Rock Chain #14: Steel Wheels


This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it every first Friday of the month here at the blog.

The Rolling Stones recently announced another tour of America that might be their last. In a career of more than fifty years, Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ron had epic passages in the US, especially in 72, considered one of the most debauched tours ever.

Speaking of debauched tours, another band famous for those was Led Zeppelin (the red snapper incident, anyone?) who just re-released with some studio outtakes added, one of their most iconic albums, Physical Graffiti.

Physical Graffiti iconic cover was a concept and a design of Mike Doud, who would also win a Grammy for best album cover in 1980 for Supertramp’s Breakfast in America.

Supertramp whose main songwriter and vocalist, Roger Hodgson, many people don’t know, was once a member of a one-off flower-power pop band alongside a then unknown Reginald Dwight.

If you’re a well-informed Rock freak, you know that Reginald Dwight went on to become Elton John.

Elton John as a session player, recorded a lot of Top 10 songs for those typical seventies collections. One of the songs he recorded was Paul McCartney’s “Come and Get It”.

“Come and Get It” was recently re-recorded by Paul himself, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper has a Sports Bar in Phoenix called Alice Cooper’s Town in which he has a sandwich called Frank Zappa, to honor the guy that discovered him.

Frank Zappa, among other things, is also the guy known to have given a young guitar player his first big break. His name was Steve Vai.

Steve Vai is now a household name as a guitar player, but he first found fame and fortune playing for Whitesnake and early on in David Lee Roth’s solo band alongside drummer Bobby Rondinelli and bassist Billy Sheehan.

Billy Sheehan is also a member of Mr. Big and power trio Winery Dogs. In the latter he is joined by Richie Kotzen on guitar and vocals and Mike Portnoy on drums.

Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater but is always with his hands full. Besides Winery Dogs, he also plays in Transatlantic and Flying Colors.

Flying Colors also has in its ranks former Spock’s Beard vocalist, Neal Morse, and current Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse.

Steve Morse as a solo artist supported Joe Satriani on an American Tour. On the final leg of that tour, Joe was supported by Living Colour.

And supporting bands is nothing new to Living Colour. As soon as they released their breakthrough debut album, Vivid in 1987, do you know to whom they were the support band? The Rolling Stones who were on their Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle tour.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

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You can contact me at:

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