Tales of Rock – Kurt Cobain’s Custom-Built Fender Mustang Is Up For Auction

Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang is being sold at auction by Julien’s Auctions. The custom-built electric guitar was played by Cobain during Nirvana’s In Utero tour, and after his death in April 1994 it was given to a fan by Courtney Love.

Cobain’s Mustang is being auctioned as part of Julien’s Icons and Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll collection, which also sees lots such as a 1988 Guild GF-60NT formerly owned by Eric Clapton and the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s 1993 Gretsch Duo Jet. And hygiene be damned; there are even a couple of Bob Dylan’s old harmonicas on there too.

The Mustang was built by Scott Zimmerman of Japanese guitar manufacturer FujiGen, who held the Fender Japan contract from circa 1981 to 1997. Fender reached out to Zimmerman in 1993 because the Fender Custom Shop was not equipped to build left-handed Mustangs.

(Image credit: Julien’s Auctions)

(Image credit: Julien’s Auctions)

(Image credit: Julien’s Auctions)

The Mustang was among 10 ordered by Fender, with six in Fiesta Red and Sky Blue finishes being sent to Cobain before his death. It was shipped along with another Mustang on 22 October 1993, and those are the only two to have the “Offset Contour Body Patented” decal on the headstock. This Mustang was later modified by Cobain’s guitar tech, who affixed a Gotoh tune-o-matic bridge and installed a Seymour Duncan JB-1 humbucker in the bridge position.

The label on the case indicates the guitar was called the Skystang III, and the guitar comes with the case and a letter from Courtney Love to a fan, plus FedEx receipts and other ephemera as proof of authenticity.

Bidding is presently at $75,000, with one bid accepted. Julien’s Auctions expect it to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 when the auction closes on 25 October.

See Julien’s Auctions for more details on the guitar and to view the other items in the catalogue.

 

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Wildwood Daze – The Dead End Kids

“The greatest, and most beloved bar band ever.”

Spring, 1980 – Wildwood, New Jersey

The family had been moved to our house in North Wildwood in the summer of 1979. My sister Janice had graduated from Frankford High in Philly and was off to college in the fall. The rest of us enjoyed the summer and I was enrolled in Wildwood High for my senior year. I could write a whole blog about that painful transition, but that’s not what this piece is about.

You can read about that here:

Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1979 – Moving the Family to North Wildwood

Wildwood Daze – Autumn of 1979 – Shadows Fall

In the Spring of 1980 I was walking to school with my best friend Wolfie. We called him that because the way he combed his hair back, the drummer in our band said he looked like Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman. Wolfie was the lead guitarist and an accomplished player. But more than that he was an enduring friend.

We were walking to school, I think it was June. We were down on Pacific Avenue and one morning we saw this guy. He was on the other side of the street and looked like a scruffy skinny rock star. But it was 8am in the morning. We were on our way to school and he was coming home from who knows where.

“That dude looks like Steven Tyler.”

“He does!”

So I decide to yell over to him. “Hey, Steven Tyler!”

The guy replies: “No. Dead End Kids.”

We had no idea who he was or what the dead end kids meant. We would occasionally see him on our way to school.

One night early that summer my sister Janice had come home from a night out with her friend Louise. She was a year older than me and the drinking age back then was 18 in Jersey. (I know, right?) They loved going out in the late 70’s to dance in the clubs. Disco was all the rage back then. (Much to my chagrin)

“How was you night out? Where did you guys go? I know the Fairview’s your favorite.”

“Yea, we went to the Fairview but didn’t stick around. They changed the place. There’s some punky band playing there now, so we have to find some other place to dance.”

Yea… she described them as punky.

So one night later that week, my friend Wolfie and I decided to check out the scene on Pacific avenue. The street had nightclubs and bars on every corner. We were in a band so we liked to check out other bands that were playing in the bars on the strip. Oh, Wolfie was 15 or 16 years old and I was 17 going on 18. We both carried fake ID’s but Wolfie rarely got carded because he looked older than me.

The London Ale House was a nice place to have lunch or dinner. It was the first bar/restaurant on the strip around Poplar avenue. The best band on the island played there at night. I guess they would clear out the tables and make space for the folks to come in and watch the band. That band was called Witness. All great musicians. I remember the singer was Billy Spence, a great singer and showman. The other personality that stands out in my memory was the lead guitarist, Steelman. Everybody loved Witness because they played, Springsteen, Billy Joel and Jethro Tull among other popular hits of the day. They were a spectacular cover band that was so good, they actually expanded the London Ale House to accommodate the crowds that would come to see them each night. They not only played great but put on an amazing show that was funny as well as entertaining, performing spot on renditions of many great hits in the top 40. They would go to Florida in the winter and play down there and then come back every summer to jam in Wildwood.

But we were looking for something new. We headed downtown on that warm summer night. The street alive with all of the sights and sounds of a typical evening at the shore. We came upon the Fairview and decided to check out the ‘punky’ band my sister had mentioned. The smell of stale beer and cigarettes hangs in the air. But something is definitely happening here. Something new.

I can’t find any good pictures online so you’ll have to settle for this sorry looking photo.

On Avenue with Many Closings, Nightclub Owner Plans Reopening ...

Wait! Just found this one from an old photo album I was looking through!

1980

We get inside and it’s going. It was still early so the place wasn’t packed yet. The band is rocking out on stage. The Dead End Kids. 

Let me attempt to describe what was happening. First of all, Wolfie and me are in a band. We rock out, but we’re in high school. We’ve played some gigs and we’re a good band.

But these guys are rockstars. I don’t use that word lightly. People describe people doing their job at work or some other dumb shit as being a rockstar. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones. They’re rockstars. Kelly James and George Rumbol of the Dead End Kids are Rockstars.

They play ferocious rough house rock, with all the spit, sweat, and attitude of the greats. They’re playing on this stage tonight like their lives depend on it. Sure the singer, the bass player and the drummer are all fine musicians, but Kelly and George ARE The Dead End Kids. They are living this life. I can see it. I can feel it in the first few minutes of seeing them play live. I want you to understand what I’m seeing and hearing. They rock hard and wear cool outfits, and look like they’re already at the next level.

The band Cinderella stole their act. The Dead End Kids were Motley Crue… before there was a Motley Crue.

There is nothing like this anywhere. They’ve replaced their guitar straps with seat belts from old cars. Why? Because the material is durable and slick. Why would you want that? So you can flip your guitar around your body. Literally fling it from the headstock so that it spins around your body and then you catch it, and keep playing. Original and incredible showmanship. I had never seen anything like it.

They played Wasted by a band no one had even heard of yet. That band had one record out. That band was called Def Leppard. They played Midnight Moses by the Alex Harvey Band. I had never heard of it before. It was spectacular. The band Dead Daisies does the song justice now.

The Dead End Kids are burning down the stage. George puts on a Bowie show that is so good, if you closed your eyes, it was as if David himself was there playing with some kick ass hard rock band. heir version of Moonage Daydream better than Bowie’s! I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re a couple of teenagers. These are men. Men who make kick ass rock and roll. Shit kickin’ hard rock.

Rough House Rock!

I had the opportunity to chat with Kelly at the bar one night. I told him about our band and how I was focusing my energy on writing original songs. Kelly advised me that I was on the right path. “Keep writing your originals, man. That’s what’ll set you apart from other bands. Sure, you gotta play the covers to get paid, but the real future is in original songs.”

“Thank you Kelly James!”

(These newspaper clippings from the Wildwood Leader are framed and hang on my wall)

Seeing the Dead End Kids play on a regular basis was like going to church for me as a young musician. I loved them and everything they did. It solidified the idea that I needed to go to California and try to become like them.

One night I was down front with Wolfie and we were rocking out to the kings. We were both half in the bag from pounding dollar Miller beers. These two older hot girls came up to us and started hanging with us. One was a blonde and the other had raven hair. We asked them their names.

“I’m Trigger, and this is Flash.”

“Do you girls turn back into horses at dawn?”

We totally made out with them that night. Kelly looked on from the stage nodding with approval.

We went to see them all summer long at the Fairview, and at The Hurricane East in 1981. Those were unforgettable times. I’ll never forget those guys.

Image may contain: 1 person, night

Years later, when I was married in the 1990’s I saw Kelly and George playing in a small bar in Westville, NJ as the Dead End Kids. I went to see them that night wearing my old Dead End Kids T-Shirt. I brought my guitar and they even let me come onstage and play one song with them.

Some wonderful wishes are actually granted.

I will always love The Dead End Kids and those incredible summers in Wildwood growing up. It was the perfect life. None of us even probably realized that we were living the very best times of our young lives. Summer days filled with fun in the sun and surf, but the nights were reserved for Things that go Rock in the Night.

Thank you gentleman. Thank you for the joy you brought to me and to so many other people during that magical window of time that only opens once… but closes forever.

Here’s some videos I found online. Enjoy!

 

Kelly James update 5/12/18…..

Well folks I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news but the Neurosurgeon just informed Kelly James that it is indeed cancer and is spread through out his entire body including his bones….started as lung cancer and spread….They may discharge him monday…Chemo is the plan for him. Please continue to pray for a miracle… Kelly is of course a much beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids“. Please send your prayers, and love out to Kelly, as well as his original band members Bill Mattson and Georgie Rumbol

Join The Group Here: Kelly James We Love You
Kelly James is battling an aggressive cancer throughout his body. Please join the group, and tell Kelly how much he’s loved, and respected. Kelly needs our support. Kelly is of course a much beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids”

*This was a post that Kelly’s good friend Shawn Cahill (Lickey Rifferson) posted….

Ray Koob – Jacky BamBam – Mike Vagnoni – Jeff LaBar

Image may contain: 1 person
Sadly, we lost Kelly James a month later. Rest in Power, my friend…
Long Live the King!

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Tobacco Road – 1977-1996 and 2008-2018

I started smoking cigarettes when I was around 14 years old. I was going on 15 but it was just something kids did back in the 70’s. Everybody smoked cigarettes. It was so widely accepted despite the health warnings. Everybody I knew smoked cigarettes. Back then you could buy a pack of smokes for $0.51 a pack at Rite Aid. That’s super cheap! A whole pack of cigs for half a buck? Incredible!

The odd thing was, at our young age, my friends and I always had a story ready if we were ever questioned by any of the shopkeepers in any of the stores where we bought them. The story was always, “Oh, these are for my mom.”

But no one ever asked us who the cigarettes were for. Ever. We had no problem buying cigarettes anywhere we ever went.

I remember my ‘straight A’ student sister Janice taught me how to inhale.

When you start fooling around with smoking, your young lungs aren’t accustomed to breathing in toxic smoke. So you just puff them to look cool. But to get the full benefits, taste, and rush of smoking, you have to inhale the smoke. So one night my sister Janice showed me and my friend Anthony how to do it. We were standing down by the bulkhead at 8th and JFK blvd. in North Wildwood. She said, “take a small puff and then suck the smoke into your lungs like you’re being startled.” You suck it in really fast and in it goes. You get the full taste and then blow it out.

What I didn’t know is that once you do that, the nicotine enters your bloodstream and gives you that little rush that smoking cigarettes brings.

That is also the first day of your addiction to cigarettes.

I smoked and enjoyed cigarettes for the next 20 years.

Then my daughter Lorelei was born and I decided to quit smoking for health reasons. I didn’t want to sniff her baby head and have the smell of cigarettes present. But I was in my 30’s then and firmly addicted to smoking with a 20 year habit. So I bought the nicoderm patch. The patch is a sticker you place on your arm and it releases nicotine into your system without smoking.

Dosage & Steps | NicoDerm CQ

It was tough but I slowly got myself off cigarettes. It probably cost me $600 in patches but it eventually worked. I was free of smoking but as one ex-smoker once said to me, my blood was hungry for cigarettes for over 2 years after quitting.

But like anything else, if you stop doing it, it eventually fades from your life and you no longer want it.

 

Jump forward 10 years, and I was divorced for over 8 years and I started dating Michelle.   https://phicklephilly.com/2016/10/31/my-michelle-2007-present-part-1/

I loved Michelle. Probably more than I’ve ever loved anyone else in my life. We would be out at night touring the city and pounding cocktails.

Michelle smoked cigarettes and sometimes she’d have problems lighting them in the evening breeze. Having been a long time smoker, I could get a cigarette lit in a sandstorm with one match left on the beaches of Wildwood. I’d help her.

Me getting her Parliament lit and handing it off to her went from that to me taking one sweet puff.

Michelle worried I’d get re-addicted to cigarettes doing that. I assured her I wouldn’t. I told her, “I’ll only get hooked if I start buying them again, and that’s not going to happen.”

But back in 2008 I was madly in love with her and my life in general with her. It wasn’t long before I was picking up a pack of Marlboro lights on a regular basis.

I didn’t care. I felt alive with her and really loved the taste of cigarettes again. There’s nothing better than a cold cocktail and a delicious cigarette. It’s like sex.

But like everything awesome, if you do it often enough you begin to tire of it.

 

Jump to 2018.

Michelle was long gone and all that remained was my addiction to tobacco.

But things had changed. Cigarettes were now $10 a pack and I found myself growing tired of smoking in general.

I was older. Better in touch with who I was and what I wanted. I found that I really don’t have an addictive personality. I have more of a compulsive personality.

I would buy a pack of cigarettes and only enjoy maybe 2 of them. My favorite was the one after work. The celebratory smoke of finishing the day. An addict craves their drug of choice all the time. I was sick of smoking but still doing it. My mind wanted to give it up I was sure, but I needed to bring the body over with my thought process. And in that lies the true challenge.

I was tired of the smell, the dirt, the ashes, the health risks, and most of all taking it on the chin for $10 bucks a pack!

The only part of smoking I liked was the actual act of smoking. Holding it in my hand, puffing on it, watching the smoke blow from my lips. Not the actual need to smoke. I no longer had that. No addiction, just an annoying holdover from my past life. Something I no longer enjoyed, but just did out of ritual and habit.

(This factor will play out in another vice I would soon address.)

But what to do? I knew this chapter in my life had to end as I continued to evolve through my 50s.

I was moonlighting at the tanning salon one night and was cleaning one of the rooms. People are always leaving things behind in the rooms. I’ve found all kinds of things. Money, jewelry, drugs, underwear, etc. But this time I found a small, grey colored metal stick with a tiny light on it sitting on the table. I had no idea what it was and just figured it was some sort of wifi gadget for a computer.

But I was wrong.

The girl who had left the object behind came back asking for it. I gave it to her.

“What is that?”

“It’s called a Juul. You smoke it. Like a vape pen.”

I had heard of people vapeing but it all seemed weird to me.

“You can smoke that like a cigarette and nothing’s burning or making ashes?”

“Yea. You can charge it on your laptop, and you have these little pods you stick into it. They have different flavors and there’s nothing burning, no ashes, no smell, no real smoke, no carbon monoxide. It’s awesome. I love it.”

“Is there nicotine in that thing?”

Image result for juul

“Yea, but only 5%. Which isn’t much, but it’s so much better for you than smoking dirty cigarettes.”

I was sold. The next day, I went to my local 7-Eleven and bought the starter pack of Juul. The unit, a charger, and 4 pods with different flavors. Virginia Tobacco, Cool Mint, Creme Brulee’, and Berry.

I charged the unit up at work that night and liked the results. I’ve been smoke free since May 2018 and have never looked back. I don’t smoke my Juul that much, and have zero desire to have a cigarette. When I see someone smoking a cig now, it looks dirty to me and wonder how someone could enjoy such a primitive filthy habit.

Ahh, the reformed smokers are the worst!

I’m so happy cigarettes are gone from my life for good.

I know what you’re all thinking… Oh, you’re still getting nicotine from that thing.

They make nicotine free pods now, so you can simulate smoking with no ill effects.

Image result for cyclone pods

 

So now I can still enjoy the celebratory smoke after work with no addiction or health issues. I feel great and enjoy my Juul very much.

 

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: Remembering the Glam-Rock Bars of the Sunset Strip in the 1980s

What’s next for the place Vince Neil called a “cesspool of depravity?”

Welcome back to Tales of Rock, a look back at the great drinking scenes of yesteryear. Today, we visits Los Angeles in the 1980s to recount the nascent glam-rock scene that was then cropping up along the Sunset Strip.

In the early months of 1981, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx moved into a filthy, white apartment complex on 1124 North Clark Street. The two-bedroom was financed by their manager. In apartment #205, they wrote songs for their then-unknown band Mötley Crue, but they mostly drank and did drugs with an always-crowded house of people. Groupies would arrive in shifts, like hockey lines subbing in and out. Every night, the trio would leave their hovel and walk down the sloped block to what was becoming one of the greatest bar scenes in American history.

“We’d get drunk, do crazy amounts of cocaine and walk the circuit in stiletto heels, stumbling all over the place,” claimed Neil in The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. “The Sunset Strip was a cesspool of depravity.”

Running through the city of West Hollywood between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, this 1.5-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard had always been a fairly wild area, due it being unincorporated (until 1984) and not under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. Loosely overseen by the County Sheriff’s Department, no one really monitored what was going on — thus, it became a hotbed of liquor, drugs, nightlife and shenanigans.

In the 1920s the Sunset Strip had hosted speakeasies and underground casinos; the 1930s through ’50s would see glamorous restaurants and nightclubs spring up to be frequented by movie-industry hot shots; by the 1960s, hippies and the counterculture were slowly working their way there as clubs like Whisky a Go Go (1964), Pandora’s Box (1966) and the Roxy Theater (1973) sprung up and bands like The Doors dominated the scene; the 1970s saw more new wave and punk acts like The Stooges and New York Dolls.

It was the 1980s, however, when the so-called “Sunset Strip” might have reached its apex as, according to Rolling Stone, “big-haired dudes and the girls who loved them turned the boulevard into their own personal playground.”

The big-haired dudes of Mötley Crue would actually make their debut right off the Strip, as an opening act at Starwood on Santa Monica Boulevard on April 24th of 1981. Even if that early set included a cover of The Beatles’ catchy pop hit Paperback Writer, the raucous rockers quickly started setting a template for how to behave on the Sunset Strip. Especially as their shows moved to the Whisky a Go Go, just about 200 feet from their crash pad.

“Did I tell you about the time I tied a girl up in the Whisky bathroom with Mick’s guitar cable, and then went to get a bump of blow from Tommy?” Sixx told LA Weekly in 2011. “I forgot she was in there! I think Vince found her and everything was [fine]. Ah, to be in Mötley Crüe in 1981 in Los Angeles.”

Ah, to be anyone who visited the Sunset Strip in the early 1980s when, on any given night, the bars and clubs might feature sets from perhaps 75 to 100 emerging and already-made-it bands like Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Motörhead and even Metallica, who first opened for Saxon at the Whisky a Go Go in August of 1982.

“I think of all the late nights and early mornings, probably the craziest year of my life in L.A.,” Lars Ulrich told Mick Wall for his book Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica. “Living everything that you can imagine when you’re twenty-six years old in L.A. and your dick is fucking six feet long.”

The favored haunt of many rockers was The Rainbow Bar & Grill, just across the street from the Whisky, at the corner of Crescent Heights Boulevard. (“[T]he reason is simple: the clam chowder,” Sixx once told LA Weekly.) It opened in 1972 by hosting a party for Elton John, but by the 1980s had become the after-hours hangout for various hair bands and their hangers-on.

“The place was set up like a circle, with the coolest rockers and richest deviants sitting at the center tables,” explained Lee to Curbed in 2019. “Guys had to be twenty-one to come into the club, but girls could be eighteen. The guys would sit at their regular spots and the girls would walk around the ring until they were called over to someone’s empty chair.”

After everybody was kicked out of the Rainbow, they’d spew into the parking lot to score drugs and girls, before heading back to 1124 North Clark. More and more bands started joining the party, but the Strip also had bars like The Comedy Store, where you might be able to see Robin Williams or Sam Kinison doing stand-up on any given night — it was wild even there, where “half-naked women draped over fat, out-of-shape funny men, booze and drugs flowing freely,” as Corey Feldman wrote in his memoirCoreyography. There were also gentlemen’s clubs like Seventh Veil and The Body Shop, both of which would eventually be name-checked in Mötley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls while providing some of the girls, girls, girls for the music video.

Further up the block, at Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive, was the Troubadour. Lenny Bruce had been arrested there on obscenity charges in 1962, and it was the place where Steve Martin was discovered. By the 1980s, however, it was all hair bands all the time. A Slash-less Guns ‘n’ Roses would play their first ever show there (where they were discovered by a David Geffen A&R rep at the club). Poison, too, would get their start at the Troubadour.

“When we finally pulled onto the Strip it was, ‘Holy shit!’” Bret Michaels recalled to Rolling Stone. He and his bandmates had driven in from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, in March of 1983. By then the billboards lining the Strip were going for $4,000-$6,000 a month in rent; pure vanity for the now-famous musicians who had actually made it at the clubs below. “We’re driving past the Rainbow, Gazzarri’s, the Roxy, the Whisky, and there’s gotta be, like, 100,000 people walking around. And they all look like they’re in a band. For a bunch of small-town guys, that’s a lot to take in.”

A block away from the Rainbow was Gazzarri’s. A sensation when it opened, the club was well past its heyday by the mid-1970s. Then Van Halen became its house band from 1974 to 1977 and put it back on the map. That ushered in a 1980s scene with bands like Quiet Riot, Warrant and Stryper, many of whom would eventually be honored with giant hand-painted murals on the outside wall of the club.

From the front steps of Gazzarri’s, 300 feet of Strip sidewalk led to a parking lot between the Rainbow and the Roxy Theatre. Aspiring bands would congregate there, passing out handmade show flyers, hustling for gigs, buying drugs, and getting into amorous hijinks.

“I saw so many people fucking on the lawns behind Gazzarri’s that I actually got bored of watching and started to throw empty beer cans at them,” Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy wrote in his autobiography Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life in Rock.

It wasn’t all inconsequential fun, however. On March 4, 1982, Harry Dean Stanton and Robert De Niro coaxed a disheveled John Belushi out for a night of bar-hopping on the Strip, starting at On the Rox, the lounge above the Roxy. At the Rainbow he ordered not clam chowder, but lentil soup, before returning to bungalow No. 3 at the Chateau Marmont and overdosing on a speedball. As Shawn Levy noted in his book about the luxury hotel, The Castle on Sunset: “It stood slightly apart from the commotion around it — compact, old-world, elegant, just off to the side of the circus, much as it sat just off Sunset Boulevard itself. After Belushi, that changed.”

By 1984 the Strip was finally getting some legitimacy, especially when, according to Visit West Hollywood, “a coalition of gay men, Russian Jews and the elderly” successfully held a vote to incorporate the area as the new City of West Hollywood. Now under the watch of a city council run predominantly by an often persecuted, openly gay majority, the area was bound to stay a bit wild, but it would never be quite the same.

“The era of glam metal would be the last gasp of lawlessness on the Sunset Strip,” writes Hadley Meares on Curbed. Every band, fan and groupie started looking the same, and a few other things were about to spell its end. The arrival of grunge was one, with Nirvana rocking The Roxy as early as August of 1991. The growing corporatization was another, as high-priced hotels and condos sprung up, as well as theme-like chain bars like The House of Blues, “the toxic fruit of an alliance between Hard Rock Café co-founder Isaac Tigrett and the insufferably unfunny Dan Aykroyd,” according to LA Weekly. And if neither Belushi’s death nor Nikki Sixx’s near-brush with it in Slash’s room in 1987 didn’t slow down the party, River Phoenix’s 1993 overdose at the just-opened Viper Room would.

By 2005, a sanitized stage production called Rock of Ages (followed by a 2012 film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise as “Stacee Jaxx”) — with its storyline centered around the Sunset Strip in 1987 — was all that was left to honor the era. The Strip has now gone “From Louche to Luxury” as the Wall Street Journal write in 2018. “To make way for the new vision of Sunset, some of the most iconic symbols of its past are being demolished.”

Gazzarri’s closed in 1993, but the Whisky, Roxy, Rainbow and Troubadour still stand, though you’ll rarely see a major act appear there these days. Even the strip clubs are apparently no fun anymore; LAist by 2008 was calling Seventh Veil “The Least Exciting Strip Club in Hollywood,” with Jessica P. Ogilvie writing “The club had seemingly remained firmly, unapologetically and possibly even aggressively in the 80’s.”

Today, the Strip that was once described as a “cheerfully depraved Aqua Net playground” instead has over one million square feet of luxury hotels like 1 West Hollywood and condos like AKA West Hollywood, where single-family homes go for around $2.5 million. It has private clubs like Soho House and the Gwyneth Paltrow-backed The Arts Club (which replaced a Hustler Store they bought for $18.3 million); there’s an Armani store, a Fred Segal and a Warby Parker; you can even get an “Originally from ‘’Dorchestah’” burger at Wahlburger’s.

“What the fuck happened?” wrote MÖRAT in a 2015 article “Farewell to the Sunset Strip” on Metal Hammer. He notes that the biggest band playing there these days is Steel Panther.

“Doubtless you’ll see some great bands from time to time, but rarely any truly great shows, rarely a band at their peak, playing the kind of shows that keep you buzzing for weeks afterwards.”

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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Tales of Rock: Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated

This list features information on Nikki Sixx’s dating history. He’s the legendary bassist of Motley Crue, so there’s certainly been a lot of Nikki Sixx relationships. Most of the Nikki Sixx girlfriends have been actresses or models, but some of his romantic interests have also been musicians.

Who has Nikki Sixx dated? Nikki Sixx married his wife Courtney in 2014. In January of 2019, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child together. Sixx has four other children from previous relationships. Baywatch babe Donna D’Errico and Playboy Playmate Brandi Brandt are just two of the many Nikki Sixx exes. Marion Raven was also rumored to be a former Nikki Sixx girlfriend.

Nikki Sixx and Denise Richards dated briefly in late-2010 to early-2011. Other famous women Nikki Sixx dated include Kat Von D, Jenna Jameson, and Vanity.

Did you know that Nikki Sixx had such an impressive dating history? Take a look at this list to learn more about the Nikki Sixx dating history.

Courtney Sixx is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: photo_grafitti/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Courtney Sixx

Nikki Sixx and his wife Courtney have been married since 2014.

In January of 2019, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child together. Sixx has four other children from previous relationships.

Age: 30

Birthplace: Santa Monica, California

Denise Richards is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License
Denise Richards

Nikki Sixx and Denise Richards dated briefly in late-2010 to early-2011.

Denise Lee Richards (born February 17, 1971) is an American actress and former fashion model. She has appeared in numerous films, including Starship Troopers (1997), Wild Things (1998), The World Is Not Enough (1999) as Bond girl Christmas Jones, Valentine (2001), and Undercover Brother (2002). From 2008 to 2009, she starred on the E! reality show Denise Richards: It’s Complicated. In 2010 and 2011, she was a series regular on the comedy Blue Mountain State. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 48

Birthplace: Downers Grove, Illinois, United States of America

Kat Von D is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic/Getty Images
Kat Von D

Nikki Sixx shared images from his relationship with Kat Von D in his book This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through The Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx.

“I felt that being nice and kind to the relationship was important, and I know all things come to an end eventually, and when it did, I didn’t feel that it was my job to point fingers,” Sixx said in a 2011 interview with Us Magazine.

Katherine von Drachenberg, best known as Kat Von D, is a Mexican-born American tattoo artist, model, musician and television personality. She is best known for her work as a tattoo artist on the TLC reality television show LA Ink, which premiered August 7, 2007, in the United States and ran for four seasons. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 36

Birthplace: Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico

Melissa London is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Michael Bezjian / WireImage/Getty Images
Melissa London

In 2010, Nikki Sixx was photographed on a date with Melissa London.

Melissa London is an actor and a film score composer. …more on Wikipedia

Marion Raven is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
Marion Raven

Marion Raven was rumored to be dating Nikki Sixx after they collaborated on her solo debut.

“We ended up writing two songs together that will be on the album,” she said in 2004.

Marion Elise Ravn, known as Marion Raven, is a Norwegian singer-songwriter. She was one-half of the now-defunct pop duo M2M, along with Marit Larsen. Raven was later signed as a solo artist by Atlantic Records with the release of her solo debut album, Here I Am in 2005. In 2006, Raven was signed to the indie record label, Eleven Seven, and re-released her debut album with a few new songs, Set Me Free, in 2007. In 2012, Raven began production of her second album titled Songs from a Blackbird, which was released in her home country, Norway on 8 April 2013. Raven has also written tracks for other artists such as Pixie Lott. She has also lent her voice for the Norwegian version of Tangled. In 20… …more on Wikipedia

Age: 34

Birthplace: Lørenskog, Norway

Jenna Jameson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Thomas Hawk/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson is often listed among the names of Nikki Sixx’s rumored past girlfriends.

Jenna Jameson is an American entrepreneur, webcam model and former adult movie actress, who has been called the world’s most famous adult-entertainment performer. She started acting in adult videos in 1993 after having worked as a stripper and glamor model. By 1996, she had won the “top newcomer” award from each of the three major adult-movie organizations. She has since won more than 35 adult-video awards, and has been inducted into the X-Rated Critics Organization and Adult Video News Halls of Fame. Jameson founded the adult-entertainment company ClubJenna in 2000 with Jay Grdina, whom she later married and divorced. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 44

Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

Samantha Maloney is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: via Wikimedia Commons
Samantha Maloney

Nikki Sixx was rumored to have cheated on his wife Donna D’Errico with Samantha Maloney, who drummed with Motley Crue during their New Tattoo Tour.

Samantha Maloney is an American musician best known for playing in the bands Hole, Mötley Crüe, Eagles of Death Metal and in Peaches’ live band “The Herms”. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 43

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Donna D'Errico is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: SGranitz / WireImage/Getty Images
Donna D’Errico

In 2006, Donna D’Errico filed for divorce from Nikki Sixx after nine years of marriage.

Age: 51

Birthplace: Dothan, Alabama

Brandi Brandt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images
Brandi Brandt

Brandi Brandt and Nikki Sixx were married from 1989 until 1996. They have three children together.

Brandi Brandt is an American model and actress, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for October 1987. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 50

Birthplace: Santa Clara, California, United States of America

Lisa Hartman Black is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: ABC Television/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Lisa Hartman Black

Nikki Sixx reportedly went on a date with Lisa Hartman Black back in 1988.

Lisa Hartman Black is an American actress and singer. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 62

Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States of America

Brie Howard

Nikki Sixx reportedly “rolled around with” Brie Howard when she was a back-up singer. He later married Howard’s daughter Brandi Brandt.

Brie Howard is an American musician and actress. She has also appeared or been credited under the names Brie Brandt, Brie Berry, Brie Darling, and Brie Howard Darling. Howard played in the pioneering all-woman rock band Fanny, the first all-woman rock band to release an album on a major label. She played drums for the high school band the Svelts, which included future Fanny members June Millington and Jean Millington, and played drums in Fanny itself toward the end of their run, around the time of their final album. She has also been a singer and percussionist with the American Girls, and the lead singer of the Boxing Gandhis. Howard starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Aaron Lipstadt’s sci-fi f… …more on Wikipedia

Age: 69

Cindy Rome

Nikki Sixx reportedly took Cindy Rome with him to Vince Neil’s wedding in 1988.

Age: 60

 

Dee Holland

Dee Holland has spoken about dating Nikki Sixx during the recording of the Girls, Girls, Girls album.

Age: 54

Vanity is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License
Vanity

“Our relationship was one of the strangest, most self-destructive ones I’ve ever had,” wrote Nikki Sixx of Vanity, in his book Motley Crue: The Dirt.

Denise Katrina Matthews, formerly known as Vanity and sometimes credited as Denise Matthews-Smith or D.D. Winters, is a Canadian former singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and model who has turned away from performing to concentrate on evangelism. Vanity’s career lasted from the 1980s until the early mid-’90s. She was the lead singer of the female trio Vanity 6 from 1981 until it disbanded in 1983. The group was well known for their 1982 R&B/funk hit “Nasty Girl”. Vanity’s music career, also included two solo albums on Motown Records; Wild Animal and Skin on Skin, as well as the hit singles, “Pretty Mess”, “Mechanical Emotion”, and “Under the Influence”. She also had a successful acting car… …more on Wikipedia

Age: 60

Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Canada

Jane Dickinson

Nikki Sixx claims that he didn’t know that Jane Dickinson was married to Iron Maiden musician Bruce Dickinson when they briefly linked up.

Rita Rae Roxx

Rita Rae Roxx wrote about her encounters with Nikki Sixx – and other rockers – in her book Once Upon a Rock Star.

Lita Ford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Lita Ford

Lita Ford wrote about her encounter with Nikki Sixx in her memoir Living Like a Runaway.

 

Lita Rossana Ford is a British-American rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, who was the lead guitarist for The Runaways in the late 1970s before embarking on a solo career in the 1980s. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 60

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

Lynn Pierre

Nikki Sixx and Lynn Pierre dated in the 1980s.

Laurie Bell

The Orchids drummer Laurie Bell was rumored to have dated Nikki Sixx.

Angie Saxon

NIkki Sixx’s ex-girlfriend Angie Saxon actually helped him come up with his stage name.

“I used to date this girl, Angie Saxon. I was going through her scrapbook and I saw a guy that she used to date named Niki Syxx in a band called Jon & the Nightriders. So I stole his name. I just liked it,” he said in a 2007 interview.

Sarah Hopper

Nikki Sixx dated Sarah Hopper when he was in high school. In his book The Dirt, her refers to her as “a fat, freckled girl with glasses, no cutoff shorts, and legs that looked more like pasty semicircles than golden arches.”

Dinah Cancer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License
Dinah Cancer

Rumor has it, 45 Grave musician Dinah Cancer dated Nikki Sixx.

Dinah Cancer is the stage name of Mary Ann Sims, a vocalist, best known for her band 45 Grave, which helped found the musical genre known as “deathrock”. …more on Wikipedia

Age: 58

Birthplace: California

 

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Tales of Rock: Man Accidentally Trips On LSD For 9 Hours After Cleaning A Classic Synthesizer

Eliot Curtis accidentally tripped on LSD while fixing a vintage Buchla Model 100. He was tasked to repair a piece of history, but he didn’t expect to begin seeing history and time in front of him as tripped on acid. With his experience, he added another story to the history of the synthesizer, and it’s probably a good idea to making cleaning old equipment with gloves on a standard procedure.

The Buchla Model 100 was invented in the 1960s by Don Buchla of Berkeley. He completely immersed himself in counterculture, and in 1966, his synthesizers were put on a school bus converted to play music. The iconic bus of counterculture, Furthur, was purchased by Ken Kesey, an advocate for using acid. Among their crew was Owsley Stanley, a sound engineer and manufacturer of a potent strain of LSD. While these links can explain how the drug could’ve gotten on the synthesizer, it’s still unclear exactly how the LSD got on this specific one.

Curtis, the Broadcast Operations Manager for KPIX Televsion, was tasked with repairing the vintage analog music modular instrument they found in a closet at Cal State University East Bay’s music department. It was acquired by two music professors who taught in the university during the 1960s. During his repair, Curtis found something stuck under one of the knobs, and it appeared to be a crystal. He sprayed cleaning solvent on the residue to dissolve it a little bit, then he dislodged it from the knob to continue cleaning the area.

45 minutes later, Curtis began to feel strange tingling sensations. He speculated that he was tripping on LSD but thought that’s probably just his imagination. His original inkling, however, was true. His unexpected LSD trip lasted around nine hours.

Authorities later confirmed that residues of LSD were present on the instrument. According to reports, the place the synthesizer was stored made it possible for the LSD to remain potent. The machine was resting in a cool, dark place, so the drug’s potency was preserved so well that it was possible for the residue to be ingested through the skin. With his unexpected trip, Curtis learned a lot more about the 1960s counterculture than he could have ever imagined.

 

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Love is like Cocaine: The Remarkable, Terrifying Neuroscience of Romance – Part 4

Yes, you really are addicted to love.

Addicted to Grief

The emotional responses to a thorny breakup can resemble the responses to the death of a loved one. You feel weighed down by the memories, the longing, the wistful tears, the chest pain and the aching throughout the whole body. Or you are so outraged that you are lucky not to have a semi-automatic weapon. Or you are ready to go on a secret mission aimed at reversing the terrible outcome. It’s no coincidence that breakups can resemble the death of a loved one. When a loved one dies, you grieve. But death is not the only trigger of grief. Grief can occur after any kind of loss: the loss of a job, a limb, a breast, a home, a relationship.

According to the Kübler-Ross model of grief, also known as “The Five Stages of Grief,” first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book,”On Death and Dying,” grief involves five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. After the loss of a loved one, you may first deny that the person is gone, simply refuse to believe it. Once the truth dawns on you, you may feel outraged and attempt to convince the beloved to come back or beg God or the universe’s spirits to reverse their decision. Once you realize things are not going to change, sadness sets in. Over time you may finally accept what happened. These stages need not occur in this order, and each stage may occur several times. The different emotions can also overlap. You may be angry and in a bargaining mode at the same time, or deny what happened and still feel sad. Philosopher Shelley Tremain captured the complexity of grief well when she wrote on her Facebook site, “Today  would have been my father’s eighty-first birthday. Some days, I think time is on my side, that it’s getting easier to live with losing him. Then, it happens. Sometimes, it’s a figure of speech he was fond of, at other times, I am shaving him, or I look in the mirror and see the features of my face that are his, or we are sitting together holding hands. Just sitting there.”

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to let go of grief. When you continue to grieve a loss for a very long time, your condition is called “complicated (or pathological) grief.” The love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is a heartbreakingly beautiful illustration of complicated grief. Alexandrina Victoria was eighteen when she became Queen of England. Her Uncle, King William IV, had no surviving legitimate children. So Victoria became his heir when he died in 1837. When Prince Albert, her first cousin, visited London in 1839, Victoria immediately fell in love with him. Initially Albert had doubts about the relationship, but he eventually fell in love with her too. The couple got married in February 1840. During the next eighteen years Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children. She loved Albert deeply. Albert was not only a dutiful husband and the father of Victoria’s children, he was also Victoria’s political and diplomatic advisor. For twenty-one years they lived happily together. But the bliss came crashing to a halt when Prince Albert died of typhoid at Windsor on December 14, 1861.

Albert’s death completely destroyed Victoria emotionally. She was overwhelmed by grief and refused to show her face in public for the next three years. People began to question her competence, and many attempted to assassinate her. Victoria finally appeared in public but she refused to wear anything but black and mourned her Prince Albert until her own death in 1901. Victoria’s forty-year-long state of mourning earned her the nickname “The Widow of Windsor.” She never again became the happy and cheerful woman she had been when Albert was alive. In preparation for her own death she asked for two items to be in her coffin: one of Albert’s dressing gowns and a lock of his hair.

Complicated grief is so severe that psychiatrists now consider it for inclusion in the psychiatric manual for diagnosing mental disorders. If you have complicated grief, you have been grieving for six months or more. You furthermore satisfy at least five of the following criteria:

  1. You have obsessive thoughts about aspects of the lost relationship or the person you were with.
  2. You spend a significant amount of time every day or almost every day, thinking about your lost relationship or the person you were with.
  3. You have intense emotional pain, sorrow, pangs, or yearnings related to the lost relationship.
  4. You avoid reminders of the loss, because you know that reminders will cause you pain or make you feel uncomfortable.
  5. You have problems accepting the loss of the relationship.
  6. You have frequent dreams that relate to your lost relationship.
  7. You frequently suffer from deep sadness, depression, or anxiety because of the loss.
  8. You are angry or feel a deep sense of injustice in relation to the lost relationship.
  9. You have difficulties trusting others since the relationship ended.
  10. The loss of the relationship makes it difficult for you to find pleasure in social and routine activities.
  11. Your symptoms make it difficult for you to function optimally on your job, as a parent or in a new relationship.

Complicated grief is emotionally and chemically similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, some psychiatrists argue that there is no need to include complicated grief as a separate psychological condition. They are variations on the very same disorder, they say. Posttraumatic stress disorder can occur as the result of any traumatic event. The most common traumatic events discussed in the literature on posttraumatic stress are events of war, terrorist attacks, brutal physical and sexual assaults, and traffic accidents. It is not commonly noted that unexpected breakups and other traumatic relationship events can also lead to posttraumatic stress.

Posttraumatic stress disorder is a condition in which you keep reliving the traumatic event— for example, the breakup—avoiding situations that are similar to the one that led to the trauma. You furthermore have difficulties sleeping, you feel angry, you have difficulties focusing, and you suffer from anxiety. To be a clinical case of posttraumatic stress disorder, the symptoms must last more than a month and lead to difficulties functioning socially, on the job, or in other areas of life. Posttraumatic stress disorder is more likely to occur if the adrenaline surge at the time of the event was very intense.

A study published in the May 2008 issue of Neuroimage suggests that complicated grief sometimes occurs because a normal grieving process turns into an addiction. Led by neuroscientist Mary-Frances O’Connor, the team looked at images of the brains of people who satisfied the criteria for complicated grief and people who weren’t grieving and found significantly more activity in the nucleus accumbens of the people with complicated grief. Activity in the nucleus accumbens is associated with addiction.

It may seem strange that you could actually become addicted to emotional pain and a longing for a person who is no longer with you. The researchers suggest that your yearning and sadness may give you some type of pleasure or satisfaction.

Perhaps the turmoil of emotions does really provide some kind of gratification. Perhaps this emotional overflow is addictive. But it is also possible that the increased activity in the nucleus accumbens signifies increased dopamine levels of the sort found in certain anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The classical case of this disorder is one in which the afflicted is obsessed with thoughts of disease and germs and compulsively washes his or her hands after being near other people or anything that could possibly carry microbes. This disorder is associated with low levels of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin and fluctuating levels of the motivator chemical dopamine. The low levels of serotonin cause anxiety that involves obsessive, jazzy thinking and the dopamine “reward” motivates the afflicted person to behave in compulsive ways.

As people ruminate obsessively over the events leading up to the loss in complicated grief, the condition may turn out to be similar in this respect to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Low levels of serotonin may trigger obsessive thinking, crippling anxiety, and a visceral yearning for the absent person or the irretrievable relationship. The dopamine response elicited by this kind of obsessive thinking and longing may motivate the grief-stricken person to engage in begging and bargaining and it could also ignite anger fits and a ferocious denial of the loss of the relationship.

 

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Love is like Cocaine: The Remarkable, Terrifying Neuroscience of Romance – Part 2

Yes, you really are addicted to love.

Beliefs and Brain Chemistry

When the systems of neurotransmitters in our brain destabilize during the early phases of a romantic relationship, our moods become unsteady too. And so does our ability to think rationally and make wise decisions. When you become truly infatuated with a person, you might make decisions you wouldn’t dream of making in a sane state of mind. Nothing really matters compared to the object of your infatuation. In extreme cases, we might max out credit cards, leave our families, move across oceans, abdicate a throne, rob banks, or even commit murder for the sake of love.

When there is a substantial imbalance in your brain chemistry, your preferences and reasoning abilities change and so do your beliefs. Research has shown that when you mess with your brain chemistry, you are more likely to have spiritual experiences, see things that are not there, and form beliefs that are not grounded in evidence.

In the 1960s, researchers experimented with the psychedelic drug psylocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to see if it could induce spiritual experiences in healthy volunteers. The first of these experiments took place on Good Friday in 1962. Harvard researchers administered psilocybin to ten students in the basement of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. The religious setting and the drug together gave rise to religious experiences in all study participants.

(The experiments came to a halt when the US government prohibited them in the early 1970s.)

Psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and mescaline, affect the dopamine system, the serotonin system, and the adrenergic system. Their effects on the adrenergic systems, which normally cause an increase in the blood concentration of adrenaline, can cause panic attacks and extreme anxiety. The drugs’ effects on the dopamine system are responsible for thoughtless decision making and irrational actions during a “trip,” such as self-mutilation or suicide. The psychedelic effects of the drugs are largely due to their affinity for the 5-HT2A receptor. This receptor is a serotonin receptor. When a psychedelic drug in the serotonin family binds to it, the drug functions just like serotonin.

In normal amounts, the feel-good chemical serotonin yields a sense of relaxation and relief. In large amounts, however, serotonin and serotonin agonists like LSD, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and the magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin have psychedelic effects. In large amounts, these chemicals trigger the brain’s main excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which makes parts of the brain go into an over-excited state.

The effects of excessive amounts of serotonin can be so powerful that our critical sense is turned off. A famous, mind-boggling case illustrating this is the Dr. Fox study. In the 1970s an actor was trained to deliver a brilliant talk on mathematical game theory while saying basically nothing of substance. The actor, who bore the name Dr. Myron L. Fox, had taken a scholarly article on game theory and stripped it of its content. The talk was rife with hedging, invented words, contradictory assertions, and references to his alleged earlier articles and books. Surprisingly, his delivery so impressed the audience that nobody noticed that he didn’t really say anything. At the end of the talk the audience, which consisted primarily of experts, bombarded Fox with questions, which he answered proficiently without providing any substantial content. After the lecture, the audience was given the opportunity to evaluate the performance. Everyone was very positive, they thought the lecture had been interesting, and some noted that Dr. Fox had presented the material clearly and precisely and offered lots of illustrative examples. And these folks were academic experts on the topic of mathematical game theory! Speaking of being fooled by what you hear!

This effect of delivery on audience evaluation has come to be known as “The Dr. Fox effect.” The Dr. Fox effect can be explained by noting that a large surge in “feel good” chemicals will turn off our critical sense. Funny, charming, and persuasive people signal to our brains that everything is as it should be. Their smooth behavior boosts our serotonin levels, which turn off our critical sense and increase our feeling of satisfaction—so much so that our initial beliefs are never subjected to scrutiny in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula, regions of the brain involved in reflecting critically on new information.

The effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, DMT, and psilocybin, are extreme. Because these drugs cause the brain to enter an over-excited state, they can have seizure-like effects. They furthermore can give rise to hallucinations, illusory color experiences, a feeling of floating , a feeling of one’s identity disintegrating , a feeling of becoming one with the universe, and illusions of time and distance. Thoughts can become uncontrollable, rambling , and obscure, and edged in acid, old memories may blend with new experiences.

While our serotonin levels tend to be low when we fall in love or are beset by a mindless love obsession, there are also states of love that resemble LSD trips. When your passion is unrequited or when you are away from your new love, your serotonin levels drop. But if you unexpectedly bump into him or her or realize that his or her love is not unrequited after all, your brain may release a surge of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline, making your mind a bit like the LSD mind. In this state, you may be more likely to see things that are not there, have experiences that are mixed with old memories, and act in irrational ways.

Dopamine by itself can cause people to form beliefs that are not grounded in evidence. People whose blood levels of dopamine are higher than normal are more likely to attach meaning to sheer coincidences and find meaningful patterns in arbitrary scrambled images.

Peter Brugger, a neurologist from the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, examined twenty people who claimed to believe in paranormal events and twenty who claimed they didn’t. When the participants were asked to tell which faces were real and which were scrambled among a series of briefly flashed images, people who believed in paranormal events were more likely than skeptical participants to pick out a scrambled face as real. The results were the same when the participants were tested using words instead of faces. After the initial trials, the researchers administered L-dopa, which has the same effects as dopamine, to both groups of participants. After taking this drug, skeptics made many more mistakes when looking for real words or faces than before taking the drug.

The results of the study suggest that dopamine can make you see things that aren’t there and form beliefs without solid evidential backing. These results may explain the tendency of people in love to idealize their partners and attach meaning to every little move he or she makes. When in love, your dopamine levels are high when you think of your lover. This makes your brain a less reliable instrument for forming solid beliefs or making wise decisions.

 

 

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Love is like Cocaine: The Remarkable, Terrifying Neuroscience of Romance – Part 1

Yes, you really are addicted to love.

On popular websites, we read headlines such as “Scientists are finding that love really is a chemical addiction between people.” Love, of course, is not literally a chemical addiction. It’s a drive perhaps, or a feeling or an emotion, but not a chemical addiction or even a chemical state. Nonetheless, romantic love, no doubt, often has a distinct physiological, bodily, and chemical profile. When you fall in love, your body chemicals go haywire. The exciting, scary, almost paranormal and unpredictable elements of love stem, in part, from hyper-stimulation of the limbic brain’s fear center known as the amygdala. It’s a tiny, almond-shaped brain region in the temporal lobe on the side of your head. In terms of evolutionary history, this brain region is old. It developed millions of years before the neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for logical thought and reasoning.

While it has numerous biological functions, the prime role of the amagdala is to process negative emotional stimuli. Significant changes to normal amygdala activation are associated with serious psychological disorders. For example, human schizophrenics have significantly less activation in the amygdala and the memory system (the hippocampus), which is due to a substantial reduction in the size of these areas. People with depression, anxiety, and attachment insecurity, on the other hand, have significantly increased blood flow in the amygdala and memory system.

Neuroscientist Justin Feinstein and his colleagues (2010) studied a woman whose amygdala was destroyed after a rare brain condition. They exposed her to pictures of spiders and snakes, took her on a tour of the world’s scariest haunted house, and had her take notes about her emotional state when she heard a beep from a random beeper that had been attached to her. After three months of investigation, the researchers concluded that the woman could not experience fear. This is very good evidence for the idea that the amygdala is the main center for fear processing. (The chief competing hypothesis is that fear is processed in a brain region that receives its main information from the amygdala.)

Despite its tiny size, the amygdala is amazingly powerful. When its neurons fire intensely, this triggers a physical stress response in your body. Hans Selye, a Canadian endocrinologist, was the first to apply the word “stress” to physical and emotional strain. Before that, “stress” was just an engineering term. Selye, who did the bulk of his research in the 1930s, discovered that the stress hormone cortisol had detrimental health effects in rats.

Together with other adrenal gland hormones, such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), cortisol prepares the body for a “fight or flight” response. Stress hormones are secreted in situations of perceived danger. They can be aggressively rushing through the bloodstream, even when the danger isn’t real. For example, they run rampant in people with a fear of public speaking. They make your heart breakdance, your skeleton turn to gelatin, and your new Mickey Mouse voice make little squeaks the first time you stand in front of a hundred-person audience.

Falling in love then goes like this. Unpredictability, mystery, and sexual attraction make the amygdala go into a hyper-activation mode. Via neurotransmitters, this signals to the adrenal glands that something exciting, scary, mysterious, and unpredictable is going on. This, in turn, results in the adrenal glands pumping a surge of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol into the bloodstream. Via the bloodstream, adrenaline increases heart and breathing rates; noradrenaline produces body heat, making you sweat; and cortisol provides extra energ y for muscles to use.

Though falling in love is associated with anxiety and stress, this state—in combination with the belief that there may be reciprocation—is also at times accompanied by intensely pleasant emotions. These emotions arise from an underlying brain chemistry that resembles those triggered by cocaine use.

Your Brain on Crack

Cocaine is a serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitor, like the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors block the transporter that normally carries the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin into the neurons. When serotonin is inside the neurons, it does not function as a neurotransmitter. To have an impact on the brain, it must be extracellular, or outside the neurons. When the transporter is blocked, less serotonin is carried back into the cell. So, the extracellular levels of serotonin increase, which stabilizes the brain’s chemistry and alleviates anxiety and depression.

Cocaine increases the brain levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. But unlike the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, doctors normally prescribe for depression (for example, Zoloft, Celexa, or Lexapro), cocaine works instantly. This is because cocaine is a much more potent drug. Whereas standard antidepressants only partially block neurotransporters, cocaine completely blocks them, giving rise to a steep peak in the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.

Increased levels of norepinephrine make you alert and energetic, suitable levels of serotonin make you feel satiated and self-confident, and increased levels of dopamine make you go into a pleasurable manic state. Dopamine also motivates us to continue to perform certain activities by causing a feeling of profound enjoyment in response to those activities, such as sex.

Because dopamine is associated with pleasure and memory associations between certain actions and pleasure, stimulants and narcotic drugs that increase the brain’s levels of dopamine can cause addiction. The brain remembers the intense pleasure and wants it repeated. This, however, is probably not the whole story behind addiction. Though pleasurable or satisfying activities normally are necessary to initiate an addiction, it may be an overall less efficient pleasure response to ordinary events that causes addiction. It’s the pleasurable or satisfying feeling created by dopamine that entices us to try a drug a second time. But it is likely a dopamine deficiency, a smaller number of dopamine receptors, or an impairment of the function of dopamine that causes addiction. For people with an addictive personality, normal everyday activities, such as working, reading, or watching a movie, don’t lead to sufficiently intense pleasure, so they seek the drug to give them a more profound experience.

Over time, cocaine and other drug use desensitizes the brain to the drug. Desensitization happens as a result of an increased reuptake of the drug or a reduction in or desensitization of receptors. As a result, a larger amount of the drug is required to achieve the same stimulating effect.

New love can have similar effects on the brain as cocaine. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and relationship researcher, conducted a series of fascinating brain imaging studies of the brain chemistry and brain structure underlying new love. She found that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are crucially involved in the initial stages of romantic love in much the same way as they are in cocaine use.

When you fall in love with someone, norepinephrine fills you with raucous energy, serotonin boosts your self-confidence, and dopamine generates a feeling of pleasure. New love is a kind of love addiction but not yet a kind of pathological love addiction. In falling in love, however, the brain is on crack—a dangerous state of mind.

 

 

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ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is now On Sale at Amazon! (kindle & paperback)

PUBLISHED!!!!

The official announcement will come out at 6am today!

But in the meantime…

Sneak Peek!

 

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https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is available now!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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