Rock Chain #32: Sensational!

alex-harvey

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 here in the blog once a month.

Alex Harvey was the frontman of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band which featured Ted McKenna on drums.

Ted McKenna later on, went to play for a short period with Ian Gillan.

Ian Gillan rates his passage through Black Sabbath as disastrous, although many people (including yours truly) really like the Born Again album. The riff from “Zero the Hero” has an uncanny resemblance to the one on “Paradise City” from Guns and Roses.

Guns and Roses original guitarist was Tracii Guns, who left before the first album and formed L.A. Guns.

L.A. Guns original line-up had Phil Lewis as a vocalist, coming from British Glam Rockers, Girl.

Girl’s guitarist was Phil Collen, who later replaced Pete Willis in Def Leppard.

Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in automobile accident in the end of 1984 which lost the band the opportunity of playing Rock in Rio I in January 1985. They were replaced by Whitesnake.

Whitesnake sessions for their first LP had Jon Lord as keyboardist replacing Pete Solley from Procol Harum.

Procol Harum has a rather unique characteristic: their line-up has a member who doesn’t do anything except write lyrics, Keith Reid.

Keith Reid also wrote the lyrics for the hit-single “You’re The Voice” a moderate success in 1991, because of the first Gulf War, for American band, Heart.

Heart’s latest single has some cool backing vocals by James Hetfield from Metallica.

Metallica’s song “The Memory Remains” has a guest appearance by Marianne Faithful.

Marianne Faithful had a success with “As Tears Goes By” originally by the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones first record label was Decca, who almost went down in history as the label who rejected The Beatles.

The Beatles were once called The Silver Beetles with John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore and they played Allentown Hall in Scotland with Johnny Gentle as Johnny Gentle and His Group in 1960.

Do you know who supported them? Alex Harvey and his Big Beat Band.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain #25: Cozy chateau

Chateau d'Herouville
PARIS, FRANCE – 1st JANUARY: view of the Chateau d’Herouville near Paris, France in 1973. The building was converted to a recording studio circa 1970. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

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 in the blog.

Chateau Studios was immortalized as the title of Elton John’s album Honky Chateau. This is the album which contains the smash hit “Rocket Man” and “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”, brilliantly covered be Heart on the seminal Alive in Seattle.

Heart played its fair share of covers, especially Led Zeppelin’s. All of them pristinely played, especially “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Honors.

The Kennedy Honors that year also honored Buddy Guy with a wonderful rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” played by Jeff Beck and emotionally sung by Beth Hart.

Beth Hart then made a European tour alongside Joe Bonamassa with none other than Anton Fig on drums.

Anton Fig now lost his main job because he was David Letterman’s late show drummer, but he is an in-demand musician and is mostly known by Kiss fans by his brilliant work on Unmasked.

Unmasked was a huge hit in Australia and the band’s tour there was the first international tour of Kiss with Eric Carr.

Eric Carr is wearing a wig on “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” video in 19991. He was already bald from the cancer treatment and died a few days after the shoot.

“God Gave Rock and Roll to You” was originally written by Rod Argent for his band Argent. His main songwriting partner on that band was Russ Ballard.

Russ Ballard is also a great writer and among his main songs are “Ney York Groove” (definite version recorded by Ace Frehley in his first solo album) and “Since You’ve Been Gone” recorded by Rainbow on the underrated album Down To Earth.

Down to Earth was the only Rainbow album with Graham Bonnet on vocals. He later went on to sing in Alcatrazz with Yngwie Malmsteen.

Yngwie Malmsteen’s first album was also the first chance for a singer: Jeff Scott Soto.

Jeff Scott Soto sang for a multitude of groups including Journey, Talisman, Queen Extravaganza and Trans-Siberian-Orchestra.

Trans-Siberian-Orchestra is the brainchild of Paul O’Neil, great producer, arranger and writer and was part of the writing team for the band Badlands.

Badlands had in its ranks Jake E. Lee on guitar, Greg Chaisson on bass, Eric Singer on drums and Ray Gillen on vocals.

Ray Gillen sang on the Blue Murder demos, but the vocals were recorded by the guitarist Jon Sykes on the album.

John Sykes played on “Thunder and Lightning”, final studio album by Thin Lizzy.

Thin Lizzy, not many people know, released under the name of Funky Junction in 1972 an album of Deep Purple covers.

Deep Purple late keyboardist Jon Lord was planning an album together with Rick Wakeman before his untimely death.

Rick Wakeman’s album No Earthly Connection has two songs where you can hear what it seems like a waterfall. He got that effect by forbidding their bandmates to go to the bathroom for hours after a night of drinking wine. When he allowed them, he recorded the sound of all of them pissing together in an old metal tub. Do you know where this album was recorded? At Chateau Studios.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

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Hall Of Idols #32: Jon Lord

Jon Lord

Thirty-second installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

Until the late sixties many people thought that Heavy music and Classical music would make strange bedfellows. There weren’t many people that noticed how heavy Classical music actually was. Of course, The Beatles and their wizard producer, George Martin, introduced a lot of Classical music into Rock and Roll on their arrangements, especially after Sgt. Peppers, but there was not a marriage per se.

It took someone with background on both Classical music and Rock and Roll to actually consummate the marriage. And he arrived in the figure of Jon Lord.

John Douglas Lord was born in Leicester on 9 June 1941 and was encouraged by his amateur sax player father to embrace music from an early age. He started with classical piano at the age of 5 and was hugely influenced by J.S. Bach and Medieval popular music throughout his career.

However, as any kid growing up in the fifties, Jon felt the power of American Blues and Rock and Roll, incorporating influences from people like organist Jimmy Smith and heroes like Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly. Later on, organ-based heavier bands like Vanilla Fudge and Graham Bond Organization would also exercise a great impact on him.

Jon moved to London with the intention of becoming an actor, playing Jazz clubs to earn a living. Through that he ended up forming The Artwoods. Soon after that band folded, he went on to cover for a keyboardist on The Flower Pot Men where he met bassist Nic Simper and the rest is Rock and Heavy Metal history.

With Simper, drummer Ian Paice, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Rod Evans, Jon formed Deep Purple MKI and went on to change the course of popular music in the world.

The song “Anthem” on Deep Purple’s second album The Book of Taliesyn showed a first attempt of fusing Jon’s two influences: Classical music and Rock and Roll. However, it was only when Jon had a crazy idea that his ultimate goal would be achieved.

Jon wrote and scored a whole concert to be played by a Rock group and an orchestra. Aptly dubbed Concerto for Group and Orchestra, the show was held at the Royal Albert Hall on 24 September 1969 and later released as a Deep Purple album (now already with Ian Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass). It shows one of Rock’s earliest attempts to fuse two different musical forms. And you can hear his influence on a lot of musicians that came after like Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, Kevin Moore, Jordan Rudess and bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X and Evergrey.

But as if that wasn’t enough, Jon Lord was also a trailblazer when it comes to how keyboards were used in Rock. Unlike Prog bands, Lord’s keyboard in Deep Purple didn’t work to create moods. It was mean, loud and raw. Jon Lord made it possible for keyboards to be responsible for the heavy part of the music. That was no mean feat.

If you have any doubt about that, just listen to how the keyboards work on Purple classics like “Speed King”, “Pictures of Home”, “Burn”, “Stormbringer” or “Knocking at Your Back Door”.

Unfortunately, Jon Lord passed away in 2012 and I never had a chance to meet him, but everybody I know that had this privilege, said that besides all the talent he was the most distinguished gentleman.

Thus, for all that, Mr. Jon Lord, let’s rock the house of blue light and come into the Hall of Idols.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Van Halen – Women and Children First

Covenant – Nexus Polaris

Icon – Night Of The Crime

Dissection – The Somberlain

Renaissance – In the Land of the Rising Sun: Live in Japan 2001

Watching:

Dracula Untold

Captain America: The First Avenger

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

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico