Tales of Rock – Wild Stories Of Rock Stars Taking Their Fame Way Too Far – Part 3

21. The Song “Kickstart My Heart” By Motley Crue Was Inspired By Nikki Sixx’s Overdose
We know that rock stars have a bit of a devil may care attitude to their mortality, but rumors such as these really bring the gritty reality of the rock star lifestyle home to those still thinking it’s all glamour and frivolity. Sadly, this rumor is indeed true, and “Kickstart My Heart” was written after Nikki Sixx enjoyed too many hits of heroin.
After the fatal overdose incident, Nikki Sixx had to be revived in the hospital after being declared legally dead for two minutes until the medical staff was able to revive him. The event didn’t put much of a kink in his party plans after Nikki ripped out the tubes attached to him and returned to the party.
22. Keith Richards Snorted His Father’s Ashes
While the rumor of The Outlawz smoking their fallen brother, Tupac’s ashes in a joint are fairly well known, the rumor that Keith Richards snorted his father’s ashes isn’t all that widely circulated. As one of the most iconic Rock Stars of recent history, it’s not all that surprising that it’s true. Even more baffling, he felt no shame after the event.
The Rolling Stones’ legendary guitarist openly admitted the fact that he snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine after his father died in 2002. He unashamedly told an English rock magazine journalist writing for NME the full details of the event. I don’t think there’s anything else left for Keith Richards to snort that would surprise us. In fact, that’s probably one of the safest things he’s snorted.
23. On The Night Of His Death, John Bonham Drank 40 Shots Of Vodka
Considering the earlier stories about Led Zeppelin on this rumor list, mainly involving the mudfish incident, we can’t say we share much sympathy for the fact that the night John Bonham died he ingested 40 shots of vodka. Whilst death by vodka may not be the most extreme collision a rock star has had with their mortality, it’s really not surprising that 40 shots of vodka is enough to finish someone off.
After he passed away on September 25th, 1980 the coroner found 40 shots worth of vodka the day he died, which he had consumed following a rehearsal earlier that day. The official cause of death was determined as inhalation of vomit. Nice. At least the sex charges won’t stand.
24. Frank Zappa Was Attacked Onstage And Almost Killed
As massive Frank Zappa fans, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would feign such hostility towards one of the most ingeniously experimental minds to have ever graced the rock scene. He wasn’t your typical average aggrandized rock stool. We could have understood someone wanting to punch Axl Rose in the face. But not our precious Zappa.
Turns out, the myth is true, and he was verbally attacked quite frequently for his ‘strange’ and experimental musical tastes. But he was also physically attacked on stage during a live performance and ended up being hospitalized after he was thrown off the stage. We don’t think you could call that person Frank Zappa’s biggest fan! We hope after that he increased his stage security. God rest his fabulous soul.
25. Keith Moon Gave Led Zeppelin Their Name
Whilst this isn’t all that extreme or insane, it’s a little bit fascinating. Plus, everyone likes a fun fact every now and again, don’t they? Well, here you have it. It was through a sardonic offhand joke from Keith Moon, the drummer for The Who, that gave the iconic band their name that probably won’t be forgotten for as long as music exists.
If the stories are true, the name came about when Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and John Paul Jones were discussing forming a band. The conversation happened in earshot of Keith Moon who said their music would go over like a lead balloon. When the collective decided to commit to the project they later recalled Keith Moon’s witty offering and so Led Zeppelin was born!
26. The Beatles Smoked a Joint In Buckingham Palace
Now, the details around this one are more than a little hazy (pun intended), but given the photographic evidence, we’re going to say that it’s pretty likely that the rumors are true, at least in part. The rumor was denied by George Harrison years later, but why would John Lennon Lie? (John Lennon was always our favorite.)
Whilst it can’t be proven that they blazed up within the walls of Buckingham palace or just enjoyed a sneaky one on the way down to meet the queen, they definitely look as high as kites in the photos that have been in circulation since they met her majesty, the queen of England. More power to them we say, plus, surely, they’re not the first high people the queen has encountered?
27. Bob Dylan And The Beatles Smoked a Joint Together
There’s nothing we love to see more than rock stars hanging out together. We don’t know why, it just makes us a little warm and fuzzy, like we’re all part of one big happy family. If there was one smoke session we would have loved to have witnessed, it would have been one involving Bob Dylan and the legendary pop artists, The Beatles!
The happy communion happened when the Beatles set about their first official US tour and Bob Dylan kindly offered to share his illicit substances with the doe-eyed, innocent appearing pop stars. What’s the best bit you ask? Ringo smoked the entire joint completely oblivious to the fact that he was smoking anything other than tobacco. Didn’t we tell you that they were innocent?
28. Iggy Pop Fought a Heckling Biker And It Was All Caught On Tape
Iggy Pop was known for his extremely short temper, so this story isn’t exactly shocking. Whilst it’s not the most ‘crazy’ addition to the list, it’s 100 percent true and the evidence stacks against Iggy for his slightly reprehensible behavior. But we suppose we can forgive him. The Passenger was an absolute tune.
We’ll cut a long story short and tell you that the fight broke out after the biker heckled Iggy and refused to stop. Unfortunately for Iggy, he didn’t come out on the winning side. The entire fight was caught on tape by another fan and all we have to say is that maybe Iggy better pick on someone his own size next time. With respect to Iggy for the attempted take down attempt.
29. Jim Morrison Told a Cop To “Eat it”
Whilst the quote isn’t the most reprehensible to have come out of a rock star’s mouth in the last few decades, it’s still a little impressive that he threw so much caution to the wind when verbally confronting an officer.
Jim Morrison proved that he doesn’t much care for authority after a police officer walked backstage and caught him getting a little too involved with a female fan. The officer told the couple to put an end to their debauchery, but it seems by his response Morrison wasn’t all too impressed. Who can blame him? And, what the hell was a policeman doing backstage anyway? Everyone knows anything goes down backstage. Surprisingly, the incident didn’t result in Jim Morrison’s arrest. Stick it to ’em, Jim.
30. Keith Moon Used To Blow Stuff Up
You know how you always have that one friend who is an absolute liability? It turns out that Keith Moon was ‘that guy’ to all of his fellow bandmates in The Who. He even managed to snag himself the nickname ‘Moon the Loon’. Whilst it’s not quite as edgy as modern names for Rock Stars, the cap definitely fit.
Alongside filling his drums with water and occasionally dressing like a cat, Moon also had a bit of a penchant for explosives. Which would have been all fine and well if he went off out into a field or desert, but no, Keith Moon’s primary targets were hotel rooms. Sometimes he blew up hotel room furniture and sometimes he threw explosives at windows. What a fabulous liability.

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

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Hunt’s Pier – Chapter 9 – Aftermath

Wildwood, New Jersey  – 1980

Sadly, at the seashore Autumn approaches. It comes slowly. The sky and the sun look and feel differently. Fewer people are around. It gets to a point where the pier is only open on the weekends in September before it closes for good.

But you’re not going back to your friends at home or at your school in Philly. You’ve finished high school and now live in Wildwood. What was once the most exciting place on Earth has now become a desolate wasteland.

It was as if it was all a dream. But all dreams end and you have to wake up to the reality of life living in a resort town in the winter.

It’s awful.

But Hunt’s liked me and let me work as an Usher in one of the few movie theaters still open in town. Like my father, before me, I would tear tickets in half and show people to their seats in a movie theater.

It was depressing to fall from such a height. The summer sun, now gone. My wings have melted and I hit the hard sand with a thud.

It wasn’t so bad. I saw the movie Dressed to Kill half a dozen times and really became a fan of Brian Depalma and John Lithgow.

Once that was over and the theater closed for the season they offered me a job working maintenance on the pier. I joined the ranks of all of the other flunkies working odd labor jobs on the pier. A far cry from my supernatural existence the month before.

But I learned a few things. Work needed to be done on the Log Flume, and it was 60 feet in the air. The water had obviously been drained from it and it needed to be cleaned, painted, and winterized for the coming winter. Initially, I was terrified to climb the ramp up to the top of the ride. But there were other guys there and I couldn’t look like a scaredy-cat, so up I went. When I was inside the actual tube area of the ride, the sides were high so you couldn’t really see how high off the ground you were. The pier is thirty feet off the beach so you’re almost 100 feet in the air. But after spending a few days up there I was not only comfortable with the height, I was literally running along the little walkway that ran around the perimeter of the ride. That’s a series of metal posts about ten feet apartment strung together by a two-inch-thick rope. The walkway is literally a catwalk made up of three boards. It’s only about 2 and a half feet away. I could run along it on the edge of the ride without fear. Funny what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. I learned nothing is ever as bad as you imagine. As long as you don’t let the fear in.

There was this one guy who had worked at one of the games of chance at the front of the pier named Mike. He was a heavyset guy from South Philly and one of the funniest people I’d ever met. He and I became friends and even though he seemed like a tough guy, it was all an act. I noticed he was too afraid to go up on top of the log flume. But he and I became friends and I used to give him rides to work. He lived in an apartment with another guy back on Park Blvd. I would pick him up in my VW minibus and it would be cold out. The windows would be rolled up and he would release what I would describe as a Milwaulkee Beer Fart. A silent but deadly emission that was so bad I thought I’d die. He said it was from drinking a bunch of PBRs and eating Chinese food while he watched kung fu movies at night. It was awful, but I liked him because he was a delight to be around. A big ego and personality full of false confidence.

He was supposed to go to California with me to become an actor but it turned out to be all a bunch of careless talk over beers because he hadn’t saved any money. So once the reality of me actually leaving wildwood and going out there, he found some excuse to not hang out with me out of shame. Mike turned out to be what my father called a feather merchant. I think he thought he’d attach himself to me and I’d end up paying for everything. Not happening. Sadly, that would happen to me in the future. People would enter my life and I would love them. They’d bask in the warmth of my sunlight until the money was gone then fade away.

Some memorable things from that time were, once we were cleaning out some old furniture and detritus from the Strand Movie theater and opened a rusted old door and found a hand-carved deer and a sea horse from an old Philadelphia Toboggan Company merry go round. I don’t know if they were from the old classic down on Marine West/Nickels pier but we knew they were rare and original. They weighed a ton so we alerted the manager and he was surprised. I never heard anything about those pieces but I’m sure they were sold for quite a bit of money to a collector somewhere.

Once I was sent to a big warehouse that was underneath the Shore movie theater to get some supplies. I pulled up on the battery car and parked it outside. I unlocked the big wooden door and went inside. It was pitch black inside and I felt the wall for the switch. I found it and flicked it on. The area was suddenly filled with bright light.

Standing before me was a beautiful naked woman.

I was startled by the sight and jumped backward at the sight of this Venus.

But she wasn’t real. She was the animatronic girl prisoner from the dungeon in the Pirate Ship. This motorized beauty had been a prisoner of the ride for over 30 plus years by then. She had been removed from the ride to be painted. I knew the main painter for Hunts. He had done a marvelous job making her beautiful again. Her blonde hair and blue eyes shone brightly in non-life. It wasn’t that there was an anatomically correct life-sized naked lady standing before me in the dead of winter in a warehouse. It was that it was HER. I always loved her from when I was a boy walking through the pirate ship. There she was, her dress torn to rags, her bosom heaving through her ragged clothes. I didn’t even realize it as a little kid but there was something erotic about her. Chained to the wall in the corner. A damsel in distress and all she did was breathe.

But now, here she was completely naked before me and freshly painted. It was as if after all I’d been through on the pier and in the last year she suddenly appeared to me like an angel to say: “Remember me? You always secretly loved me. Well, here I am. Look at me. Because you won’t ever see me again, Chaz.”

And I wouldn’t. Like the rest of the team, we all went on unemployment for the colder months of winter. I made the best of the winters in Wildwood but knew that the sunny beaches of Santa Monica and the bright lights filled with unbridled adult fun were waiting for me in California.

By then it wasn’t so much of starting over in LA and becoming a metal god of rock. It was just more about getting out of this sad, dead town and off this island that only came to life in the summer. It was a terribly depressing place to be in the winter as a teenager. The island was filled with rich kids, drug addicts, and teen pregnancy all rising out of boredom and complacency. Wildwood is a wonderful place to be in the summer as a kid, but the winters are long and cold and it’s nowhere to be for a young person growing up.

Video Thanks to Ralph Grassi

 

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New Book: BELOW THE WHEEL – Behind the Scenes, Characters and Inspiration

After the success of my first work of fiction, Angel with a Broken Wing, I knew I wanted to do another book.

But, I wanted to do something different. I started writing the first draft for Below the Wheel. My first book was about a man running away from his life. He was miserable in his job and wanted to hit the road and be gone. I always loved the idea of writing a road story. I’ve driven across the United States so I understood the subject and the lay of the land.

Below the Wheel is a story about friends and relationships. Two guys who worked together for years and grew tired of the rat race. They open a detective agency in Camden, New Jersey, and the story goes from there.

I write from my heart and my gut. The first draft of Below the Wheel was a brutal piece of work. Laced with graphic sex and violence, and peppered with profanity. When I let an agent read it, she liked it but couldn’t take the violence and filth. It was just over the top. I learned from crafting Angel with a Broken Wing, that less is more. Rather than lay it all out there for the reader, I decided to take a different approach. Clean it up a bit. Let the reader picture what’s happening in the scene using their imagination. They’ll get it. You can say it without actually saying it or showing it. I’ve learned a lot from writing this book, but more from editing it.

Like Angel with a Broken Wing, I added a new chapter during the editing process. I always like to leave things a little open for the chance of a sequel. But, I felt like this book needed a little more resolution than I originally gave it. So, I added a nice twist to the story. It also fixed something I never felt completely satisfied with. I feel better about the story and the fate of the characters now. When you write you have to look after your characters. They belong to you. I’d like to someday write a follow-up to this book.

Where did the title come from? That’s a secret. If we meet in person I’ll reveal that to you.

The Admiral Wilson Boulevard.  You can read about it here:

https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20160218_Camden_s_boulevard_of_unfulfilled_dreams.html

It’s an interesting bit of history, but its portrayal in my book is accurate. In the 80s and 90s, it was a grey serpent littered with drug addicts, hookers, and vice. They only cleaned it up when the Democratic Convention came to town sometime after that. It’s all different now. Gone are the strip joints, short-stay- fleabag motels, and human detritus.

Alex Hunter: Like Christian Blackmore from Angel with a Broken Wing, they’re completely made up. I think writers sometimes base their main characters on themselves. I think that was the case here, but we always change things and add things that make them more interesting. I did quit smoking back in the 90s when my daughter was born. I didn’t want to be around my baby smelling like cigarettes. That sweet little head that smells like heaven. I just didn’t want to be the stinky smoky dad around her. I also thought of the health aspects that come from smoking cigarettes. I did use a nicotine patch to get me off the ciggies and it worked. It was rough going though. I’d get stressed back then or be fighting with my then-wife and really want a cigarette. So, I could relate to what Alex was going through in this story.

Alex also has a problem with alcohol. I like interesting characters with feet of clay. I always have. The underdog wants to do the right thing and save the world but struggles with himself. That’s why Batman is more popular than Superman. Batman’s parents were murdered right in front of him as a child. He’s got issues. But Superman was born Superman. He actually has to act like a wimp and a coward to fit in with us mortals. I like the imperfections in a character. It gives them life and relatability to the reader. Who wants to root for Joe Got-It-All? He’s probably a bore. I would much prefer to cheer for the underdog. The failure. The guy who has moments of greatness and yet somehow is undone by his own vices and devices. It just seems more real.

I hardly ever drink anymore. I just became bored with it. After so many years, it just didn’t make sense anymore. Why would I want to stand in a bar with a bunch of drunks? Why would I want to fry my liver and wreck my health? Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the occasional well-made Manhattan, but it’s just not interesting to me anymore. I certainly don’t need it to write like some authors. A clear mind will always prevail. But Alex still loves the bottle and struggles with it all the while trying to be a better person.

Scott Appel: He’s based on my real-life friend, Scott. I know most writers change the names of characters based on real people, but Scott’s my friend. We’ve been pals for over 20 years. When I told him the theme for this book he was enthusiastic about being in it with me. So we changed his last name and he came up with it himself. It didn’t mean much to me so I left it in. Why not write about what you know? It’ll make the characters more real. The banter back and forth between Alex and Scott is how we actually speak to each other. It’s all fun ribbing and slagging. That’s what friends do. Besides, Scott won’t sue me for using his name in my book. I’ve got too much dirt on him anyway!

Genevieve Bouchard: She’s the insurance agent with whom the boys share an office in Camden. This character is based on an actual girl I knew back in the 90s who sold insurance for a living. She was my agent for years. I didn’t know much about her, but she looked like the character in the book. Even though I was married back then, I always liked her. She just seemed like a cool, nice person who was down to Earth. She did have a common-law husband though. They never married and he did run a contracting business. But the Bruno Cartiglio character is completely made up. I never met her significant other. I just created him based on the biker types I’ve met in my life. He’s just a bad egg.

Dr. Ignatious Feeny: The coroner is based on a customer I knew back when I worked for First Union Bank back in the 90s. He looked like Iggy in real life. Right down to the teeth. He was an odd character. A little touched in the head. My father always taught me to treat everyone fairly. I had good customers and bad ones. But they all had money in my branch and deserved respect. This guy would always ask me if he could use the phone in my office. I let him because he told me his neighbors were listening in on his conversations. He was obviously nuts but a harmless person. Just because someone is different or weird doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect. You’d be surprised how well people respond with a little kindness. So he gets to be the brilliant but weird coroner in my book!

Ezra Chambers: The Police Luitenant was completely made up. I just pictured Morgan Freeman in the role and he was born!

Otis Guth: I based him on this fat, slovenly guy I once worked with at a record store in the early 90s. He wasn’t like Otis Guth at all. But when I think of the character in my mind I see that guy. Just hard to look at and listen to. Otis’s history is all made up except for the bit about him pursuing the kids who stole the car. That happened to a police officer friend of mine.

Alyssa Ward: She’s completely from my imagination as well. But when I think about the character, I probably was inspired by the lovely Alycia Lane the former co-anchor at KYW-TV in Philadelphia. Google her, and you’ll see what Alyssa Ward looks like in my book. Quite the babe!

Robert Wick: He’s based on a manager I had when I worked at Security Financial Services in the mid-90s. He was a gruff hard-ass but I loved him. He was great at his job and a fair manager. I would put him in the top 3 of the best men I’ve ever worked with. He wasn’t as mean or as foul-mouthed as my character, but he had that same swaggering confidence. A brilliant guy.

Karen Moore: This poor thing was based on several drug-addled prostitutes and strippers I’ve met in my life.

Her daughter Luna, is completely made up. I just wanted to create a truly good and innocent person in this story. A victim of circumstances not of her own making. A good kid, who had great potential but had just been dealt a bad hand in the game of life. The only rose to grow in a garden filled with thorns and spent hypodermic needles.

Pastor Victor Dorath: I was once in love with a girl named Linda Bradley back in the 80s. She was from Philly and I lived in Wildwood at the time. I met her on the beach and was smitten. But I hardly ever saw her. She was a straight-A student and somewhat religious. I actually went to see a pastor in Cape May, NJ for counseling. I know it seems nuts now that I think back on it, but I just needed someone to talk to about my feelings. I based this character on that gentleman. He was really sweet and a kind ear at the time.

Darren Cain: He’s based on a manager I once worked for back in my Midlantic Bank days in the 80s. He had appeared one day from New York and seemed to have an evil streak to him. No one liked him because he was so intense. But he liked me, and I think he probably had a thing for me. (He was gay) When I think of Darren Cain I see Pete Rallo. A crazy, misunderstood guy that was drunk with power. Oh, he later died from AIDS.

Lisa Devlin: (A minor character but worth mentioning) She’s based on a girl I knew who actually did work at Gloucester County College. I was taking some night courses there back in the 90s when I was married. (Like Christian Blackmore in Angel with a Broken Wing!) My then-wife thought I should finish my education. (Her family was extremely collegiate) Lisa was this nice girl that helped me navigate my classes and credits. I ended up hanging out with her a few times at a bar called Rock Lobster that used to be on Deleware Avenue in Philly.

Did I leave anybody out? I think that’s it.

I hope you like reading Below the Wheel as much as I did writing it. I think my next book of fiction may be something different again. I was thinking maybe a music story about a kid who rises in the music business in early 80s Los Angeles.

I still would like to release a collection of stories from my youth in Philadelphia, and Wildwood, NJ. But we’ll see.

You can get it here on Kindle and Paperback:

This song is dedicated to my sister Jane.

 

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

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Tales of Rock – 5 Rock Concerts That Turned Into Hilarious Disasters

The greatest philosophers of our generation (AC/DC) once opined, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” Starting out in the music business means a lot of crashing on couches, dining and dashing, and playing for “exposure” to crowds of 20 (including bar staff). Do things get easier when you make it big? Oh hell yes. But the disasters get a lot bigger too …

Authorities Thought Joy Division Might Be Actual Serial Killers

Joy Division was one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970s and ’80s. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you probably recognize their most famous work: this T-shirt.

It’s an image of <A TARGET=_blank HREF=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_Pleasures#Artwork_and_packaging>radio waves from a pulsar</A>. There, now you know more about this than 99 percent of people who own the shirt.It’s an image of radio waves from a pulsar. There, now you know more about this than 99 percent of people who own the shirt.

For a brief spell during 1979, the police were looking into members of the band for another crime wholly unrelated to fashion: the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Between 1975 and 1980, Peter Sutcliffe — an ex-gravedigger, which seems like a clue in hindsight — murdered 13 women in red-light districts across Northwest England. Police of the time tragically didn’t have access to Wikipedia, and thus did not know this information. In 1979, they turned their attention to a motley crew of musicians whose license plates were often recorded in those very same red-light districts.

As the band’s co-founder Peter Hook explained in an interview:

“What happened was that every club we played in was run by a dodgy promoter in some dodgy part of town. We managed to play in the red-light districts of Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, and probably London as well. The police had asked the public to note down the license plate numbers of any strange cars in the area, so they could investigate them later. It was very frightening — they basically asked you straight out if you were the Ripper.”

Although Hook handled his interrogation fine, the band’s drummer, Stephen Morris, came off so suspicious that he was taken to the local police station for further questioning. It’s always the drummer, isn’t it?

 

Motley Crue’s Vince Neil Disabled Himself Over Mustard

Motley Crue is the biggest, baddest rock band to ever exist. They rubbed egg burritos on their junk to keep their girlfriends from finding out about the groupies they were banging! One of them had a lethal overdose in Slash’s shower … and started doing heroin the second he was revived! Another killed a dude while drunk driving- OK, there’s the line in the sand.

There’s one incident that they probably don’t like to talk about, however: that time they had to cancel a gig because their lead singer got BTFO’d by a jar of mustard. Prior to taking the stage at a show in Rochester, NY, the band was backstage fixing themselves some snacks when Vince Neil — famed hater of Grey Poupon — found a jar of the stuff on their catering table in lieu of his favorite brand. In a hangry rage, he threw it at the wall … at which point the jar exploded and shrapnel hit his hand, leaving him no choice but to run to the hospital before the hated Poupon could flavor his very bloodstream.

Can’t emit a sense of raw, sexy, no-rules rock 'n’ roll without the right brand of imported Dijon mustard.Elektra Records

Can’t emit a sense of raw, sexy, no-rules rock ‘n’ roll without the right brand of imported Dijon mustard.

In the end, his idiocy resulted in him severing a bunch of tendons, nerves, an artery, and almost an entire finger (he can’t stretch it out, even today). On the plus side, he never saw another jar of Grey Poupon backstage again, which seems like a minor win to us, but we’re no rock gods.

Pink Floyd Accidentally Toppled The Venetian Government

The Who was all about teenage angst. For Led Zeppelin, it was bizarre homages to Lord Of The Rings and pederasty. For Pink Floyd, it was rebellion and smashing the system — which the city of Venice learned all too well in 1989 after a gig by The Floyd caused the collapse of their government.

In 1989, Venice decided to expand its cultural horizons by inviting Pink Floyd to perform a free gig in the city’s historic St Mark’s Square. One problem: Historical preservationists argued that vibrations generated by the band could damage the city’s historic buildings. If only they had built that city on (something compatible with) rock ‘n’ roll.

As a compromise, the government moved the gig from the city center to a floating stage moored offshore. Why yes, it did look completely bonkers.

Sadly, no photos of the all-gondola mosh pit survived.

The gig, held on July 15, attracted over 200,000 fans to Venice (normal population: 60,000), and they did what rock fans tend to do and made a mess. Although the show didn’t knock any buildings down, the city was left with apocalyptic levels of garbage. Over 300 tons of the stuff, to be precise, along with 500 cubic meters of beer cans and bottles.

Once the city recovered, citizens demanded blood … or at least the resignation of the mayor, despite his protests that he was strong-armed into the deal by the local state-run television network. It was no good, however, and he was forced to resign — alongside the entire city council.

As revolutions go, it’s hard to top this one.

Alice Cooper is famed for his wild stage shows, featuring snakes, pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, electric chairs, and the like. It is objectively and provably pretty bitchin‘. This kind of showmanship does have its drawbacks, however. When things go wrong, they go wrong in a fairly significant way. Case in point, that time he almost hanged himself during a gig.

We’re guessing this is a bit without a lot of room for mistakes.

While rehearsing for a concert at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1988, Cooper and his band were practicing that ol’ staple the fake hanging. After Cooper put his head into the noose and started play-acting strangulation, the piano wire that was holding him up broke, leaving him with the minor problem of actually being hanged … at least until a roadie realized he wasn’t just putting his all into the routine and cut him down.

As he admitted in an interview, the wire snapped because he never bothered to check or replace it between shows. “Everything has its stress limit and after doing so many shows, I never thought about changing the wire. You know, I figured it’ll last forever.”

Alice Cooper: Not the bastion of workplace safety we’d always assumed.

In June of last year, thousands of fans filed into Swansea, Wales’ Liberty Stadium and prepared for a mass Mr. Brightside singalong by drinking and drinking and drinking and then having a little drink to wash down all those drinks. Then it came time to use the bathroom, and it’s a soccer stadium, so that was no problem, right? Turns out concert organizers had taken it upon themselves to implement some kind of bizarre toilet-based class war, and the bathrooms were only available for fans sitting in the higher levels. If the lower levels wanted to relieve themselves, they had to leave the stadium and queue at a porta-potty in the parking lot.

Lines for those potties lasted upwards of 45 minutes to an hour. As you’d expect, fans started pulling a Pink Floyd and relieved themselves all over the stadium’s fences. The Killers finished their set and left the stage to discover the massive social media mess that their production staff had created, with some demanding full refunds on account of missing so much of the show.

 

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

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

New Book Published: BELOW THE WHEEL – Now Available on Amazon!

After publishing Angel with a Broken Wing last Summer, my next thought was… what do I do now? Go to the beach?

After much rumination, I decided to write another book. I wanted to create a hard-boiled detective novel that took place near Philly. Is there a scarier city somewhere across the river? Should I try to make a story inspired by true events?

Maybe…

I also wanted to make it about a couple of guys that were friends who decided to go into business together. Using the classic Hitchcockian premise of the common man getting caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I wanted to explore some of the darker sides of life, but seen through the eyes of lighthearted, unique characters. I also wanted something with a shorter, tighter timeframe than my previous book.

Below the Wheel takes place over two weeks in the lives of the characters in Camden, New Jersey in the Summer of 1998.

Alex Hunter and Scott Appel are two ex-investment brokers turned private investigators. Burned out from the competitive sales environment of buying and selling stock, they open the Watchman Detective Agency in Camden New Jersey. They spend their days investigating disability claims for insurance companies and law firms. Occasionally, they perform surveillance on errant spouses and even solve a crime now and then. But Alex and Scott aren’t taken seriously by local law enforcement. Especially detectives, Lt. Ezra Chambers, and his belligerent assistant, Sgt. Otis Guth.

Alex is the obsessive, suit and tie-wearing overachiever, who drinks too much and lives dangerously. Lately, he’s been trying to tame some of his vices by quitting smoking and seeking advice by attending church, and getting spiritual guidance from a local pastor. His life at the agency is a bit mundane, but Alex dreams of one day solving a really high-profile case.

Five years ago, he invested the inheritance of an attractive local television newswoman, Alyssa Ward. He was immediately smitten with her. But the portfolio tanked, and she lost a small fortune. She blamed Alex for the loss and never spoke to him again. Recently, her younger sister Jennifer disappeared, and Alex has taken it upon himself to find her. Jennifer always had a wild streak, and Alex thinks she may have been recruited to work in an exclusive sex club somewhere in Camden. The only problem is, no one knows where the club is located, or if it even exists.

His partner Scott, is the laid-back one. He enjoys watching cartoons, listening to heavy metal, and smoking weed. He’d be happy to just work the cases they get referred, keep the agency in the black and leave the exciting stuff to the police.

The guys share the office space with an insurance agent named Genevieve Bouchard. She’s an independent, hard-working woman, but is trapped in a toxic relationship with her abusive common-law husband, Bruno Cartiglio. When Bruno’s not involved in some sort of sleazy activity, he’s working construction on one of the nearby bridges. Genevieve hates her life with Bruno but is afraid that if she leaves him, he’ll hurt her. Scott’s attracted to Genevieve, but she’s already involved in some dangerous extracurricular activities.

During an unbearable heatwave, the boys are caught up in a bizarre case. The Camden Strangler, as the media call him, has been murdering prostitutes in the area.

A teenage girl named Luna, whose mother was the latest victim, turns to Alex and Scott for help. Scott’s reluctant to take on a client who obviously can’t pay, but Alex sees it as an opportunity to be a hero and takes the case pro bono.

Alex enlists the help of coroner Ignatious Feeny, who gives him access to the morgue and autopsy information on the victims. Alex also picks the brain of the brilliant but cantankerous Robert Wick. He’s a professor of criminology at Rutgers University. Although he’s bound to a wheelchair, he’s a master of criminal profiling. He tells Alex that the only way to solve the case is to go where the killer goes and see what he sees. Subsequently, Alex is drawn into the dark and sleazy world of the skin trade.

The boys work the case, and it’s full of twists, turns, and red herrings. Will they ever figure out who is doing the killings in Camden? Will Alyssa’s sister ever be found?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly talented artist, Kellie Stiles who designed and painted the cover for Below the Wheel. Without her tireless efforts, we’d have… well… a book without a cover!

Special thanks to my wunderkind daughter, Kathryn. You’ve always been my greatest inspiration. A brilliant artist and musician in your own right. I appreciate you listening to me complain endlessly about the process of creating new literature and writing in general!

Thanks to the amazing team at Amazon Kindle. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of technology. I can write the words, but you guys help me turn them into books.

Thanks to everyone at Amazon. I became a member over 25 years ago when you were just a giant bookstore. After crawling on my hands and knees to agents and publishing houses for years, Amazon finally gave me the biggest platform on Earth to bring my literary work to the world.

A special thanks to everyone at WordPress. Without you, I couldn’t publish Phicklephilly every day for the last five years! Now we’re a dot-com and I’ve monetized the site with ads from companies I’ve acquired, and we’ve also added Google AdSense! You gave me a home to bring my work to everyone! Thank you!

Thanks to all the folks over at GoDaddy. You made the transition from just another blogger to a dot-com look easy. Thanks for always being there when I needed you. You’re the best!

And of course, I have to thank my agent, JR for keeping this rocking boat afloat, and getting me steady commercial writing work to put food on the table for me and my daughter!

And last, but certainly not least…

Thank you, dear readers and subscribers, (2300 strong!) for your support over all the last 5 years I’ve been writing this little blog. What started out as a hobby to write about all my crazy dates, relationships, and people in my life has grown exponentially! You all got me to a quarter of a million page views this year! I appreciate you all and try to respond to all of your comments.

Please buy my new book. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. It’s quite a ride! You can read it on the beach this summer!

You can get it in paperback or kindle here:

We did it again in 2021!

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

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1