Glamour Rock Classic Music

80s rock music

Glammed-Up Post Punk Music with Adam Ant

   

 

 

      Adam Ant was an iconic musician, actor, and singer who rose to fame with Adam and the Ants during the early 1980s and into the 1990s.  Most rock music lovers know Adam Ant from the hits “Goody Two Shoes,” “Ant Music,” “Desperate but not Serious,” “Stand and Deliver,” and “Room at the Top.” Adam and the Ants achieved world renown in the post Punk-rock era of the early 1980s, and their style is primarily punk mixed with Glam Rock. Anyone who lived during the 1980s is very familiar with Adam Ant’s brilliant originality of 18th century costuming, the musical innovation of double snare drums, swash-buckling dance style, and Indian-type “War Paint” across his face. The Punk Rock attitude is absolutely present in such lyrics as “Unplug the Juke Box and do us all a favor! That music’s lost its taste, so try another flavor!” or “I’m standing here, what do I see? A BIG NOTHING.” (from “Ant-music” by Adam and the Ants/Epic/Sony Music) Adam Ant’s seminal creative style even earned him a photo exhibition at a prominent London art institution during his lifetime. Quite an achievement for someone born as an only child (named Stuart Goddard), who himself attended art school in London in his formative years.

 

   Stuart Leslie Goddard (Adam Ant) was born in London to a father who worked as a chauffeur and a mother who worked as a domestic; whose marital union ended when Goddard was age seven. Goddard later in his teen years enrolled into the Hornsey College of Art for graphic design and joined a band called Bazooka Joe. It was during this time that Goddard developed anorexia; he has been quoted as saying “I wasn’t attempting to slim; I was attempting to kill myself.” After taking an overdose of pills, Goddard was sent to a mental hospital in North London. It was upon discharge from this institution that he renamed himself Adam Ant.  His first musical connections were with his mates Lester Square, Andy Warren, and Paul Flanagan, forming Adam and the Ants in 1977.  The friends forged their band while attending a concert by Siouxsie and the Banshees at London’s Roxy Club.

 

    The initial line-up changed as the band was gaining a foothold in this music industry: guitarist Lester Square was replaced with Mark Gaumont; whereas bassist Andy Warren and drummer Paul Flanagan remained. The Ants’ debut album was Dirk Wears White and was not well-received due to the use of sadomasochistic imagery. The band knew they had to rework their image, and Ant recruited the manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren.

McLaren advised the group to transition from pure punk to more pop-oriented sound, as well as introducing them to flamboyant costumes. Although this was key to the Ants’ now quintessential sound and look, McLaren also convinced the musicians to leave Ant, and form a new group, Bow Wow Wow! Adam Ant called up new members: guitarist Marco Pirroni, bassist Kevin Mooney, and drummers Terry Miall and Chris Hughes (aka Merrick) to continue the band.

 

 Adam Ant’s exemplary discography reads like this:  Prince Charming (1981), Friend or Foe (1982), Strip (1983), Vive Le Rock (1985), Manners & Physique (1990), Wonderful (1995), Adam Ant is…(2013). All Music summarized Ant’s musical phases as “from post punk to glam pop to adult alternative rock.” Many rock music fans, myself GlamRock4Ever included, have wondered why is there such a gap of recordings from 1995 to 2013? There are two parts of the explanation: a) the corporate commercialization of rock music around 1995, which ended free radio and stifled all creative new music for years to come, and b) the bottom dropped out for Adam Ant in 2002. From the Guardian newspaper is this account: “In the 1980s, he had 16 hit singles and sold 15 million records, but since then has lost the battle against clinical depression.”  The newspaper then goes on to describe when Ant entered a British pub in a combat jacket and cowboy hat, he was jeered and sneered at by the bar patrons (who did not recognize him).  Ant was infuriated, and returned with a gun, but instead of using the weapon, picked up an old, abandoned car alternator and threw it through the plate glass window of the pub. Adam Ant was arrested, charged, and released, but then his family had him sectioned (British term for committed) into a mental hospital. You can read more in the Guardian Sept. 7, 2002.

         

 Adam Ant’s musical career as well as his acting career are too voluminous to capture here. However, here are some highlights:

  • Band signed major record deal with CBS records, recording Kings of the Wild Frontier in 1980.
  • March 1982 Ant embarked on a solo career, taking Pirroni with him. Merrick went on to produce many hits for Tears for Fears.
  • Several television guest appearances including, NBC, football half-time, and various variety shows.
  • Live Aid appearance, although only allowed one song by Bob Geldof who thought at the time Ant was past his prime. Here is what Adam Ant said about that: “I was asked by Sir Bob to promote this concert. They had no idea they could sell it out. Knighthoods were made, Bono got it made. It was a waste of fucking time.”
  • September 2006 published autobiography Stand and Deliver
  • March 2011 Ant discusses on BBC Radio his Bipolar condition and the effect on his career.
  • Art exhibition of Adam Ant entitled “Adam Ant: Dandy-highwayman of the Underworld” at Proud Camden art museum in London 2012.

For the latest on Adam Ant, who continues to record and tour, go to his website:

http://www.adam-ant.com/.


Arresting Glam Metal: Life and Times of Warrant

     Warrant is a Glam Metal band formed in 1984 by guitarist Erik Turner, lead vocalist Adam Shore, drummer Max Asher, guitarist Josh Lewis, and bassist Chris Vincent, (then replaced by Jerry Dixon). The band played a lot of gigs in California, opening for Ted Nugent, Stryper, and Black N Blue. In 1986, Shore and Asher quit to form another group. Later, Erik saw a band playing the L.A. club scene, and being impressed with their performance, invited lead singer Jani Lane and drummer Steven Sweet to jam with him, and some of his band. Thus, Warrant was born.

 

     The band recorded a demo tape in 1987 for Paisley Park records, a label owned by rock star Prince. Shortly thereafter, Warrant was signed by Columbia records, and the band began touring with the release of their first album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. From this debut were four hit singles:

“Heaven,” “Sometimes She Cries,” “Down Boys,” and “Big Talk.” Warrant fit right into the Glam Metal West coast scene of the 1980s with their long hair, leather jackets, pretty boy looks, and killer riffs. Warrant toured with Poison, Motley Crue, Queensryche, Cinderella, and Kingdom Come.

     Warrant’s second album was Cherry Pie, and featured Jani Lane’s girlfriend (and later wife) Bobbi Brown. The oft repeated story about the song “Cherry Pie” is that Jani Lane hated it since it was so commercial; however, Lane had written the anthem after a record company executive from Columbia ran into Lane and said he wanted the band to record something along the lines of Aerosmith’s hit “Love in an Elevator.” Cherry Pie debuted at Number 7 on the Billboard Top 200, and featured guest appearances by Poison’s CC Deville, and Danger Danger’s Bruno Ravel and Steve West.  Other singles off the album were “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (with its very creepy video), “Blind Faith,” and “I Saw Red.” There are many Warrant super-fans who have gotten tattoos with the phrase “I Saw Red.”

     Cherry Pie went on to sell 3 million copies, and Warrant went on tour with Poison, which ended in 1991 due to conflict between the bands. 1992 saw the release of Dog Eat Dog, which many die-hard fans believe is Warrant’s best album. This album only achieved gold status, followed by a tour with Iron Maiden, featuring singles “Machine Gun,” “Bitter Pill,” and “Hole in My Wall.”

     The band’s history is much more extensive, but the day that the classic Glam Rock and Glam Metal sound of Warrant ended was with the death of lead singer Jani Lane in 2011.  To this author, GlamRock4Ever, Warrant is no longer Warrant, because Jani Lane made the band what it was.  Here’s the deal on what occurred. On September 10, 2008 Rock Report informed the entertainment world that Jani Lane was out of the band due to song-writing disagreements. Lane was replaced by Robert Mason of Lynch Mob. Fast forward to August 11, 2011, where it was reported by the L.A.P.D. that Jani Lane had been found dead in a Comfort Inn motel room off Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, California. Janie Lane was notorious for his alcohol problems and several DUIs, but WTF? How does a major rock star die alone in a nondescript motel room with only a bottle of vodka? Judge for yourself from these reports at the time:

”Members of Jani Lane’s family are furious that a “friend” did not offer proper help to the 47 year old when aware of his substance abuse problems, according to TMZ. TMZ also claim that the musician’s Comfort Inn room was not purchased by him.”  From: “I am Jani Lane” Bizarre note found in dead Warrant singer’s pocket” DailyMail.com 8.23.11

“We never thought that when the song “Heaven” was written that we would be playing it someday in memory of Jani’s untimely death,” guitarist Erik Turner said.  From: “Warrant Singer Jani Lane died from alcohol poisoning” Fox News 10.5.11

                         Sebastian Bach of Skid Row said, “Its all too typical of what a rock musician’s life actually is; for some, the bottle of vodka or whatever becomes the friend that’s always there for you, while others come and go.” From: “Lane ‘killed by only friend’” Rock News Desk 8.14.11.

A public memorial concert was held on 8.29.11 at the Key Club in Hollywood, with Great White, Quiet Riot, and L.A. Guns performing in tribute to the Warrant lead singer.  Warrant continues to record and tour these days, but the sound without Lane is very different, more hard rock, and not as unique as the band’s heydays of the L.A. scene.

 

 


Glam Rocks: Roxx Gang Florida Rich

     Hello, fantabulous, freaking awesome, and zero cool (as in ‘super-cool’) Glam Rock and Glam Metal fans, here is another fearsome, formidable and mind-blowing post for you. This one is on Tampa Bay, Florida glam rock artists Roxx Gang.  As yours truly aka GlamRock4Ever was perusing and prowling the internet, I came across this item, and almost fell off my damn chair: Roxx Gang has a net worth of $2.5 million! Wow, that’s majestic for a band that last recorded an album in 2001 ( titled Bodacious Ta Tas). FNA records put out two re-issues of Roxx Gang’s music:  Boxx of Roxx (2011) and Last Laugh: Lost Roxx Gang Demos (2014). Of course, that $2.5 mil is a paltry sum compared to artists still out there, entertaining the masses: Guns N Roses guitarist Slash reportedly made $45 million last year, and the net worth of rock legend Paul McCartney is now at $1.2 billion. (See the website www.celebritynetworth.com)

Roxx Gang1Roxx Gang2Roxx Gang3

     Roxx Gang were an American Glam Metal band formed in 1982 by Kevin Steele and guitarist Eric Carrell in Saint Petersburg, Florida. After numerous gigs with a prodigious following in the Tampa Bay area, the band scored a record deal with Virgin Records in 1988 with two singles: “No Easy Way Out,” and “Scratch My Back.” After the unfortunate death of Eric, the band’s line-up was Kevin Steele (vocals), Jeff Taylor Blanchard (guitar), Wade Hayes (guitar), Roby Strine (bass), and David Blackshire (drums).  The record Things You’ve Never Done Before sold over a quarter million copies.

     Two events happened that lead to Roxx Gang never truly hitting the big time, which makes their global worth that much more remarkable. The first was the inauspicious death of Eric Carrell in 1986 under -according to band members ,‘mysterious circumstances.’ Eric died in a drowning death off a fishing pier. Was he pushed? Was he intoxicated and fell in? GlamRock4Ever searched death records in all the Tampa Bay newspapers and could not find anything about it. The second event was the ill-timed entry of Roxx Gang onto the Glam Rock scene. As Kevin Steele explained it, the record executives that had signed the original members to CBS/Epic records departed all at once. Steele said, “That’s when grunge hit, and all of a sudden it was like murder for us, and we eventually got this independent deal and released it, but that’s how long it took us.”  (You can find this interview on ‘The Pure Rock Shop’ http://www.tprs.com/interviews.) So Roxx Gang got their record deal in the late 80s just as Glam Rock glory days were ending, replaced by Kurt Cobain’s grunge movement as what was ‘hot’ at the time.

     Steele also commented to The Pure Rock Shop about Glam Rockers in the 80s saying this, “In the eighties, all the metal bands used to say to me ‘oh, Roxx Gang is all image’ right. That’s another thing ‘Glam Rockers, they’re all show and no go.’ Well first of all, bull shit, I’ve always had good musicians in my band.  And second of all, I feel so sorry for anybody who can’t appreciate the image side of rock n roll-that’s half of it! That’s the way it’s been, why do you think Elvis was so huge? If he had looked like Buddy Holly, he wouldn’t have been.”

     Here is the Discography for Roxx Gang:  Things You’ve Never Done Before (1988), The Voodoo You Love (1995), Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1997), Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue (1998), Drinkin’ TNT and Smoking Dynamite (2000), Bodacious Ta Tas (2001). “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em earned stellar reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and got Roxx Gang a spot on the Top Ten Heavy Metal Albums of the Year in Tower Records’ Pulse.”  (Hard Rock Heaven 5.13.14 http://www.hrheaven.wordpress.com)

“FNA records has released a regular version, autographed version, and super fan pack version with a t-shirt featuring the Roxx Gang skull and cross bones logo.” See http://www.fnarecords.net.

    So how did front man Kevin Steele get the job he so desired and when did it start? He told Suits and the Platform Boots this:  “When I was about 8 years old, I saw an episode of ‘The Monkees’, where Davy Jones was being chased all over the Eiffel Tower by a group of rabid, screaming girls who tore off his shirt when they caught him. I knew right then that that was what I wanted to do.” And why choose vocalist instead of guitarist? “I always wanted to be up front,” Steele said. “I started writing songs before I ever had a band. Plus singers have no gear to carry, and let’s face it, they get the best-looking girls.” As for the Roxx Gang’s musical influences, Steele gave this answer:  T. Rex, New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople, Iggy and the Stooges, and surprisingly, Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas.

 

 


Poison Thorns: Flesh and Blood Spectacle of Glam Metal

Glamrockstar’s Metal fanbase will either stand up and cheer for this post on the American Glam Metal band Poison; others will give it the almighty “Bronx Cheer” instead! Die-hard Glam Metal fans will sneer at the description of “metal” and Poison in the same sentence. Indeed, many rock critics back in the day ripped Poison to shreds for their “three chord songs,” and lack of originality. But who cares? The original band of Bret Michaels, Rikki Rockett, Bobby Dall, C.C. DeVille is still on tour 30 years later and kicking ass with what is always a phenomenal rock show.

 

 

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So yeah, its more Glam than Metal, but hey, what a damn party. Poison has sold over 45 million records worldwide, had 10 singles off the Billboard Hot 100, with the biggest multi-platinum sellers being Look at What the Cat Dragged in,  and Open Up and Say….Ahh!  Pretty decent for a band that slept in sleeping bags behind a dry cleaning store in Los Angeles for three years before they said to themselves: how can we stand out? Let’s put on lipstick, eyeliner, and pretty boy rags! All right, it did the trick, and world fame was almost more than Michaels, Rockett, Dall and DeVille could handle after that, with their videos in constant rotation on MTV, and numerous write-ups in the main rock magazines of the day, including Circus, Creem, Rock Express, and Hit Parader. GlamRock4Ever lived for the day when the latest issue of Circus or Creem came out to see what these bands were up to! Remember there was no internet, no 24-7 cable, no nothing media-wise in the 1980s but actually it was better! Enough said.

     Poison began in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and consisted of Bret Michaels (vocals) and childhood friend Rockett (drums),  who formed a band The Spectres in 1980. The two then teamed up with Bobby Dall (bass),  and Matt Smith (guitar), calling the band Paris. After playing local clubs, the band decided in order to really hit it big in the music industry, they had to either head to New York or Los Angeles. According to one band member interviewed on VH1  (“When Metal Ruled the World”) since it was “warmer in L.A. and the women are better-looking” that’s where the group headed after Michaels bought an old ambulance for $700 for their trip. While in Los Angeles, Smith came to the conclusion the group was not going to make it, heading back to Pennsylvania. The rest of the band members auditioned for a new guitarist, narrowing it down to three choices: Steve Silva (Joe Perry Project), Slash (Guns N Roses), and New York city born C.C. DeVille. They decided to go with C.C. DeVille, along with changing their name to Poison.

There is not enough blog space to go over the numerous accomplishments by Poison, so here are highlights of their best-selling albums and singles: Look What the Cat Dragged in (1986) with singles “Talk Dirty to Me,” and “I Won’t Forget You.”  Open Up and Say….Ahh! (1988) with singles “Every Rose has Its Thorn,” and “Nothin’ but a Good Time.” Flesh and Blood (1990) featuring smash singles “Unskinny Bop” and “Ride the Wind.”  There were certain spectacular events in the band’s history:

Backstage fistfight between Michaels and DeVille at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards; Michaels losing control of his Ferrari in 1994, resulting in numerous injuries; an explicit sex tape made between Bret M and Pamela Anderson in 1998; Bret M starring in a movie with Charlie Sheen called Letter from Death Row, that same year; and after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage, Bret Michaels won NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Here is a partial conversation from that episode between the Donald and Bret:

Mr. Trump said on the broadcast that he had spoken to Mr. Michaels’ doctors, and “they didn’t want you to be here tonight. At all. Believe me, not at all.”

Mr. Trump asked, “Are you risking your life being here? This is a lot of pressure.”

“Lately it seems like me just standing up is risking my life,” Mr. Michaels said, garnering laughs from the audience. He had flown to New York from Los Angeles for the finale.

(Source: New York Times, “Bret Michaels Wins ‘Apprentice’ After Illness, May 24, 2010)

 

On March 1, 2011 Poison announced “Glam-A-Geddon” tour with New York Dolls and Motley Crue. In 2018, Poison is on tour with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil.


Heartthrobs: Glam City Central with Skid Row and Shotgun Messiah

    

 

So what’s up, Glam Metal Fans? You are the most phenomenal fans in the freaking world! Check this out: posting here on two great Glam Metal bands, which feature two ultra-blonde male lead singers, with ultra-Glam rock and heavy metal music: Skid Row, featuring lead singer Sebastian Bach, and Shotgun Messiah. First off, lets take a look at Skid Row, the Glam Rock Metal band with an unparalleled sound, mainly due to the prodigious windpipes of lead singer Sebastian Bach. However, since Skid Row split with Sebastian (back in 1996), the overall fan experience has not yet been the same. To me Skid Row is just not Skid Row without Sebastian.  Still, here is the new Skid Row band write-up from their website “The first rebellion started in 1986. New Jersey kids, punk and metal attitude, determined to conquer the world. All for one, banded together with single-minded purpose. The battlefield was the stage, the songs their arsenal in an us-against-them musical coup d’état. Top Ten singles. Gold and multi-platinum sales. No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. The world was theirs, the rebellion won, until there was nothing left to fight for — so they fought each other. Following an ill-advised South American tour in 1996, the band was finished. But the core camaraderie never died.” http://www.skidrow.com. Can’t help but notice no mention of Sebastian, eh?

Back up, what’s the backstory there? Yeah, well, here it is:  Skid Row formed in 1986 in Toms River, New Jersey, and their main commercial success was with their debut album, Skid Row (1989), and Slave to the Grind (1991). The original members were bassist Rachel Bolans, guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo, guitarist Scotti Hill, drummer Rob Affuso, and lead singer Sebastian Bach. Dave “Snake” Sabo and John Bongiovi (Jon Bon Jovi) were teenage friends, and Sabo was briefly a member of the Bon Jovi band, until replaced by guitarist Richie Sambora. Skid Row went 5x platinum featuring singles “18 and Life,” and “I Remember You.” Skid Row supported Bon Jovi on their New Jersey tour, after Sabo and Jon Bon Jovi had promised each other that if either one ever made it in the music business they would help the other out. The first to achieve success was Jon Bon Jovi, and true to his word, helped Skid Row get their first record deal.

It was pretty surprising to me to read exactly why Sebastian Bach and Skid Row split up. I thought it was the “bottle incident” that you Glam Rock fans have heard me describe in an earlier podcast, but NO! It was due to Bach and Bolan disagreeing on whether to open for KISS in 1996. Sebastian had booked the gig, but the other band members thought that was beneath them to open for KISS. So the group and Sebastian parted ways, even though later Skid Row opened for KISS in 1998, 1999, and 2000, especially in 2000 for KISS “Farewell Tour.” Well, yours truly saw KISS in concert in 2007, so that was not really a “Farewell Tour” for KISS. True to form, Sebastian left the message on the bands answering machine in 1996 that Skid Row was never too big to open for KISS, sparing none of the choice words and attitude that he is famous for.

Skid Row, without Bach, continues to shoot down any ideas or possibilities of having Sebastian come back, telling Blabbermouth.net:

“Lastly, amidst all of the rumors and speculation, there has been no talk of a reunion [with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach] nor are we opening for GUNS N’ ROSES. That’s it for now. We’ll keep you updated as best we can.”

 

Skid Row will be releasing “United World Rebellion” record in 2019. Sebastian Bach’s most recent record was with the 2014 release of “Give ‘Em Hell” and is currently on tour, with upcoming July concert dates in Poughkeepsie, NY, Cleveland, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Finally, check out the latest from Shotgun Messiah, a Sleaze Metal band from Sweden, recently re-united in 2012, with live album released in 2016. Sweden Rock Magazine named Shotgun Messiah #38 on “Best Rock Bands of Sweden Ever.”

And of course, the only true Messiah is J.C.: Jesus Christ, our Lord. That’s obvious.