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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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 – The Best Band You Never Heard – Dust for Life

Dust for Life was a post-grunge band from Memphis, Tennessee formed in 1999.

Formation and initial success

After the dissolution of the Memphis grunge band Bacchanal, Jason Hughes recruited three members from the local Memphis rock band Spaceman to form DFL.[1] Chris Gavin of the band Burning Blue was added and became the second main songwriter of the group.[2]

In late 1999, DFL self-released a nine-track eponymous album.[3] Then in April 2000, DFL recorded four songs (“Step into the Light”, “Dirt into Dust”, “Dragonfly”, and “Where the Freaks Go”) at Ardent Studios. This demo was overnighted to Jeff Hanson, manager of the band Creed, and they were subsequently signed to Wind-Up Records.

In October 2000, DFL released a second eponymous album containing all new songs with the exception of two re-recorded songs from their 1999 album. The album reached No. 26 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Two singles from the album also charted. In 2001, drummer Rick Shelton left DFL to join Course of Nature.[4]

Touring and money troubles

For much of 2001, DFL toured with Creed, 3 Doors DownThe CultTantricDisturbedOrgyCold and Saliva.

In May 2001, DFL discovered its publishing money had been spent frivolously by their management and subsequently released the company. In July, they parted ways with Wind-Up Records due to contractual elements not being honored.[5] At the end of the year, Jason Hughes also released an album with the band Third Harmonic Distortion.[6] In early 2002, DFL embarked upon a headlining national tour with Tantric.[5] The song “Poison” was used in the movie Dragonball Z Cooler’s Revenge.

Separate ways and reformation

After taking a break, the band’s two primary songwriters (Hughes and Gavin) began work on the band’s next release in July 2003.[7] Later that year, DFL self-released an eight-song EP titled Degrees of Black.

Eventually DFL went on an indefinite hiatus. Chris Gavin formed the band Memphis Sound. Vocalist Jason Hughes formed the band Dark Things with Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett in late 2006 with the intention of releasing an album on Warner Bros. Records.[8] Yet the project never came to fruition. Instead, Hughes and Gavin announced on their MySpace blog in 2007 that DFL was to begin recording new material.[9] In April 2008, the band released The Consequence Of Vanishing.[10] Scott Bartlett was featured on the album.[11] Hughes announced a line of clothing based on the title of the song “Dark Things Betray”.[12] The song “Release The Flood” was used by TNA Wrestling as the theme song for Slammiversary (2008).[13]

Another indefinite hiatus

In 2009, Jason Hughes released an album with the band Driving Eternity.[14] The band later changed its name to Driving Into Eternity and released a 5-song EP in 2010.[15]

Chris Gavin currently plays in the bands Kings Trio, White Noise Theory, and the cover band Hi-Fi Allstars.[16][17] In 2009, White Noise Theory released his first full-length album, Self Titled. The album consists of some tracks from the Degrees Of Black album. In April 2011, White Noise Theory released Dust, a collection of re-recorded DFL songs. In 2011, he released his third album Soul Of The Machine. All albums were released digitally.

DFL is presumably on another indefinite hiatus as their current projects list them as former members of DFL and dustforlifemusic.com is inactive.

 

So sad… I loved this band.

 

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1990 to 2002 – Part 4

Cycle 4

The first indication of rock’s next rebirth came on March 20, 1990, when there was a riot at a Depeche Mode autograph session in Los Angeles. No one expected that many people to show up to see a band that had been a solid cult act at best for most of their career.

That riot came 13 years and 10 days after the Sex Pistols’ infamous Buckingham Palace stunt, 26 years and one month after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan and 39 years after “Rocket 88” came out.

The Depeche Mode Riot was the start of the era of the Alternative Nation of the 90s. The next six years were once again incredibly fertile: Manchester, grunge, industrial, Goth, Lollapalooza, Britpop, hip-hop. Rock’n’roll was resurrected, this time in the image of Generation X.

The peak came shortly before Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April 1994. But then things quickly went off the rails. Metallica hijacked Lollapalooza in 1996. The Smashing Pumpkins melted down in a haze of drugs and death. Nu-metal’s polarizing sound tore the scene in half. And then came grunge derivatives like Creed to put the final nails in the coffin.

Meanwhile, a period of solid economic growth and the seeming end of the Cold War led to a rise in public optimism. Meanwhile, Generation Y began to come of age musically and all they wanted to do was dance to the Spice Girls, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Rock limped through the rest of the 20th century.

Again, there were exceptions — the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 come to mind — but the era 1999–2002 was all about boy bands and pop tarts.

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Tales of Rock – Kurt Cobain Kills Himself Twice

“Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.”

Few musicians’ experiences with drug abuse have been as complex and intense as Kurt Cobain’s. For proof of this, see the index of Charles Cross’ 2001 Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven. If you check, “Cobain, Kurt Donald; drug use of…” you’ll basically be instructed to read the entire book. He started off heavily averse to heroin; during his formative years, a friend suggested they try it and he stopped hanging out with him in response. He eventually tried the drug; when asked how it was by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, he shrugged, “Oh, it was all right.” But his habit escalated.

By the time Nirvana appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Cobain was so deep in heroin addiction that he was vomiting and barely able to stand right until the time came to perform. He somehow pulled it together long enough to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Territorial Pissings” on live television. In March 1994, Cobain attempted suicide for the first time by washing down a large dose of flunitrazepam with champagne while in Rome. He nearly died and ended up in a coma for a day (Novoselic claimed that, mentally, he was never the same after this).

Within weeks he was back in Seattle, crashing on his daughter’s junkie nanny’s girlfriend’s couch and popping out occasionally to purchase speedballs and burritos. Cross quotes the girlfriend as saying, “He’d sit in my living room with the hat with the ear coverings, and read magazines. People came and went; there was always a lot of activity going on. Nobody knew he was there or recognized him.” By the end of the month, Cobain was given an intervention and packed off to rehab in California. But he soon escaped the facility by scaling a six-foot wall and, improbably, found a seat on a flight back to Seattle next to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.

Despite beef between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, the two bonded, finding a great deal of common ground as famous musicians from the Pacific Northwest with heroin problems. Once back at his house, Cobain reattempted suicide and this time he meant business. He injected a lethal dose of heroin and then blasted himself in the head with a shotgun, effectively killing himself twice. Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.

Another sad rock and roll tragedy. Showbiz is the only industry that eats it’s young.

Check this out:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

A footnote from phicklephilly: “I never understood suicide. You get one chance to be here, why leave early if you don’t have to? Suicide’s for quitters. I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression my whole life. I’ve beaten the shit out of them both (without drugs) and now we’re all on the same side. Suicide is always a long term solution to usually a temporary problem. I just don’t get it, Kurt. I was in a band when I was younger. It was an amazing experience. Kurt, you play music for a living. You’re in a famous genre inspiring band. You’re surrounded by a gaggle of moist women. Your bank account is full and your nuts are empty. WTF?”

 

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Tales of Rock: Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave Frontman, Dies at 52

So sad…

I was going to publish a piece today about Sly Stone ending up living in a van.

But not now.

Wednesday I was home, writing the epilogue of another lost girlfriend, and listening to Soundgarden and the solo work of Chris Cornell. I never do that. I was actually listening to Badmotorfinger, the full album on You Tube, while I wrote my blog. The irony has struck me hard, and I am still trying to understand what is happening. I love the song “You Know My Name” from the James Bond film, Casino Royale. I always think of it as my theme song.

I woke up Thursday to a text from my buddy, Church that Chris had passed. I was shocked and saddened. It comes with a heavy heart that I publish today’s blog.

Chris Cornell, the powerful, dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, has died at 52.

The death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has been ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit. The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed. There is no additional information at this time.”

Spokesman Brian Bumbery told the Associated Press that Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit’s Fox Theatre with the reunited Soundgarden, the band he’d fronted for over 30 years

Dontae Freeman, media relations manager for the Detroit Police Department, later told the newspaper, “He was found in his room with a band around his neck, but (the report) doesn’t say if it was attempted suicide or not.”

Cornell had appeared to be in good spirits Wednesday when he tweeted, “Finally back to Rock City” before the show. However, Freeman noted that the singer’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell after the show later that evening. The friend forced open his hotel room door and found Cornell unresponsive on the bathroom floor.

Bumbery called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family are in shock. The statement said the family would be working closely with the Wayne County medical examiner to determine the cause and have asked for privacy.

Chris was born in 1964 in Seattle and helped form Soundgarden 20 years later. Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” came a year later.

“Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from the swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll. Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.”

The group — which includes the guitarist Kim Thayil, the bassist Ben Shepherd and the drummer Matt Cameron — disbanded in 1997, but it reunited in 2010 and performed regularly since then. In a review of a 2011 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, The New York Times chief pop critic Jon Pareles called Soundgarden “one reunited band that can pick up right where it left off.” In 2012, it released “King Animal,” its first album in 16 years, which Mr. Pareles said “sounds like four musicians live in a room, making music that clenches and unclenches like a fist.”

The group played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and it had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.

Chris appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account on Wednesday announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page hours before his death.

Chris had admitted in interviews to struggling with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13,” who had quit by the time he turned 14.

After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, he told The Guardian in a 2009 interview, describing himself as a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin, and saying that he had gone to rehab.

Chris released five solo albums during and after his time with Soundgarden, starting with the 1999 LP “Euphoria Morning.” His 2007 album “Carry On” featured an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that served as the inspiration for a well-received version of the song on “American Idol.” He contributed the song “Seasons” to the soundtrack of “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene, and performed alongside other members of Soundgarden in the film.

In 2001, after Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, left the group, Mr. Cornell and members of the band formed Audioslave. The group released three albums before announcing its split in 2007.

In November 2016, Chris hit the road for the first time with another supergroup of sorts, Temple of the Dog, which features a blend of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The group was formed a quarter-century ago as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose.

Speaking to The New York Times, Chris said the group had decided to finally bring its songs to life to honor Mr. Wood. “I thought, well, this is one thing that I can do to remind myself and maybe other people of who this guy is and was and keep his story and in a way his life with us,” he said.

Incidentally, in a final footnote, I just learned that Chris was taking Antivan for depression. Two of the side effects of that drug can be “More Depression” and “Suicidal Thoughts.”

And in a final grim note, the final song of the show he played in Detroit that night. The final song Chris would ever play, was Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”

Thanks to everyone for following phicklephilly right up to my 100th blog post. It just sucks that it had to be about this. The Cornell family are in our thoughts and prayers.

 

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Tales of Rock – Scott Weiland Buys Heroin While Dressed as a Pimp

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together.

Stone Temple Pilots might have been initially seen as a contrived grunge act by critics, but their frontman, Scott Weiland, sure matched Seattle’s finest in drug consumption. (To me they always seemed like Alice in Chains-Lite)

Scott began using heroin with singer Gibby Haynes while STP was on tour with the Butthole Surfers in 1994. The following year he was arrested while buying crack cocaine.

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together. In 1998, he was arrested buying heroin, reportedly while dressed as a pimp. In 2003, he got in a car crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but charges were dismissed after he successfully completed rehab. Thereafter, Weiland transitioned to DUIs with arrests in ’07 and ’08, the latter incident involving jail time.

During all this, he was in and out of STP, launched a solo career and, in 2003, joined Velvet Revolver, a supergroup comprised of himself and three former members of Guns N’ Roses, definitely great guys to hang around while trying to kick a drug habit. In 2011, he cut a Christmas album—go figure.

Though derided by critics early in his career, Weiland’s onstage persona was known as being flamboyant and chaotic; he was also known for constantly changing his appearance and vocal style, his use of a megaphone in concert for vocal effect, as well as his battles with substance abuse. Now widely viewed as a talented and versatile vocalist, Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader.

In 2012, shortly before his departure from Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland formed Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, receiving mixed reviews: some critics and fans noted Weiland’s apparently failing health and dwindling energy. While touring for his 2015 album, Blaster, Weiland died of a drug overdose on his tour bus in Minnesota at the age of 48. Upon his death, many critics and peers offered re-evaluation of Weiland’s life and career, including David Fricke of Rolling Stone and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, the latter calling Weiland one of three “voices of the generation” alongside Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/scott-weiland-cause-of-death-accidental-overdose-20151218

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Courtney Love is Crazy

Did she kill her husband?

I have a difficult time including Courtney Love in the presence of these rock stars, but I don’t have a problem calling her crazy. Courtney Love is a musician that gained notoriety in the late 1980s with her band Hole. She was married to Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain until he passed away in 1994. Love is known for extreme and erratic behavior. She has been implemented by a private investigator named Tom Grant in the possible murder of Cobain.

In the weeks prior to Kurt Cobain’s suicide Love hired Tom Grant to find her husband. After Kurt was discovered dead, Green said that he found strange activity on Cobain’s credit card. He believed that Kurt’s suicide note was actually a note written that was announcing his desire to end his marriage to Courtney Love. Green also cited Cobain’s unusual bloodstream heroin levels and the fact that no fingerprints were found on the trigger of the shotgun he used to kill himself as clues of foul play.

In 2009, the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain was granted a restraining order against her mother who was harassing her. Frances claimed that Courtney was a violent drug addict and compulsive hoarder. She was freighted for her safety and hoped to have her mother removed from her life.

In April of 2012, Courtney Love took to Twitter and provided a rant of crazy remarks. She attacked her daughter and Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana bandmate. Love implied that Grohl had intended to have a sexual relationship with Frances and called him “sexually obsessed” with Kurt Cobain. She even voiced her opinion about the upcoming U.S. presidential election and attacked Mitt Romney with some unprovoked and strange accusations.

Courtney threatened to shoot and kill Grohl on two separate occasions. The rant was unprovoked and completely false. Frances is currently engaged to a man named Isaiah Silva. After the comments, Frances responded and said that the social networking website should ban her mother. Grohl said: “Unfortunately Courtney is on another hateful Twitter rant. These new accusations are upsetting, offensive, and absolutely untrue.”

 

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