Musings On Music History: Slash Joins Us, Alice Blames Disco, and Mick Rocks At Everything (Except Acting)
07.23: Pushed out top hat first, Slash of Guns ‘N Roses fame was born on this day in 1965. Inarguably, in our opinion, the biggest and best band to emerge from the Sunset Strip hair metal scene of the ’80s (sorry, Mötley Crüe), Gun N’ Roses transcended that silly “genre”, shedding the makeup (but keeping the hair) and shredding faces at the same time, due in large part to the fingerlicious guitar work of one Saul Hudson, aka Slash. We still remember the day when someone asked us if we’d heard of this new band from L.A. called Guns ‘N Roses. We said “no,” proceeded to acquire the cassette, and totally went crazy over Appetite For Destruction, an album that continues to rock our world to this day, 25 years later. Yes, it will go down in history as a seminal rock record, as one of the best hard rock albums of all time, and as a testament to the fact that the Sunset Strip hair metal scene bred at least one amazing band and, comparatively, a whole bunch of crappy ones.
07.23: On this day in 1977, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and the group’s hulk-like alpha dog manager, Peter Grant, were charged with assault after a fight broke out backstage with employees of the show’s promoter, the late and great Bill Graham, at an Oakland Coliseum concert. Grant blamed his own head of security for the escalation of tensions, but it didn’t really matter who was to blame, as things had gotten out of hand pretty quickly, leading to at least two backstage brawls and plenty of knockouts. Yeah, that was The Zep back in the day. Emotion and reaction and rock.
07.25: On this day in 1958, Sonic Youth frontman and lead guitar player Thurston Moore was born. Sonic Youth. One of the most unknown popular bands of all time. They rock. Pure and simple. They friggin’ rock. With Moore and Kim Gordon’s melding of post-punk with alternative with avant-noise, they brought a sound that continues to ring our ears and rock our world in the best of ways. Though they never achieved the chart success of many of their ’80s cohorts, they are still killing stages today, putting out head-turning albums, and generally just being genuine rockers.
07.26: On this day in 1943, Mick Jagger was born. Oh, Mick, how we love thee. Let us count the ways. First, your lips look like they could end the world. Second, your strut isn’t made like other struts. It’s a thing of beauty, to be beheld and studied and worked into one’s own repertoire (if at all possible). Thirdly, your embrace of the blues and subsequent working of it, along with a little help from your mates, into your music, is an amazing thing to hear. For reals, the Rolling Stones first hit single was a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”, and that is one badass blues song. Fourthly, your wearing of tights in your stage shows in the ’80s couldn’t have been done by anyone but you. Sure, we look back on them now and chuckle, but, man, you pulled it off. Fifthly….well, you get the point. There probably isn’t anything we don’t love about Mick (except for his role as one of the baddies in the Emilio Estevez-starring movie Freejack; horrible with a capital HORR), and we are thankful he’s shared his life with us. Happy birthday, Mick!
07.27: On this day in 1979, the Disco Era claimed another victim. Anti-disco demonstrator and shock rocker, Alice Cooper, saw $200,000 worth of Native American art and several of his gold records destroyed by a fire bomb that was lobbed into his Indian art store in Arizona. Now, to be fair to disco (yeah, some of it was really groovy stuff, believe it or not), there was no connection between Cooper’s anti-disco remarks and the firebombing, but Cooper was convinced it happened at the hands of some “disco-music freak.” Kinda weird to think of a disco fan as someone willing to bomb a business in defense of his/her favorite genre. Punk, maybe. Metal, definitely. But disco? Alice, we love you, man, but that mighta been a stretch.
07.28: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Madonna shared a stage on this day in 2004, opening the MTV Music Awards with a rousing rendition of “Like A Virgin.” The trio also shared a couple of kisses, which stirred the headlines for days afterward. We think this marked the beginnings of Ms. Spears’ downfall. For reals, what happened between the time Brit locked lips with Madge and now? A whole lotta downfallin’, that’s what. Madonna = Succubus? Maybe not a succubus, exactly. Maybe she’s just bad luck.
07.28: On this day in 2000, nine Pearl Jam fans were trampled to death during the band’s set at the Roskolde Festival in Denmark. No snarky comments here, just sad face.
07.29: Cass Elliot, Mama Cass, of the Mamas and the Papas, died from a heart attack on this day in 1974. For years, the myth passed down through the grapevine that Cass died from choking on a ham sammich, but it’s just not true. They did find a ham sandwich in the room with Cass, and maybe her consumption of many a ham sandwich over the years (along with her rampant drug use) led to the heart disease that led to her heart attack, but she did not die from choking on said ham sammich.