Rock Chain #33: One of Elvis’ secrets

rickey-medlocke

Rickey Medlocke began his career as a drummer in Lynyrd Skynyrd but then he left to form Blackfoot.

Blackfoot’s first album has a great cover of the song “Wishing Well”, originally recorded by Free.

Free most famous song is “All Right Now” with its iconic guitar riff that managed to generate wonder even in guitar-heroes who wanted to learn it from the band’s guitarist Paul Kossof, like Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton played with the Jon Mayall’s Bluesbreakers along with bassist John McVie.

John McVie later got together with drummer Mick Fleetwood and formed Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac started up its career as a Blues band, but then moved to California and became a Rock/Pop/Folk behemoth, especially after adding singers Christine Perfect (later Christine McVie ) and Stevie Nicks.

Stevie Nicks will restart her tour in the end of this month alongside the Pretenders.

The Pretenders had in its ranks Robbie McIntosh who later found even more fame and fortune from 1989 to 1993 playing live and in all records of Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney’s album Kisses on the Bottom has only Jazz standards he used to listen to when he was a child in Liverpool, but he invited John Walsh from The Eagles to play in it.

The Eagles early line-up was formed with musicians from the backing band of Linda Ronstadt.

Linda Ronstadt recorded the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” on her album Simple Dreams after being persuaded to do so by Mick Jagger.

Mick Jagger was executive producer of Vivid, debut album from Living Colour.

Living Colour’s second album was Time’s Up which contained in its track-list the song “Elvis Is Dead” a good humored critic of all things Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley really exploded with the song and album Heartbreak Hotel.

Heartbreak Hotel was written by Tommy Druden and one Mae Axton.

Do you know who Mae Axton was? She was Rickey Medlocke’s babysitter!

 

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

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain #29: Milk Sea Genesis

Robert Tyrell

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.

The Anon was a band that had in its ranks drummer Robert Tyrell, guitarist Anthony Phillips and bassist Mike Rutherford. After Robert Tyrell left, the band eventually evolved to Genesis.

Genesis, as everybody knows had Phil Collins as its drummer from its third album, Nursery Crime onwards.

Phil Collins had in its resume the fact that he played drums in two different continents on Live Aid in 1985.

Live Aid’s was opened by Status Quo playing one of his signature songs “Rockin’ All over the World”.

Status Quo never achieved in America the status (no pun intended) that they had in mainland Europe and especially Britain, much like what happened to Slade.

Slade however had a slight increase in popularity in America after “Cum on Feel the Noize” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” were rerecorded by Quiet Riot.

Quiet Riot rerecorded those songs with Carlos Cavazo on guitar, replacing the mythic Randy Rhoads who had gone to play with Ozzy Osbourne.

Ozzy Osbourne had a lot of myths surrounding him, but it is fact that he once licked his and Nilkki Sixx piss out of the floor of a hotel on that debauched tour with Mötley Crüe.

Mötley Crüe’s book The Dirt tells a lot of unbelievable stories leading some people to think some were false. However, Biff Byford says he believes in everything that’s in there due to what he saw happening when Saxon toured with them.

Saxon in the course of their career, covered three songs on their albums, but the most left-field was probably “In the Court of the Crimson King” from King Crimson.

King Crimson was the opening act for the now legendary performance at Hyde Park in 1969 by The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones were once managed by the crook Allen Klein.

Allen Klein was source of great discussion among The Beatles members because Paul McCartney never trusted him.

Paul McCartney once recorded a song called “Say, Say, Say” with Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson had some ties with Rock and Roll (Steve Lukather, Eddie Van Halen, Slash…) and he also recorded with Queen three songs: “There Must Be More to Life than this“, “State of Shock” and “Victory” all result of a partnership that he had loosely forged with Freddie Mercury in the early eighties.

The last band Freddie Mercury sang for before joining Queen was Sour Milk Sea.

Do you know who was the drummer for Sour Milk Sea? The Anon’s Robert Tyrell.

 

Current playlist:

Listening:

Nuclear Assault – Handle with Care

Firebird – Grand Union

The Rods – Wild Dogs

Reading:

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger – Stephen King

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

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

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

Rock Chain # 28: Backing Vocals

BM,RT,FM

Every great Queen fan knows that although John Deacon appears lip-synching in many videos, he never actually sang a note in the studio. The voices were always by Freddie, Roger and Brian. There are some moments however, like the “Is this the real life?” intro in “Bohemian Rhapsody” that are all Freddie.

Freddie Mercury was the greatest star in Live Aid in ’85 in a bill that had Paul McCartney closing the festivities in London.

Paul McCartney is thankfully touring the world again and reinventing his set list again. He’s been opening the sets with “A Hard Day’s Night”.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is a phrase that doesn’t actually mean anything and it was said by Ringo when he tried to describe the frantic pace of that particular American Tour.

Ringo is also touring regularly with what he calls his All-Starr-Band.

The All-Starr-Band was a concept created by David Fishof.

David Fishof is the founder of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp whose upcoming edition will feature Don Felder of The Eagles and Paul Stanley of Kiss.

Paul Stanley recently recorded an amazing version of Free’s “Fire and Water” for a covers album of his former Kiss bandmate, Ace Frehley.

One of Ace Frehley’s most famous songs while he was in Kiss was also a cover. “New York Groove”, originally written for the band Hello! by songwriter Russ Ballard.

Russ Ballard also wrote “Since You’ve Been Gone” for Rainbow.

Rainbow’s name has nothing to do with an actual Rainbow or some lyric Dio would surely write. It was chosen because of Rainbow Bar & Grill in LA.

Rainbow Bar & Grill, of course, was Lemmy’s favorite joint.

Lemmy’s name is now bizarrely linked to David Bowie’s due to the proximity of their deaths.

David Bowie wrote “All The Young Dudes” and gave it to Mott the Hoople because the band was struggling and he wanted them to succeed, as he was such a fan. It worked. The song reached the Number 3 spot on the British charts.

And do you know who sing backing vocals in it? Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury and Brain May.

Current playlist:

Reading:

The Mummy or Ramses, the Damned – Anne Rice

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

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

 

 

 

 

 

Lee, Eco, Bowie and Kilmister

As a great lover of books and Rock and Roll, I feel compelled to write something about the sad passings that happened in less than two months. Ever since the end of December the world lost Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Harper Lee and Umberto Eco. Not to mention Jeff Kantner and Jimmy Bain. But with all due respect I would like to focus on the first four, if anything, because they did have a greater impact in the world.

Of course, one might ask how can you put people as different as Umberto Eco and David Bowie in one article, but all those mentioned above had major cultural impacts and losing them do make us feel emptier. Luckily their life’s work is eternal and will always be there for us to cherish.

But my point is: those people who are dying don’t have substitutes and you can’t help but feel that the world is becoming a sadder and dumber place. If you need any proof, you just need to remember that Paul McCartney was barred at the Grammy ceremony.

I know, I know, thinking that the past is always better and your current time and the future are terrible is a recurrent theme in the minds of a large number of people and it is brilliantly portrayed on Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; but we’re talking about real major geniuses here in a society that aside from technology advances doesn’t look like is going to change a lot.

Paris in the twenties boasted Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Picasso, to name just a few. Are they irreplaceable? Yes, but while they were partying in the City of Light the world was giving birth to Harper Lee and six years later, Umberto Eco. And after the Second World War, the world gave us the Rock and Roll generation, represented here by David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister.

Are geniuses of this caliber being born right now? I don’t know, nobody knows, but it’s hard to believe that there are. Why? Because the world changed, people relations changed, the way most people consume art changed and that IS affecting and WILL affect production as well. Will there still be great writers and musicians? Of course, human ability and talent is endless, but it won’t be the same. Whether is literature or music.

Plus, and this is the saddest part of all: all the great ones in either area are their contemporaries or not much younger; which means their time is coming as well. The best thing to do is: enjoy them while they are still here. Buy new books from the authors (Stephen King, Anne Rice, Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, John Grisham, etc.) and go to shows and buy records from bands (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kiss, etc).

How do we stop this from happening? I have no idea. Maybe keep fostering culture any way that we can and hoping for the best. But I don’t wanna sound all grumpy and I’ll go on record and say that I hope that it will be different but it will still be good.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Triumph – Surveillance

Rick Wakeman – The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Lucifer – Lucifer I

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

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

Hall of Idols #44: John Lennon

johnlennon

Forty-fourth 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.

In the history of all kinds of art, you have cases of artists that couldn’t cope with the fame that was thrown at them for various reasons and struggled to find peace inside that whirlwind that involved them. And that’s the case with John Lennon.

Before I go any further talking about John’s life, work, brilliance and icon status let’s get one thing clear: Everybody that knows me knows that I’m a Paul man. I think he’s a much better musician and artist and bigger genius. Therefore, I like him much more. However, to not acknowledge John’s talent and importance would be idiotic. And I’m a lot of things, but I’m no idiot.

John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool, 09 August 1940. His mother was Julia and his father was Alfred who was a merchant seaman and it was always away from home. His aunt Mimi thought her sister wasn’t good enough to raise a child and was granted the right to look after John by the Liverpool’s Social Services. This estrangement from his mother and her tragic death while he was still a teenager would haunt John for the rest of his life.

He grew up an insecure and violent boy, but when he was allowed to have the company of his mom again for a few hours, he got better. John’s life was transformed the day he saw Elvis in the movies. He decided to have a Rock group and his mother taught him his first chords on the banjo.

He is reported to have said to his mom: “Why God didn’t’ make me like Elvis?” to which his mother responded: “Because he made you to be John Lennon”. And how right she was. As soon as he met Paul McCartney and invited him to join his band (at the time The Quarrymen), there was no stopping him.

After some changes in the name, they settled with The Beatles and the rest is world history. Yes, because a lot of bands changed music, but only one changed the world.

With The Beatles, especially on their first albums, John shone like the real star that he was. His interpretation on underrated songs like “Anna (Go to Him)”, “Please Mr.Postman”, “I’ll Cry Instead” and “I’m a Loser” are flabbergasting to say the least.

When his songwriting skills grew, he managed to “out-Dylan” Dylan in “You’ve got to Hide Your Love Away”, have one of the most memorable double-entendre of all time in “Norwegian Wood” (did he set fire to the whole apartment or just some logs in the fireplace?), describe precisely how pissed off you get when somebody wanna wake you up in “I’m Only Sleeping”, create two anthems for the swinging London and the flower-power generation in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “All You Need is Love”, be poignantly autobiographical in “Strawberry Fields Forever”, even write a happy and nice song about his relationship with that boring Yoko (I know it was not her fault, but she was boring nonetheless) in “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, be extremely sensitive with “Across the Universe” and write a last hit on their swansong in “Come Together”.

Of course these are only a few examples of his vast and amazing catalog with The Beatles (I would need at least three posts to talk about it all) which should be enough to make anyone iconic. But his diligent work towards world peace is admirable and he had SOME great solo moments like “Jealous Guy”, “Beautiful Boy”, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Instant Karma” and of course, “Imagine”. I might not agree with everything he says in the song (I don’t think we can live without possessions and is pretty easy to write that in a giant apartment fronting Central Park in New York) but to deny its beauty would be ridiculous.

John’s life was sadly cut short in 08 December 1980, but his work will still influence billions for as long as the world exists.

Imagine there’s no Lennon? No way! Therefore, John, come together with other people to the Hall of Idols.

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: carloantico666@gmail.com

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

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Rock Chain #16: Raining down in Africa

David Paitch

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.

David Paich is not only the co- writer of many Toto hits like “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line” and singer of another blockbusting hit “Africa”, but he also wrote for artists as diverse as Donna Summer, Andy Williams, George Benson and even Jon Anderson, former Yes lead singer.

Jon Anderson was a guest on the album Lizard, by British Prog band, King Crimson.

King Crimson is led by guitarist Robert Fripp and it was supposed to be hated by all Punk bands. However, Clash leader and main songwriter Joe Strummer declared he was a fan of the band and Fripp.

Joe Strummer’s father was a diplomat, hence his birth in Turkey.

Turkey is also the birthplace of Ahmet Ertgün, founder and owner of Atlantic Records, who was loved by his artists, especially Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin was in such good terms with Atlantic that the company didn’t complaint when they formed their own label, Swan Song.

Swan Song was also home of Bad Company formed by former Free members vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke, bass player Boz Burrel from King Crimson and guitar player Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople.

Mott the Hoople struggled in the beginning of their career until they released the album and single “All the Young Dudes”. The song was gift from friend and huge fan David Bowie.

David Bowie whose covers album Pin ups features “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” two songs by underrated British band The Pretty Things.

The Pretty Things who recorded their most recognized album SF Sorrow at Abbey Road at the same time Pink Floyd was recording A Saucerful of Secrets and The Beatles were recording The White Album.

The White Album is credited as featuring one of the songs that served as blueprint for Heavy Metal (later fully developed by Black Sabbath): “Helter Skelter”.

“Helter Skelter” was re-recorded by Mötley Crüe in their Shout At The Devil album and recently by Paul McCartney’s band with Roger Daltrey on vocals at The Art Of McCartney tribute album.

The Art Of McCartney, besides Roger Daltrey, features a stellar cast with people like Bob Dylan, Kiss, Def Leppard, B.B. King, Heart, Willie Nelson, Alice Cooper, Dr.John, The Cure, Cheap Trick, Billy Joel and Steve Miller.

The Steve Miller Band’s first two albums feature another guitarist and vocalist in the formation: Boz Scaggs.

Boz Scaggs’ album Silk Degrees sold five million copies and do you know who co-wrote two big hits featured in it? David Paich.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Little Feat – s/t

Malice – License to Kill

Crashdïet – Rest In Sleaze

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: carloantico666@gmail.com

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

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

Hall Of Idols # 38: Ann Wilson

AW

Thirty-eighth 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.

If you think Rock and Roll is currently a male dominated realm, can you imagine how it was some 40 years ago? It was sexist to the extreme even though we had had artists like Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and the like.

Therefore, it was a necessary a lot of courage and confident for a woman to front a Rock band in such an environment. And that’s what the Wilson sisters just did. Nancy was the guitarist and her sister Ann the lead singer.

Ann Dustin Wilson was born in San Diego, California on June 19, 1950. Her father was a major in the US Marine Corps who even won a Purple Heart for bravery in battle in the Korean War (the medal would later appear in her hands, adorning her excellent covers solo CD, Hope and Glory). The Family moved to Bellevue (in the outskirts of Seattle) in the early sixties where the girls would start their adventure.

Both sisters are very beautiful but Ann always had to deal with a fattening problem and in the beginning, a stutter. That would make her very shy and retracted, until one day she discovered The Beatles.

Now, the Wilson household was always full of music and the sisters always showed talent for singing, but after The Beatles they wanted to play guitars as well and that’s when they joined Heart.

Ann is such a big Beatles and Paul McCartney fan that according to her, when Heart broke up in the early nineties, she sat alone in her house in Seattle and thought: “What would Paul McCartney do in a situation like this?”

Anyway, after being thought how to breathe with her diaphragm, Ann says that her singing improved. And I say she simply became the GREATEST FEMALE ROCK AND ROLL SINGER OF ALL TIME. And she’s like light years from whoever is in second (maybe her sister, maybe Renaissance’s Annie Haslam, I really don’t care). She’s the Pelé, the Michael Jordan or, to please her even more, the Paul McCartney of all women that ever sang Rock and Roll. The great Chicago writer Scott Turow once wrote that Michael Jordan played basketball better than anybody else ever did anything, and I agree. So, to paraphrase him: Ann Wilson sings Rock and Roll as woman, better than everybody else ever did anything.

If you have any doubt about that, just check her live performances, especially her live rendition of one of the band’s biggest singles, “Alone”. All versions are great, but the Alive in Seattle (from their homecoming gig in 2002) is just flabbergasting. It’s probably the greatest performance by a female Rock singer ever.

Mike Amott, guitar player with female fronted Extreme Metallers Arch Enemy also said once that Ann Wilson is the best ever and when I had the honor to interview Metal Queen Doro Pesch and asked her about Ann Wilson, she said: “Ann Wilson is a Goddess”.

And I’m sorry Zeppelin fans, but as a huge Led Zeppelin as well as a Beatles fan, Ann sings all Zeppelin songs BETTER than Robert Plant. Much, much better. Listen to their now legendary version of “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center and tell me if Plant once sang it the way she did. I always say that Robert Plant is caught crying on camera during that performance because he is thinking: “I never managed to sing this song like that”.

And let’s face it: she’s chubby, but still has a wonderful face and I would marry her in a heartbeat even today.

Ann Wilson is the single most important person to ever come out of Seattle.

Thus, Mrs. Wilson I thank you for letting me go crazy on you and welcome you to the Hall Of Idols.

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: carloantico666@gmail.com

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

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico