GUNS N’ ROSES MELTDOWN | SLASH’S BODY-SNATCHER OVERDOSE THAT BROKE UP THE BAND

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Tom Zutaut (who signed Guns N’ Roses) on Slash’s heroin OD, where he died and was brought back to life, that freaked the shit out of Axl Rose… “They found him dead near an elevator in a hotel somewhere. I don’t know how long it took for the ambulance to come but he was blue for a long time, but they got him back.

I think Axl genuinely believes that the soul of Saul Hudson left his body when Slash OD’d and there is a replacement Saul that has taken over Slash’s body and Axl truly does believe that. And I think that has been the greatest stumbling block in getting the band back together. Whoever is in Saul’s body right now, it seems like Slash to me.”

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BON SCOTT, RENNIE ELLIS & RICHARD RAMIREZ | THE HIGHWAY TO HELL IS PAVED IN MYSTERY

Bon Scott Heathen Girls Rennie Ellis

1978, Bon Scott and the Heathen Girls, Atlanta, GA. — Image by © 2011 Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive. “Up in his room, Bon orders one of those fancy American cocktails, then dials California for a 20 minute call with an old girlfriend. Lead guitarist Angus Young, the ‘enfant terrible’ of AC/DC, arrives closely followed by Rose Whiperr and the Heathen Girls– four stunningly beautiful, heavily made-up girls who’s singing act at the local gay bars could loosely be called ‘bizarre chic’. The girls and the band had met at the backstage party that manager Michael Browning had thrown an hour or so before at the end of a typical raging AC/DC concert.”

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THE ROLLING STONES’ 1972 AMERICAN TOUR | STP– STONES TOURING PARTY

“Some of my most outrageous nights– I can only believe actually happened because of corroborating evidence.  No wonder I’m famous for partying!  The ultimate party– if it’s any good– you can’t remember it.” –Keith Richards

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Keith Richards & Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones on stage, 1972 –Image by © Ethan Russell

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The Rolling Stones embarked on their 1972 American tour to support the release of Exile on Main Street— which in and of itself was a push into new territory for the band, both musically and commercially. What followed rewrote the game for The Stones and the music industry, and basically set the stage for a decade of big, balls-out tours that went from being simple promotional vehicles the pop culture events. Nothing like this had been done in Rock ‘n’ Roll prior and all subsequent tours would follow the ’72 tour blueprint for scale, attempted musicality, logistics, legal entanglements, drugs, women, hilarity, hangers-on, and general debauchery.

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Mick Jagger & Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones on the  STP tour, 1972 –Image by © Ethan Russell

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ROKY ERICKSON | THE GREAT, LOST TEXAS PIONEER OF ROCK AND ROLL

“I’ve gone through three changes– I thought I was a Christian… then I was the devil… then the third one, where I know who I am… you know… I feel like I’m an alien.”  

–Roky Erickson

The beautiful, gifted, misunderstood and mysterious Roky Erickson will forever be lumped with Syd Barrett and other so-called mad, musical geniuses– but unlike some of the others, thankfully Roky came back to us.  Better late than never.  We love you, Roky.

Photo by Scott Newton

roky erickson

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Photo by Scott Newton

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roky erickson

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EPIC 1965 NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL | BOB DYLAN PLUGS IN– FANS TUNE OUT?

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Before he went electric in 1965 — and drew jeers from legions of (arguably small-minded) fans in the process — Bob Dylan epitomized the hard-traveling folk troubadour, and he established this image largely on a vintage Gibson “Nick Lucas” model flat-top guitar. The young Dylan had played other Martin and Gibson models in the late ’50s and early ’60s, but in those final years of his acoustic era, before a “blonde on blonde” Fender Telecaster ushered in a whole new folk-rock sound, the “Nick Lucas” was his instrument of choice. He played this guitar in the studio and on tour from 1963 to ’66, and used it for the legendary albums Another Side of Bob Dylan and Bringing it All Back Home. And, although it didn’t appear on the covers of either of these, it is frequently seen in the many live performance tapes from the day, including broadcasts of the Newport Folk Festival in 1964 and ’65, and Dylan’s famous appearances on BBC TV in England in 1965. While, in hindsight, this Gibson “Nick Lucas” seems “just right” for the young Dylan, and has become an iconic folk guitar as a result, the model’s origins show that it is perhaps an unlikely choice for a scruffy young folky.  Via

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Back in 1963, Bob Dylan was the new darling and outspoken voice of political protest in America, performing songs seeking truth and justice– “Only a Pawn in Their Game”,“Who Killed Davey Moore?”, and most notably, “Blowin’ in the Wind”— backed by the Folk movement’s super-establishment including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, the Freedom Singers, and Peter, Paul & Mary. But Dylan’s talent quickly proved too big to be boxed in by the narrow and idealistic parameters of Folk purists.  By 1964 he’d already moved on musically– “Mr. Tambourine Man”, and “It Ain’t Me, Babe” showcased the emerging depth of his songwriting skills outside of protests and politics. Dylan’s fans worship him with a god-like fervor and frenzy.  At the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, the enthusiastic crowd woos Dylan– cheering, chanting, and roaring for him to return to the stage at the end of his acoustic set. When he reappears on stage, it’s a love-fest.  “I wanna say thank you, I love you”, says Dylan to the crowd.  He can seemingly do no wrong.
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Bob Dylan At Piano During Recording Session, 1965.  Bob Dylan in a contemplative mood, lost in thought behind his Ray-Bans, pausing for a break between takes at the upright piano at Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios in New York City during the sessions for “Highway 61 Revisited” in June 1965, a mere month before his electric set at the Newport Folk Festival would send Folk and Rock and Pop music into a whole new direction. –Photo by Jerry Schatzberg, Via

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By the summer of ’65, Dylan’s stardom surpassed that of the Folk traditionalists at the Newport Folk Festival. Hundreds of adoring fans overwhelm Dylan’s car, as he basks in the attention, smiling and stating, “They’re all my friends.” But there is wave of rebellion beginning to well-up against Dylan among the so-called Folk purist fans.  They see him as already being a sell-out, having moved over to the side of the establishment.  In their eyes, Dylan is now just another cog in the wheel.  The stage is now set for the epic event that will forever be remembered as– When Dylan Went Electric. So what inspired Dylan to go electric in the first place?  Some say Dylan was inspired (or challenged perhaps) by an exchange he had with John Lennon. Dylan slammed Lennon, essentially dismissing The Beatles lyrically– “you guys have nothing to say”, was the message.  Lennon’s counter was to enlighten Dylan of the fact that– he had no sound, man. Whether or not it resulted in Dylan going electric, or The Beatles writing more introspective lyrics, who knows–  but it’s a helluva story.

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HAMMER OF THE GODS | JIMMY PAGE’S EPIC DOUBLE NECK GIBSON GUITAR

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Jimmy Page playing the epic Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck guitar that he made famous the world over. In fact, the two are so intimately connected in the annals of Rock ‘n Roll history– it would take more balls than I could ever muster to even think of picking one up.

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From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

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I had a history teacher back in high school that was kind of a crazy cross between Fred Rogers and Gandhi– Gene Beringer.  Gene’s probably the most mild-mannered cat I have ever come across.  I mean nothing– not even smart-ass 15 year olds who constantly screwed around in class (yep, yours truly), could get this guy riled up.  I had the dubious distinction of spending many a detention with Gene mano y mano.  Like I said, Gene was pretty laid back,  and so he’d often let me read and listen to my Walkman to pass the time, while he caught-up on grading papers.  One day Gene casually asked, “So what are you listening to?” My answer forever changed our relationship– Led Zeppelin.  He went deep into a 1,000 yard stare, and then finally uttered–  “Ya know, I saw Zeppelin about 30 times between ’74 and ‘78”, as a smile slowly warmed his stoic face.

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VAN HALEN | UNCHAINED & ON FIRE

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Van Halen

The rock and roll group Van Halen are shown posed in a studioDavid Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen and Michael Anthony, circa 1980.

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I still remember the first time I heard Van Halen.  I was in grade school, and Mom got a baby-sitter — it was a Friday night.  As soon as Mom and Stepdad clear the corner, all the (cute) baby-sitter’s friends (with feathered hair and Goody combs hangin’ out their back pockets) show up to drink our booze, blast our stereo, and even smoke a little somethin’.  It was a party, and it was a smokin’ good time — as far as Friday nights for a little kid go.

The Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Bob Seger were usually on heavy rotation at home around that time — but all that changed that night.  Some hip Senior brought a copy of Van Halen I, and I was blown away. This was no burner music — these guys were on fire.  I heard friggin’ Ice Cream Man for the first time. Right?  David Lee Roth on acoustic — did you even know he could play?  Well yeah, it was before he became a girl — running around in tights, doing the splits and feeling his ass the whole show.  Van Halen started out as a tight band that laid it down hard.  No one could touch ’em.  Not even close.  Goes without saying — Eddie Van Halen, well, was the guitar god in a world all by himself.  There’s been no one like him since.  Yep.  Old Van Halen is still my guilty pleasure.  A little Unchained will get anyone’s blood pumpin’ — or they ain’t alive.  Everybody Up!

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Eddie Van HalenDavid Lee Roth

Guitar God Eddie Van Halen — David Lee Roth, the ultimate showman

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LEGENDARY CLASH STYLE | FROM PUNK ROCK ROUGH TO SARTORIAL SMOOTH

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Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983.  (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983. (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

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I don’t know if there’s a band that has inspired me over the years in terms of style more than The Clash. The way they could effortlessly mix punk and street style with sartorial flair and make it look so effortless and cool was intoxicating.  The mix of tailored suits with suede creepers, Doc Marten boots (back when they were a symbol of rebellion, rather than conformity) funky accessories and headwear was pure art.

The Clash definitely pioneered rock & roll fashion during the 80s and kept things tasty when the rock and fashion world was getting, well, wierd.  The true master of style in the band,  in my humble opinion, was not Joe Strummer or Mick Jones– it was the cool cat bass player, Paul Simonon.

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The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

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BUDDY HOLLY | ROCK & ROLL PIONEER

Buddy Holly and the Crickets

It was over fifty years ago– February 3, 1959, that the chartered plane carrying singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, fell out of the sky and rock ‘n’ roll was forever changed.  Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.”  His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music.  In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

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Corporate Rock?

 

CBGB

 

Varvatos on Bowery

Hanging out this morning reading the daily news, I came across an article in the L.A. Times on John Varvatos.  It was about his upcoming runway show in Milan and hopes for the line going global, etc.  Going through the article, it rattled off some of his accomplishments over the last 9-10 yrs-  his great rock-flavored menswear, inventing the laceless Chuck Taylor, turning CBGB into a clothing boutique… stop right there.

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