The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 9

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.

 

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot – 1975

Compared to the rest of the songs on this list, this song should win a noble prize. I only just figured out that the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t an ancient mariners tale, but was an actual breaking news story. The actual wreck in Lake Superior which killed 29 crew members happened in November of 1975. Gordon read a story in Newsweek about the tragedy and wrote and recorded this song the following month. It came out the next summer and got all the way to number 2 on the singles chart, which is pretty amazing for a 6-minute sea shanty with no chorus. Lightfoot changed a few details. The boat was actually loaded for Detroit not Cleveland and has actually revised the lyrics as more details of the wreck came out over the years.  The other songwriters on this list should take notice. This is how you tell a story in a song.

Run Joey Run – David Geddes – 1975

Ahh… this disaster.

David Geddes wrote a song, and this song was later revived in an episode of Glee. Struggling songwriter, Geddes was in law school when he got a call from a songwriter that thought his voice would be good for a song, called Run Joey Run. In this tragedy, both in terms of the story and this song, Joey sings about his dead girlfriend Julie who haunts him when he tries to sleep. She warns him not to come to her house because she’s been fighting with her father. We’re to believe that Julie is pregnant but she promises her dad that she and Joey will get married. (Just you wait and see) Of course, Joey comes to be by her side, her father tries to shoot him, but he hits her instead. Yes, even in the ME decade of the ’70s these are the lessons and the morals we grew up with.

I was 13 years old when this song came out. Even back then I knew it was an awful pile of garbage. But there’s something about it that has this weird, B-movie vibe to it. Now I actually kind of love it for its kitsch. I love songs and films that are made in earnest that are terrible. I guess that’s why Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax are some of my favorite shows. Stuff so bad, it’s good. This is a welcome tune to my list!

Shannon – Henry Gross – 1975

Henry Gross played Woodstock as part of the group Sha Na Na, and he was part of Jim Croce’s band. Sadly his own solo work was going nowhere. But he struck gold with a song about a dead dog. Not just any dead dog. While he was touring with the Beach Boys in 1975, Gross visited Carl Wilson’s house in LA. He mentioned that he owned an Irish Setter called Shannon, Wilson replied that he also had an Irish Setter named Shannon that had recently been killed by a car. That was enough to score a top ten hit and an afterlife when Casey Kasem went on a profanity-laced tirade in 1985 when his producers stuck a long-distance dedication of Shannon right after an up-tempo song by the Pointer Sisters.

If you listen to it you can feel the whole Beach Boys vocal sound in the chorus. The only thing that could make this song worse would be if Mike Love sang it. Not a terrible song, but just a weird subject for a tune. Back then I always thought it was about a girl that had died.

It’s also way too long…

Convoy – CW McCall – 1973

Advertising executive Bill Fries created an award-winning campaign for Old Home Bread, featuring a fictional truck driver named CW McCall. A few years later, at the peak of the CB radio craze, Fries got together with Chip Davis from Mannheim Steamroller and they put together a song that chronicled a CB conversation between Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, and Sod Buster, about a fictional trucker rebellion that drives from the West coast to the East coast of the country without stopping.  The song is mostly dialogue, thick with CB lingo and an annoying earworm chorus, Convoy became a number one hit in 1975, it inspired a major motion picture in 1978 directed by the great Sam Peckinpah and starring Kris Kristofferson Ali McGraw and Ernest Borgnine. I would watch this movie for the laugh.

Kids… that’s the kind of thing that was possible in the ’70s.

Convoy | 1978 | Final | UK One Sheet » The Poster Collector

Look at the body on Kristofferson in this rendering! Lookin’ ripped!

Wildfire – Michael Murphey and the Rio Grande Band – 1975

Murphey and Larry Cansler co-wrote “Wildfire” in 1968, shortly after Murphey emerged as a solo artist. Earlier in the decade, he had been part of a duo known as the Lewis & Clark Expedition (which had appeared and performed in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie) in 1968 with his fellow singer-songwriter Boomer Castleman. When Murphey rerecorded “Wildfire” for a new album in 1997, he was quoted by Billboard as saying that what many consider his signature song “broke my career wide open and, on some level, still keeps it fresh. Because that song appeals to kids and always has, it’s kept my career fresh.”

In a 2008 interview, Murphey talked about the origins of the song and the context in which it was written. He was a third-year student at UCLA, working on a concept album for Kenny Rogers (The Ballad of Calico). The work was demanding, sometimes taking more than twenty hours a day. One night he dreamed the song in its totality, writing it up in a few hours the next morning. He believes the song came to him from a story his grandfather told him when he was a little boy – a prominent Native American legend about a ghost horse. Murphey didn’t have a horse named Wildfire until a few years before the interview when he gave that name to a palomino mare.

The lyrics are those of a homesteader telling the story of a young Nebraska woman said to have died searching for her escaped pony, “Wildfire”, during a blizzard. The homesteader finds himself in a similar situation, doomed in an early winter storm. A hoot owl has perched outside of his window for six days, and the homesteader believes the owl is a sign that the ghost of the young woman is calling for him. He hopes to join her (presumably in heaven) and spend eternity riding Wildfire with her, leaving the difficulties of earthly life behind.

The song is rather famous for its piano intro and outro, which is often left off versions of the song edited for radio. The introduction is based on a piece (Prelude in D-flat, Op. 11 No. 15) by the Russian classical composer Alexander Scriabin.

This song is not annoying or weird. It’s just a really unique story song that was very popular in the mid-70s. It’s kind of sappy, but also sort of beautiful and sad. I like it so I added it to this list.

Muskrat Love – The Captain and Tennille -1976

I really have to hand it to my readers on this one. I was discussing compiling this list with a few of my followers and they sent me some of their favorite weird songs. The Captain and Tennille clearly deserve a spot on this list, but they didn’t go for the obvious choice with “Love Will Keep Us Together” or “Do That to Me One More Time.” No, they wisely went with “Muskrat Love,” by far their hit that’s aged the worst. The song (originally called “Muskrat Candlelight”) was written by obscure country-rock artist Willis Alan Ramsey in 1972.  The band America covered it in 1973, and the Captain and Tennille cut their own version of it in 1976. The song isn’t some sort of analogy. It’s about actual muskrats falling in love. They played it at the White House in 1976 when Queen Elizabeth II came for a visit. It’s unclear why the Ford Administration thought that was a good idea. If they came a year later, Jimmy Carter would have probably pulled in a better act.

If you google pictures of them, Daryl always looks like he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t want to be in any photos with her. I can’t blame him.

Tennille filed for divorce from Dragon in the State of Arizona on January 16, 2014, after 39 years of marriage. Dragon was unaware of the termination of his marriage until he was served with the divorce papers. The divorce documents referenced health insurance or health issues, and Tennille had written on her blog in 2010 that Dragon’s neurological condition, similar to Parkinson’s, known as essential tremor, was characterized by such extreme tremors he could no longer play keyboards. Dragon later stated that some of his health problems were the result of errors in dosing his medication.

In 2016, Toni Tennille, Tennille’s memoir (co-written with niece Caroline Tennille St. Clair) was published. In it, Tennille painted an unflattering picture of Dragon and their years together.

Dragon and Tennille remained close friends until his death from complications of kidney failure on January 2, 2019, in Prescott, Arizona. Tennille was at his side when he died.

I always thought of Toni Tennille as a poser who sang flat with little range. They’re like a bad act you’d see in a hotel lounge in the middle of nowhere. This song is trash and I can’t believe why anyone would focus their songwriting energy on such an odd subject.

On a final note, the weird solo that sounds like little farts is supposed to be Muskrat Love sounds.

It’s just Awful!

I hate her and this song too. She just comes off like the type of person that would be best friends with Kate Gosselin.

You’re Having My Baby – Paul Anka – 1974

Nobody disputes the fact that Paul Anka is brilliant – the man wrote “My Way” for God’s sake. That feat alone earns him a spot on the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  But in the summer of 1974 he released “(You’re) Having My Baby,” an uber-saccharine song about a man overjoyed about the news that his wife is pregnant. The song hit home for a lot of Americans, and it gave Anka his first Number One since 1959’s “Lonely Boy.” It’s aged about as well as a rancid bucket of sweet and sour pork. New life was breathed into the tune in 2009 when it was featured on Glee. Finn sang it to Quinn while having dinner with her parents. At the time, he didn’t know that Puck was the real father and that Quinn’s dad would throw her out of the house after hearing the news.

In 2018, heavy metal singer Glenn Danzig invited Anka onto the main stage at the Wacken Open Air Festival to sing “(You’re) Having My Baby.” Despite not having sung the song live in nearly 40 years, Anka agreed and appeared with Danzig wearing bell-bottom pants and a plaid shirt with a butterfly collar.

Less than thirty seconds into the song, the crowd of roughly 66,000 expressed their disgust with boos and empty beer bottles, forcing the two to stop singing. Unable to quell the crowd with offers of singing “Long Way Back from Hell” and “Do You Wear the Mark” together, Anka and Danzig fled the stage shortly before the frenzied crowd stormed the stage.

“These kids don’t know Anka as I know him,” Danzig later said through tears. “When I first heard ‘You’re Having My Baby,’ I knew that’s what I wanted to do in life.”

Despite the underwhelming catastrophe of the Wacken Open Air Festival, other heavy metal singers have followed suit with Danzig’s idea. Paul Anka is currently collaborating with thrash-metal band Slayer and an album is due in stores during the summer of 2021.

Watch the performance. Notice how Paul is up on stage singing it by himself? Odia Coates the woman who sings the duet with him isn’t with him on stage. She’s sitting on a bench at the piano. Was a white man and a black woman standing next to each other on stage singing about how he’s so happy he got her pregnant and she’s keeping their mixed-race baby, too controversial for 1974? I don’t know. Just sayin’…

My mother hated this song and so did I. My mother appreciated good music and couldn’t understand why someone would write a song like this. If you listen to the song you’ll hear how gross this song really is. “You could have swept it from your life, but you didn’t do it.” Nice Roe vs. Wade reference, Paul.

Ugh!

Watching Scotty Grow – Bobby Goldsboro – 1970

is a song written by country music singer-songwriter Mac Davis and recorded by Bobby Goldsboro in 1970 on his album, We Gotta Start Lovin. Davis recorded his version on his 1972 album, I Believe in Music.

This song deals with a father witnessing the activities of his son growing up, while the father does his usual laid-back adult activities. The phrase, “that’s my boy” is used in all 3 verses. One of the verses, “Mickey Mouse says thirteen o’clock,” refers to the Mickey Mouse watches which were popular at the time.

Who the hell told Bobby Goldsboro that this was a good haircut? It looks like a fur helmet. But I digress. I hate this song. It’s so sappy. The lyrics just make me want to puke. If my handlers asked me to record a song like this I would have quit the music business.

 

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Aerosmith – Part 9

Woodbury, NJ – 1997

Still married. Still working in banking, and a one-year-old beautiful daughter in my life.

Anyway… enough of the cuteness. Let’s wrap up this series on my favorite band.

Aerosmith – Nine Lives – 1997

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Lives_(Aerosmith_album)

You’re not going to believe this, but I didn’t buy this album. I heard the song, Pink on MTV but wasn’t thrilled, and thought Fallin’ In Love (Is hard on the knees) was a good song, but overall this is not a good record. But America is still coming in droves. Literally still lining up to date my once beloved. I feel like we broke up years ago. I’ve heard this record in its entirety, and it’s just not worth it.

Woodbury, NJ – 2001

Divorced. New girlfriend. She’s crazy. I’m making more money than ever, but I’m miserable. I didn’t buy this record either.

Aerosmith – Just Push Play

Here’s my full review of this record:

“Just push, eject.” – Charles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Push_Play

 

West Deptford, NJ – 2004

Still working in finance. Bigger house. More money. More cars. More problems. Kicked my crazy girlfriend out. Child support is killing me. Love my daughter.

Aerosmith – Honkin’ On Bobo – 2004

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honkin%27_on_Bobo

Not a bad blues record because all rock came from the blues. Saw the band on this tour and it was wonderful to see the boys alive and well. But it’s still a blues record. Nothing remarkable here. It’s about over for these guys creatively and artistically.

 

Philadelphia, PA – 2020

I was writing and editing my book, Angel with a Broken Wing that summer and decided to listen to every Aerosmith album in order while I was doing it. It was a fun ride that took a couple of days. I only listened to the classic Aero from the ’70s on occasion. But had never heard this album. Their final studio LP.

Aerosmith – Songs From Another Dimension – 2012

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_from_Another_Dimension!

The song Lover Alot sounds like a classic Aerosmith song, but other than that the album is weak. Carrie Underwood cameo? Really guys? Anything by Joe Perry on this album is just trash.

So that’s it. My lovely lion has gone out like a lamb. It’s okay. Everybody hates the Star Wars prequels and we love Star Wars. It’s the same thing. We can’t all be the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelin. In the end, we’re all just a bunch of old guys who had a load of fun in our youth, and Aerosmith and others gave us a solid soundtrack to dance through life to. But we all grow up and you have to know when to retire your toys to the attic of your memories. But… you can go up there and listen to your records any time you want and relive all of those wonderful feelings again. You can’t go back, but you can always wrap yourself up in those songs like a warm familiar blanket and smile.

Thanks for the ride guys! I will always love you!

Okay, one last bit here. If my sister makes fun of Ozzy Osbourne, it’s not cool, because she doesn’t own every Black Sabbath record ever made. But I can because I love Sabbath! I can make fun of my idols because there’s so much love there. So, as I did on their first album cover let’s take a look at these grandpops now.

Brad Whitford looks like he just stepped out of a card game with Wyatt Earp. Joe Perry with his Bonnie Raitt two-tone hair looks like an old bone daddy biker. Joey Kramer looks like an activist at the NYC Gay Pride parade. Tom Hamilton looks like that twice-divorced, used to be hot, lady neighbor with the ’78 Camaro. Steven Tyler looks like the cool aunt who would buy you and your friends beer when you all came over to your friend’s house in the ’70s. Or, he just came from his audition for the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

LOVE YOU!

I long for these days…

Here are my favorite Aerosmith albums in order:

  1. Rocks
  2. Toys in the Attic
  3. Aerosmith
  4. Night in the Ruts
  5. Rock In A Hard Place
  6. Done With Mirrors
  7. Get Your Wings
  8. Draw The Line

Honorable mention: The Joe Perry Project – Let the Music Do the Talking

There you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have writing it. If you liked it, hit me up in the comments or email me about some other bands I could write about!

 

P.S. “If you’re ever feeling sad and beaten down by the world and life, please do this: Go home, put on your favorite record and crank it up loud. Lean into the music and feel the joy that it’s always brought you. Just know that all the darkness in the world can NEVER take a single note of that away from you.”

– Charles

 

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

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Jane Seymour on Finding New Love in Her Late-60s: No Tinder

This Oct. 6, 2019 photo shows actress Jane Seymour posing at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles to promote her role in “The Kominsky Method.” (Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP)

Jane Seymour was in her mid-60s when her husband of 20 years decided it was over. The actress was floored.

“I had a long marriage and never thought it was going to end,” the 68-year-old said recently while promoting the second season of Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method,” co-starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.

“I’m going, ‘I what? I date? What? Are you crazy? How does this work?’” Seymour said. “And then my kids would say, ‘Mom, there’s this thing called Tinder.’ And I’m like, ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’”

But similar to her character in “The Kominsky Method” who runs into an old flame, fate intervened, and Seymour stumbled upon a new romance. She has been with boyfriend and British film director David Green since 2014, about a year after her divorce from filmmaker James Keach, who directed “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” Seymour’s iconic role.

“Accidentally I ran into somebody I knew 38 years earlier who had been in a long marriage and his marriage ended,” she said. “It wasn’t his choice and my marriage ended, it wasn’t my choice. And we randomly met accidentally 38 years later and realized we were free, and we’ve been together ever since. So I do not have to date.”

Her experience drew Seymour to “The Kominsky Method,” in which she plays Madelyn, who reconnects with Arkin’s character (Norman) at a funeral following the deaths of their spouses.

“I do get this whole thing of having a relationship with someone that’s contemporary, you know?” Seymour said. “We’re both dealing with older children, exes, and our future … how long will we live? How can we stay healthy? How can we tick off our bucket list? Do we still want to work or do we feel like we’ve only just started, which is the case with me and David?”

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress has four children and two stepchildren from her four marriages.

On top of acting and a busy family life, Seymour designs furniture and jewelry. Seymour recently had a one-woman art show in Washington, D.C., she writes books, runs a nonprofit, and produces movies.

“I do what I do because I love it,” she said. “I don’t think of it ever as a job … It’s called living. So I don’t see retiring. You don’t retire from life.”

In fact, Seymour said her own children have a tough time keeping up with her.

“Inside of me, I’m 20. OK? I hang out with my 23-year-old boys, and the other day I was with them running around Europe and they said, ‘Mom, can you slow down?’” she said. “I went, ‘No, this is the pace at which I go and you are a third of my age, so you better just catch up with Mama.’ I just love life.”

With age, she said, has come “more of a freedom in kind of accepting who I am and what I look like and how I feel now than I did when I was younger when I was trying maybe too hard to be something.”

Seymour first caught the eye of audiences when she played Bond girl Solitaire in 1973’s “Live and Let Die.” Asked what it’s like to be a sex symbol for nearly five decades and well into her 60s, Seymour scoffed.

“I’ve never thought of it that way,” she said, noting that she and her Bond character were both virgins. “So hardly a sex symbol. I didn’t know what sex was.”

Since then, Seymour has posed in “Playboy” three times, in 1973, 1987, and last year, when the magazine said the actress “is more of a sex symbol now than when she played a Bond girl.”

To Seymour, sexy means being comfortable in your own skin at every age. That’s why she hasn’t had plastic surgery, the actress said.

“I made a choice a long time ago not to do all the things that other people do because I’m not trying to look like me when I’m 20 or 30. It’s kind of pointless,” she said. “So, I just thought, let’s put on a gray wig and have some wrinkles and actually play characters.”

Seymour said she’s one of the lucky actresses who’ve landed great roles after 40.

“Hollywood’s been pretty good to me, actually,” she said. “Back in the day, they used to say if you’re a woman and you’re 40, you’re done. Well, when I was 40, I got ‘Dr. Quinn.’ So that’s when I started. And to be honest, right now I feel like this is my moment because there are all these amazing characters that I can now play without having to worry about whether I look like a leading lady.

Her eyes glimmered: “And I can still play it like a leading lady if I put my hair and makeup together.”

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

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

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Tales of Rock – 20 Craziest Rock Stars in History

It is said that the golden age of deranged rock stars is over. Gone are the TV-throwing, groupie-loving, drug-abusing stars that our parents idolized and subsequently forsook when parenthood came. In many ways, the legendary anecdotes about these rock stars’ antics were inseparable from the music and won them legions of adoring fans. Most of today’s stars tiptoe around controversy and focus more on informing their social media followers about the banal events of their daily lives. The worst crimes modern musicians are guilty of are tempestuous love lives. But is the near-extinction of crazy rock stars to be lamented?

You can make your own mind up as you peruse this list of history’s 20 craziest rock stars. Here, we will look at the lives and crimes of some of the 20th century’s biggest stars. But though this list contains some of the usual suspects – John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ozzy Osbourne – it is truly a connoisseur’s collection, and doubtless, you will not have heard of a few musicians whose obscurity should not detract from the decadence and eccentricity of their behavior. So dig out your dad’s dusty old vinyl, pour yourself a stiff Jack Daniels and coke, and enjoy!

Lemmy, with his signature Rickenbacker bass, performing in France, 2011. The Verge

1. Lemmy was kicked out of his first band for his excessive drug use but didn’t let up

Lemmy Kilmister rose to fame as the bassist for the acid-drenched space rock band, Hawkwind, but was kicked out for taking too many drugs. Lemmy’s iconic band, Motörhead, was named after the nickname Hawkwind gave him for his overindulgence in amphetamine and cocaine. A hard drinker and drug user for most of his life, as long ago as 1980 Lemmy was refused a blood transfusion on the grounds that ‘I had become so toxic, mostly from all the speed and alcohol, that fresh blood would have killed me’. He also bedded over 1000 women over his miraculously long life.

Lemmy was known as much for his appetite for sex, drugs, and alcohol as for Motörhead, but his relentless daily diet of 40-Marlboro-Red and a bottle of Jack Daniels actually helped to hone his distinctive, gravelly singing voice. He did make one concession to old age, however. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011, he swapped Jack Daniels and coke for vodka and orange. Despite his great fame, Lemmy remained a down-to-earth man, unlike some of the other prima donnas on this list. His death on Christmas Eve 2015 forever ruined the holiday season for millions around the world.

Jerry Lee Lewis’s mugshot from his arrest at Graceland, Memphis, November 1976. Pinterest

2. Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested at Graceland with a loaded gun

It is a miracle that ‘The Killer’ is still knocking around at the age of 82. His dynamic stage presence, and general mistreatment of the piano, were echoed by a tempestuous private life enjoyed in fifth gear. Jerry developed an addiction to prescription pills in the early sixties, and at its peak would quite literally take pills by the fistful. He washed these down with gallons of whiskey, and this diet helped to fuel his violent and arresting stage show. Simultaneously, he developed a worrying love of firearms, and took pistols and machine guns both on tour and on stage!

Drugs, alcohol, and guns don’t mix, and The Killer almost lived up to his nickname when he accidentally shot his own bassist with a .357 Magnum. Some still believe that he murdered his fifth wife in 1983, which he strongly denies. In 1976, he was also arrested outside Elvis’s mansion, Graceland, outrageously drunk on champagne and wielding a firearm. He still maintains that Elvis had requested his presence. Most controversially, he almost hijacked his own career when he married his 13-year-old cousin in the late 1950s. As of 2018, The Killer has been married 7 times and still performs live.

John Bonham performing at Madison Square Garden, New York, May 1977. Pinterest

3. John Bonham rode a motorcycle through a hotel lobby… twice

John Bonham’s legendary status as a hell-raiser is such that including him on this list seems almost lazy. However, it would be remiss to exclude the lynchpin of Led Zeppelin, the band that invented the hotel-trashing tradition and defiled a groupie with a red snapper (yes, the fish). A talented and powerful drummer, Bonham’s antics included riding a motorcycle through a hotel lobby twice, numerous drink-fueled assaults, and sleeping with countless fans. Even his decadent bandmates struggled to deal with an inebriated Bonham. Oddly, he also purchased a 100-acre farm in England, which bred award-winning Herefordshire Cattle. Go figure.

Where Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, dabbled in strange, esoteric practices (including buying the Satanist Aleister Crowley’s old house by Loch Ness), Bonham’s excesses were more straightforward rock’n’roll debauchery. Unfortunately, his capacity for alcohol finally failed him in 1980 when, at the age of 32, he died after one mammoth drinking session too many. The coroner’s report revealed that Bonham had sunk the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka over a day, and choked on his own vomit. Bonham’s importance to Led Zeppelin was such that they disbanded immediately after his death, only reforming for a one-off show in 2007.

Keith Moon (left) performing with The Who at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969. Pinterest

4. Keith Moon: they didn’t call him ‘Moon the Loon’ for nothing!

Drummers are proverbially crazy, and Bonham’s close friend, Keith Moon of The Who, certainly lived up to the reputation. Nicknamed ‘Moon the Loon’, Moon’s energetic style was crucial to the band’s legendary sound. He loved explosives, and used them not only in his own performances but would hide M-80s in friends’ drum kits. As well as destroying his own equipment on stage, he once responded to being booed off stage in Saskatchewan by chopping up all the furniture in his hotel room with an axe he brought with him: ‘just trying to keep myself out of trouble, mate’, he explained.

Beyond wanton vandalism, Moon’s main indulgence was pills. Pills fuelled both Moon’s onstage performances and personal life, which included such memorable moments as knocking his own front teeth out whilst naked at his 21st birthday party in Flint, Michigan. The Who were politely asked never to return to Flint. Alcohol was another indulgence, and through the 1970s Moon quaffed two bottles of champagne and two bottles of brandy on quiet days around the house. His love of groupies was also to cost him dearly when he returned from a US tour and gave his long-suffering wife the clap.

Moon’s love of practical jokes was legendary. He had a public broadcast system installed on his Rolls Royce and would drive around London’s suburbs making convincing and terrifying public service announcements. Bands touring with The Who could expect to encounter exploding toilets, have their equipment tampered with, and Moon filling their beds with realistic toy spiders. Unfortunately, the drink, drugs, and reckless regard for personal safety caught up with the self-proclaimed ‘world’s greatest Keith Moon-type drummer’ in 1978. On 7th September, Moon died after overdosing on pills ironically prescribed to help him sober up. Like Bonham, he was just 32.

Jim Morrison, Copenhagen, 1968. Pinterest

5. Jim Morrison was arrested multiple times for indecency

Jim Morrison’s erotic stage presence, controversial lyrics, and beguiling persona made The Doors one of the biggest bands in the world. Unfortunately, his long hair, promiscuity, and substance abuse often brought him into conflict with the conservative establishment. In 1967, Morrison was maced by a New Haven police officer after being found with a girl before a performance, and his tirade against the force in that evening’s show saw him arrested for public obscenity. In 1969, he was again arrested for encouraging his audience to strip naked and allegedly exposing himself in Miami (he was posthumously pardoned in 2010).

Like many in the sixties, Morrison experimented with drugs, but like many of his musical peers, he also wildly overindulged. Morrison alternated between heavy drinking and dropping LSD, which he believed helped his creative powers, and also indulged in speed. Unfortunately, far from helping him, these habits actually curtailed his career. According to a psychopathology journal article, ‘Jim Morrison is an exemplary case showing that heavy drinking and the abuse of LSD, mescaline, and amphetamines damages the capacity to realize creative motivation’. Reclusive, overweight, and bearded, the former ‘Lizard King’ died in Paris at the age of 27.

Captain Beefheart (centre), Lancashire, UK, 1972. YouTube

6. Captain Beefheart ran his band like the Manson Family

Captain Beefheart was the even cooler, less-famous, drug-taking version of his childhood friend, Frank Zappa. Although he never achieved mainstream success, Beefheart’s magnum opus, Trout Mask Replica, is a staple of ‘greatest albums ever’ lists. To prepare for the challenging and boundary-pushing release, Beefheart ran his band like a religious cult, exercising terrifying levels of control over their emotions and creative input, and feeding them a cup of soybeans a day for eight months of solid rehearsing. Although Beefheart maintained that he did not take drugs, listening to Trout Mask Replica and interviews with his surviving bandmates suggests otherwise.

Drummer John French recalled how he was ‘screamed at, beaten up, drugged, ridiculed, humiliated, arrested, starved, stolen from, and thrown down a half-flight of stairs’ by Beefheart. The Captain also drank heavily, which may lie behind some of his unusual methods of band management. His eccentricity will never be equaled: he had a four-octave range, and thousands of record company executives thirsting to sign him, but Beefheart marched to the beat of his own drum, and instead released baffling songs like ‘Neon Meate Dream of an Octafish’. After releasing Ice Cream for Crow in 1982, Beefheart became a reclusive painter.

Don’t do drugs, kids… Keith Richards, New York, 2015. Billboard

7. Keith Richards snorted his dead father’s ashes

Over his miraculously long life, Keith Richards has been busted for drug possession on numerous occasions, and in 1977 police raided his London home found heroin, marijuana, Mandrax tablets, a rifle, a handgun, and 110 rounds of ammunition. He was cleared of all 25 charges against him, thanks to a wonderful lawyer. In 1966, he was tripping so hard on acid during a party at his Sussex mansion that he thought the police raiding his house were ‘blue dwarves’.

On the Stones’ 1975 US tour, Richards snorted cocaine after every song, and around the same time he survived smoking cannabis laced with strychnine. In 2002, aged 59, he snorted his dead dad’s ashes: ‘he was cremated, and I couldn’t resist, he explained. In the late 1980s, he stayed awake for nine days straight, then fell asleep standing up. Only recently has Richards showed any sign of slowing down. Aged 74, he is finally sober because ‘drugs are so bland these days… anyway, I’ve done ’em all. But fear not: ‘I’m not saying I’m definitely off all of this stuff.

Ozzy Osbourne (right) with Black Sabbath, England, 1970. Wikimedia Commons

8. Ozzy Osbourne bit the heads off doves and a bat

Where to start with Ozzy Osbourne? Whole books deal with the man’s excesses since he first shuffled onto the stage with Black Sabbath in 1968. One year, he took acid every day, ‘to see what would happen. Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe (see below) once saw him snort an entire line of ants by a swimming pool. Whilst in Black Sabbath, he developed such a penchant for cocaine that he and his bandmates had the stuff flown in by private plane. Eventually, even the easy-going, stoned hippies in Sabbath got sick of Ozzy’s drug habit and sacked him in 1978.

Unsurprisingly, Ozzy can’t remember many of the following incidents. Promoting his debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, an inebriated Ozzy bit the heads off two live doves in a publicity stunt gone wrong. He topped this by biting the head off a live bat on stage, albeit mistaking it for a toy. Most notoriously, his long-suffering wife, Sharon, took to hiding his clothes to stop him sneaking out and partying every night on tour in 1982. Undaunted, Ozzy simply donned her evening gown, got unbelievably wasted, and was arrested at 9 am the next morning whilst urinating on the Alamo Cenotaph.

Again promoting Blizzard of Ozz in 1980, Ozzy was having dinner with CBS Records executives in Germany when he grew bored. Climbing on the table, Ozzy began a sultry striptease, goose-stepped naked across the table, urinated in the wine carafe, kissed the chief executive on the lips, and then dangled his testicles in the receptacle for good measure. Despite Black Sabbath’s (unwanted) association with Satanism, Ozzy is actually a committed Christian, but this didn’t stop him accidentally drugging a vicar who ate a slice of cake laced with Afghan hashish. The confused vicar woke up three days later.

Steven Tyler, London, 1976. Morrison Hotel Gallery

9. Steven Tyler spent $6 million on drugs

Steven Tyler and bandmate Joe Perry were known as the ‘Toxic Twins’ during their drug-fueled 1970s heyday. One night their band, Aerosmith, was so high on cocaine and heroin that they managed only three songs before one member lost consciousness: details are inevitably hazy. Aerosmith even played the same song twice by accident in the same show several times. In his autobiography, Tyler estimates that he has spent over $6 million on drugs: ‘I snorted my plane, I snorted my house’, he poetically muses. Incredibly, Perry once ran up $80,000 of room service partying with the band – in 1979.

Perry has also confirmed rumors that the band employed a ‘cocaine roadie’ to keep them supplied during shows. Things got so bad that, when they reformed in the 1980s, Aerosmith couldn’t remember their own songs, and Tyler even suggested that they cover some hits he liked. These were, in fact, Aerosmith songs. Tyler and Aerosmith also indulged heavily in sex, and the ‘Toxic Twins’ both ended up with crabs from an ill-advised group sex session. But does Tyler regret his hell-raising days? ‘If it wasn’t for Peruvian marching powder, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did’.

10. Al Jourgensen was addicted to heroin for 20 years

Al Jourgensen is the frontman of pioneering industrial metal band, Ministry. Ministry emerged just as Aerosmith was cleaning up their act, and more than made up for the global reduction in drug-addicted musicians. When Warner Brothers gave the band $750, 000 to make the album Psalm 69, Jourgensen said it disappeared ‘up our arms and … up our noses’. Such heavy drug use has produced some legendary anecdotes, including the time Jourgensen blew up Ministry’s tour bus with them on it with a firework. He also beat up R Kelly for ‘freaking out’ his daughter and urinating on his piano.

Unfortunately, not all of Jourgensen’s stories about drug addiction are so entertaining. He contracted Hepatitis C from using a contaminated needle, narrowly survived overdoses on several occasions, and had a gangrenous toe amputated after a needle wound became infected. He was once only a stone’s throw from losing an arm to a spider bite suffered whilst napping on a dealer’s couch. After 20 years of heroin addiction, Jourgensen finally said goodbye to drugs forever when an ulcer in his gastrointestinal tract exploded and he lost 65% of his blood. Jourgensen now contents himself with political protest and extensive body art.

Nikki Sixx, California, 1983. Pinterest

11. Nikki Sixx died and came back to life… then overdosed again

Nikki Sixx was the bassist and main songwriter for Mötley Crüe, one of the biggest rock bands of the 1980s. In the early days on Sunset Strip, Mötley Crüe became one of the most dangerous groups to see live, with concerts often ending in fights, and the parties at the band’s shared house rarely stopped until the early hours. Money and fame simply meant more drugs, strippers, and alcohol – and Sixx developed a heroin addiction that nearly killed him. In fact, it did, clinically, for two minutes. After a shot of adrenalin directly to the heart, Sixx immediately overdosed again.

Not unlike the dynamic (drugged up) duo from Aerosmith, Sixx had a partner in crime, Tommy Lee. The pair, known as the ‘Terror Twins’, would egg one another on to push themselves to wilder and wilder extremes, and on one tour of Europe, they would smash bottles over each other’s heads and swallow light bulbs whole for fun. Heroin addiction and abuse every other drug under the sun also brought many crippling low points: ‘there is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by a Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously out of control’, he mused.

Vince Neil (left), Donington, UK, 1984. Kiwi

12. Vince Neil killed his friend while driving while drunk – to go get more booze

With the wildly infamous antics of Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil is often forgotten. Neil’s main rock star passions were drugs, alcohol, and sex. And lots of it. Neil recalls one particular highlight in his life: ‘looking down on it from the helicopter, with a bottle of Jack in my left hand, a bag of pills in my right hand, and a blond head bobbing up and down in my lap, I felt like the king of the world’. Neil’s philandering ways saw him sleep with the most beautiful and iconic women of the 1980s.

In 1984, Mötley Crüe hosted yet another party, when the alcohol ran out. Both terribly intoxicated, Neil and Razzle, the drummer of Finnish glam metal band Hanoi Rocks, went to replenish supplies at a liquor store. Perhaps inevitably, Neil’s Pantera collided with an oncoming car, killing Razzle and leaving the occupants of the other vehicle with severe brain damage. A distraught Neil was given 30 days in jail, 5 years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to pay a $2.6 million compensation bill. The episode still haunts Neil, and he believes that his sentence should have been harsher.

Mötley Crüe fans will be shocked that we’ve got this far without telling the infamous ‘egg burrito’ story. Well, here it is. In their heyday, Mötley Crüe struggled to balance having sex with fans and maintaining relationships with long-term girlfriends. Their solution? Continuing their infidelity, and hiding the olfactory evidence of having sex with dozens of women a week by rubbing their intimate parts with egg burritos, in order to mask the scent. ‘We would tell our girlfriends, “Oh, we dropped the burritos in our laps”. The girlfriends thought we were a bunch of clumsy slobs’, chuckles Neil. Yuck.

Marilyn Manson gets friendly with a security guard, an act for which he was later arrested and sued, Detroit, 2001. cities

13. Marilyn Manson smoked drugs laced with human remains

Marilyn Manson was the undisputed public enemy number one throughout the 1990s. Aligning himself with Charles Manson, becoming an ordained minister of the Church of Satan, and naming an album Antichrist Superstar shocked millions of conservative Americans, who picketed his concerts and petitioned for a blanket ban on Manson’s albums. Early concerts saw a mixture of blasphemy and violence against himself, bandmates, and audience alike, and Manson often received fellatio on stage. Recording Antichrist Superstar in New Orleans, Manson and his band found old bones poking out of the ground in a graveyard near their studio… and smoked them.

Manson is a complicated figure, by equal parts an intelligent and articulate man yet also a drug addict who has made some questionable decisions and been arrested on numerous occasions (see above). An appearance on the Phil Donahue show in 1995 illustrates this. In full androgynous make-up and stage gear, Manson told an appalled, conservative audience some home truths: ‘I think parents should raise their kids better or someone like Marilyn Manson is going to’. In 1999, Manson was unjustly blamed for the Columbine Shooting. His intelligent and thought-provoking response, in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, is worth seeking out.

Dead (second left) with Mayhem, Norway, 1991. William Pinfold

14. ‘Dead’ of Mayhem used to inhale the scent of death from a crow in a bag

You probably haven’t heard of Per Yngve ‘Dead’ Ohlin, but you sure won’t forget him in a hurry. Dead was the frontman of the pioneering Norwegian black metal band, Mayhem, for three years between 1988 and 1991. Though he would have hated being labeled a rock star, Dead’s concert performances fit the bill. The band wore scary make-up like others before them, which they called ‘corpse paint’. Dead cut himself on stage, and prepared for performances by burying his clothes for days to smell of rot and inhaling the fumes of a dead crow he kept in a bin bag.

This bizarre ritual allowed Dead to perform shows ‘with the stench of death in his nostrils. In 1991, Dead lived up to his stage name and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. His Monty Python-esque suicide note simply read: ‘Sorry about the mess’. Finding Dead’s body, his bandmates removed fragments of the skull to make necklaces, made lumps of gore into a broth that they ate, and took photographs of the carnage. One of these bloody images became the cover art for a bootleg live album, Dawn of the Black Hearts. It’s what Dead would have wanted.

A bloodied Iggy Pop, on stage with The Stooges, Los Angeles, 1974. FFW

15. Iggy Pop once defecated on stage and cut himself at every show

Iggy Pop today is a perennially shirtless, leathery, reptilian icon of a bygone age. But in his pomp, Iggy was one of the most dangerous and self-destructive performers in the world. Iggy’s on-stage antics – picking fights with the crowd, cutting and exposing himself – made his first band, The Stooges, irresistible to teenagers wishing to rebel. The band, and most of all Iggy, had serious drug problems to go with the legal issues arising from their live performances and disbanded several times. On one occasion in 1973, a bikini-clad Iggy defecated behind an amplifier then threw the excrement at the crowd.

All that cocaine, heroin, and pills made Iggy utterly fearless. He is widely credited with inventing the stage dive. In 1977, he responded to being heckled by bikers in Warren, Michigan, by performing a 45-minute version of Louie, Louie with improvised lyrics that insulted the leather-clad gang, then challenging them all to a fight, single-handed. He lost. If you want to get a sense of Iggy’s drug problem and wacky sense of humor, there are numerous bemusing interviews on YouTube. Now sober, Iggy had aged incredibly well and spends his days practicing Qigong. He still performs, and frequently records new music.

Axl Rose performs at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, London, 1992. GQ

16. Axl Rose incited numerous riots and spent $13 million and 15 years recording a dreadful album

Although he has done his fair share of drugs, and much of his strange behavior can be attributed to an alcohol problem, Axl is chiefly on this list for his diva-like personality. Axl frequently turns up late to Guns’n’Roses shows, to the fury of his long-suffering fans, for spurious reasons, including once because he was leisurely finishing a roast dinner. Over the years, Axl’s poor timekeeping has frequently kept fans waiting several hours, and even when he finally makes an appearance there is no guarantee that he will play more than a few songs. It depends on what mood he’s in.

Axl certainly likes doing things his own way. In the early 1990s, he killed a moth with a shotgun instead of a swatter like a normal person. He has been arrested numerous times after reacting badly to everything from having his baggage checked at airports and objecting to having his photo taken at concerts. In 1993, Guns’n’Roses set about recording Chinese Democracy. $13 million and 15 years (during which the other members of Guns’n’Roses were either fired or quit because of Axl’s erratic behavior) later, the prize turkey that is Chinese Democracy was finally released to a changed and underwhelmed world.

Ray (left) and Dave Davies, England, 1964. Pinterest

17. Dave Davies’s temper got The Kinks banned from America

Dave Davies found fame in his late teens as the lead guitarist of The Kinks, the English band who is sometimes credited with inventing heavy metal (on the song, ‘You Really Got Me’). Despite their great success, The Kinks were a wildly dysfunctional band, with Davies constantly fighting his older brother, Ray, the band’s lead singer. Where Ray responded to fame by settling down with his childhood sweetheart, Dave, who had been expelled from school at the age of 15 for being caught having underage sex, responded by racking up a significant drug habit and a litany of sexual conquests.

Dave was extremely volatile. On stage in 1965, he started a fight with the band’s drummer, Mick Avory, who responded by knocking the cocky guitarist out with a cymbal stand. Such common incidents, and brawling with staff from the Dick Clark show, got The Kinks banned from America for four years and prevented them from achieving global stardom. Ray was no shrinking violet, either, and once sprinted 6 miles across London to punch his agent. Dave and Ray still hate each other: whilst Dave recovered from a major stroke at Ray’s house in 2004, they argued so much that Dave left.

Courtney Love with Kurt Cobain and daughter Frances Bean, Los Angeles, 1993. Spin

18. Courtney Love existed on drugs and sugar

Courtney Love can lay claim to the title of ‘most controversial woman in rock’. From her troubled teenage years as a drug user and stripper, she rose to mega-stardom as Kurt Cobain’s wife and lead singer of the band Hole. Hole concerts were chaotic and peppered with inebriated rants, Love flashing the audience, and fighting. She first used heroin at Charlie Sheen’s house in the early 1990s, and her addiction was so bad that she continued to shoot up during her pregnancy. Owing to her erratic persona, and no small amount of jealousy, conspiracy theorists have accused her of murdering Cobain.

Love has been arrested numerous times. Long-haul flights, in particular, seem to bring out the worst in her. She was arrested for intimidating stewards in 1995 after refusing to take her feet off the window. In 2003, her violent confrontation with a stewardess grounded a plane until she was arrested. The same year, she was arrested outside her manager’s house after breaking windows and threatening to burn them down. Sadly, her life is still a battle against addiction. In a restraining order filed in 2009, her daughter alleged that Love existed on ‘Xanax, Adderall, Sonata and Abilify, sugar, and cigarettes.

Rick James at the 2004 BET Awards, shortly before his death, Los Angeles, 2004. Blogspot

19. Rick James spent $7,000 a week on cocaine and kidnapped two women

Rick James slapped his bass to funk stardom in the 1970s, but his love of music was in constant competition with his other great loves: drugs and sex. He developed early in both respects, losing his virginity at 9 and taking heroin and marijuana in his mid-teens. These two passions landed him in legal difficulties, which for a long time prevented him from reaching the heights of his hated rivals, George Clinton and Prince. But when his star finally did rise, so too did his use of cocaine and the number of broken hearts he left in his strutting wake.

Throughout the 1980s, James covered the windows of his Beverley Hills mansion with tinfoil to smoke crack in peace. Over a 5-year period, James spent $7, 000-a-week on cocaine. His increasing dependency resulted in some harrowing and strange incidents. In 1991, he and his future wife were arrested for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman during a, particularly heavy cocaine binge. Whilst on bail for the crime, the pair kidnapped and beat another woman for 20 hours. James was convicted of both kidnappings and spent 2 years in Folsom Prison. He died in 2004, obviously with cocaine in his blood.

GG Allin performing in 1992, location unknown. Revolver

20. GG Allin ate his own feces and attacked his fans

Rick James certainly took things way too far, but in this, he is surely outdone by GG Allin. Born to religious parents, GG’s real name was actually Jesus Christ Allin, because his father was convinced that the boy was the son of God. Instead, he grew up to be the most disgusting and mentally disturbed rock star in history. Allin’s concerts with his bands, the Texas Nazis and the Murder Junkies, usually involved him stripping naked, defecating, then smearing himself with (or eating) his own feculence and attacking the audience. He also cut himself and inserted things into his rectum.

You will not be surprised to hear that Allin was arrested 52 times, for his antics both on and off stage, and suffered from a serious addiction to heroin and alcohol. After numerous threats to commit suicide on stage, Allin finally died in 1993. That day, he had been chased from his final concert, naked and covered with blood and feces, through the streets of Manhattan, before attending a party where he overdosed on heroin. Allin called himself ‘the last true rock and roller’, but we are surely all relieved that no one has since tried to take his crown.

 

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Aerosmith – Part 8

Wildwood, NJ – 1989

I’m working as a Branch Manager at the Avalon branch of Midlantic Bank. I’m doing well. I have my own apartment, and I have a steady girlfriend. I’ve joined the ranks of all the other working stiffs in America. I was more mature and responsible now. So was Aerosmith. Sober and working on their craft. They had gotten a second chance and took it. I was happy for them and new success in their miraculous second wave.

Aerosmith – Pump – 1989

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump_(album)

This is a great record that you can really tell the band busted their butts to make. The work, songwriting, and production are all firmly in place on this record. This is what an older, wiser Aerosmith sounds like. The masses came in droves. They no longer belonged to me. We no longer had an exclusive one-on-one relationship. Aerosmith was dating everybody in the world now.

Hits: Love in an Elevator. (This felt like a sequel to Walk this Way. The guy wasn’t in high school anymore, and now plying his trade in department stores and office buildings) Jaime’s Got A Gun (Massive hit about child abuse. Huge success. But don’t get me started on Steven Tyler’s history with underage girls.)

Tales of Rock: Steven Tyler Took Legal Custody Of The Teenager He Was Banging, May Have Pressured Her Into Aborting Their Child

Tales of Rock – 11 Rock Stars Who Allegedly Slept With Underage Girls

My favorites: Young Lust, and F.I.N.E (These are the two songs that harken back to the Aerosmith songs that I liked. But, we were all getting older, and sadly for life to go forward, people have to grow and change. *sigh…

But Joe is looking virile!

Woodbury, NJ – 1993

I’m married and a homeowner by now. I’ve accepted the responsibility of grinding domesticity. I’ve stopped dreaming and settled into a life of frustrating mediocrity. Sadly, so has my favorite band.

Aerosmith – Get A Grip 1993

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_a_Grip

Hits: Livin’ on the Edge, Amazing, Crazy, and Crying. (Goddamn it guys. Did you not think we’d notice that Amazing, Crazy, and Crying all sound like the same song?)

My favorites: Eat The Rich. (This is a kick-ass song that sounds like the band I was once deeply in love with.) Livin’ on the Edge (Solid song.) Other than that, I could care less about this album. I would listen to Eat the Rich and then turn it off and go listen to something else. So sad.

The band is selling more albums now than they ever have before in the history of the band. They’ve officially sold out at this point. But I can’t blame them. I’ll always love them.

But by now I’ve already moved on to bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

 

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