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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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 – 10 Richest Rock Stars in The World in 2020 And Their Net Worth

Is that Bon Jovi or Glenn Close?

Image Source

The richest rock stars in the world at the moment are worth several billions of dollars combined. That’s quite a whole lot, but who are these rock stars? This is the question many fans of rock music have often asked over the years as they try to find out which of their famous rock stars have made the most money from their musical careers.

Apparently, the world has witnessed the rise of many insanely gifted rock stars who have thrilled fans with their purely unique musical talents. Rock stars like Elton John, Paul McCartney, and many others of their kind, have cemented their names on the sands of time as some of the most popular and most influential music legends in the world. The contribution of rock stars to the growth of music trends in the globe cannot be overstated and many rock stars remain among the most successful and richest music artists to date.

There are many wealthy musicians who are making waves in the rock genre at the moment, but who exactly are the richest rock stars in the world right now? Let’s look at the facts immediately.

10 Richest Rock Stars In The World And Their Net Worth

Like we have mentioned earlier, there are many wealthy rock stars at the moment who have established themselves as musical icons looked upon as legends. Apparently, some are richer than others and so, we have done our investigation, and will now present you with the richest rock stars in the world right now.

1. Paul McCartney – $1.2 billion

Paul McCartney

The name Paul McCartney is one of the most resounding names in the world of music and the man behind that name is regarded as one of the most successful people to have handled the microphone. McCartney, an English singer who is also a songwriter, composer and producer rose to fame while he was a member of the legendary rock band, The Beatles. He served as a co-lead vocalist of The Beatles with another legendary music figure John Lennon and rose to become one of the most beloved rock stars of all time.

Following the disbandment of The Beatles group, Paul McCartney went on to build a solo career that is regarded as one of the most successful of all time. He has sold more than 100 million records all over the world and has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Paul McCartney currently tops the list of the richest rock stars in the world at the moment and his net worth has been revealed to be $1.2 billion by different sources.

2. Bono – $700 million

Bono is a musician who also ranks very high on the list of the richest rock stars in the world at the moment. An Irish singer and songwriter, Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, is best known around the world as the lead vocalist of the globally famous rock band U2. He is also the main lyricist of the group. Over the years, he has won over so many admirers around the world who consider him to be among the most talented musicians on earth.

Apart from his work with the U2 band, Bono has also collaborated with so many other popular artists to create mind-blowing music. He has also created soundtracks to major movies and has also invested in several ventures as a businessman.

At the moment, Bono’s net worth has been revealed to be $700 million by different sources, making him one of the richest rock stars in the world right now.

3. Jimmy Buffett – $600 million

Jimmy Buffett

Born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Jimmy Buffett is an American musician who established himself as one of the most gifted songwriters of his time. He is known for composing songs that portray an “island escapism” lifestyle. The musician has a band called the Coral Reefer Band, with whom he tours the globe and records hit songs. Today, he has millions of devoted fans around the world who are often referred to as “Parrotheads”.

Having sold out millions of records during his career, which has spanned across more than 50 years so far, Jimmy Buffett is a very wealthy man. At the moment, Jimmy Buffet’s net worth has been revealed to be about $600 million by different sources.

4. Elton John – $500 million

Elton John

Widely regarded as one of the most significant musicians from England, Elton John has established himself as one of the most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists of all time. Having kick-started his career since 1962, he has gone on to release globally famous hit tracks and albums, breaking records and selling a mind-blowing number of records. As a matter of fact, he is regarded as one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold out 300 million records so far.

Elton John has made so much money as a musician and is regarded as one of the richest rock stars at the moment. Right now, his net worth has been revealed to be about $500 million by different sources.

5. Bruce Springsteen – $500 million

Bruce Springsteen

An insanely talented man, Bruce Springsteen is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is revered for his songwriting skills which have been hailed by many over the years. Having spent more than 50 years making music, Springsteen has cemented his status as one of the most successful rock stars in the world. He has made giant strides both as a solo artist and the leader of the popular American rock group, E Street Band, winning so many awards for his incredible work.

Bruce Springsteen is a very wealthy man at the moment and is considered to be one of the richest rock stars in the world, having sold out more than 135 million records worldwide during his career so far. At the moment, his net worth has been revealed to be $500 million, tying him with Elton John.

6. Jon Bon Jovi – $410 million

Jon Bon Jovi, whose real name at birth is actually John Francis Bongiovi Jr., is an American singer and songwriter. He is also an actor, a record producer, and philanthropist who has gained widespread fame around the world. The musician is known as the leader of Bon Jovi, a popular, Grammy-award winning rock band which has churned out lots of super hit tracks that are globally listened to. It is noteworthy that he has also released some solo albums as well.

Apparently, Jon Bon Jovi is a wealthy man; with his band, he has sold over 130 million albums worldwide, raking in millions of dollars. At the moment, the singer’s net worth has been revealed to be $410 million, making him one of the most wealthy rock stars right now.

7. Sting – $400 million

Sting

An English musician, Sting is regarded as one of the most influential musicians from Britain alongside Elton John. The singer whose full name is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, is known for leading the famous rock band, the Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a solo career in 1985. His work with the Police band and as a solo singer has earned him so many awards including 17 Grammy Awards.

Like his contemporaries, Sting is a very wealthy man, having sold over 100 million records both as a solo singer and with his band. Today, his net worth has been revealed to be $400 million, placing him high among the richest rock stars in the world at the moment.

8. Mick Jagger – $360 million

Mick Jagger

Widely described as one of the most popular and influential front-men in the history of rock & roll, Mick Jagger is an English musician who has risen to become one of the most celebrated rock stars of his generation. Jagger, who has been in the music industry for more than 5 decades, rose to global stardom as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones, a world-famous English rock band. However, he has also had a solo career and has also acted in movies over the years.

Mick Jagger has climbed to number one spot on the UK and US singles charts with 13 singles both as a solo artist and with his band. He has also sold millions of records with his band raking in a lot of money over the years alongside his acting career. At the moment, Mick Jagger’s net worth has been revealed to be $360 million.

9. Gene Simmons – $350 million

Gene Simmons

Known for his dramatic costumes and energetic stage performances, Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American musician, singer, and songwriter who has won the admiration of millions around the world with his rather wild stage persona. He shot to widespread fame as the lead singer and co-founder of Kiss, an American rock band.

Gene Simmons is a very successful musician; along with his band, Kiss, he has sold out as many as 100 million albums worldwide making them one of the biggest-selling bands of all time. At the moment, Gene Simmons’ net worth has been revealed to be $350 million.

10. Ringo Starr – $350 million

Ringo Starr, whose real name is Sir Richard Starkey, is a highly respected English musician, singer, and songwriter who is renowned for his vocal strength and songwriting skills. The musician who is an actor originally gained widespread fame as the drummer for the popular band, The Beatles. However, when The Beatles disbanded, he kick-started his solo career and released some really successful singles.

Since he started his career, Ringo Starr has achieved a lot of success and has raked in quite a lot of wealth. In fact, he is now reported to be the richest drummer in the world and one of the richest rock stars in the world with a net worth of $350 million.

 

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Tales of Rock – Awkward Family Photos: Punk and Metal Edition

Today is my birthday and I love Rock, so here’s a fun special edition of Tales of Rock!

I’m sure you’ve spent way too much time scrolling through the amazing feed of Awkward Family Photos. So instead of rolling your eyes right now, just admit you enjoy looking at other people’s terrible photos. And let’s be real – the era of the awkward family photo is going to fall by the wayside soon as generations obsessed with perfect selfies delete anything that shows us in a less than perfect state. Gone are the days where if you paid for the photos to be developed, they went in the damn album to be immortalized forever in your family’s storage. With that in mind, enjoy this little collection of punk and metal angst from the good old days…

 

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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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Tales of Rock: Every Woman Nikki Sixx Has Dated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age: 30

Birthplace: Santa Monica, California

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

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

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

Age: 48

Birthplace: Downers Grove, Illinois, United States of America

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

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

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

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

Age: 36

Birthplace: Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age: 34

Birthplace: Lørenskog, Norway

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

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

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

Age: 44

Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

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

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

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

Age: 43

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

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

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

Age: 51

Birthplace: Dothan, Alabama

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

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

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

Age: 50

Birthplace: Santa Clara, California, United States of America

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

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

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

Age: 62

Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States of America

Brie Howard

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

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

Age: 69

Cindy Rome

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

Age: 60

 

Dee Holland

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

Age: 54

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

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

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

Age: 60

Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Canada

Jane Dickinson

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

Rita Rae Roxx

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

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

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

 

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

Age: 60

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

Lynn Pierre

Nikki Sixx and Lynn Pierre dated in the 1980s.

Laurie Bell

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

Angie Saxon

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

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

Sarah Hopper

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

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

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

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

Age: 58

Birthplace: California

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Solace

I love this band!

 

 

Solace is a heavy metal band hailing from the Jersey ShoreUnited States.

Formed in 1996 by the remaining members of Atlantic Records artist Godspeed, Solace is most well known in the stoner rock genre, but as guitarist and founding member Tommy Southard has said “We’re not a stoner band, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band—a hard rock band, a metal band.”[1] This idea was reaffirmed by iTunes.com in 2010 when they voted the band’s third studio album A.D. “2010 Metal Album of the Year”.[2] However, their live performances at Stoner Rock festivals such as America’s Emissions from the Monolith and Europe’s Roadburn Festival, have rooted them just as deeply in that genre.

 

Godspeed years[edit]

In 1994, east coast rockers Godspeed went to Electric Lady Studios to record their Atlantic Records debut album Ride. Featuring future Solace members Tommy Southard and Rob Hultz, Godspeed’s major label run included a cover of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” for Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath with Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson, tours of the United States and Europe with Black SabbathDioCathedral, and Sugartooth, as well as a music video for their single “Houston Street” featured on MTV‘s Headbanger’s Ball and Beavis and Butt-head.

The birth of Solace[edit]

Godspeed dissolved after just one album, but following stints as lead guitarist for both Sugartooth and Slap Rocket, Southard reformed the band in 1996 with Hultz and former Glueneck singer Jason, naming the revamped outfit Solace. After a 1997 demo, Solace released their self-titled 7″ debut in 1998, followed by 1999’s Distanced from Reality EP, a split with fellow New Jerseyans Solarized.

Soon afterwards, the band released its debut LP, 2000’s Further. A cover by metal art veteran Wes Benscoter (Slayer‘s Divine Intervention) hinted at darkness within the album, which was quickly considered a departure from the stoner rock pigeon-hole the band had already been put into.

13 and beyond[edit]

In 2003, the band released the follow-up to Further, its second full-length album 13. Artist, fan, and friend of Solace Paul Vismara created the album’s cover. Considered by some to be musically superior to its predecessor,[3] 13 helped Solace further define themselves as more than simply stoner rock, assisted by the vocals and guitar work of doom metal legend Scott Weinrich (also known as Wino, formerly of The ObsessedSaint Vitus, and Spirit Caravan) on the track “Common Cause”.

Soon after the release of 13, the song “Indolence” was used on the soundtrack of the popular video game Tony Hawk’s Underground. 2003 also saw the band tweak their line-up with former Lethal Aggression drummer Kenny Lund and the addition of second guitarist Justin Daniels. With this new line-up, they entered the studio once again in 2004 to record Black Market/Hammerhead, a split EP with Albany, New York‘s Greatdayforup.

Solace’s half of this split EP was re-released on vinyl in 2006. In April of that year, Solace headed to Europe for Holland’s Roadburn Festival. Upon their return, they strengthened their resolve further toward a new release. The band went into the studio to finish their third album A.D. in time for their Summer 2007 European tour with British doomsters Orange Goblin, only to realize that their creation was simply too vast for a single album. Four tracks were selected for release as The Black Black, which was completed and pressed to coincide with the European tour.

On the heels of that successful tour, they were signed to independent label Small Stone Records, after which they were asked by friends Orange Goblin to play their annual Christmas show in London. Solace’s set was capped by band friend and fellow New Jerseyan Ed Mundell of Monster Magnet joining them onstage for their infamous cover of Pentagram‘s Forever My Queen.

2008 saw an interesting turn of events for Solace – drummer Kenny Lund took his leave to follow business pursuits and other projects. This, while being a seemingly negative turn of events, had in actuality quite a positive effect – it opened the door for Solace’s original drummer[4] Keith Ackerman to rejoin the band. Guitarist Daniels has stated: “This is the band’s most dynamic lineup to date”.[5]

The band used this momentum to continue their upswing throughout 2009, completing their third studio LP A.D.. The long-awaited album was released to critical acclaim in Spring 2010 and received such honors as “Album of the Year” at The Obelisk,[6] and was voted by iTunes “Best Metal Album of 2010”.[7] The band finished out the year touring Europe with Orange Goblin and once again playing their annual Christmas show.

Bad luck[edit]

From early in their career, Solace has been faced with almost mysterious problems. The band had an estimated 8 different drummers between 1996 and 2003[8] and suffered through supposed splits with vocalist Jason. Even seemingly random accidents—one resulting in the destruction of the original master tapes to their second album 13—vexed the band.[9]

This curse seemed to be lifted at least somewhat in 2003, but returned only a year later when drummer Kenny Lund was diagnosed with cancer. All of the band’s plans were halted, including a new recording contract with independent label Century Media. This setback did not stop them from returning to the studio once Lund recovered in 2005 to begin work on tracks for A.D. Later that year, the band faced yet another hurdle—this time in the form of undisclosed personal problems and were forced to cancel a coast-to-coast US tour.

Solace continued sporadic work on A.D. up to its critically acclaimed release in 2010, only to announce in June 2011 via their official Facebook page that they were “closed for business” and that they “may or may not re-open”.[10] However, as soon as 2012, the band cited they were active again.

Solace today[edit]

2015:, Solace reorganized and solidified their lineup once again, most shockingly with the official replacement of reclusive and eccentric vocalist Jason by Justin Goins of The Brimstones. Solace entered the recording studio for the first time in over 5 years with this new lineup, recording a cover of Black Sabbath‘s Electric Funeral for Deadline Music’s Sweet Leaf: A Tribute to Black Sabbath. Shortly thereafter, they released a cassette single featuring this cover as well as a new original song, Bird of Ill Omen, which was described as having “characteristic intensity, volume, and unbridled rhythmic force”.[11]

2018: has seen Solace back in the studio working on their first full-length album since 2010’s A.D., tentatively titled Broken Bodies & Suffering Spirits.[12]

2019: Solace has finished the recording of the new record and has changed the title from Broken Bodies & Suffering Spirits.[12] to The Brink. They are currently waiting for studio time to finish the mixing of the record and the album will be released later this year on Blues Funeral Recordings. The Brink was released in December of 2019, featuring healthy doses of Heavy 70’s Riff Rock, NWOBHM Riffing, Drunken Sea Shanties, and plenty of Weighty DOOM.

 

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Tales of Rock: The Most Metal Album Led Zeppelin Recorded

When you look for the origins of heavy metal music, you’ll always find Led Zeppelin as part of the conversation. For all the sweet acoustic ballads and experimentation the band did over the years, the constant on every album was music that got heavy and very loud.

Just ask Geezer Butler, the bass player of metal pioneer Black Sabbath. “Zeppelin paved the way for us,” Butler said. “They were the heaviest thing, up until we came along. They very much started the genre.”

On Zeppelin’s first album, you got several different types of heavy. On “Dazed and Confused,” it was the ominous type that became so popular later. Then there was “Communication Breakdown,” which looked ahead to both metal and punk thrashing.

Led Zeppelin II got even heavier, and the band never shied away from the thunder on subsequent albums. But with Presence, the record that featured almost none of the keyboards and acoustic stylings of the other albums, Zeppelin had its most metal moment.

‘Presence’ contained the metal assault of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’

Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page perform live onstage in 1972. | Robert Knight Archive/Redferns

You don’t find tunes like “That’s the Way” or even “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” on Presence. In fact, you don’t find John Paul Jones on keyboard at all. Jimmy Page, who wrote the majority of the album’s material with Robert Plant, mostly kept his acoustic guitars in their cases, too.

By this point in the band’s life (late 1975), Led Zeppelin had already delivered masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.” They’d also closed the book on heavy blues interpretations with “In My time of Dying.”

With “Achilles Last Stand,” you got what the title promised: a seasoned warrior not leaving the battlefield before thrashing almost everyone in sight. It was a full metal attack.

Between Jones’s heavy bass, Page’s crushing riff, and the thunder of John Bonham’s drums, there was no mistaking “Achilles” for anything short of metal. Plant’s vocals are the only thing you could describe as subdued here, and by the end he too gets loud.

Then there was the unbridled assault of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” On this tune, Plant joins the party in style with full-throated wailing and a sinister harmonica part. Bonham’s vicious drumming on these tunes heavily influenced drummers like Metallica’s Lars Ulrich (see: “One”).

The first record from ‘Physical Graffiti’ is also among Zeppelin’s heaviest offerings.

Led Zeppelin appears at the West Coast premiere for their concert film ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ Hollywood, October 21, 1976. | Frank Edwards/Fotos international/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin didn’t go all-metal for a reason: They considered their music far bigger than that. They never wanted to thought of as one-dimensional. You get a good look at the band’s philosophy on Physical Graffiti, the group’s only double album.

Five of the six tracks go straight at the listener, with Page and Bonham going in for the kill on every song. The exception is “Houses of the Holy,” which obviously came from sessions for the previous album. Had you replaced that “The Wanton Song,” it would be as heavy as Zep ever got.

Of course, the second disc from Physical Graffiti dulled the blow considerably with its acoustic tunes and “Boogie With Stu.” That was the point. And even with monster rockers like “Custard Pie,” the funkiness of Bonham’s drumming stands out.

Put it this way: Led Zeppelin went metal on several occasions (especially on Presence), and metal never got that good again.

 

 

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