Hunt’s Pier – Chapter 4 – Carny Life

Wildwood, New Jersey – 1980

Carny, also spelled carnie, is an informal term used in North America for a traveling carnival employee, and the language they use, particularly when the employee operates a game (“joint”), food stand (“grab” or “popper”), or ride at a carnival.

I had been working as a busboy at the Dolphin Restaurant for the 1978 and 1979 summer seasons. I was tired of being a busboy. It wasn’t a bad job. I liked the owners and my coworkers. But I longed for something a bit more fun. Something where I had more exposure on the island. I wanted to work on the boardwalk where all the action was happening.

Hunt’s banked with First Fidelity, and that’s where my father worked as a regional manager. He knew the two guys who ran Hunt’s Pier. Vince Kostek and Merle Paul. Vince was the main guy on the Pier and it’s operations, and Merle managed all of the theater properties Hunt’s owned at the time.

Vince Kostek

It was late spring of my senior year at Wildwood High. My father came home one day and told me that if I wanted to work on Hunt’s Pier this summer they had a job for me. I was overjoyed because it sounded like an awesome place to work.

I went up to the pier and asked for Vince. We chatted and I filled out an application and that was it. I was in. Vince told me that normally you had to be 18 to work there, but since I’d be turning 18 in August, he said it would be fine. Vince had a daughter named June who worked in the office and helped out where needed around the pier. She was maybe a year or so older than me and I always liked her. She was cute and really tan and had an unapproachable vibe about her. There was something forbidden about liking the boss’s daughter. I like when people tell me I can’t have something. It always makes me want it more. (Took her on a few dates in 1984!)

Hunt’s was the classy family pier. Of course, Morey’s Pier next door was the cool, hip, pier, but Hunt’s held their own with the classic rides they had running for so many years. The employees wore black slacks, white dress shirts, and black ties. All of the ride operators on every other pier looked like a bunch of carny slobs, and we looked like professional dudes. People respond to a uniform and we looked really great as a team.

So when I graduated in June I started working on the Golden Nugget Mine Ride. I went up on a Saturday and met the man who ran the ride and had run it every season for many years. His name was Louis Vendittelli.

Lou was born in Lyon, France to the late Giovanna Cistrone and Pietro Vendittelli. Lou proudly fought for France in the Algerian war prior to his arrival in America. Known as “French Louie”, he was a local personality in the Wildwoods for decades of work as the operator of the Golden Nugget on Hunt’s Pier.

Louie was a real character. People who worked there and really knew him liked and respected him. But of course, there were those who just thought he was a hothead. I never saw that in the man. He and I always got along and really built a great friendship over the two seasons I worked at Hunt’s Pier. I guess he was in his late forties then. He wasn’t a tall man, but he was super fit. He was really strong and wiry. He drove a huge, red convertible Cadillac Deville. Just this little guy in a massive car.

Like this:

1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, Gateway Classic Cars - Nashville #533 - YouTube

On my first day, he took me around the ride, which I thought was so cool, because I had only ridden the ride, and never explored all of the inner workings of the ride itself. Louie had built a tracking system for the ride so you could see on a board where all the cars were at any given time inside the ride. He was a brilliant guy that could build or fix anything, and after working for decades on the Golden Nugget he knew everything about it. He knew everything about every ride on that pier. But the Nugget was his. He showed me how to operate the ride. How the brakes worked to slow and stop the cars as they came into the station. He also showed me how to operate controls to release the cars to send them up the hill to the top of the ride.

He knew I wasn’t just another “Hunt’s Pier Flunky” as he called them. Working on an amusement pier in the summer is like joining a traveling carnival or a circus. There’s a core group of competent people that sort of run things and then there are the flunkies that also end up working there because they don’t fit in anywhere else. Because of Hunt’s rich history, they had some folks who had worked there every summer for many years. So for me it was a very entertaining place to work.

If you were smart, clean, and presentable, you got to work on the premier rides. The Log Flume was the most popular ride on the pier, but the Golden Nugget was a strong second.  Most of the lifers and old guys worked the older more passive rides, and the flunkies ran the low-end stuff.

There was this one guy that had worked on the airships,  named Fuji. He wasn’t Asian, and I don’t know what his nationality was but he was really tan, had black hair that was slicked back, and wore wrap-around sunglasses all the time. He had been there since the sixties. I remembered him because my dad loved the ride he operated. He thought he was a cool guy. But when I started working at Hunt’s and got to know him, he turned out to be just another weird guy that worked at the pier for decades. We later found out that he had a little room above the Jungleland ride where he used to hide his Playboys. Who knows what he did up there. Weird.

There was another guy named Bob that had worked the Keystone Kops ride for many years. The Kops ride was a bunch of old-type cars that you sat in and it basically went into the ride and there were attractions inside and black lights so everything glowed. The cars basically ran on a track so you didn’t really drive them. You just rode through and saw stuff. That, and bashed through doors. It was cute. Kids liked it. Bob was a good guy who had worked on Hunt’s since the early 70s. He managed and operated the Keystone Kops for many years. It was HIS ride. I’m not sure but I think he even had some equity in the pier and some of its rides. (WILKY Group?) He was always nice to me and I respected his tenure with this institution.

There was another character that worked on Hunt’s named Bruce. He had a brother who also worked on the pier named Eddie. Bruce ran the El Scrambler at the front of the pier. He was a filthy person and so was his brother Eddie. I don’t even know where these carny types came from. Bruce was known as a person who rarely bathed and apparently always stunk. Our team on the Nugget and the guys over at the Flume didn’t really associate with anyone else on the pier. We were too busy running the two biggest money makers on the pier every night.

But I remember someone told me that somebody had left bars of soap and bottles of shampoo at Bruce’s ride one day. I thought that was cruel. Having been a victim to bullying and humiliation in middle school I found this really mean. But people can be wicked, especially in low-end jobs like carny life. I remember some of the guys over at the Log Flume one night grabbed Bruce and threw him in the water tank of their ride. It was their idea of sending him a message that he desperately needed a bath. Again… terrible, cruel behavior. My guys at the Nugget never had anything to do with that sort of crap. I always had a soft spot for Bruce. He just seemed like a poor soul. He was a nice person but just lacked options. But the stuff that was done to him was awful. This wasn’t teen boy stuff. He was a grown man, which made it all worse. The Log Flume guys got drilled by management for that infraction and after that, they left Bruce alone.

But on a lighter note, Bruce actually met a girl that summer and fell in love. I would see them together all of the time. I think she worked in the ticket office. Her name was Cathy. This one guy who worked one of the games up at the front of the pier would refer to them as ‘Muskrat Love’ when he saw them. They eventually got married.

Here’s a shocker: Ironically, in 1986 when I went to work as a teller at Midlantic Union Trust Bank, Cathy actually was a teller there too, and trained me. She was in charge of the safe deposit vault. Two years after that in 1988, she worked as a teller in their North Wildwood branch. I suppose she and her husband Bruce were struggling financially, and she actually stole money from the bank.

Back then you could pay your gas and electric bills at your local bank. If a customer came in and paid their bill with cash, she would steal the cash and mark the bill paid. Sadly, it was a horrible plan, because the next month all of these customers came in saying their utility bills were delinquent when they had receipts that they paid. All of the payments were processed by Cathy. I was an assistant manager by then and they sent me down there to sort it out with the manager there. Cathy was crying and they fired her for the infraction. The banks back then didn’t prosecute you, they simply let you go to avoid the embarrassment and community exposure. Crazy man!

The pier was filled with all kinds of characters and I became friends with several of them. I was just getting started in my new job as a ride operator on Hunt’s and was really excited to see what life would be like working every night on the boardwalk!

If anyone has any good “character” stories from Hunt’s I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

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

The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 10

This is the final chapter of this series! Thanks so much for reading it and following me on this strange journey.

If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.

For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.

Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:

    • made me sick without even listening to it again
    • made me want to break my radio
    • made my stomach turn
    • brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
    • reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
    • could make me want to break my stereo
    • would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
    • would make me boo a band who started playing it
    • suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe

I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?

The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.

Paper Lace, a British group – 1974

The Night Chicago Died. A fictional shootout between members of Al Capone’s gang and police. Based on The Valentine’s Day Massacre between Capone’s men and Bugs Moran’s gang. Police weren’t involved, and no one died. There was never a showdown where 100 officers were killed. They also mention the East Side of Chicago, which isn’t really a thing. Just like the girl born and raised in South Detroit, in the Journey song Don’t Stop Believing’. But the guys in Paper Lace just figured there was an East Side to everywhere. It’s a catchy song, and well done, but it’s a strange song.

Billy Don’t Be a Hero – Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods  – 1974

I think because of its anti-war sentiment, a lot of people thought this was about the Vietnam War. This song went to number 1 on the charts. I think it’s about the Civil War. Rolling Stone has voted it as one of the worst songs ever made. I remember hearing this song on the radio back then. One of the girls in my class sang along with it at an assembly at school one day. Her version was worse because she seemed to be terrified to be on stage in front of everyone, but the song is an odd choice.

Look at the ridiculous outfits on these guys. Mummer’s Parade much? Elvis called, he wants his wacky sequined jumpsuits back.

Angie Baby – Helen Reddy – 1974

Was 1974 the year of weird songs? Helen Reddy already had two huge hits with I Am Woman and Delta Dawn. Written by Alan O’Day. Who knows why she did this song. This song is about a weird girl who gets kicked out of school who stays in her room and listens to the radio all day. Imagining boyfriends who come and visit and dance with her. One day a boy comes to visit her and gets absorbed into the music. Does he shrink? Does he disappear? Does Angie kill him? Does he become her forever lover? I guess we’ll never know because Helen Reddy never said and now she’s passed away.

Another awful outfit. I never realized how bad some of the 70s fashions were.

Leo Sayer – Long tall glasses – 1974

I always hated Leo Sayer. He reminded me of a skinny version of that workout guy, Richard Simmons. It was Leo’s first US top 10. He later had hits with, You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’ and When I Need You. The story in this song is, some guy wanders into a fantasy bar or magical pub, but before he can eat he has to dance like Fred Astaire. He doesn’t think he can dance at all, but he somehow figures it out and everything works out. I really couldn’t stand Leo Sayer in the ’70s. I had zero tolerance for anything that wasn’t guitar-driven rock back then. This performance just looks like old vaudeville to me. Complete with that barbershop banjo in the background. Watch his performance in this video. His choreography and him acting out the lyrics is ridiculous.

Back when I was in a band if someone told me I could only become famous if I did this act and this kind of music, I would have jumped into a tree shredder.

God, I hate him.

Cher – Dark Lady – 1974

Cher was at the time on the hit TV show Sonny & Cher. I’m sure that was a great place for her to break any new material. I get why the LGBTQ community has always embraced Cher. Even though she’s an attractive lady, she always resembled a guy doing a drag act. Even her voice has the limited range of some dude singing songs in a bar in a dress doing karaoke on 13th street in Philly.

The dark lady in the title is a gypsy fortune teller in New Orleans. The protagonist of this song follows the fortune teller’s limousine back to her lair and gets her fortune told. She learns her lover has been unfaithful to her with as the gypsy tells her, someone who is very close to her. The dark lady tells her to leave and never return. But when she gets home she smells the very perfume that the gypsy had been wearing. So she sneaks back to the fortune teller’s shop with a gun and catches her lover with the gypsy. They’re laughing and kissing. She shoots them both killing them. Cher hit number 1 with Dark Lady and she wouldn’t have another number 1 until 25 years later, with Believe.

It’s a crazy story song, which was popular in the 70s.

One Tin Soldier – 1969 – Coven – 1973

This song tells the tale of two neighboring tribes, the warlike valley people and the peaceful mountain kingdom. The mountain people possess a great treasure buried under a stone, which the valley people demand. The mountain people offer to share it with their brothers but the valley people invade and slaughter them all. When they turn the stone over they find nothing but the words, Peace on Earth. It was this kind of thing that was a radio hit in my youth. Insane!

It feels like a statement about God and country and how man kills in the name of religion and for whatever else.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and kill/cheat your friend all in the name of heaven you can justify it in the end.

What???

The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia –  Vicky Lawrence- 1974

Bobby Russell was a grammy-winning songwriter who wrote songs for Frank Sinatra and Elvis. When he wrote this next song,  he disliked it so much he didn’t even want to cut a demo. His wife, Vicky Lawrence who was a cast member on The Carol Burnett Show thought it was a hit. But after Liza Minnelli and Cher both turned it down, Vicky decided to record it. I’m not even going to get into the details of this complicated ridiculous plot, but let’s just say that the narrator accidentally frames her own brother for murder and gets him hanged, while killing two people herself and hiding the bodies, but the whole time she blames the crooked criminal justice system for her brother’s death.

It makes no sense. But it was a number 1 hit. It was later recorded by Reba MacIntyre and Tanya Tucker, and was even turned into a feature film starring Kristy McNicol! She won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of teenage daughter Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence in the TV drama Family.

Insane! All of this and a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill too!

 

Here’s this crazy song!

Go Away Little Girl – Donny Osmond -1971

is a popular song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee for Liberty Records on March 28, 1962. The lyrics consist of a young man asking a young attractive woman to stay away from him so that he will not be tempted to betray his steady girlfriend by kissing her. The song is notable for making the American Top 20 three times: for Steve Lawrence in 1963 (US number 1), for The Happenings in 1966 (US number 12), and for Donny Osmond in 1971 (US number 1). It is also the first song, and one of only nine, to reach US number 1 by two different artists.

The song almost didn’t get recorded, because according to the Mormon laws, one had to be 16 for double dating and 18 to date alone, however, as long as this was an innocent song, the Mormon faith allowed the song to be sung and recorded. Donny was 13 at the time the song was recorded. Listen to that voice. Is our Donny a little late getting to puberty?

Say hello to white bread America’s version of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Michael had sass, talent, and pipes. Donny is a little, strained, shrill, knock-off of the obvious King of Pop.

Just sayin’…

I hope you enjoyed this series. I had fun compiling this stuff and writing about it. Maybe I should do the worst films of the 70s next!

Just want to say Hi to my sister Gail, for reading and listening to this whole series!

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 – 20 of the Craziest Rock Star Confessions

 

 

The best kind of wild rock 'n' roll stories are the ones that come from the artists' own recollections. Wild parties, drug binges, run-ins with the law and questionable romantic entanglements – these only scratch the surface of rock stars' wildest admissions. Read on for rock royalty's most lurid confessions over the years, in their own words. 

The best kind of wild rock ‘n’ roll stories are the ones that come from the artists’ own recollections. Wild parties, drug binges, run-ins with the law, and questionable romantic entanglements – these only scratch the surface of rock stars’ wildest admissions. Read on for rock royalty’s most lurid confessions over the years, in their own words.
DAVE SIMPSON, WIREIMAGE

Slash's 2007 eponymous biography contained plenty of eye-popping stories about his wild years with Guns 'N Roses, from the time he ran naked across a golf course during a drug binge to Axl Rose staging a sexual encounter in a recording studio to spice up their song “Rocket Queen." He explained, "We lit up some candles for atmosphere, then (the woman) and Axl went out into the live room, got down on the floor by the drum riser, and we recorded (their) performance," he recalled. "Enjoy it – it’s right there in the final mix."

Slash’s 2007 eponymous biography contained plenty of eye-popping stories about his wild years with Guns ‘N Roses, from the time he ran naked across a golf course during a drug binge to Axl Rose staging a sexual encounter in a recording studio to spice up their song “Rocket Queen.” He explained, “We lit up some candles for atmosphere, then (the woman) and Axl went out into the live room, got down on the floor by the drum riser, and we recorded (their) performance,” he recalled. “Enjoy it – it’s right there in the final mix.”
KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES

Unsurprisingly, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has enough crazy stories to fill a book. His 2010 memoir "Life" contained an anecdote from his younger years when he was driving his bandmates in his car, which was filled with hidden drugs. "I had a denim cap with all these pockets in it that were filled with dope," he said. "Everything was filled with dope. In the car doors themselves, all you had to do was pop the panels, and there were plastic bags of coke and grass, peyote and mescaline. Oh my god, how are we going to get out of this?" he recalled asking himself.

Unsurprisingly, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has enough crazy stories to fill a book. His 2010 memoir “Life” contained an anecdote from his younger years when he was driving his bandmates in his car, which was filled with hidden drugs. “I had a denim cap with all these pockets in it that were filled with dope,” he said. “Everything was filled with dope. In the car doors themselves, all you had to do was pop the panels, and there were plastic bags of coke and grass, peyote, and mescaline. Oh my god, how are we going to get out of this?” he recalled asking himself.
KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE

Richards, whose past drug use is well-documented, also famously admitted to NME magazine in 1997 that he ingested his father's ashes, which he mixed with cocaine. "My dad wouldn’t have cared," he said. "It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.” 

Richards, whose past drug use is well-documented, also famously admitted to NME magazine in 1997 that he ingested his father’s ashes, which he mixed with cocaine. “My dad wouldn’t have cared,” he said. “It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”
DOMINIC TARLE/EPA

The members of Mötley Crüe – Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx –collaborated on the 2001 autobiography "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band," featuring pithy stories like this one from Lee: “I announced to everyone that I was embarking on a solo tour. Not a music tour, but a tour of drugs and prostitutes.” 

The members of Mötley Crüe – Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx –collaborated on the 2001 autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” featuring pithy stories like this one from Lee: “I announced to everyone that I was embarking on a solo tour. Not a music tour, but a tour of drugs and prostitutes.”
J. KIELY JR., ASSOCIATED PRESS

"The Dirt" also featured an anecdote about Tommy Lee's debaucherous 1986 wedding to his second wife, actress Heather Locklear. "Rudy, one of techs, gave us the best toast ever: 'To Tommy and Heather,' he said, raising a champagne glass. 'May all your ups and downs be in bed.' Then he took the champagne glass and smashed it over his head."

“The Dirt” also featured an anecdote about Tommy Lee’s debaucherous 1986 wedding to his second wife, actress Heather Locklear. “Rudy, one of techs, gave us the best toast ever: ‘To Tommy and Heather,’ he said, raising a champagne glass. ‘May all your ups and downs be in bed.’ Then he took the champagne glass and smashed it over his head.”
MICHAEL TWEED/AP

Six years after &quot;The Dirt&quot; came out, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx published his own book, 2007's &quot;The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star,&quot; which recounted his descent towards rock bottom. &quot;There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control,&quot; he wrote.<br /> &nbsp;

Six years after “The Dirt” came out, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx published his own book, 2007’s “The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star,” which recounted his descent towards rock bottom. “There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control,” he wrote.
VALERIE MACON, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

One of rock 'n' roll's most shocking &ndash; not to mention cautionary&nbsp;&ndash; tales come from Marilyn Manson, who claimed in a&nbsp;1995 interview with High Times that he ground up human bones and smoked them.&nbsp;&quot;It was terrible,&quot; he said. &quot;It smelled like burnt hair, gave you a really bad headache and made your eyes red.&quot;

One of rock ‘n’ roll’s most shocking – not to mention cautionary – tales come from Marilyn Manson, who claimed in a 1995 interview with High Times that he ground up human bones and smoked them. “It was terrible,” he said. “It smelled like burnt hair, gave you a really bad headache, and made your eyes red.”
CHRIS PIZZELLO, INVISION/AP

&ldquo;It was (a decadent lifestyle),&rdquo; Manson told Spin in 2003 about his recording process. &ldquo;I think (collaborator Trent Reznor) felt unable to deal with it, and it crumbled our relationship. I would go to bed at 7 a.m., wake up at 4 p.m. and then begin drinking and doing drugs. The funniest point &ndash; which is something I just watched a videotape of &ndash; was a day when I wore only a blond wig, a Burger King crown and a paper towel tube around my (expletive). I walked around like that in broad daylight. To me, that&rsquo;s true rock &amp; roll, and I&rsquo;m not afraid to go there again.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &nbsp;

“It was (a decadent lifestyle),” Manson told Spin in 2003 about his recording process. “I think (collaborator Trent Reznor) felt unable to deal with it, and it crumbled our relationship. I would go to bed at 7 a.m., wake up at 4 p.m. and then begin drinking and doing drugs. The funniest point – which is something I just watched a videotape of – was a day when I wore only a blond wig, a Burger King crown, and a paper towel tube around my (expletive). I walked around like that in broad daylight. To me, that’s true rock & roll, and I’m not afraid to go there again.”

JACK FORDYCE / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Perhaps rock 'n' roll's craziest 21st birthday party belonged to The Who's late drummer Keith Moon, who recounted the night's&nbsp;bacchanalia at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, in a&nbsp;1972 Rolling Stone interview.&nbsp; &quot;By the time the sheriff came in I was standing there in (my) underpants,&quot; he recalled. &quot;I ran out, jumped into the first car I came to, which was a brand new Lincoln Continental. It was parked on a slight hill and when I took the handbrake off, it started to roll and it smashed straight through this pool surround [fence] and the whole Lincoln Continental went into the (Holiday) Inn swimming pool, with me in it. We&rsquo;d also destroyed a piano. Completely destroyed it. Reduced it to kindling. And don&rsquo;t forget the carpet. And the Lincoln Continental in the bottom of the pool. So I got a bill for $24,000.&quot;

Perhaps rock ‘n’ roll’s craziest 21st birthday party belonged to The Who’s late drummer Keith Moon, who recounted the night’s bacchanalia at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, in a 1972 Rolling Stone interview.  “By the time the sheriff came in I was standing there in (my) underpants,” he recalled. “I ran out, jumped into the first car I came to, which was a brand new Lincoln Continental. It was parked on a slight hill and when I took the handbrake off, it started to roll and it smashed straight through this pool surround [fence] and the whole Lincoln Continental went into the (Holiday) Inn swimming pool, with me in it. We’d also destroyed a piano. Completely destroyed it. Reduced it to kindling. And don’t forget the carpet. And the Lincoln Continental in the bottom of the pool. So I got a bill for $24,000.”
S. THORGERSON, ©HIPGNOSIS

Such hijinks are not solely the domain of men.&nbsp; Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick shared her own tales in her 1999 book, &quot;Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir.&quot;&nbsp;A sample: &quot;Having ingested the entire contents of the mini-bar in my hotel room before I arrived at the venue for the show, I stuck my fingers in this guy's nostrils just because I thought they'd probably fit.&quot;

Such hijinks are not solely the domain of men.  Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick shared her own tales in her 1999 book, “Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir.” A sample: “Having ingested the entire contents of the mini-bar in my hotel room before I arrived at the venue for the show, I stuck my fingers in this guy’s nostrils just because I thought they’d probably fit.”
REED SAXON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis detailed his history of bad behavior in his 2005 autobiography &quot;Scar Tissue. Recounting one example of excess, he and guitarist&nbsp;Hillel Slovak, a fellow heroin addict, were trying to steer clear of that drug while on tour.&nbsp;So instead they&nbsp;would drink copious amounts of&nbsp; Jagermeister because it &quot;gave us the feeling closest&quot; to that drug's high.&nbsp;The Jagermeister high was at least enough to prompt Kiedis to &quot;take off all my clothes in the motel and walk down the hall and knock on people's doors.&quot;&nbsp;

Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis detailed his history of bad behavior in his 2005 autobiography “Scar Tissue. Recounting one example of excess, he and guitarist Hillel Slovak, a fellow heroin addict, were trying to steer clear of that drug while on tour. So instead they would drink copious amounts of  Jagermeister because it “gave us the feeling closest” to that drug’s high. The Jagermeister high was at least enough to prompt Kiedis to “take off all my clothes in the motel and walk down the hall and knock on people’s doors.”
AMY HARRIS, INVISION/AP

Kiedis also recalled meeting a girl on tour in the mid-'80s and bringing her on their tour bus, only to have the encounter go terribly wrong. &quot;'I&nbsp;have something to tell you,'&quot; she told him.&nbsp;&quot;'My father's the chief of police and the entire state of Louisiana is looking for me because I've gone missing. Oh, and besides that, I'm only fourteen.' &quot; How did he react?&nbsp; &quot;I wasn't incredibly scared,&quot; he wrote, &quot;because in my somewhat deluded mind, I knew that if she told the chief of police she was in love with me, he wasn't going to have me taken out to a field and shot, but I did want to get her the (expletive) back home right away.&quot;

Kiedis also recalled meeting a girl on tour in the mid-’80s and bringing her on their tour bus, only to have the encounter go terribly wrong. “‘I have something to tell you,'” she told him. “‘My father’s the chief of police and the entire state of Louisiana is looking for me because I’ve gone missing. Oh, and besides that, I’m only fourteen.’ ” How did he react?  “I wasn’t incredibly scared,” he wrote, “because in my somewhat deluded mind, I knew that if she told the chief of police she was in love with me, he wasn’t going to have me taken out to a field and shot, but I did want to get her the (expletive) back home right away.”
FERNANDO BIZERRA/EPA-EFE

In a&nbsp;2014 Reddit AMA,&nbsp;AC/DC's Angus Young described the time&nbsp;his guitar amplifier caught on fire while he was recording his the solo for 1977's &quot;Let There Be Rock.&quot; &quot;Yes, it was on fire and I had to keep playing until the end, because my brother was in the control room, and yelling out 'KEEP GOING!' &ndash; so I had to keep going until the thing kind of went into meltdown,&quot; he wrote. &quot;And on this album, 'Rock or Bust,' we had the same thing ... my amp just went on fire. And I didn't even know! I thought it was a cigarette going. But (producer Brendan&nbsp; O'Brien) was shouting out, 'Ang, you're on fire!' &quot;<br /> &nbsp;

In a 2014 Reddit AMA, AC/DC’s Angus Young described the time his guitar amplifier caught on fire while he was recording his solo for 1977’s “Let There Be Rock.” “Yes, it was on fire and I had to keep playing until the end because my brother was in the control room, and yelling out ‘KEEP GOING!’ – so I had to keep going until the thing kind of went into meltdown,” he wrote. “And on this album, ‘Rock or Bust,’ we had the same thing … my amp just went on fire. And I didn’t even know! I thought it was a cigarette going. But (producer Brendan  O’Brien) was shouting out, ‘Ang, you’re on fire!’ “
WINSLOW TOWNSON/INVISION/AP

The drug habits of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry were so legendary, they became known as the &quot;toxic twins.&quot; In Tyler's 2012 autobiography &quot;Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?&quot; he recounted how Perry kept &quot;vials of coke with straws in them at the back of the stage, and when the lights would go out he&rsquo;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&rsquo;d take a hit, then the lights would come on again.&rdquo;

The drug habits of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry were so legendary, they became known as the “toxic twins.” In Tyler’s 2012 autobiography “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” he recounted how Perry kept “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.”
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In his &quot;I am Ozzy&quot; memoir, &nbsp;Ozzy Osbourne revealed the cocaine-inspired original title of Black Sabbath's 1972 album &quot;Vol. 4.&quot; He wrote,&nbsp;&quot;For me, 'Snowblind' was one of Black Sabbath's best-ever albums &ndash; although, the record company wouldn't let us keep the title, 'cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn't want the hassle of a controversy.&quot;

In his “I am Ozzy” memoir,  Ozzy Osbourne revealed the cocaine-inspired original title of Black Sabbath’s 1972 album “Vol. 4.” He wrote, “For me, ‘Snowblind’ was one of Black Sabbath’s best-ever albums – although, the record company wouldn’t let us keep the title, ‘cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn’t want the hassle of a controversy.”
FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi elaborated on Osbourne's wild behavior in a 1992 interview with Guitar World. &quot;We were all in an elevator in this real plush hotel, and Ozzy decides to (relieve himself). As he's doing it, the elevator is going down to the reception floor. The door opens suddenly &ndash; and there's Ozzy with his pants around his knees. And all these people in fur coats are just staring at him with their mouths open.&quot;

Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi elaborated on Osbourne’s wild behavior in a 1992 interview with Guitar World. “We were all in an elevator in this real plush hotel, and Ozzy decides to (relieve himself). As he’s doing it, the elevator is going down to the reception floor. The door opens suddenly – and there’s Ozzy with his pants around his knees. And all these people in fur coats are just staring at him with their mouths open.”
RUSTY KENNEDY, AP

Iggy Pop detailed his raucous 1970s in the anthology &quot;Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.&quot; He noted that one time,&nbsp;he was confronted by Elton John in a gorilla costume, and was so high he thought Elton was a real gorilla. &quot;I'd taken so many downers the night before, they threw me in the bushes, just left me in the shrubbery next to the Days Inn. I woke up and I couldn't talk ... I could barely stand up, and that night Elton John came out onstage in a gorilla costume. I was like, 'Oh my god! What do I do?' I couldn't fight him.&quot;

Iggy Pop detailed his raucous 1970s in the anthology “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.” He noted that one time, he was confronted by Elton John in a gorilla costume, and was so high he thought Elton was a real gorilla. “I’d taken so many downers the night before, they threw me in the bushes, just left me in the shrubbery next to the Days Inn. I woke up and I couldn’t talk … I could barely stand up, and that night Elton John came out onstage in a gorilla costume. I was like, ‘Oh my god! What do I do?’ I couldn’t fight him.”
NAOMI RAHIM, WIREIMAGE

In his 2011 memoir &nbsp;&ldquo;Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,&rdquo; Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar (bottom left) detailed the band's&nbsp;infamous backstage changing areas, which the band and its crew referred to as &quot;sex tents.&quot; He shared more details in an interview that year with&nbsp;&nbsp;Boston&rsquo;s WZLX 100.7 FM. &quot;I&rsquo;d walk down there when Eddie (Van Halen) was doing his solo, but sometimes there&rsquo;d be four or five girls down there, which was to my order. Sometimes it was and the roadies were just like, &lsquo;Hey, these girls wanted to meet you.&rsquo; And I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;Here I am!&rsquo; &nbsp;You start changing your clothes because they&rsquo;re all sweaty. You have a 20-minute break, and it&rsquo;s like, next!'&quot;<br /> &nbsp;

In his 2011 memoir  “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar (bottom left) detailed the band’s infamous backstage changing areas, which the band and its crew referred to as “sex tents.” He shared more details in an interview that year with  Boston’s WZLX 100.7 FM. “I’d walk down there when Eddie (Van Halen) was doing his solo, but sometimes there’d be four or five girls down there, which was to my order. Sometimes it was and the roadies were just like, ‘Hey, these girls wanted to meet you.’ And I’m like, ‘Here I am!’  You start changing your clothes because they’re all sweaty. You have a 20-minute break, and it’s like, next!'”
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sting's 1998 biography &quot;Demolition Man&quot; delved into the singer's tantric sex habits, in which he would hold himself back while making love for several hours at a time. He later debunked the rumors about it during a 2014 &quot;Inside the Actor's Studio&quot; interview.&nbsp;&quot;If we had seven hours, I would demonstrate,&quot; he said. &quot;Maybe not. But there is some truth to it. The idea of tantric sex is a spiritual act. I don't know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, 'sacrament.' I would stand by it. Not seven hours, but the idea.&quot;

Sting’s 1998 biography “Demolition Man” delved into the singer’s tantric sex habits, in which he would hold himself back while making love for several hours at a time. He later debunked the rumors about it during a 2014 “Inside the Actor’s Studio” interview. “If we had seven hours, I would demonstrate,” he said. “Maybe not. But there is some truth to it. The idea of tantric sex is a spiritual act. I don’t know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, ‘sacrament.’ I would stand by it. Not seven hours, but the idea.”

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Tales of Rock – Rock ‘n Roll Mugshots

But some stars take acting out to a whole new level, and their deeds—or rather, misdeeds—cross the thin blue line that separates the legendary and the illegal, and brings them straight into the police station. Sure, charges related to sex and drugs may not be entirely unexpected for rock-n-rollers, but larceny, aggravated assault, and even murder are also in the mix below.

c. 1938
Frank Sinatra, aged 23, poses for a mugshot after being arrested and charged with “carrying on with a married woman” in 1938 in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1947
Jazz singer Billie Holiday’s mugshot in May 1947, when she was 32. She was arrested for possession of narcotics and served eight months in prison.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1963
The first of three mugshots of Jim Morrison of The Doors. Here, aged 20, Morrison had been arrested on September 28, 1963, on charges of petty larceny, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and public drunkenness at a football game in Tallahassee, Florida. Morrison made fun of the players and the crowd and went so far as to steal an umbrella and a police officer’s helmet from a police car. Charges were dropped, but Morrison was fined.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1967
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, aged 18, posed for his mugshot on March 15, 1967, in Yonkers, New York. He was arrested for possession of marijuana.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1968
Jim Morrison’s second appearance, on January 29, 1968, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he was 25. On this occasion, Morrison was detained at the Pussycat a’ Go-Go bar for public drunkenness and vagrancy.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1969
Jimi Hendrix poses for a mugshot after his arrest for narcotics possession at Toronto International Airport on May 3, 1969, in Toronto, Canada.
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1970
Jim Morrison in Dade County, Florida, in September 1970. His arrest was for an incident a year previously, at Coconut Grove, Florida. Morrison was charged with a felony for lewd lascivious behavior, two misdemeanors for public profanity, two for public exposure, and one for public drunkenness—all while on stage.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1976
David Bowie was arrested in March 1976, after a performance in Rochester, New York, for possession of around half a pound of marijuana. Three others were detained with Bowie, including Iggy Pop. They were all released on bail after three hours.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1976
Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested by Memphis police in November 1976 and charged with public drunkenness and gun possession.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1978
Bassist Sid Vicious of punk band The Sex Pistols poses for his mugshot after being arrested by New York City police for allegedly murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen on December 8, 1978 in New York City.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
c. 1980
An 18-year-old Axl Rose posed for the above Lafayette, Indiana police mugshot in July 1980. It was the first of at least five arrests for Rose.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1982
David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash was arrested by Dallas police in April 1982 and charged with drug and gun possession.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1984
John Osbourne (aka Ozzy Osbourne) was arrested by Memphis cops in May 1984 and charged with public intoxication.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1986
Kurt Cobain, singer of the Grunge band Nirvana, was arrested by Aberdeen, Washington police in May 1986, for spray painting the phrase “ain’t got no whatchamacallit” on vehicles.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
c. 1988
James Brown posed for this South Carolina Department of Corrections mug shot in December 1988 after a jury found him guilty of aggravated assault, weapons possession, and failure to stop for police. His “failure to stop” saw Brown flee police across two States. When police blew out two of his tires, he drove on the rims for six miles. He served three years—one of a number of periods in prison.
Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images

 

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New Book Coming Soon: Below The Wheel

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. Should I try to make the story inspired by real events? Maybe…

I also wanted to make it about a couple of guys who were friends and 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.

And, Below the Wheel was born.

Below the Wheel takes place over two weeks 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 NJ. 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 the chief of 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 some 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 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 or Philly. 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 bad relationship with her abusive common-law husband Bruno Cartiglio. When Bruno’s not involved in some sort of sleazy activity, he’s working construction at 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 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 is 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, and red herrings. Will they ever figure out who’s doing the killings in Camden? Will Alyssa’s sister ever be found?

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

Planned Release Date: June 22, 2021

 

 

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

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