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

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

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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 #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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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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Hall Of Idols #40: Gene Simmons

gene-simmons

Fortieth 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’re gonna list 65 people, surely that’ll be some who won’t please everybody and will attract some kind of criticism and polemic. However, it is your job to stick to your guns and argue why in spite of all backlash you might suffer, those people deserve to be in your list.

That’s the case with our inductee today. He’s often accused of thinking only about money regardless of art and being a capitalist pig (and he kind of is), but I will never lessen his importance in my life because of that. We’re talking about Kiss founder and main entrepreneur, Gene Simmons.

Gene Simmons was actually born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel on August 25, 1949. He is the only son of a Hungarian Jew mother who survived a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. His father left his mother when he was still a child and when he was eight and a half he moved to New York (to Queens, specifically) with his mom to live in his uncle small apartment.

The first years were tough. He was subjected to bullying in school due to his difficulty with the language, but according to Gene “all those people ended up working for me”.

When he was still a teenager, two things changed his life completely: he changed his name to the more American Gene coupled with his mother maiden name, Klein. And he saw The Beatles at The Ed Sullivan Show. That’s when he decided to pursue a career in music.

He was always a hard worker and that’s something you can’t take away from him: his insistence in glorifying hard work and condemning drug use of any kind (probably along Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider they are the only successful Rock musicians that NEVER even drank, smoked cigarettes or pot) is rather admirable indeed.

He is also very outspoken and cocky which gets him in trouble. One good example is when he met Paul Stanley and asked him to show him some of his songs, completely sure that it would be rubbish. How surprised he was when he himself noticed that Paul’s songs were better than his. And continue to be to this day. When I inducted Paul to the hall I said that he made Gene a millionaire and I stand by what I wrote. However, Gene had the merit of not boycotting Paul and he was the mastermind behind all brilliant Kiss publicity ideas.

Paul thought of taking off the make-up very early on, but Gene was adamant that they shouldn’t because he knew how powerful the mystic of not revealing their faces were. And it worked great. Gene always said he wanted to be millionaire by the time he was 30 and that’s exactly what happened.

Nowadays, Gene owns the brand Kiss and seeks to perpetuate it like the Disney brand. Something he also said he always wanted to do. And he is succeeding. Nowadays Kiss has an Arena Football team, Visa cards, Canon cameras, a Golf Course in Vegas and a Coffe House in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I, myself, have a Kiss pajama, puzzle, mug, glass and coasters.

But most important than all that are his songwriting merits. Gene may not be the greatest bass player in the world (as everybody in Kiss were not exactly star musicians) but let’s list some of his songs: “Deuce”, “Goin’ Blind”, “I Love It Loud”, “Sweet Pain”, “Ladies Room” “Calling Dr. Love” “Rock and Roll Hell”, “Unholy”, “Domino”, his killer interpretation of Paul Stanley’s “God Of Thunder” and many others. That’s one hell of a good catalogue isn’t it?

And to finish it, there’s something Gene says on the Xtreme Close-Up video that served me as an incentive to always be myself regardless of the situation. When talking about people who mock other people because they are different he says: “Don’t care about any of that. You wanna go to school with your black nail polish, you should. Because you know something, you believe in something before they do.”

Therefore, Mr. Simmons, you’re worth a deuce and an induction 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