Tales of Rock – The 9 Best Yet Most Ridiculous Rock Music Movies

Rock music is usually not incorporated in your everyday musical, and films about bands, real or fictional, have all become cult classics in some way. The rise of rock in the ’70s and ’80s led to an onslaught of movies based on the obsession that everyone had with wanting to become a rockstar which then led to some awesome, but ridiculous, films. The life of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll has been turned into a fantasy world that only those with the tightest pants, biggest hair and massive hits could live in but that hasn’t stopped many from imagining what it was like. These films were no doubt good, but somewhat ridiculous only adding to the myth of rockstar life.

9. The Runaways (2010)

This particular movie is ridiculous for a whole lot of reasons. First, many movies about huge bands or artists often don’t make a lot of money so making one about Cherie Currie and Joan Jett in their band The Runaways, which is not what many remember Jett for is questionable. Then they went and cast Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in the lead roles, which just seemed wrong especially during sex scenes because they seemed so young. In the end, the movie wasn’t horrible but seems like it got lost on its way to rock biography and landed in the teen dramedy category.

8. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

This Is Spinal Tap is amazing because it’s the whole purpose is to poke fun at the biggest rock bands and their music of the ’70s and ’80s. While it wasn’t a commercial success during its 1984 release, it has developed into a cult classic and has only gotten funnier as time has gone on as it was not fully appreciated at the time of its release, especially as many people took it as a literal documentary.

7. School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock landed Jack Black in the prime of his career, as well as showcasing his love of rock music. Black plays his best “loser-type” who becomes a schoolroom hero after creating an epic band out of a group of fifth-graders. This feel-good family comedy was an awesome entry in the rock music movie scene and ridiculous in a fun way as fifth-graders become rockstars.

6. The Labyrinth (1986)

In no way is this film not awesome, but still ridiculous none the less. Described as a British-American musical adventure fantasy film, this film has everything, including David Bowie as the Goblin King. The creepy film has also gained a cult following and there is just no getting over Bowie’s “Magic Dance” performance.

5. Rock Star (2001)

This Mark Wahlberg film basically plays out the dreams of every rock music fan ever as Wahlberg’s character goes from being the frontman of a tribute band for his favorite group Steel Dragon to actually becoming their frontman which is based on the story of Tim “Ripper” Owens who replaced Judas Priest singer Rob Halford when he left the band. The film not only features a young Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston but has some real-life rock credibility as Jeff Pilson, Zakk Wylde, and Jason Bonham form the Steel Dragon group in the film.

4. Detroit Rock City (1999)

Detroit Rock City tunes right into teenagers obsession with rock music and the parents who rallied against it because of its “negative influence” on their children. Four friends who are huge fans of the band KISS have to defy their parents and embark on a trip to Detroit to see the band, but not before a whole bunch of random and hilarious encounters occur.

3. Wayne’s World (1992)

Ridiculous, yes. Amazing. Wayne’s World has become one of the most quoted films of the ’90s as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar play metalheads with their TV show. Tia Carrere really can wail, Alice Cooper makes an appearance and “Stairway To Heaven” is not allowed in the guitar store, “Denied!” in this unbelievably funny ode to rock music. And you’re lying to yourself if you don’t love Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” even more after the film’s rendition in the opening scenes.

2. Rock of Ages (2012)

Unlike some of the other films on this list, Rock of Ages is simply ridiculous. Although it does include some incredible singing, this is why rock musicals are broken up with a lot more dialogue (see The Labyrinth). Sure, it looked pretty good, but that was until Tom Cruise shows up as Stacee Jaxx looking like a Bret Michaels rip off and leaving you wondering if the film is some sort of joke. Even though it was loaded with amazing rock music, it still couldn’t save this movie from being more ridiculous than awesome.

1. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006)

The stoner’s delight rock movie of the 2000s goes to Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny. Tenacious D is a real band formed by Jack Black and Kyle Gass and much like films similar to it, it was greatly unappreciated by mass media but quickly became a cult classic. Ridiculousness knows no bounds right from the band name being formed from birthmarks on each of their butts that read “Tenacious D” when put together, to on all-out rock off with Satan himself with the result being the guys turn Satan’s horn into the “Bong of Destiny.” If you haven’t seen this movie, do it, even if you hate it you won’t be able to stop watching.

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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SPECIAL REPORT: My Daughter has TWO New Original Songs Out!!!

 

During quarantine, my daughter has been working hard in the studio creating not one, but two new songs!

Check them out here!

https://m.soundcloud.com/innovatedtruce/jollyrancher

 

 

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 – The Best Band You Never Heard – War Babies

 

War Babies was an American rock band formed in Seattle, WA in 1988, fronted by former TKO vocalist Brad Sinsel. Although associated with hard rock, the band’s sound incorporated some elements of grunge music. They only released one album, in 1991, the self-titled War Babies.

After the break-up of TKO, vocalist Brad Sinsel and guitarist Rick Pierce (ex-TKO, Q5, Ze Whiz Kidz) teamed up for a project called Suicide Squad, aided by well-known Seattle drummer, Richard Stuverud who had played with punk rock band, The Fastbacks, and was working with the power metal band Fifth Angel. Suicide Squad released the one-off album, Live it While You Can, (1988), an EP engineered by Jack Endino, on the Music For Nations label in Europe.[1]

Shawn, Guy and Richard playing at “Under the Rail” in Seattle

After Suicide Squad, Sinsel spent time in Los Angeles but was eventually contacted by Stuverud to check out his new band, War Babies with guitarist, Tommy ‘Gunn’ McMullin. Stuverud and McMullin persuaded Sinsel to join War Babies and the band began to gig around the Seattle area, playing with popular local bands like Mother Love BoneAlice in ChainsSoundgarden, and others. In 1990, at the time of Andrew Wood‘s death and the end of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament joined War Babies for a brief period before he left to join Stone Gossard‘s new band, Pearl Jam.

Tommy play at a rehearsal.

War Babies, featuring the line-up of Brad Sinsel (vocals), Tommy “Gunn” McMullin (guitars), Guy Lacey (guitars), Shawn Trotter (bass), and Richard Stuverud (drums) scored a contract with Columbia Records in 1991. They recorded their debut album, War Babies (1991) at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA with noted producer, Thom Panunzio and engineer, Bill Kennedy.[2] Their first single and MTV video, “Hang Me Up”, was co-written by McMullin and Paul Stanley of Kiss. Two other singles were released, “Blue Tomorrow” (a song dedicated to Andrew Wood, who was a friend of Sinsel and McMullin’s), and the power ballad, “Cry Yourself to Sleep”, co-written by Sinsel and Stanley.[3] The song “In The Wind” can be heard in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer but was not included on the official soundtrack.

By 1993, the War Babies’ sound was deemed too glam metal, and the band broke up. They played their last show on June 6, 1992 as part of the “Rock the Environment” benefit with headliners QueensrÿcheHeartThe WalkaboutsMetal Church, Bananafish, and Rumors of the Big Wave, among others.[4]

After War Babies, McMullin started the band The Dead Letters while Lacey and Trotter formed 8 Days In Jail and later joined Seattle punk rock band Sledgeback. McMullin has been fronting Gunn and the Damage Done for the past several years; they released their debut album, Bury My Heart, in 2010.[5]

Stuverud joined and recorded with several Seattle bands, the most notable being Three Fish, a side-project featuring Pearl Jam bassist, Jeff Ament and Robbi Robb of Tribe After Tribe. Three Fish released the albums Three Fish (1996) and The Quiet Table (1999), through Epic Records. Stuverud also contributed to Tribe After Tribe albums, Pearls Before Swine (1997) and M.O.A.B. (2007). Stuverud and Ament’s other collaborations include Tres Mts.Three Mountains (2011), with Doug Pinnick of King’s X and guest guitarist Mike McCready,[6][7] and RNDM (pronounced “random”) with singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur; RNDM issued their debut album, Acts, in 2012,[8] and followed up in 2016 with the album, Ghost Riding.[9]

Sinsel’s recent projects include American Standard with Flipp guitarist Brynn Arens who issued the “Send Me An Angel” b/w “My Only Friend” single in 2009, Americana act The McClellans, and Angels Of Dresden. The latter released a digital single, “Doomday”, via Suna Sounds [1] in May 2014, with a guest appearance by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.

 

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Tales of Rock – How The Cars Upgraded Rock and Roll

The late singer Ric Ocasek conquered the mainstream with oddball energy and an understanding of how machines can amp emotions.

Ric Ocasek understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.Michele Eve Sandberg/Invision/AP

A 1979 Rolling Stone feature on The Cars opened with an image from Ric Ocasek’s Ohio adolescence that seemed out of American Graffiti or some other idealization of post-World War II suburbia: a teenager souping up his dad’s car to race against his friends. In secret, Ocasek had tweaked the exhaust pipe of his family’s Mercury Comet so as to at least make a louder vroom, if not a faster ride. When his dad eventually found out, “there was hell to pay,” as Jon Pareles wrote. Of his then-livid father, Ocasek said, “he never understood why I did it.”

That story feels oddly resonant after Ocasek’s death at age 70-something (he long hid his birth date from the press). The grin-worthy yet heady music of The Cars partook of consummately American traditions while also rewiring them. Ocasek was a rule breaker, but a meticulous one. He understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.

Formed in 1976 after Ocasek had organized and abandoned a series of less-successful projects, the Boston-based Cars arrived with a miracle of a debut single, “Just What I Needed,” which is still its signature song. “I guess you’re just what I needed—I needed someone to feed,” went Ocasek’s lyrics, subtly defacing a familiar love-song line with an ambivalent sneer, a move he’d repeat over the course of his career. The song’s guitar splatters conjured lineage stretching from Chuck Berry. But the cool blue tones of the keyboard and the precise tick-tock of the percussion also signaled a new era. Or rather a “new wave,” the term that would describe both the disaffected punk of the ’70s and the synth-powered dance tracks of the ’80s thanks to the bridge The Cars built.

The band served up an impressive number of hugely agreeable singalongs from the time of its 1978 debut album The Cars through 1987’s Door to Door, after which the band didn’t play together again for more than two decades. Its catalogue includes the clap-and-moan fun of “My Best Friend’s Girl,” the peppy MTV staples “Shake It Up” and “You Might Think,” and the reverberating, poignant ballad “Drive.” These are songs that everyone knows; they’re also templates for vast swaths of modern pop and rock. The New Pornographers owe Ocasek a debt, but so does Taylor Swift. It’s fitting that Ocasek served as an album producer for Weezer and No Doubt, two acts that were already zipping down a road that his band paved.

It’s also notable that Ocasek produced works by the band Suicide, whose diffident and experimental noise-pop never had a chance of approaching The Cars’s success. For all his mainstream appeal, Ocasek had an ear for the weird. His lyrics pushed pop’s frivolous clichés into droll jokes, as heard in the plodding, hypnotic title mantra of 1978’s “Good Times Roll.” He made no apologies for splicing electronic elements into guitar rock, even at a time when doing so was often written off as suspect and cheesy. In this, he presaged a lot about how popular music would move in the decades after his band’s debut. His fascination with then-novel sounds began in high school, when he’d spend hours in his family’s basement fiddling with keyboards.

This adventurous sonic sensibility matched his misfit persona. Writers tagged him as “impenetrable” or “dispassionate,” and he copped to being awkward. Though he wrote almost all of the band’s songs and was an arresting singer, he ceded lead vocal duties on some of the band’s biggest and flashiest songs to bassist the Benajamin Orr. He hated touring and spent decades avoiding it after the Cars’s breakup, and instead spent his time recording solo music, producing others’ albums, writing poetry, and painting. When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Cars in 2018, he rejoined the band for a performance that, he said, would be a fitting end to the group’s run. It did turn out to be Ocasek’s final show, capping a career that changed music by adhering to his own internal standard: “Success to me,” he had said in 1984, “is actually being able to write songs and like them when I finish them.”

 

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10 Songs That Changed Music Forever

EMI

A simple definition of art is a creative endeavour intended to move people, and out of all the possible artistic media out there, music remains the most immediate and the most enduring. The opening notes of a song can still induce the same emotional effect on a listener decades after first listening to it. That’s power: songs can change people.

But out of all the millions and millions of songs released in the last century or so, how many have been focal points that changed music itself? The list is still a long one, depending on your criteria. What do we mean by change? What scale and scope of change of change?

That being the case, this isn’t a top ten. Instead, this is a list of musical releases, in chronological order, that had such a seismic effect on music itself that the aftershocks are still being felt today.

By definition, this can’t possibly be a complete list – so if you have ideas of your own for entries eleven, twelve or more, make your case in the comments!

10. Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra – I’ll Never Smile Again (1940)

Having just replaced singer Jack Leonard with a twenty-four-year-old Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey’s fortunes began to soar. The bandleader immediately saw Sinatra’s potential, recording forty songs with him in their first year together.

One of them was this beautifully melancholy Ruth Lowe number, written following the tragic death of her beloved husband. Lowe had the sense to aim for a more universal experience by recasting her grief as the heartbreak caused by the end of an affair, and her song became the record that catapulted Sinatra to stardom.

But it’s not just the leg-up it gave to a legend’s career that earns the tune its place on this list. ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ was the first ever number one single on Billboard’s first ever National List of Best Selling Retail Records (which was the world’s first official national music chart), hitting the top spot on July 27th 1940 and staying there the next twelve weeks.

As a result, Sinatra himself also became the world’s first genuine pop star, his live shows swamped with screaming, adoring adolescents. He wasn’t the first teen idol – Franz Liszt and Rudy Vallée had their day years before Frank – but his success coincided with the birth of what we recognise today as the record industry.

This nascent business soon twigged that the spending power and uncontrolled passion of these ‘bobbysoxers’ made them the perfect target audience… leading to the birth of pop music.

9. Bill Haley And His Comets – Rock Around The Clock (1955)

‘Rock Around The Clock’ is one of the many songs that attempts to lay claim to being the first rock n’ roll record.

In truth, that’s an accolade that should belong to half a dozen records by African American artists in the 1940s and 1950s, through the advent of swing music from rhythm and blues. Artists like Roy Brown, Wild Bill Moore and Jimmy Preston were instrumental in laying down the basis for rock n’ roll.

But it’s a sad fact of history that in the fifties white audiences were happy to dance to black music, but would only make a mainstream hit out of a white band. Ike Turner’s groundbreaking ‘Rocket ‘88’ and its peers hit big on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart, but ‘Rock Around The Clock was the first rock n’ roll record to reach number one on the mainstream pop singles charts, staying there for eight weeks.

It was the song’s second release – it had been a b-side before being selected as the opening number on 1955’s hit movie The Blackboard Jungle. Originally recorded in a hurry, that seminal guitar solo had been lifted from a previous Haley recording, ‘Rock This Joint’, and a more sonically impressive version of the song had to be spliced together for the re-release.

The US success of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ was replicated worldwide. The song sold millions and catapulted Haley and his band to stardom… but it also helped push rock n’ roll to the forefront of popular music.

8. The Beatles – I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1963)

It’s difficult to overestimate the impact of The Beatles on popular culture.

Although they’d formed prior to 1960, it was 1963 that saw the group’s popularity in the United Kingdom swell to epic proportions, prompting the coining of the word ‘Beatlemania’ to describe the phenomenon.

‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ was the song that broke them in America, however. Catchy as hell with perfect harmonies, the single was number one for seven weeks in early 1964, selling over twelve million copies, and was only dislodged by another Beatles single, ‘She Loves You’, which was itself only dislodged by ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

The Beatlemania of before was nothing compared to the adulation they were now receiving. For the next six years, the Beatles had the biggest American single one in every six weeks and the biggest American album one in every three weeks.

Worldwide stardom wasn’t their only legacy, however. The Beatles influence was vast: they created fashion trends; brought about the first British Invasion, sweeping a host of other homegrown bands to stardom in America in their wake; elevated the long-player album over the single as the dominant musical format; and single-handedly popularised the conceit that musicians should write their own material and consider themselves serious artists.

Thanks to this hit single, The Beatles remain one of the biggest cultural and musical touchstones of the 20th century.

7. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ doesn’t lay claim to having the first ever pop video – bands had been filming promo clips, as they were called, for years, and Queen themselves were by then more than used to the format. It’s not even spectacularly original, bearing a suspicious resemblance in many ways to the clip for The Moody Blues’ version of ‘Go Now’ from a decade earlier.

Created to promote an unedited six minute song that everyone of note had assured the band was commercial suicide, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was rushed out to be played on that week’s Top Of The Pops TV show, as the band were booked to play in Scotland that night and couldn’t appear live.

The single, a majestic cod-operatic rock epic, was a huge hit thanks to radio support: it’s difficult to say whether the iconic video contributed to that. However, thanks to the song’s worldwide longevity, that video was played countless times, becoming synonymous with the song itself. From that moment on, it became standard procedure to release a promotional video alongside singles in the UK.

The increasing popularity of the video led to the creation of MTV in 1981. Because the UK music industry had pioneered the format for years thanks to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the newborn cable channel, hungry for content, broadcast a disproportionate number of British bands in its early years, which led in turn to the second British Invasion of the US pop charts.

6. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK (1976)

They many not have invented punk, but the short but incandescent career of punk rock legends the Sex Pistols’ led to the creation of an entire subculture of fashion, music, art and philosophy that exists globally in various mutated forms to this day.

By 1976, the Pistols had trawled around the London area for a few years, picking up an almost cultish level of support. Supplied with ‘anti-fashion’ clothes by manager Malcolm McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood from their Chelsea boutique SEX, the style had spread to their fans, both organically and as a marketing gimmick.

It’s said that the inspiration for the UK’s punk movement of the late seventies stemmed almost completely from attendees at these early shows: members The Damned, Buzzcocks, Banshees, Clash, X-Ray Spex, Stiff Little Fingers, Crass and god knows how many more saw the Pistols and vanished to form their own bands.

‘Anarchy In The UK’ was the first song anyone else heard by the Sex Pistols, however: their incendiary performance of the song on music show So It Goes in September 1976 led to their infamous interview on the Today programme the week after the single’s release, where their swearing and antagonistic attitude made them household names overnight.

Although the other three singles from their only real album Nevermind The B*llocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols charted higher, the band will forever be associated with ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and those sneered opening lines…

5. The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (1979)

Like the Sex Pistols, The Sugarhill Gang were a manufactured band put together by a svengali (in this case, Sylvia Robinson) to capitalise on an existing sound, the club-based rap and hip hop movement – they’re even named after her record company.

Unlike the Pistols, they never grew past this, and they don’t have the reputation of some of their peers for good reason.

‘Rapper’s Delight’, their only hit, is something of a curate’s egg. Based around a bassline half-inched from Chic’s ‘Good Times’, a big summer hit that year, the sprawling track was fifteen minutes long with many lyrics lifted wholesale from another rapper who wasn’t involved in the project.

Nonetheless, the impact that ‘Rapper’s Delight’ had as a single in 1979 dwarfs that of their more credible contemporaries. It was the first rap song to break the top forty in the US, and it’s rarely been off the radio ever since – and despite its bizarre, inauthentic genesis, the track helped popularise rap music and hip hop and bring it to significant mainstream attention.

4. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984)

Written by Ultravox’s Midge Ure and Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof following a TV report on the famine in Ethiopia, the Band Aid charity single concept was cobbled together overnight: three weeks after the report’s broadcast, Geldof had the backing of his peers for a Christmas release.

The song itself is mediocre – ‘cheesy’ is the word that springs to mind. However, the circumstances surrounding it are extraordinary, and Geldof’s forthright approach to the project is legendary.

At short notice, Geldof recruited members of U2, Spandau Ballet, Heaven 17, Bananarama, Status Quo, Culture Club, Wham! and Duran Duran alongside Phil Collins, Paul Weller, Sting and Paul Young. In any given week in 1984, the Top 40 might feature almost all of those artists.

When he found out that the UK’s biggest music show Top Of The Pops couldn’t broadcast the song until it had charted, Geldof persuaded the BBC to rearrange the day’s entire viewing schedule by five minutes so that it could be played before the show came on.

The single was released on 3rd December, hitting number one instantly, outselling everything else in the chart put together and becoming both the fastest and the biggest selling single in UK history, records it held for well over a decade.

‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ made £8million for Ethiopia that year, but the charity records it inspired have made far more – 1985’s US version, ‘We Are The World’ raised over $63million for the same cause.

3. Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (1987)

Folk singer Vega wrote ‘Tom’s Diner’ in 1982 as an a capella track a long time before it was ever released – it got air on an obscure compilation record two years later, and saw life on her second album in 1987.

It’s a nice song, if a little slight, a tune which received significant airplay in 1990 when it remixed as a dance track by the DNA Disciples and became a worldwide hit. It’s the original vocal-only version which makes this list, however.

Audiophiles had been using Vega’s tune as a speaker test track for years, citing it as a great example of a warm vocal recording that could, potentially, reveal problems with a HiFi set-up. German audio engineer Karl-Heinz Brandenburg, part of the team at the Fraunhofer Society engaged in developing the MP3 compression format, also used the song to tune his system and make sure that the result would actually be listenable.

Initially, it was not: it sounded distorted, apparently very much like the voice they mocked up for the possessed child in The Exorcist. Brandenburg refined his set-up over months, reasoning that if the MP3 could retain the warmth and purity of Vega’s voice on ‘Tom’s Diner’, it could provide a quality reproduction of any song at a compressed size.

Those tests led to the most widely used codec in the world. It’s the reason why some call Vega ‘the mother of the MP3’: the format whose popularity helped to bring about the digital music revolution.

2. Duran Duran – Electric Barbarella (1997)

Other songs had been available for download before – Aerosmith’s ‘Head First’, for example, an unreleased track provided to fans in the early days of the internet in 1994, back when everything was made of clockwork and powered by steam. But it was former New Romantics Duran Duran who were the first major label artists to release their new single for high quality download with 1997’s ‘Electric Barbarella’.

Interviewed at the time, keyboardist Nick Rhodes was 100% behind the move, predicting the importance of the digital revolution and the internet for artists in the future.

Initially, ‘Electric Barbarella’ was due to be available from Capitol Records’ website two weeks before the physical release hit record stores, but the outcry from the bricks-and-mortar vendors (many of whom threatened to boycott the album the song came from and even remove the band’s whole back catalogue from sale) changed their plans: the digital and CD releases were rejigged to be simultaneous.

Capitol got bad PR from their partners in the distribution chain, but excellent press from everyone else: they were lauded for being so forward thinking. The rest is history.

And the band? ‘Electric Barbarella’ didn’t do well: enough sticks had been jammed in the spokes that the single wasn’t a hit. Duran Duran, however, continued to attempt to pioneer new ways of listening to and purchasing their music.

1. Marillion – This Is The 21st Century (2001)

Back in 1997, Marillion were facing diminishing returns for their wilfully idiosyncratic take on art rock, and having to explain to their US fans that it would put them in terminal debt to embark on another loss-making tour in the States. Undeterred, said US fans got together and raised the money themselves. The tour took place. The crowd cheered.

Two years later, faced with underwhelming offers from two independent labels for their twelfth record, the band decided to go back to the fans and ask them whether they’d pay for said record up front. By 2001, nearly 13,000 people had pre-ordered the lavishly prepared Anoraknophobia release, raising £150,000 – nearly a quarter of a million quid in today’s money.

The only music released in advance was an edit of the album’s standout track, ‘This Is The 21st Century’, a magnificently brooding meditation on the unexplainable human heart, like the love child of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack.

Anoraknophobia was the first internet-driven crowdfunded album, inspiring the creation of ArtistShare, the prototype crowdfunding platform. Today there are dozens: Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, PledgeMusic and so many more. Crowdfunding has become the go-to model for artists at all stages in their careers, now able to bypass the moneymen and the middlemen to appeal to their audience direct for the funds necessary to produce the art they adore.

And Marillion? They don’t need a platform: they’ve been selling their music direct to the fans from marillion.com for nearly twenty years now. The crowd’s still cheering.

 

 

30 Clever Instagram Captions To Use After A Breakup

After a breakup, only you can decide if and when you’re ready to share your newly-single status with the world. You can keep a breakup private, of course. But if you want to make it clear to everyone at once that bae will no longer be making any appearances on your feed, you can rip off the Band-Aid with a telling Instagram post. What you’ll need: a friend with portrait mode, a fire solo shot, and — most importantly — a clever breakup Instagram caption. And if you’re a little distracted at the moment, don’t worry — I’ve got a few suggestions.

The perfect post-breakup caption doesn’t necessarily have to be petty. You can complement your first single lady pic with a quote that’s empowering or wise or even funny, depending on what you’re feeling and what sort of message you want to send. If you and your boo ended on bad terms, go ahead and give them a little sass. If the split was amicable, use your caption to demonstrate there’s no bad blood. Even if you’re not totally A-OK yet, these clever captions might just make you feel a little better — and they’ll definitely show everyone else that you’re ready to move on.

TV Quotes

playb/E+/Getty Images

  • “I’m done with great love. I’m back to great lovers.” — Sex and the City
  • “I don’t need anyone. Because I can do every single thing that a person in a relationship can. Everything. Even zip up my own dress.” — 30 Rock
  • “I mean sure, I have my bad days, but then I remember what a cute smile I have.” — Friends
  • “Maybe I won’t get married, ya know? Maybe I’ll do one of those ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ things.” — The Mindy Project
  • “I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke.” — Grey’s Anatomy
  • “I am OK. I may not seem OK, and I may not be OK now, but I am, like, OK.” — Girls
  • “Revenge fantasies never work out the way you want.” — How I Met Your Mother

Movie Quotes

  • “By the way, I faked every orgasm.” — The Naked Gun
  • “I’m in love. I’m having a relationship with my pizza.” — Eat Pray Love
  • “No, I’m no one’s wife. But, oh, I love my life.” — Chicago
  • “I’m enjoying a relationship with two men simultaneously. The first called Ben, the other Jerry.” — Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • “You can go shave your back now.” — Mean Girls
  • “If he were feeling what I’m feeling then he would know how it feels.” — My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • “If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were.” — Legally Blonde
  • “The thing about being single is, you should cherish it. Because, in a week, or a lifetime, of being alone, you may only get one moment. One moment, when you’re not tied up in a relationship with anyone.” — How to Be Single

Song Lyrics

  • “Call it a curse, or just call me blessed, if you can’t handle my worst, you ain’t getting my best.” — Nicki Minaj, “Marilyn Monroe”
  • “I can’t believe that every day and every night, it’s getting better with you out of my life.” — Calvin Harris feat. Kelis, “Bounce”
  • “I know my place, and it ain’t with you.” — Kacey Musgraves, “Space Cowboy”
  • “My ex asked me, ‘Where you movin’?’ I said, ‘On to better things.'” — Drake, “10 Bands”
  • “We were a match, but not a fit. We were a dream, unrealistic.” — Katy Perry, “Miss You More”
  • “Thanks for the memories even though they weren’t so great.” — Fall Out Boy, “Thnks fr th Mmrs”
  • “Don’t you ever stress the ‘could haves.’ Baby, if it should have, it would have.” — Jordan Bratton, “Danger”
  • “I’ve been movin’ on since we said goodbye.” — Dua Lipa, “IDGAF”

Literary Quotes

  • “Like some wines, our love could neither mature nor travel.” — Graham Greene, The Comedians
  • “Failed relationships can be described as so much wasted makeup.” — Marian Keyes, Watermelon
  • “I like my relationships how I like my eggs. Over easy.” — Jarod Kintz, It Occurred to Me
  • “One day they’ll realize they lost a diamond while playing with worthless stones.” — Turcois Ominek, Masquerade
  • “I cannot compromise my respect for your love. You can keep your love, I will keep my respect.” — Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
  • “It was the beginning for me and the end for you.” — Nikki Rowe, Once a Girl, Now a Woman
  • “I’m proud of my heart. It’s been played, stabbed, cheated, burned, and broken… but somehow still works.” — Alcatraz Dey, The Serpentine Scrolls

It’s never easy to announce a breakup, but the right caption will show everything that you’re doing just fine — and it might even help you heal a little in the process.

 

 

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

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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 ...

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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Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Orange Goblin

 

Orange Goblin was originally formed in 1995 under the name Our Haunted Kingdom, with fifth member Pete O’Malley on rhythm guitar.[3] The band released a split 7-inch single, Electric Wizard/Our Haunted Kingdom with Electric Wizard in 1996 on Rise Above Records before changing their name to Orange Goblin.[3] The first three studio albums under the name Orange Goblin, Frequencies from Planet Ten (1997), Time Travelling Blues (1998), and The Big Black (2000) were in the stoner metal and doom metal genres,[2], and have also been described as space rock,[4], but on 2002’s Coup de Grace they began to add punk rockhard rock, and other influences to their sound.[5] Their album Thieving from the House of God was released in 2004 and included a cover of ZZ Top‘s “Just Got Paid.”[6]

Their first five releases were issued by Rise Above Records. O’Malley left the band in 2004 to pursue a career as an artist and was not replaced.[6] Their 2007 album Healing Through Fire was released on Mayan/Sanctuary Records. In 2008 the band announced that they had signed with Candlelight Records.[7] Two new songs were revealed in May 2009, though the associated album was delayed until 2012.[8]

In mid-2010, the band’s back catalog was reissued on Rise Above Records in digipack form.[9] Their long-delayed seventh album A Eulogy for the Damned was released in February 2012.[10] The album earned the band critical acclaim,[11][12][13] including being voted No.3 in Metal Hammer magazine’s Top Albums of 2012. [14][better source needed] The same year the group was voted Best Band by the readers of Terrorizer magazine.[15][better source needed] The band then embarked on a world tour in 2013, playing 161 shows across 28 different countries.[16]

In March 2013 Orange Goblin released A Eulogy For The Fans: Orange Goblin Live 2012. The CD/DVD package included the band’s complete performances at Bloodstock Festival on 11 August 2012 and Hellfest in France on 15 June 2012.[17] In October 2014 the band released the studio album Back From The Abyss through Candlelight Records.[18]

In December 2015 the band undertook a 13-date 20th anniversary tour of the United Kingdom.[19] In December 2016 singer Ben Ward received national media coverage in the UK for setting up a JustGiving campaign aiming to raise money for the staff of music publisher TeamRock who were laid off when the company went into administration.[20][21][22][23] As part of the fundraising effort Orange Goblin played a gig at the Black Heart in Camden, London on 5 January 2017 with all proceeds going to the campaign.[24] Orange Goblin’s ninth studio album The Wolf Bites Back was released in June 2018.[25]

Band members

Current lineup

  • Ben Ward – vocals (1995–present)
  • Joe Hoare – guitar (1995–present)
  • Martyn Millard – bass guitar (1995–present)
  • Chris Turner – drums (1995–present)

Former members

  • Pete O’Malley – guitar (1995–2004)

Session musicians

  • Duncan Gibbs – keyboards on Frequencies from Planet Ten
  • Jason Graham – keyboards on Healing Through Fire

Discography

Studio albums
Live albums
  • A Eulogy For The Fans (2013)
EPs
Singles
  • “Some You Win, Some You Lose” (2004)
Compilation appearances
  • “Saruman’s Wish” on Dark Passages II (1996)
  • “Aquatic Fanatic” on Stoned Revolution – The Ultimate Trip (1998)
  • “Quincy the Pig Boy” on Rise 13 (1999)
  • “Black Shapes of Doom” on Bastards Will Pay: Tribute to Trouble (1999)
  • “No Law” on High Volume (2004)

 

 

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: 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.”

 

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