Halloween – Kiss & Make Up

Philadelphia, PA – 1978

Remember that kid Jimmy I told you in the band series? (Link below.) He did magic and got gigs at kid’s parties as Jimbo the Clown. I told you in that chapter that he was really good at makeup. Well, one day he invited me and my friend, Steve, over to get made up as the group Kiss for Halloween. How great would that be, right?

Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 7 – Youth Group Show

We go over to his house and he’s got everything ready. He plays every Kiss album he has in his collection while he does our makeup. It takes hours but we’re having fun. We hoped it would come out okay.

Well, that’s my friend Stephen Peoples as Kiss drummer, Peter Criss and that’s me as bassist, Gene Simmons.

Awesome, right?

That’s me, as Gene, (Holding Larry’s bass from our band) Steve as Peter, and the guy on the right is Jimmy Hunsinger that did all of our make-up as lead guitarist, Ace Frehley!

We look like the real deal!

It was a fantastic Halloween!

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Tales of Rock: These Are The Scariest Songs Of All Time, According To Pandora

Today begins an entire week’s worth of Halloween-related posts. Enjoy!

Pandora was on a mission to find the “scariest song of all time.”

So the Oakland-based internet radio company started looking at the many factors that go into making a song sound sinister. In all, 450 attributes were evaluated by the Pandora team.

“Scary songs use key, tempo and timbre to create tension and manipulate the way the listener interacts with sound,” according to a news release. “This includes the use of what scientists call ‘non-linear’ sound. Non-linear sounds are generally scratchy, disorganized, and chaotic, like the sound of vocal cords vibrating violently during a blood-curdling scream. Humans (and many other species) are hard-wired to perceive such sounds as life-threatening.

“The data science team identified structural and musicological properties best fit for frightening moods, including anguished, distraught, eerie, harsh, menacing, spooky, tense, anxious, and volatile, and scored each song against these traits.”

The song that topped the list turned out to be Nine Inch Nails’ “The Becoming.”

Here are the top 10 scariest songs of all time, complete with commentary from Pandora:

1, Nine Inch Nails, “The Becoming”

“This song makes use of distorted “non-linear” instrument timbres and effects, which humans are programmed to find distressing. This contrasts with the hushed + screaming vocals which creates a suspenseful & unsettling mood. Melodically, this song makes use of an exotic-sounding scale, which features a major third, but a flat second scale degree, which gives a dissonant quality.”

2, Pixies, “The Happening”

“Like ‘The Becoming,’ there is more use of distorted, ‘non-linear’ sound along with aggressive vocal attitude, and this one is in a minor key, which is usually perceived as a ‘dark’ sound.”

3, Bauhaus, “Dark Entries”

“The mood of this song is dominated by the tonal quality of the instruments, including distorted riffs and scratchy guitar solos. There is a high level of dissonance between the chromatically descending guitar line and the vocal, which is not a melody exactly, but a series of monotonic, almost unrelated pitches that clash with the accompaniment. The lo-fi aesthetic and freaky vocal delivery make for an unsettling experience, like being chased through the woods by a chainsaw-wielding maniac.”

4, Joy Division, “Transmission”

“The combination of lo-fi production, synth pads, and an exaggerated reverb effect creates a menacing, claustrophobic quality. The song finishes with an intense wall of sound, which along with the staccato and insistent bass guitar rhythm makes this a truly anxiety-provoking track.”

5, Lamb Of God, “Contractor”

“Due to its sheer aggression, it’s a typical example of the death metal genre: it’s loud and distorted, includes a fast tempo, makes use of technically proficient drumming and guitar riffs, and is rhythmically complex in the form of shifting tempos and syncopated hits. The vocals are extreme and gritty and a good example of the ‘death metal growl.’ Lyrically it’s confrontational and threatening.”

6, Tool, “‘nima”

“Similar to the Lamb Of God in its aggressive, confrontational vocal attitude, ‘nima also features loud distorted tones throughout. Still, there is some dynamic range too, with some quieter, more drone-like stretches.”

7, Nirvana, “Heart-Shaped Box”

Like many Nirvana songs, this one defies pop conventions. The harmonic progression is difficult to pin down as major or minor, but there is an unmistakable dark and menacing quality to the music. There is a dissonance between the vocal melody and instrumental parts that is disorienting and can be a bit disturbing to the listener. It makes use of heavy, distorted tones, but also features quieter, brooding stretches.

8, Korn, “Bottled Up Inside”

This song relies on loud, distorted timbres, and some ‘non-linear’ tones to create an aggressive, frightening effect that will transport you straight to the dungeon of despair. The relentless pounding of the drums and the deep, sludgy doom-guitar riffs give this song a truly menacing and diabolical feel.”

9, A Perfect Circle, “Thinking of You”

“This song has a creepy combination of tones, including heavier distorted ones, alongside more ambient & suspenseful tones that will leave you convinced the demons are watching you. The melody at times makes use of an exotic-sounding scale that adds to the mood — the first two vocal notes you’ll hear from a ‘diminished 5th,’ a musical interval which since the 18th century has been nicknamed ‘Diabolus in musica,’ or ‘The Devil in music’ due to its dissonant quality.

10, Whitechapel, “Eternal Refuge”

Eternal Refuge is another Death Metal entry, therefore it’s extreme in its volume and distortion, with that famous ‘death metal growl.’ Try putting this on at home in the dark.”

 

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

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

Tales of Rock – The Cool Parents’ Guide to Rock Music for Kids

If there’s one universal truth to parenting, it’s that whatever songs your kid listens to will end up on repeat in your head at 3 a.m. Most of the time we’re fighting off tunes about frogs or balloons or shapes from Little Baby Bum, or we’re reluctantly humming a particularly annoying little ditty about a family of sharks (and just like that, dear reader, it’s now in your head too. Sorry).

Look, we have the power — the obligation — to introduce our kids to better music, for their sake, and very possibly, our own sanity. Nursery rhymes are adorable and learning-shapes songs are valuable. But with the state of things around us, social distancing and staying at home can provide a great opportunity for parents to expose their little ones to better music, some even with helpful life lessons.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite kid-friendly albums from what we dub the “Golden Age of Rock,” the classic oldies of rock ‘n’ roll from the ’50s through the ’70s, to help create a fun music experience for you and your kids. So, clear the living room, turn off the TV and fire up the record player (or Spotify playlist) and, hopefully, get to dancing.

Chuck Berry

The Great Twenty-Eight

Chuck Berry defined the sound and spirit of rock ‘n roll, so it’s only right that our kids hear his music. This compilation album, which Rolling Stone ranked No. 21 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, starts off with the toe-tapping “Maybellene,” and kids just know what to do when songs like this come on. Later on the album is “Johnny B Goode,” a fun opportunity for you to mention a great scene in Back to the Future when Marty McFly baffles everyone at a dance with a rendition of this hit. This album is a necessary lesson on the roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Nicknamed the “Father of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Berry was a major influence on decades of music that followed him.

Little Richard

Here’s Little Richard

With lyrics that go “A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-lop-bam-boo,” “Tutti Frutti” is probably the most fun a kid will have singing to a song, and the second you drop a needle on this track, your toddler will light up. It’s the opening track on Little Richard’s 1957 debut album Here’s Little Richard, which also includes “Long Tall Sally (The Thing)” and “Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)” Simply put, these are just fun songs.

The Beatles

Rubber Soul

The Beatles helped define 20th-century rock ‘n’ roll, but not before dominating the pop charts. If we had told fans of the hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” that the same band would later be making songs like “Helter Skelter,” they wouldn’t have believed us. But, there’s one album, in particular, that is a great introduction to the Beatles for kids, and has both the catchy, pop-like melodies that launched the Fab Four to stardom, but a little more meaningful message than the idea that they want to hold your hand. And it seemingly has no references to drugs yet: Rubber Soul. It’s said that Beatlemania ended on Dec. 3, 1965, the day the record hit the shelves. It was the album that saw the Beatles as men, not boys, similar to a teenager coming of age. And tracks like “Nowhere Man” explored John Lennon’s own dealings with inadequacy.

David Bowie

Hunky Dory

David Bowie is a great artist to introduce to kids early on because he took on many alter-egos, opening up the possibility of a young person to find one that relates to their own personality. His music explores fantasy-like storylines, and he always encouraged young people to be themselves –– no matter how weird. His 1971 album Hunky Dory is especially great for kids, and the song “Changes” reflects those ever-changing personas. He also wrote the track “Kooks” for his first son, which is a great song to dedicate to your own children.

Wings

Wings Greatest

We’re the last people to reduce the fantastic music of Wings to “just another Beatles band,” but once your child realizes that the Beatles broke up in the summer of ’69 and are left wanting more, they may want to hear what one Beatles head songwriter, Paul McCartney, made in the ’70s. Only two years after John, Paul, George, and Ringo parted ways, McCartney co-founded Wings with his wife. Yes, we’re recommending a “greatest hits” album, but it’s a great start for kids, or anyone, who hasn’t taken the time to listen to the band before. It’s a fun record that highlights the best of a great band.

Melanie

Gather Me

This album is packed full of emotional ’70s folk-rock ballads. But track four, “Brand New Key,” recalls the innocent days of young love. A particularly adorable song from singer-songwriter Melanie, “Brand New Key” follows a young, empowered girl thriving off confidence and nudging a crush to play along as she roller skates along — and it’s super fun to dance to. The rest of the tracks are probably more fitting for a teenager, as it covers a lot of heartbreak, but it’s also a great introduction to blues-rock.

Bob Dylan

Another Side of Bob Dylan

Is your child an aspiring poet or songwriter? Look no further than Bob Dylan to inspire that creativity. And his fourth studio album, 1964’s Another Side of Bob Dylan, is a great introductory album for your little one. OK, this is a folk album, but Dylan has become an influential figure in rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album title suggests, this was the first album Dylan released that didn’t reflect his usual politically driven songwriting, making it easy listening for kiddo. In fact, it played on his humor quite a bit too. Give “All I Really Want to Do” and “I Shall Be Free No. 10” a listen with the kids around for a good laugh. “To Ramona,” though, shows Dylan at his best on this album. A beautiful, lullaby-like song, the melody alone is likely to capture your child’s attention.

The Beach Boys

Endless Summer / Pet Sounds

It’s hard to decide which album is best for introducing your little one to when it comes to The Beach Boys. Endless Summer, a great album for those summer pool days in the backyard, captures the best of The Beach Boys’ 1963-1966 catalog. Be sure to pick up the vinyl reissue that includes “I Get Around,” “Surfin’ USA” and “California Girls.” These are all great introductory songs to surf rock and capture a great slice of the band’s career. You can almost feel the warm sun and sound of the hot rods driving by.

Pet Sounds is universally regarded as The Beach Boys’ best album. So, go ahead and save your kid the future embarrassment of admitting they haven’t heard this album by introducing it to them now. It begins with the super catchy tune “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” which captures the thoughts we have when we’re lovesick teenagers. It’s been said that Beach Boy Brian Wilson was aiming for tracks that kids could relate to on this album, and we think he did a pretty good job.

The Monkees

The Monkees Greatest Hits

Yeah, we’re recommending another greatest hits album. But look, this one cuts out some of the more experiential songs the band did (oh, you didn’t know about that?) We’re not going to recommend that you introduce your kids to The Monkees by having them watch the film Head, or listen to The Monkees’ soundtrack for it. Trust us. And, The Monkees didn’t have an endless catalog of amazing songs, but the hits they did have are upbeat, really fun, and definitely kid-friendly.

The Byrds

Mr. Tambourine Man / Turn! Turn! Turn!

This double album (not to be confused with a greatest hits album) was partly taken from earlier writings from Bob Dylan. It contains Dylan originals in a pop-rock-friendly tone, including: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “All I Really Want to Do” and more, so it’s a great opportunity to show your child how songs can be made differently.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty in Memphis

Dusty Springfield was an anomaly among the usual British female pop stars of the 1960s. Her voice was deep and rich, and her music sounded not unlike the hits coming from Motown or Stax. Her singles include “I Only Want to Be With You,” “Wishin’ and Hopin'” and “Son of a Preacher Man.” The latter of which is on one of the singles from her best-rated albums, Dusty in Memphis. A hallmark of the oldies we so love to wax nostalgic, Springfield’s music is a great lesson in love, and perfect for any lovelorn preteen.

Buddy Holly

20 Golden Greats: Buddy Holly Lives

Buddy Holly was a pioneer in 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, with hits like “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day.” His signature “hiccup,” unique spin on rockabilly and as-innocent-as-can-be songs make him perfect for introducing a young person to rock ‘n’ roll. After all, he’s said to have inspired greats like Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Unfortunately, he died shortly into his blossoming career, so his discography mainly includes compilations. But 20 Golden Greats: Buddy Holly Lives is listed on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and includes tracks he made with The Crickets — his band he played with before going solo.

 

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

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

Tales of Rock – 10 Fascinating Band Name Origin Stories

Picking a band name is no easy feat, as it will have an enormous impact on how you are perceived by the world. There are many fantastic band names out there, but of course there are also some pretty terrible ones too. But regardless of whether the name is good or bad, it is always fascinating to hear how they came about. There are some excellent band name origin stories for many of the biggest acts of all time, including these 10 iconic groups.

10. Nickelback

While they are not the most popular band (anymore) and constantly the butt of jokes, the origin of Nickleback’s name is quite interesting. The name came from bassist Mike Kroeger (brother of frontman Chad), who was working at Starbucks when the band formed. With prices at $2.95 and $3.95, he would constantly be saying here’s your nickel back” to customers after each transaction. When they were trying to come up with a name, the phrase “nickel back” stuck in his head and he suggested it to his brother. Chad thought it was perfect, and Nickelback was born. Despite the endless abuse that they receive, Nickelback is one of the most successful rock acts of the 2000s, with “How You Remind Me” being the best-selling rock song of the decade. They have sold over 50 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most successful Canadian groups ever.

9. Queens of the Stone Age

Originally called Gamma Ray, founder Josh Homme was forced to change the name after a German power metal band of the same name threatened to sue. He settled on the unusual name Queens of the Stone Age, as this is how producer Chris Goss described his previous band Kyuss a few years earlier. On why he chose the name, Homme stated “Kings would be too macho. The Kings of the Stone Age wear armor and have axes and wrestle. The Queens of the Stone Age hang out with the Kings of the Stone Age’s girlfriends when they wrestle, and also it was a name given to us by Chris Goss. He gave us the name Queens of the Stone Age. Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way everyone’s happy and it’s more of a party. Kings of the Stone Age is too lopsided.”

8. Pearl Jam

There are a few suggestions as to the origin of legendary rock band Pearl Jam’s name, but they originally went under the name Mookie Blaylock. As any NBA fan will tell you, Mookie Blaylock is a former all-star who spent 13 years in the league. The band was fan of Blaylock, but they were forced to change their name due to trademark concerns. As a result, they named their hugely popular album Ten after Blaylock’s playing number (he was also a fan of the band). In an early interview, Eddie Vedder stated that they settled on Pearl Jam as a reference to his great grandmother, Pearl, who was married to a Native American and they had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. This has also been dismissed, however, and some claim that “Jam” came from when they attended a Neil Young concert where he extended his songs with lengthy jams.

7. 30 Seconds to Mars

After playing their first concerts under a few different names, Jared Leto and his brother Shannon settled on the name 30 Seconds to Mars, which was taken from a manuscript titled Argus Apocraphex. Written by an ex-professor of Harvard, this was the title of one of the subsections. It discusses the exponential growth of technology that relates to humans and saying that we are literally 30 seconds to Mars. For Leto, he found that the phrase perfectly encapsulated their music and he explained it as a metaphor for the future and how it “works on several different levels, a phrase that is lyrical, suggestive, cinematic, and filled with immediacy.” The band went on to be immensely successful, but in these early days, Jared Leto would not allow the use of his Hollywood fame as a promotional tool for the band.

6. Led Zeppelin

Often said to be the greatest and most influential band of all time, hard-rocking British act Led Zeppelin first formed in London in 1968. They first formed under the name the New Yardbirds (in reference to Jimmy Page’s previous band, The Yardbirds), but they soon restyled themselves as Led Zeppelin. Now one of the most famous band names ever, the story goes that Keith Moon and John Entwistle were discussing the prospect of starting a supergroup with themselves, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, and they stated it would “go down like a lead zeppelin” (“lead balloon is a British idiom for an ill-conceived idea, with a zeppelin essentially being a much bigger balloon and therefore a worse idea). The band decided to intentionally change “lead” to “led” so that it would be correctly pronounced. It is now an iconic name for one of the greatest bands of all time.

5. The Velvet Underground

An enormously influential group that formed in 1965, the band name actually comes from an S&M book about a secret sexual subculture during the early ’60s, written by journalist Michael Leigh in 1963. It reports on Paraphilia in the USA, which is the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, and individuals. The New York-based band decided to use the title of the book as their band name after Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison’s friend, a filmmaker called Tony Conrad, found a copy of the book lying in the street in New York. Morrison was a fan of the name as it reminded him of underground cinema, and it stuck. It is somewhat fitting, as the band achieved little success when they were active and could be considered “underground,” but are now deemed immensely important and influential.

4. Steely Dan

Steely Dan may seem like a fairly innocuous band name for the jazz-rock act founded by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen who were hugely popular in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but the story behind their band name is cheekier than most people realize. As fans of Beat Generation literature, the band named themselves after “Steely Dan III from Yokohama,” which is a sex toy mentioned in the novel Naked Lunch, written by William S. Burroughs in 1959. Not quite as innocent as most thought, Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. The band split up but reunited in 1993 and has toured consistently since.

3. 311

Nudity and rock and roll seem to go hand in hand, and this is exactly how popular American rock act 311 got their name. Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1988 by Nick Hexum, Jim Watson, Aaron Wills, and Chad Sexton, the band name came from when Watson was arrested for streaking when he and some friends went skinny dipping in a public pool. He was arrested and handcuffed before being taken home to his parents, all completely naked. He was issued with a citation for code 311, which is a police code for indecent exposure in Omaha. The band found the story so amusing that they settled on 311 as their band name. Watson, the lead guitarist, would later leave the band and was replaced by Tim Mahoney. They are still going strong today, with 2014’s Stereolithic being their most recent studio album.

2. The Who

An excellent band name for one of the all-time great rock acts, The Who were originally called The Detours. Whilst searching for a new name for the group, people would come up to the members with their suggestions. There were a lot of odd suggestions, which frequently saw the likes of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend, and Keith Moon simply reply “the who?” Townsend and his roommate Richard Barnes also liked the theme of having joke announcements as a band name, such as “No One” or “The Group.” In another version of how the band name came about, Townsend’s grandmother would always refer to bands as “the who?” due to her impaired hearing. Whichever version is true, it turned out to be an excellent choice, as they would go on to become one of the greatest bands of all time and now everybody knows their name.

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd

The act is famed for popularizing southern rock through signature songs such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd first formed in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida. They first went under the name My Backyard, and they would not settle on Lynyrd Skynyrd until 1969. They first decided on Leonard Skinnerd, which was a mocking tribute to the physical education teacher that all of the members had when they were in school together. This was a teacher that they disliked due to his strict enforcement of the school’s policy against boys having long hair, which led to Gary Rossington dropping out. The spelling was altered shortly after to avoid a lawsuit. With their success, they became friendly with the teacher in the later years and even invited him to introduce them at a concert in the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum.

 

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

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

Tales of Rock – 35 High School Yearbook Photos of Rock Stars

They were once regular high school kids, right? Some of them didn’t even look that cool dude with a rock star potential. Some though still managed to look cool like Dimebag Darrell Lance Abbott or Wes Borland. The others? Not so much.

We rounded up a gaggle of funny photos of famous heavy metal, hard and alternative rock stars before they became music legends. The result is this most fascinating list that confirms what we already knew: any uncool-looking kid can become a rock star someday.

Check them out and enjoy!

1. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

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2. Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses)

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3. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

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4. Marilyn Manson

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5. James Hetfield (Metallica)

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6. Jon Bon Jovi

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7. Kid Rock

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8. Kirk Hammet (Metallica)

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9. Alice Cooper

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10. Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe)

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11. Slash (Guns N’ Roses)

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12. Izzy Stradlin (Guns N’ Roses)

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13. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)

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14. Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society)

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15. Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine)

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16. Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit)

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17. Vince Neill (Mötley Crüe)

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18. Glenn Danzig (Misfits)

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19. Mike Patton (Faith No More)

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20. Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)

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21. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

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22. Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots)

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23. Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine)

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24. Paul Stanley (Kiss)

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25. Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit)

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26. Corey Taylor (Slipknot)

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27. Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath)

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28. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)

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29. Dimebag Darrell Lance Abbott (Pantera)

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30. Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot)

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31. Jonathan Davis (Korn)

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32. Eddie Van Halen

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33. Les Claypool (Primus)

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34. Daron Malakian (System of a Down)

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35. Gene Simmons (Kiss)

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

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