this band anymore.

We blaze through our set and it’s a beautiful day. I’m surrounded by pretty girls (There they are in front of me!) and doing the one thing I love the most in the world. It’s the beginning of the summer and I couldn’t be happier.

When you have anxiety and get sick, you’re not really ill. You’re just frightened. You vomit because you’re so terrified to have to do the impending deed, you become physically ill. But once you vomit, you actually feel better because you know you can’t puke onstage now. (Pat Benetar and Barbra Streisand have the very same thing)

The show was great and we killed it. I had my Marshall amp on 6 and the show was loud. The crowd loved our set. My mother later told me that she was sitting on the porch of our house at 8th street and could hear me playing the opening riff to the song “Satisfaction” .

Let’s do the math here. That’s 18 blocks away. My mom heard my Marshal roaring from 18 blocks away. That’s some loud rock n’ roll man!

It was an amazing show and everybody loved us and I was pelted with phone numbers as usual.

 

But it would be bittersweet.

 

That was our final show as a band. The summer was upon us and we all worked our jobs during the busy season. During that time Mark had lost all the weight and fell in love with the band The Cure. The eighties were rapidly approaching and Mark wanted a change.

He told us that we could no longer practice at his families restaurant and he was quitting the band.

He wanted to pursue the new wave music that was coming at the turn of the decade. I got it. He was always a weak member but I liked the guy. But without a place to practice, the band fell apart.

I remember my father seeing this picture of me and my best friend Jim and saying :”What are these guys on?” 

We never took drugs and rarely drank even beer. I love this pic. Jim and i shared a passion for music, depression, isolation and a love of playing rock and roll.

I hardly talk to him now but know if I showed up at his house we’d be right back where we were as teenagers and have a laugh, a drink and a meal.

He’s a gifted hard-working artist and I will never forget him.

To me it looks like a pic of a couple of good-looking young rock stars.

And I’ll tell you this… I  get my energy from people. I don’t need coffee or cigarettes anymore. When I played on stage with Jim, I got my energy from him.

I would look to my left and he was always there. My best friend. I knew we were in sync as musicians because we were such good friends.

Thank you, Jim. I love you.

 

The Union Jacks were a defining moment in my music career and I will never forget the time I had with these guys making music and trying to figure out our lives a long time ago.

 

Once we all realized the band was dead we all needed to figure out what we were going to do.

Jim, was going to be a sophomore in Wildwood School. (He later married an older woman whose dad was a doctor and he started an Art Institute in the Poconos that still thrives today. Jim is an artist and entrepreneur.

Mark was going to become Robert Smith in the Cure. (He later was in a band called The Flesh Lords that were an absolute piece of shit)

I never found out what happened out what happened to Brian. I later found out he was gay and hopefully he is happy doing whatever he’s doing. What a spectacular drummer and singer!

 

Me? Graduated high school and no longer in a band. My father said “You’re either going in the military of getting a job.”

Really dude?

You rip me from my life in Philly and my band and drop me off here because of your fucking life?  So Janice can go to college and fuck my life because I’m a shitty student and I don’t matter?

I’m getting second honors at Wildwood High you cunt. I’m an art major and people love my work. You can’t crush this artist. I’m out of here.

Why would you drop me off in the hell you came from your childhood? the resort town you were forced to live in because your parents got divorced when nobody did that?

You asshole.

I love you for all that you’ve done but you’re still an asshole.

 

Fuck this.

Fuck you.

 

I know I’m not good enough and a disappointment and a sad dark refection of you. (I know you’ve told me who you are… almost proudly)

You can’t make a good son because he’ll be too much like you.

Don’t worry I know you. You’ll never admit that. You have three great daughters to justify your existence.

Whats one son?

You always have your grandson for a do over.

See ya.

 

“I’m going to California to play rock.”

 

 

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Wildwood Daze – I Need a Moment

Readers…. I need a moment to conclude the story of my time in Wildwood, NJ. It was an incredible time and left such an indelible mark on me. I just need a moment to tell the story of me from Wildwood correctly.

It’s been a busy year with many changes. All good! But I want to lay out the final chapters of this story properly.

My time at the shore in 1980 were so amazing I need to step back and take time to write them.

I have spent so much time getting content ready for 2019, that I’m struggling to get this last story out.

I appreciate your patience and will do my very best over the next couple of weeks to pull this tale together.

Summer 1980 was so amazing I don’t even know if I can capture it properly. but I’ll try.

Please enjoy my usual content until I can move through this little block.

I assure you I have a story to tell and it is rich. But there is so much here I’m just trying to gather all of these feelings together.

Thank you for your patience.

 

Once I break through this block, I’ll write the rest of the Union Jacks series and then we’re off to California!

UPDATE: Writer’s block broken. I wrote one final piece last night. If there are any more stories to be told about the Union Jacks and Wildwood in general, I’ll feature them in the future. Maybe like a flashback to the Wildwood Daze. Like a nostalgia piece.

I need to move forward with my writing trajectory for 2019 and I don’t want anything impeding the creative proccess.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Tales of Rock – David Lee Roth Paid His Road Crew $100 For Every Woman They Brought Him Backstage

I used this picture because that’s when David was hot and he’s not running his mouth!

I’ve already written about the sex tents that Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar had installed wherever he performed so that he could disappear mid-solo and indulge himself in a groupie or nine. But that’s not the only way Van Halen was entrepreneurial with their young fans. Let’s take a minute and discuss how original frontman David Lee Roth amused his roadies by sending them out on groupie scavenger hunts.

From his lofty position on the stage, Roth would instruct his roadies to dive into the crowd and collect very specific girls for him to have sex with. The lucky girl would be given a special backstage pass with the initials of the roadie who approached her written in the top corner. If that pass was then among the ones strewn on his floor the next morning, Roth would reward the roadie with a $100 bonus at breakfast the next morning, because exchanging money for sex works up an appetite.

But that’s not where Roth’s impressive management methods ended. Once he’d chosen his girls/targets, he would often inform the crew that once all of the equipment was packed into the trucks, they were free to pick up the leftover groupies. And while it must have been unpleasant for the hotties who flocked backstage to get the runner-up prize of being felt up by a mustard-stained teamster, using women as currency did cut pack-up times in half.

Seeing that so much of his backstage dealings revolved around Roth banging groupies, it makes sense that he insured his wang. After all, if something ever happened to it, the backstage work would have ground to a halt. But everywhere else, women would rejoice at no longer being herded into Roth’s fuck pen by his sound-checking border collies, and men would rejoice for never having to hear “Jump” again.

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Marilyn Manson Has Too Many Sex Rules

Marilyn Manson might be the wildest rocker in the business. Looking like Jared Leto having a psychotic break during the filming of Suicide Squad 2 and acting like an Ozzy Osbourne who can remember how to be metal, you can only imagine how the sex is, right? Very bureaucratic, it turns out.

Manson likes his rules, particularly when they concern boning, or “splicing the Cthulhu with two backs.” If you want to get down to goth business with him, for instance, the lights have to be off. Not because he thrives in darkness and shit, mind, but because he’s really shy.

It’s hard for Manson to concentrate, which is why he also only has sex while keeping his underwear around his ankles, in case he needs to flee the room. Makes sense, it’s really hard to find black silk in total darkness.

Manson’s peccadillos wouldn’t be such an issue for his queens of the dead if they didn’t come up so frequently. The minimum number of times per day he has to engage in “sexual congress” is five, with ten being the ideal goal. So imagine having to punch in five times a day, waiting for Manson to squeeze out of seven layers of latex, and then stumbling around in the dark, knowing that if you accidentally make his underoos slip off, the whole carnival starts all over again. Add an antique abortionist chair covered with a bear rug, which is Manson’s favorite sex surface, and now you know what it’s like making love to the goth supreme: like trying to play an Edgar Allan Poe board game with a 100-page rulebook and a separate pamphlet full of footnotes.

 

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Wildwood Daze – Dirty John – Part 2

Living at the shore always brings you to the beach. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. If you live in a city you go meet up in a park or a bar. If you live at the shore when the shit hits the fan, you head to the beach.

I go home covered in puke and my mom is cool with the rock and roll lifestyle.

“Is Jim okay?” My mom was totally fine with my best friend/lead guitarist blowing chunks all over me.

I’m in a working rock and roll band, and we have had a an incident with our youngest underage member.

“I think he’ll be fine.”

“Let’s get your clothes into the washer.”

I loved that my mom was always on board to dispose of the evidence.

But I just loved that mom was ready TO make it all go away.

 

I hadn’t heard from Jim and prayed he was still alive

It was a real growing step in this new band and I was fearful about what could happen to us going forward.

I knew in that moment I would need to form a new band with Jim and we would have to go to LA but he liked music that wasn’t so so furious so I would miss my friend.

As much as I loved Jim and the band, I knew I needed to go to LA an create something new.

But I’ll hang here because I love you.

 

A day passed and I spend the day worried about my friend.

There were was no email or text social media back then. You either get a call or somebody shows up at your door.

I get a call on my land line from Jim.

It was 7pm.

24 hours after my best friend had lost his shit.

 

“What happened last night?”

“Lets meet up and I’ll tell you the full story.”

We meet up and Jim seems fine. He’s just young, and confused. Nothing like this has ever happened to him, and that has to be jarring.

Your first blackout can be frightening. I’ve been there many times and it never gets any easier. I never let it happen anymore. I totally manage my shit now.

 

I meet up with Jim and we go to the beach.

Living at the shore always brings you to the beach. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. If you live in a city you go meet up in a park or a bar. If you live at the shore when the shit hits the fan, you head to the beach. There’s just something about the power of the sea and it’s timeless intimidating beauty.

It was night and off-season, and Jim and I were no strangers to wandering through this resort/retirement island community in the off season.

There was a beauty to Wildwood that no one knew that belonged to us. The natives.

As fucked as we were as teenagers in a resort community that didn’t own hotels and boardwalk stuff. We found our way.

Instead of falling into the usual drugs and teen pregnant rich kid boredom we had our band. We were going to break out of what everybody else was in this town. Usually rich kids from prosperous seasonal business owners. We were just regular dudes. Jim and I were tight.

I will be grateful my entire for life for meeting Jim. He is a wonderful man and father and husband. I just really dig him and wish I could see him more. Because we actually share something unseen that is really special and belongs to only us.

I miss him.

Wildwood in the off-season is quiet and dark.

If you live in a place that is away from city lights, you’ll understand what the sky looks like when you look upon it in a rural or remote area.

City light drown out the sky, and I live in Philly and I’ve seen all the skies I need to see, but let me describe what a night sky looks like when you’re away from city lights.

I was on the beach in Wildwood with my father one night. We were fishing.

He said, “Look at the sky, son.”

I of course did as he said.

“What do you see?”

“I see more stars than I’ve ever seen.”

“You can’t see that in Philly.”

“It’s beautiful.”

Then my dad said this…

“It’s like a thousand diamonds scattered on a velvet pillow.”

I loved him so much in that moment.

The beautiful, charming, elegant being he had become through all of his pain and suffering to raise me an my sisters into who we are today.

 

These thoughts fill my mind as I meet my best friend I’m glad isn’t dead like Bon Scott on the beach that evening.

There were umbrella stands on each block of the beach. They were these wooden boxes on legs that were used to store umbrella rentals during the summer, but were empty during the off-season.

Jim and I meet up and head to the beach.

I’m so happy to see him and I’m so happy he survived. I was so scared after the Dirty John incident and I know Jim hates when I tell the story, I was genuinely grateful he was okay. I love Jim and it was the first time I thought we’d have a rock and roll tragedy on my watch. I couldn’t lose him and I was scared the whole time.

We walked together along the shoreline.

People come to the shore and do their thing every summer and enjoy the beach. But what people forget is the mystery of how all life rose from the sea.

As my only friend and I walk along the shoreline, every step we take lights up around our feet.

There are iridescent animals that react to contact and illuminate when struck.

So imagine this people… Every step you take on a night beach, there are lights around your feet with every step you take.

Yea, the beach is so much more magical than you know.

We saw and experienced all of that.

I loved that we were in a band together. Rocking out and living our little dreams, but still be moved by the magic of life itself.

That’s why I always loved Jim. He was and will always be one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. A bright and beautiful artist who I had the honor to jam with and most of all have in my life as a friend. I miss him and think of him often.

 

We find an abandoned umbrella stand/hut and climb inside it.

The beach is completely desolate and there is no one around. There are no umbrellas so the boxes are open. Jim and I climb inside of the box and chill.

“What the fuck happened last night?”

I describe in great detail to my new lead guitarist what happened and he is appalled.

I tell him how I turned his head to the side so he wouldn’t end up like Hendrix or Bon Scott.

I think we’ve both learned from this experience. I love Jim so much that he can vomit on me anytime and we can still go forward and rock out!

He is and will always be one of my best friends in this world.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish everyday.

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