Home Economics and Shop Class

Philadelphia, PA – 1975

If life wasn’t bad enough for me at Fels Junior High, I felt that it was about to get worse. Puberty had erupted all over my body. I was a lousy student, had bad skin, hair, glasses, braces, clothes, etc. I should have just walked around with a target on me so that the bullies, teachers, and parents could always have a clear shot at me. I felt like such a loser.

But it wasn’t all bad. I still had my comic books, my friends, my art ability, and my music. Like everybody else, I’d just have to make the best of it.

But one of the interesting things that happened at Fels was that they finally broke a 20-year tradition at the school. For the first time in two decades, they decided to change things up when it came to certain gender-specific classes they offered at the school.

In 1975 they decided that instead of only boys taking wood and metal shop, now girls would be offered those courses as well. But, that meant boys would have to take cooking and sewing classes.

At first, the boys were outraged that they would be forced to do “girl stuff”. But once we got into it, somehow it wasn’t all that bad.

Former Fels HS building to be demolished - Northeast Times

But before I begin, let me just get a few things out of the way. I’ll tell you what I remember about a couple of the teachers at this school.

Mrs. Lipschutz was my homeroom teacher. When you pronounce her name it sounds like something else. Legend has it that one time she was reprimanding some kid for talking in class and his response was, “If your lip shits, my ass talks!” It’s a juvenile but clever play on words even for a 12-year-old kid.

There was another teacher there who taught algebra named Mr. Dordick. Can you imagine having that as a name working in a junior high school?

There was also a geography teacher there named Mr. Kubell up in room 318. The class was boring to me because all we learned about was Europe. I would always turn to the back of my textbook and read about Australia because it seemed way cooler than anything we were currently learning in class. There was also a story about how Mr. Kubell had been in the military and suffered from shell shock, but I don’t know if there is any validity to that tale.

I had a reading teacher named Miss Ruscoff that I really liked. I was always an avid reader and did well in her class. She actually got married and her new name was Mrs. Dembitzer. My favorite thing about that class was when she brought out an old reel to reel tape player. Every Friday we would listen to old radio shows from the ’40s and 50s. Shows like Suspense and X Minus 1. This was an art form that was before my time. I grew up in a world with television. But I LOVED listening to these old radio shows. They were all based on short stories and acted out in studios and played on the radio back in the day.  What I loved about this medium was that you had to use your imagination. Something I had a surplus of in my brain. On TV and movies, it’s all set up for you. But on the radio, you have to picture the scene using only the actor’s voices and the use of sound effects. To this day, I still tune into Radio Classics on Sirius XM satellite radio and listen to these types of old shows. They still hold up to this day and make you use your mind in a different way than you do to consume the entertainment we’re inundated with now.

Another teacher that was beloved at that school was a gentleman named Mr. DiDonato. I think my sister had him as a teacher but I never did. I just remember him being a really nice guy that had the only class that taught something groundbreaking in school. Computers!

I had a couple of good science teachers as well. Sadly I don’t remember their names, but I remember their words. Science class was always one of my favorites.

Anyway, back to the vocational switch.

The first class the boys in my grade were placed into was a sewing course. At first, it was odd to be in a class like that, and I think a bit unsettling to the teachers. But, once we got going on the fundamentals of sewing it was a really cool class. I think the guys would agree with me on this one. I remember the teacher passed out sheets of lined paper to everyone in the class. We all sat at our sewing machines and learned how to operate the motor and see if we could sew in a straight line along the lines on the paper. A solid exercise before touching any fabric.

She also taught us all of the parts of the sewing machine. Remember how you could lean your thigh against that little metal arm that came down and the motor would accelerate so you could sew like lightning? It was kind of cool.

What I liked best about that class was that you were learning something new and working with your hands. Not just sitting in a boring class listening to some old person talk and reading words in a book. Then being tested on the stuff you read. It was really all about memory and never generating any new ideas. Just boring to me.

But in sewing class, you worked through a project that had a beginning, middle, and an end. We all made shirts! I remember you measured and designed the shirt, then cut it into pieces. The final bit was to sew it all together and then turn it inside out so that all of the seams were on the inside. Boom! You just made yourself a shirt. I loved that!

I even enjoyed cooking class. It wasn’t as fun as sewing class but we made some cool things. Mostly baked goods, but it gave us some great fundamentals for life.

I kind of wish junior high had been more like this. Not every kid is suited to sitting in class after class of boring textbook memory stuff. What if it had been half and half? What if every kid was assessed to what their abilities were? If a kid wasn’t good with the schoolwork stuff, give him more classes where he can use his hands. Teach them the basics. Math, science, reading, and history, but lean their curriculum a bit more towards making things. I think the kids would have been happier and there would be less dissent in the classrooms in junior high. It’s a tumultuous time in every child’s life.

I realize now that most kids that were bullies to me were probably getting the crap kicked out of them by older siblings and their parents at home. Maybe if these children could be given the opportunity to have courses that were more suited to their needs they’d act out less. Give them support and activities where they could work out their negative energy and turn it into making something good. Something they could be proud of. Maybe a little hope that things could change for them. But I could be wrong.

Another class I had was ceramics. Everybody’s first project was a pinch pot. Just an exercise to get our hands accustomed to working with pottery. I had already had years of experience working with clay, so I immediately adapted to the task at hand. My second project was a cool ashtray that I ended up using for years until it finally broke.

I heard funny stories from kids in metal shop that worked on their assignments but also made shurikens. (Asian throwing stars) Which I thought was so cool. I loved the TV show, Kung Fu and would have loved to have made one of those things. What boy wouldn’t? I never had metal shop, but it seemed like another awesome class. It’s probably for the best because with my luck I would have ended up putting some kid’s eye out. I was in enough trouble on a regular basis without any lethal weapons on hand.

Shurikens - Silver | The Specialists LTD

I finally did end up in woodshop and I really enjoyed working on my projects. It was cool to work with such powerful equipment far beyond anything we had in our toolboxes in our basements. I really learned a lot in that class, and I think my peers would agree with me.

I actually still have the little creation I made in that class 45 years ago. It’s been nearly half a century, and it still looks just as it did so many years ago.

A few pieces of wood glued together and then sanded and planed into a  shark. Something I could be proud of that came from a time of such pain. The finished work, something elegant that had been carved by sharp, dangerous objects. It mirrored my own existence in junior high. 

So, even though I had a tough time in junior high, I’m glad I went through it. As painful and awkward as it could be at times, we all experienced it together. For better or worse, it’s all part of our collective history now.

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 – How Sunset Strip Shaped Glam Rock and the 1980’s

The west coast of America has been a hotbed of hard rock talent over the years – many of whom were hellbent on self-destruction. Classic Rock takes a walk on the wild side with Van Halen, Poison, Mötley Crüe, and more.

Loosely translated, Los Angeles means the City Of Angels. But it’s been called many things in its time: a city of dreams; a city of destruction; Guns N’ Roses even famously immortalized it as Paradise City. And all these descriptions are entirely apt to one degree or another.

Over the years Los Angeles has seen its fair share of both angels and devils, and many of them with a shared passion for rock’n’roll. It’s a city without a center, a fragmented place held together by freeways and thruways, full of misfits and larger-than-life characters.

It’s the way it’s always been. And probably the way it always will be.

From the early 50s scene of surf bands that eventually morphed into the heady music that The Doors’ Jim Morrison turned into an art form in the 60s, LA’s Sunset Boulevard has always appeared on the radar as the ultimate place for misbehaving rock stars to congregate.

Fondly (or sometimes not so fondly) referred to as Sunset Strip, it’s the mile and a half of avenue that links Hollywood with the moneyed, upmarket neighborhood of Beverly Hills. If you’re looking for a definition, the Strip’s unofficial boundaries run to Crescent Heights Boulevard (to the east) and Doheny Drive (to the west). But what’s so special about this little corner of Paradise City?

Well, this section of wide-avenued west coast America houses a huge percentage of the famous rock clubs you’ve ever heard or read about in rock folklore: The Whisky A Go-Go, The Cathouse, The Roxy… It’s also the home of Sunset Strip Tattoo, the place where any self-respecting established (or wannabe) rocker goes to get some serious ink into their skin. They’ve all gone under the needle there, from Mötley Cruë to Guns N’ Roses to Billy Idol to nouveau wannabe bad boy Robbie Williams.

Blink and you miss it, but you’ll find it nestling among hotels across the road from the famous Hyatt House Hotel – the place nicknamed The Riot House in the 70s for all the right reasons. The Hyatt House was the place where all the rock stars would gather when they passed through town – everyone from Led Zeppelin to The Who.

Televisions got thrown through its windows; motorcycles were be ridden indoors; inappropriate acts took place around the pool. Little Richard lived there full-time. Blasting out and causing all sorts of chaos in the late 70s, Van Halen was the ultimate home-town heroes, arguably the first in a rash of party-hard rockin’ rollers that spawned the LA scene of the 80s. Four guys who lived life to the max.

 

Although Van Halen frontman, David Lee Roth was a transplanted New Yorker, he soon morphed into the ultimate California boy – the male equivalent of the good-time party girls he sang about with such enthusiasm in the Beach Boys song he co-opted in later years, California Girls.

Arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-70s, ostensibly to go to college, Roth soon hooked up with brothers Alex and Edward Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony. And upon the release of their debut record in 1978, things kicked off. And Los Angeles was always the starting point.

“It’s like, anything you desire you can find here – whatever your vice, whatever your sexual ideals. Whatever somebody else can’t do in his nine-to-five job, I can do in rock’n’roll,” a delighted David Lee Roth told Rolling Stone years ago. “I guess what I’m saying, man, is that I’m proud of the way we live. Not so much because of the records we sell or the money we make, but because of the party we’re going to have afterward to celebrate all that.”

Parties were on everyone’s agenda back then. It was all down to who could throw the wildest, most out-of-control bash. This was long before rock musicians got wise and healthy and had nothing stronger than mineral water and fresh fruit on their backstage tour rider. And Van Halen’s parties were known to be among the best in the business.

To that end, David Lee Roth was the first rock star to enlist the help of a full-time ‘Entertainment Officer’ while his band was out on the road. The parties were huge, with no shortage of beer, Jack Daniel’s, and girls. And for Roth girls were the most important ingredient.

“Most of what I do is because of girls. If girls didn’t exist I wouldn’t have this job, I wouldn’t bother with music. I wouldn’t even bother with breakfast,” Dave told Classic Rock. “My fantasies were always the girl next door. We started to see evidence of the professional groupie in the early eighties and, alarmingly, these girls bore a striking resemblance to Mötley Crüe. For me, the best groupies were the homecoming queens who were out on a lark; the preacher’s daughters out for a wild night.”

The wild nights were coming thick and fast. Roth and the rest would have their fill of girls, drink, and dope, and go on to play another day.

While the main ingredients of Van Halen’s parties of the late 70s and early 80 consisted of mostly booze and girls, other musicians were arriving in Los Angeles hell-bent on a far more destructive journey.

Steven Adler had lived in Los Angeles since he was 12 years old. By the early 80s he was still at school, but realizing that his ambitions were leaning towards music. Adler was a drummer, and one of his friends at school was a misfit kid, born in England. His name was Saul Hudson. Today we know him as Slash.

“We’d dip school nearly every day,” Adler told Classic Rock’s Mick Wall. “Me and Slash would walk up and down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, and each day we had this thing where we’d take a different type of alcohol and we’d walk up and down, up and down, and what we’d be talking about was how we’d be living when we were rock stars.

“It was like this dream that I always knew would come true. We’d go out and meet older women, who would take us back to their Beverly Hill’s homes. They’d give us booze, coke, they’d feed us, really.”

Slash and Adler lived the street urchin life until they got it together enough to team up with some friends to form a band. They hooked up with a band called Hollywood Rose, which had a frontman called Axl. The rest, as they say…

Another band that seemed to personify the hedonistic glamour of 80s Los Angeles was Poison. Four larger-than-life characters who were transplanted from the east coast – all big hair, Day-Glo clothing, and big songs about girls, sunshine, and parties.

“We didn’t want to be anything other than ourselves. We wanted it all – the cars, the girls, the fame, the money… Music had kind of sucked. It had no energy. But we were young and we were into the whole rock star ideal, and that’s what we pursued,” frontman Bret Michaels recalled in 2001.

“And in LA, the girls are amazing looking, you know,” Michaels continued. “If you were from Pennsylvania, it was just amazing! It was hot, and there were all these guys trying to get their thing going too. I mean, we’d have our flyers and we’d be handing them out on the street, and Axl Rose would be there too, and he’d be like, ‘Hey come and check us out, we’re called Hollywood Rose…’ It was just a great time, really.”

It seemed that all the bands plying their trade on Sunset Strip were somehow inextricably linked; it’s possible to play a twisted version of Six Degrees Of Separation – the parlor game that seeks to prove that any two people can be linked through various means, however nebulous – with any recognizable LA band.

But for the LA set, the links are solid. Just consider a few of them: GN’R’s Slash nearly ended up in Poison; Tracii Guns of LA Guns played with Axl, and gave his surname to Axl’s new band when Hollywood Rose imploded; Mötley Crüe and GN’R are linked thanks to a feud; Nikki Sixx played with Tracii Guns in Brides Of Destruction.

The link between Mötley Crüe and Ratt is stained with blood and steeped in tragedy. Both bands began their rise to the top at around the same time. Both bands had nailed the Hollywood bad-boy image – all tattoos, ripped jeans, preposterously big hair, and a snarling air of danger that seemed to precede everywhere they ended up. Crüe bassist, godfather, and spiritual leader Nikki Sixx seems to embody the idea of the quintessential LA rocker.

Tattooed, street-smart, and effortlessly exuding cool. Nonetheless, he is not without his battle scars – after all, on one fateful night in 1987 in LA (where else?) Nikki died. Upon returning from a fraught tour of Japan with the Crüe, Nikki chose to stop by his heroin dealer (the same guy who also dealt to Robbin Crosby of Ratt); having narrowly avoided being thrown into a Japanese jail following a bottle-throwing incident that took place on Japan’s world-famous Bullet Train, he needed to cut loose.

But what happened to Nikki on that dealer-visiting night isn’t exactly what he had in mind. Getting high is one thing, killing yourself is another, as Nikki recalls in the band’s infamous autobiography The Dirt.

Nikki: “He rolled up my sleeve, tied off my arm, and plunged the Persian into my veins. The heroin raced to my heart exploded all over my body, and in an instant I was blue. I lost consciousness. When I opened my eyes everything was a blur of light, color, and motion. I was on my back, moving through some kind of corridor. Sounds wooshed in and out my ears, unrecognizable at first until a voice slowly emerged out of the white noise: ‘We’re losing him, we’re losing him,’ it said.

“Above me, everything was bright white. I looked down and realized that I had left my body. Nikki Sixx – or the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him – was lying covered face-to-toe with a sheet on a gurney being pushed by medics into an ambulance.”

Nikki ‘died’ for two minutes but remarkably lived to tell the tale.

It wasn’t just the drink and the hard drugs that Mötley Crüe enjoyed. Unsurprisingly, girls played a big part in their formative years (and also much later); their documented on-the-road groupie shenanigans are nothing short of outrageous.

Nowadays they might all be married/attached and ‘responsible’, but for a long time, it was almost the polar opposite of that. For their huge MTV hit Girls Girls Girls, the Crüe employed some of the Strip’s finest, er, strippers to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the video that was shot to accompany the track.

“We’ve always liked underdogs, as human beings. Strippers are some of the hugest underdogs in the country,” Sixx explains – as if any explanation is necessary. “They have beautiful bodies, they’re a guilty pleasure. Husbands say to their wives: ‘I would never go…’ But the stripper business is worth billions per year. We always loved them.

“It was the ultimate place to go and hang out with beautiful women, drink and do drugs. That was the perfect evening. We’d start off at Tommy’s place, have a couple of shots of Jack, and off we’d go. It was sort of a free time.

“And the video represents that sense of freedom and youthfulness. The great thing is, that song will always be played as long as there are strip joints, man.”

With all the bands that were hanging out in the small clubs that littered Sunset Strip, there were always petty rivalries and worse ready to rear their ugly heads, and they often did.

The most infamous of all is the spat that developed between Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe. It’s a case that still hasn’t been resolved to any great degree today. And yes, it involved a girl. Vince’s wife, in fact.

The story goes that Crüe singer Vince Neil’s wife Sharise had been hanging out in a club, and GN’R guitarist Izzy Stradlin started hitting on her. Things escalated and ended with Neil punching out Stradlin backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards. That’s how the feud began.

Subsequently, a vicious war of words between the two factions raged in the pages of rock magazines, culminating in an invitation from Axl to Vince to meet for a fistfight in the parking lot of Tower Records on Sunset. The showdown never happened. But, according to Neil, the offer is still on the table.

“After Axl chickened out a half-dozen times,” Vince stated, “I went on MTV with a message for him. I said that if Axl wanted to fight me then he should do it in front of the whole world. We’d go three rounds, and then the world would see who the pussy was. But I never heard from Axl. Not that day, not that month, not that year, not that century.”

Bitter feuds were not limited to inter-band rivalry, either. Fights were beginning to break out within bands, usually triggered an excess of one substance or another.

Before their 1999 re-formation, Poison was well on their way to self-destruction, as Bret Michaels confessed to Classic Rock. “CC [DeVille, guitarist] was getting fucked-up and I was drinking,” he said. “He’s high, but I’m drunk. We were having rows, he slammed me, I slammed him. I ended up in a fistfight with my best friend – this was my best friend. We kept having really stupid arguments – stuff like his guitar was too loud for me to hear myself sing.”

While Poison has managed to iron out their internal difficulties, the camaraderie that might have existed in the past between fellow Los Angeles bands is not present anymore, as a posting by Nikki Sixx on the Brides Of Destruction website made clear when it was hypothesized that Brides would join a Kiss tour that Poison was currently on.

“No way in fucking hell would we [Brides Of Destruction or Mötley Crüe] ever, ever tour with a fucking band like Poison.” Sixx wrote. “We have had talks with Kiss and I told them very clearly that we would not do the tour if they used Poison. That would be the death of us. I will not be attached to that kind of fake bullshit.”

Of all the LA bands that have suffered, though, Ratt really picked up the bum hand when life’s cards were dealt. For much of this century, two versions of the band have existed, playing the retro circuit of America, but the excesses of the 80s have taken their toll. The various factions have been in and out of court, and in 2002 guitarist Robbin Crosby succumbed to Aids.

But now, twenty years into a supposedly sanitized new millennium, it’s come full-circle, with Guns N’ Roses returning to the stage and Motley Crue booking a huge reunion tour in the wake of the success of the movie version of The Dirt. Hell, GN’R might even release a new album.

Only in Hollywood, eh?

 

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 Most Notorious Hell-Raiser Rock Bands

Rock ‘n’ roll, as a rule, is not built for the faint of heart. You can be a sensitive soul with a message to get across in your emotionally wrought lyrics, sure, but if you’re looking to live that life, you’ve got to be prepared for a little rough and tumble.

The travel, the expectations, the screaming fans – it can become pretty grueling. And in such circumstances, it’s no surprise that some – most – rockers decide to kick back and party.

There’s indulging in a little carefree leisure time, though – and then there are the extremes to which some of rock’s most legendary hell-raisers take things. The music industry is filled with tales of excess and wild behavior, some of them funny, some of them impressive, some of them downright sinister.

The age of the degenerate, uncontrollable, pure id rockstar seems to be fading away – which may be for the best, given some of the legacies left behind – but with a century of hard-hitting, fast-living cowboys behind us, there’ll always be the stories to revel in, to be wowed by, and often appalled by.

10. Happy Mondays

Few bands have caused so much chaos with such good nature as the Happy Mondays. As part of the Madchester scene of the ‘80s and ‘90s, hedonism was naturally on the cards, and the band embraced the chemicals as much as any raver. And then, they took things that little bit further.

The Mondays’ drug habit was such that they would burn through their record label’s money at an astonishing pace, a lifestyle which has led to several members of the band declaring bankruptcy post-heyday. The uber-mellow ecstasy scene of the band’s early period led to some great psychedelic throwback records.

Things got sinister when the hard stuff set in during the early ‘90s. In an attempt to wean the band off heroin, the 1992 album Yes Please was recorded in Barbados, where Shaun Ryder successfully kicked his habit by transitioning onto crack. The sheer excess of this excursion led to the ruination of Factory Records.

Hearteningly, the majority of the Mondays seem to have come out the other side, and while one might argue that the modern mannerisms of Ryder and Bez show remnants of former drug use, the fact that they’re still in one piece, and still intermittently performing, is impressive indeed.

9. Guns N’ Roses

In a heartwarming postscript to the band’s ‘80s heyday, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash now seems like one of the soundest musicians in rock. Always good for a quip and still clearly in love with what he does, he has, it seems, escaped a grubby scene unscathed.

Things seemed like they could go the other way for a long while. In the 1980s, as well as a brief stint as the biggest band in the world, few acts could have been consuming more booze and gear than Axl and the boys.

Slash took things the furthest when he briefly died in the early ‘90s after overdosing on speedballs. Resuscitated after eight minutes, it was the wake-up call he needed – a scant 15 years later, he got himself clean. Bassist Duff McKagan, meanwhile, managed to drink enough that his pancreas was swollen to the size of a football by age 30.

Most worrying, though, was the behavior of frontman Axl Rose. While less famous for his substance abuse, the man was a ticking time bomb for much of his career, challenging the entirety of Nirvana to a fight, ruining gigs with his timekeeping and temper, and hiring and firing band members at will.

8. Led Zeppelin

The band that wrote the rule book for rule-breaking rock bands, Led Zeppelin had seen it all and done it all before most notable bands had picked up a guitar or a needle. Some of their exploits are classic tales of wild rockers; others are downright sinister and indecent. One thing’s for sure, though: few if any have cleared the bar that Zeppelin set over 50 years ago.

There are particularly famous anecdotes (the mud shark incident, which doesn’t bear repeating, for one), but the band was just excess personified full stop. The hotel room trashing, hard-partying, the fast-living group was given its template by the success of Zeppelin, who only got more successful the faster they lived.

They all had their own vices – John Bonham, booze and fast cars; Robert Plant, ladies and eventually heroin; Jimmy Page, black magick and questionable romantic pursuits (to say the least). They flaunted their chaotic lives while putting out eight good to great albums in 10 years, which isn’t bad going.

They’ll forever be one of the most influential bands ever, but it’s debatable which part of their legacy is more important: the sound, or the decadence.

7. The Beach Boys

The clean-cut California surf enthusiasts may not strike you as the hardest partying outfit, but between the precise harmonies and musical innovation was a shockingly dark side, particularly in its most talented and most charismatic members, Brian and Dennis Wilson.

Brian, the epitome of tortured genius, raised hell primarily in his own mind. With the weight of the group on his shoulders and feeling in direct competition with the Beatles, he pushed himself into increasingly ambitious works through unconventional means, turning his mansion into a recording studio and filling it with sand.

His drug usage made him a hermit for a while, but that streak of self-destruction was more explosive in younger brother Dennis, who embraced the fast living sixties more than most. A major star before his 20s, there was no way he wasn’t going to embrace the lifestyle afforded to him by his group’s success.

So free-spirited was Dennis that he allowed the Manson family, pre-murders, to crash with him for a long while, an association he regretted to his premature death. It doesn’t get much more literally hell-raising than that.

6. Butthole Surfers

The legendary Texas band thrived on pure chaos. Their records are brash and irreverent, at times impenetrable, others brilliant. Their live shows were known and loved for their visceral, unpredictable nature (which later became pretty predictable, with audiences showing up specifically to become embroiled in the chaos).

The band built their own mythology, telling anyone who would listen of their daily routine – LSD-laced cornflakes, whisky, and gin being the regular diet for a six-month-long European tour – but they were no idle talkers. For those caught up in their drift, they were a frightening proposition, with concerts turning into orgies, brawls, or both.

The band’s music has been influential for heavy hitters like Kurt Cobain, but few since have been able to capture the sheer weirdness of the Surfers, who have burned enough bridges to sabotage a dozen careers, but always seem to come bouncing back,

Now well into middle age, the band’s core members have barely changed at all, still more than willing to catch a ban from various prestige festivals through sheer belligerence. Somehow, though, they always seem to bounce back.

5. Aerosmith

You don’t get a nickname like “The Toxic Twins” without putting in some serious mileage. From the late ‘70s to the tail end of the ‘80s, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Stephen Tyler were unstoppably indulgent. Given their status in the scene at the time, they’ve partied to extremes few could afford to top.

Perry, for example, hired a roadie whose sole responsibility was to sort him out with a bump of powder during a performance. Aerosmith had no time for admin – they had the money to ensure that they were fully topped up at all times; they had only to enjoy the spoils of war.

Burnout was inevitable, of course, and the rampant self-destruction led to infighting and a downturn in quality. Gigs were ended prematurely by Tyler, too blasted to notice they’d only just started playing. In due course, the band decided they had too good a thing going to let substances get in the way – they entered rehab and came out an entirely different proposition.

Aerosmith is now the power ballad band, rather than a group of raucous rockers. And while their bank balance and their health have taken a step in the right direction, the danger and the riffs are long gone.

4. The Sex Pistols

It’s no secret that the Sex Pistols, far from the new voice of gritty British discontent, were essentially a manufactured act. While they may have been the image-centric brainchild of Malcolm McClaren, though, they used their status as the country’s most dangerous group to live faster and harder than any other boyband you’d care to mention.

The Pistols were pure combat and codified much of what we now associate with punk: the antagonism, the spitting. Their gigs could turn into brawls, especially when they took the act to the USA, where crowds could be riled into launching glasses at the group, who lapped up the hatred like milk.

Chief among the miscreants was bassist Sid Vicious, hired for his look and attitude rather than his musical skills. While he didn’t contribute much musically, the band’s mythology resolved majorly around him. He attacked journalists, leaped with both feet into the heroin scene, and overdosed not long after (allegedly) murdering his girlfriend – a charming character all around.

They took on the monarchy and won (sort of), and brought unpalatable music and lifestyles to the mainstream. They may have been performatively outrageous (see: the Bill Grundy show), but few acts have made as much of a scene with so little time.

3. Robert Johnson
Wikipedia

Among the most mysterious figures in the history of rock, the famous Robert Johnson story purports that he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his legendary guitar prowess. One of the masters of the Delta Blues, Johnson’s relatively small back catalog means it is his wild and mysterious life that is now better remembered than the music itself.

Johnson spent much of his brief time wandering the earth (or, more specifically, America), peddling his blues and enjoying the fringe benefits afforded to a musician of his caliber. He would form relationships in every town, staying with various women who knew nothing of one another’s existence.

Johnson’s (possibly apocryphal) demise only serves to add to his legend: it is said that the notorious womanizer was poisoned – by a jilted lover, a jealous husband, or a rival, no one can be sure. Historians suggest he may have died of boring old syphilis – which, given his lifestyle, seems believable.

Whether or not he bartered with Satan, Johnson was one of 20th-century music’s first great wildmen, in a time when you could simply split town once you’d pushed your luck too far.

2. Mötley Crüe

Quite bad Mötley Crüe’s film The Dirt shows the group being out-extremed by Ozzy Osbourne, who cheerfully laps up urine and snorts a line of ants to wow the Californian rockers. While that anecdote sees Ozzy come out on top, though, there can be few acts for whom partying took such precedence as the Crüe,

The lifestyle suited the quartet, who embraced every faucet of rock stardom from the off. More groupies, more drugs, more booze. The band’s increased status directly correlated with the scale of their partying. They behaved like monsters for a good decade and got away with it because they were so popular.

Perhaps the most metal moment of their careers came when Nikki Sixx wrote the song “Kickstart My Heart” based on an overdose which led to his heart genuinely being restarted with adrenaline, allowing the Crüe bassist to join Slash in the “has been dead for a bit” club.

In one of the easiest gigs in journalism, author Neil Strauss got a book published simply by writing down all the grotty stuff Mötley Crüe got up to in the ‘80s, and it remains a classic of the genre – basically the Bible for bands whose ambition is to live the rock star cliche.

1. GG Allin & The Murder Junkies

You know you’ve sealed your credentials as a hell-raiser when you’re far, far more famous for being an undeniably disgusting human being than you are a musician. You know you’re not in for a gentle night of cheery tunes when you go see a band called “The Murder Junkies”, but audiences had never seen anything like GG Allin.

Allin would appear on stage, undress, and swiftly soil himself – and that was for starters. Fights with audience members were routine, and if a Murder Junkies gig ended without the frontman filthy, bloodied, and in the bad books of the venue owner, then you’d caught him on an off night.

The music was secondary to the performance, but in his lyrics Allin was ever incendiary, cheerfully throwing in racism and misogyny, ostensibly to provoke controversy and debate, rather than out of any real hatred. Naturally, you’ll find few backers for his discography these days.

Allin died predictably young, and he went out as he would have wanted – with his unpreserved, bloated corpse taking pride of place at a funeral-cum-party, during which his friends got loaded and posed with the carcass. There’ll never be another GG Allin, and that’s probably for the best.

 

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 – Band Maid

BAND-MAID Shop

Band-Maid (stylized as BAND-MAID and formerly as BAND-MAID® until March 2016) is a Japanese rock band formed in 2013. The band combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés.[9] Originally signed to Gump Records (an imprint of the Platinum Passport artist management and talent agency), they switched to major label Nippon Crown‘s sub-label Crown Stones in 2016 and later moved to new sub-label Revolver Records in 2019. For international releases they have been with JPU Records since 2016.

Band-Maid on Amazon Music

Band-Maid’s image is modeled on maid café hostesses, with the standard uniform adapted to match each member’s personality.[10] In interviews, they explained the concept came from founding member Miku Kobato who had previously worked at a maid café in Akihabara.[12] This theme is reinforced by the band, who refer to their male fans as “masters,” their female fans as “princesses,” and their concerts as “servings.”[50] The band’s “submissive” maid appearance is meant to contrast with their aggressive rock style.[10][51] They decided to have two vocalists to allow a larger variety of music with two different voice types.[12]

BAND-MAID New Album Releasing on December 2019 - Creatinity World

500+ Band Maid ideas in 2020 | maid, japanese girl band, band

Kobato loved Japanese enka music when she was a child, and Tokyo Jihen led her to rock.[52] She attended a vocal school around 2012, but started playing guitar with the formation of Band-Maid the following year.[53] Atsumi started singing when she was 14 and Band-Maid is her first band. Tōno is a big fan of Carlos Santana, has played classical piano since she was a child, and began playing guitar when she joined her high school band club. Hirose is a fan of Deep Purple and Maximum the Hormone, particularly the latter’s female drummer Nao Kawakita, and also played trombone and piano. Misa likes Paz Lenchantin,[52] The Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix; she started playing piano at around 3 or 4 years of age, and also played trumpet, alto horn, and guitar.[10][12][50]

Just Bring It: An Interview with BAND-MAID - A-to-J Connections

Pin on Pr0n

English Translation :
Breaking New Gate
I raise the volume within my earphones
So that the dull noises will be erased
Those guys are waiting for the chance to trip and fall
Hey you, I shall let you hear this
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
With the thrills, the greatest pleasure of all, I live on
I always see the scenery I don’t want to see
Imprisoned in a room of four walls
A dove creates an arc on such a small sky
Who are you, as I look above
The struggle seems to be real and steady
Even I self-affix myself, I’ll still go out of control
If I can’t be saved by tears
Just enjoy and savor it!
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
I should be changing, these unanswered fears into madness
Just breaking new gate (HEY!!)
Tear up and throw away the erased blank pages
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
This greatest pleasure of all, gets me going
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
Now listen to what these ladies can do!
This band kicks ass!

 

 

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 – SPECIAL REPORT – Evan Rachel Wood and Other Women Make Allegations of Abuse Against Marilyn Manson

In the past, actor and activist Evan Rachel Wood has spoken about the alleged abuse she was subjected to by an unnamed ex. In an Instagram post early Monday morning, she put a name to the allegations.

“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood wrote. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”

In a show of solidarity, at least four other women posted their own allegations against Manson, detailing harrowing experiences that they claim included sexual assault, psychological abuse, and/or various forms of coercion, violence, and intimidation. After being quickly dropped by his record label, Loma Vista, and cut from a TV series, Manson posted a statement to his Instagram account, making a sweeping denial without addressing any of the women’s specific allegations: “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality. My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”

Wood, now 33 and a star of HBO’s Westworld, has said that she met shock-rocker Manson when she was 18 and he was 36. In 2018, Wood testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee as part of an effort to get the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed in all 50 states. “My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,” she told the subcommittee, though she did not name a perpetrator at the time.

The following year, she testified before California legislators on behalf of the Phoenix Act, legislation that altered the statute of limitations for crimes involving domestic violence.

In 2009, in an article in Spin, Manson was quoted as saying of Wood, “I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.” Last year, when that comment was brought up by a music journalist, a representative for Manson noted that the comment was “obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account.” Wood and Manson were engaged in 2010 before breaking up.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, in May of 2018, months after the #MeToo movement began sweeping through the entertainment industry, a police report was filed against Manson citing unspecified sex crimes that allegedly took place in 2011. In August of 2018, the Los Angeles District’s Attorney office announced that it was declining to pursue that case because of a lack of corroborating evidence. At that time, Manson’s attorney, Howard E. King, told The Hollywood Reporter that the “allegations made to the police were and are categorically denied by Mr. Warner and are either completely delusional or part of a calculated attempt to generate publicity…. Any claim of sexual impropriety or imprisonment at that, or any other, time is false.”

Here are excerpts from other statements that named Manson on Monday:

ASHLEY WALTERS

“I continue to suffer from PTSD, and struggle with depression. I stayed in touch with quite a few people who went through their own traumas, under his control. As we all struggled, as survivors do, to get on with our lives, I’d keep hearing stories disturbingly similar to our own experiences. It became clear the abuse he’s caused; he continues to inflict on so many and I cannot stand by and let this happen to others. Brian Warner needs to be held accountable.”

SARAH MCNEILLY

“I have been afraid to bring any spotlight upon myself as to avoid winding up in his crosshairs again. As a result of the way he treated me, I suffer from mental health issues and PTSD that have affected my personal and professional relationships, self-worth, and personal goals. I believe he gets off on ruining people’s lives. I stand in support of all that have and all will come forward. I want to see Brian held accountable for his evil.”

ASHLEY LINDSAY MORGAN

“I have night terrors, PTSD, anxiety, and mostly crippling OCD. I try to wash constantly to get him out or off of me…. I am coming forward so he will finally stop.”

GABRIELLA

“It has taken me five years to speak out and say that I was in an abusive relationship. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and still suffer from nightmares. I blocked out a lot of the memories, but the feelings remain and manifest in various ways. The reason I’m finally sharing this traumatic experience is for my healing and because I’m done being silent. I don’t believe it’s fair for someone to not be held accountable for their horrific actions. I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.”

Among the people to speak out in support of Wood and the other women on Monday was Manson’s former fiancee, Rose McGowan, who posted a statement on Twitter that read, in part: “I stand with Evan Rachel Wood and other brave women who have come forward.”

In addition to his career as a musician, Manson has also worked regularly as an actor. He’s appeared in a number of films as well as television programs like American Gods, Salem, Sons of Anarchy, and The New Pope. He was set to appear in the 2021 season of AMC’s horror anthology Creepshow, but AMC has told V.F. that it will no longer air the segment of the episode starring Manson. There may be more fallout to come. California state senator Susan Rubio is calling for the FBI and the DOJ to launch an investigation into the allegations.

In a 2019 interview, Wood said, “I used to think being strong was not being affected. And now, to me, being strong is letting it affect you but being able to move past it, and seeing the pain, walking through it, letting it flow through you, and then letting it leave. You can break and still be strong.”

 

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