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 #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 #30: Dream Giant

derek shulman

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.

Many people don’t know that but the second album from “Ultra-Progressive” band Gentle Giant, titled “Acquired Taste”, was produced by Tony Visconti.

Tony Visconti, obviously is more often associated with David Bowie and T. Rex, and more recently with producing I am a River, the last track on “Sonic Highways” the cd soundtrack to the wonderful American musical cities documentary made by the Foo Fighters.

Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl is a consummate metalhead as it was proven by the guests in his project Probot. He even managed to get Wino from St. Vitus to participate.

St. Vitus obviously got his name from the Black Sabbath tune “St. Vitus Dance” on Vol. 4.

Vol. 4 is the album with the ballad “Changes” which a lot of people thought featured Ozzy playing the piano because of the photos, but actually Tony Iommi played it.

Tony Iommi once played for Jethro Tull and appeared with the band in the Rock and Roll Circus special, carried out by the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones are often rightfully credited with saving the fortunes of black bluesmen in America for their championing of the Blues when they started making success. This is clearly showed on the great movie Cadillac Records, which features Beyoncé singing greatly actual good music. She sings the Blues standard “I’d rather go blind” immortalized by Etta James and recently wonderfully re-recorded by Beth Hart on her first album with Joe Bonamassa, Don’t Explain.

Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart toured Europe and recorded a live album in Amsterdam with the latter’s band which features Anton Fig on drums.

Anton Fig played on Kiss’ Unmasked, replacing Peter Criss.

Peter Criss, ironically enough, is the writer of the band’s highest charting single, “Beth”.

“Beth” is on “Destroyer”, produced by Bob Ezrin.

Bob Ezrin worked with a lot of bands but the one he worked most with was Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper’s first record label was Bizarre Records, owned by Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa also formed the odd all-girls group GTO’s which had in its ranks Pamela des Barres.

Pamela des Barres is now the recognized author of groupie autobiography I’m with the band and was once Jimmy Page’s girlfriend.

Jimmy Page in 2014 was presented with the Honorary Doctorate Degree by Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Many musicians already passed by Berklee but it is mostly remembered by Metal fans for being the birthplace of Dream Theater.

Dream Theater was signed to ATCO Records by the record company A&R man, Derek Shulman. Do you know who Derek Shulman was before this job? Gentle Giant’s lead singer.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Saxon – Battering Ram

Blind Guardian – Somewhere Far Beyond

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

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Hall Of Idols Bonus tracks: Classic Rock Magazine

classicrock

Unfortunately my Hall of Idols is over. It’s a shame really because I loved to do it and I can safely say it was the most pleasant thing I ever wrote here in the blog. I love Rock Chain but the Hall of Idols was just as pleasant and it took me half the time and effort to do it.

However, like any good luxury edition release, I thought about putting some bonus in it.

The criteria used to the additions as bonus was only one: people who influenced me as a whole and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly who individually. And here’s something interesting: I concluded that all bands that I love had some guy in there who I like better. Not even The Beatles influenced me or were as important to me as a whole. John and Paul were much more, especially Paul (probably the greatest idol I have in my life considering all areas).

Anyway, with that in mind I only could think of two bonus tracks and the first one is this one.

Classic Rock Magazine is the greatest Rock magazine ever printed in the history of the Universe. Nobody EVER came close and nobody EVER will. And the reason for that is simple: the guys working there are probably the best EVER in the field of Rock journalism, not to mention the photo archive they have access to with a guy like Ross Halfin, to mention just one.

Geoff Barton, Dave Ling, Malcolm Dome, Mick Wall and Chris Welch among others can be considered the best of all time at what they do. Of course there are great guys elsewhere too, like Mitch Lafon and Martin Popoff from Canada and Ricardo Batalha from Brazil but the fact that those guys are in Britain makes all the difference in the world.

They are from where everything that happened in the sixties, seventies and early eighties (which is considered the Classic Rock-era) started, with the exception of the Glam Metal and Thrash Metal movements (which originated in the US, but let’s face it all of them influenced by what came from Britain before them).

Thus, a lot of them knew the guys doing the revolution in person, they know where they live, they got their phone numbers, sometimes they just need a quick ride in the subway to meet them face to face. No magazine in the world has or will ever have this kind of perk.

And no matter what are your tastes in Rock, they got it. Metal? Yes. Punk? Yes. New Wave? Yes. Hard Rock? Yes. Glam? Yes. Prog? Yes. And so on and so on.

Classic Rock single-handedly made me start respecting much more and even liking things I once hated when younger, namely Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Ramones. I owe a lot them.

As a final note, the principle with which the magazine was created is just wonderful. According to their own accounts, Q magazine once did a special edition listing the greatest albums of all time and Radiohead’s Ok Computer beat The Beatles’ Revolver at the top spot. That enraged guys like those who I just mentioned and they said: “People are forgetting about history. We better do something about it. How about starting a magazine that champions mainly, the greatest names of all time?” And so they did.

And so now, all my idols in the Hall have a magazine to read!

Current playlist:

Reading:

Suzie Smiled… The New Wave of British Heavy Metal – John Tucker

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

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain #27: You’re going to lose that girl

The_Who_Tommy

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.

Mike McInnery was the author of the cover for Tommy, The Who’s seminal Rock Opera.

The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon died at the same flat on Curzon Square in London where singer Mama Cass had died.

Mama Cass was a singer in the Mamas and the Papas who before had sang in a band called The Mugwumps with a Canadian called Zal Yanovski.

Zal Yanovski left The Mugwumps and got together with John Sebastain to form Lovin’ Spoonful.

One of Lovin’ Spoonful’s greatest hits was “Summer in the City” used as soundtrack to Die Hard With a Vengeance and earned a killer version in the album Big Bang Theory by Styx.

One of Styx’s guitarists and vocalists, Tommy Shaw also played with Ted Nugent in Damn Yankees and once did a solo tour opening for The Kinks.

The Kinks’ drummer Mike Avory once played a gig with a fledgling band called The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones had an official pianist called Ian Stewart in its initial formation, but he was removed in 63. However, the band had occasional pianists like Nicky Hopkins.

Nicky Hopkins became an in-demand session player, including playing electric piano in the single “Revolution” by The Beatles.

The Beatles version of classic early Rock song “Bad Boy” was quoted by Stephen King in his recently released new short-stories collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams to have inspired him to write the story with the same name in the book. Recently another great version was recorded by HeadCat, the band formed by Slim Jim Phantom former Stray Cats drummer and the late great Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead.

Motorhead’s drummer Mikkey Dee before getting the gig with the band was already an established name on the scene for his work with King Diamond.

King Diamond as everybody knows was the lead singer of Mercyful Fate who had in the Reunion album In The Shadows released in 1993 a guest appearance on the track “Return of the Vampire” from Lars Ulrich of Metallica.

Metallica’s original bass player often cited as one of his greatest influences, Geddy Lee from Rush.

Rush released a covers album in 2004 called “Feedback”. One of the highlights (they even played it live) was “Heart Full of Soul” from The Yardbirds.

The Yardbirds of course had once in their line-up both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Beck left the band and formed The Jeff Beck group with Rod Stewart on vocals.

Rod Stewart later fronted The Faces who had Ronnie Lane as a bass player.

Ronnie Lane got so tired of so much hedonism and debauchery on the road that after a Faces tour in 1973 he moved to the Wales countryside to live as a gypsy with his second wife, Kate Lambert.

Do you know who Kate Lambert had recently divorced when he got together with Ronnie? Tommy’s cover artist Mike McInnery.

 

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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Rock Chain #14: Steel Wheels

the-rolling-stones

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.

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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