Glamour Rock Classic Music

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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/.


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.


Glam Rock Inventor and Innovator: the Androgynous, Eclectic World of David Bowie part 2

David Bowie‘s music recordings (albums, CDs, MP3 downloads and streaming songs) have taken over the current Top 40 mainstream music charts in the aftermath of the singer’s untimely death on January 10th, 2016. According to BBC News Music Reporter Mark Savage, Bowie’s recordings now make up 25% of today’s Top 40 chart. (BBC News  Bowie: Every tour and studio album, January 15, 2016)

These are the essential statistics by the quintessential Glam Rock Music artist extraordinaire:                 140 million albums (sold over 51 years since 1967)

 111 singles

 51 music videos

 25 studio albums, including Blackstar, released in 2016*

*BBC News

Bowie’s luxuriant artistic career as songwriter, singer, musician,record producer, actor and painter continued with a series of colossal hits in the 1980s: “Ashes to Ashes” from the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980), “Under Pressure” a collaboration with Glam Rock music artists Queen in 1981, and “Let’s Dance” in 1983.

The decade of the Eighties saw Bowie and his first wife Angela divorce. It was also the decade of the music trend called “New Romanticism”, originating in Berlin, Germany.Bowie appeared in the Broadway play The Elephant Man in 1980, as well as role of supporting actor in the film Merry Christmas, Mr.Lawrence. (http://www.musicianguide.com) The artist was also given the lead role in BBC Television Bertolt Brecht‘s play Baal.

The commercial success of “Let’s Dance” and its legendary co-production by Nile Rodgers of Chic was followed by lesser hits “Modern Love”, “China Girl”, “Blue Jean”, and “Dancing in the Street” with Mick Jagger. The albums of this period were as follows: Let’s Dance (1983), Tonight (1984), Never Let Me Down (1987). David also had roles in ten films during this rich artistic time period.

The decade of the 1990s has been considered the artist’s “Electronic Period” (see Wikipedia) with heavy use of electronic instruments and re-uniting with Eno as well as working again with Nile Rodgers. NIN  (Nine Inch Nails)co-produced the hit single by Bowie “I’m Afraid of Americans”.  Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996; in 1997, the singer celebrated his 50th birthday at Madison Square Garden with Lou Reed, Dave Grohl (of Foo Fighters), Robert Smith of The Cure, and others. 

David Bowie’s record albums /CDs of the 1990s were: Black Tie, White Noise (1993), The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), Outside (1995), Earthling (1997), and Hours (1999).

Regarding his sexuality, Bowie declared himself gay in a 1972 issue of Melody Maker. In 1976, he told Playboy “Its true. I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well.” Then in 1983, he gave an interview to Rolling Stone in which he disavowed all that stating the initial statements were “the biggest mistake I ever made; I was always a closet heterosexual.”

David Bowie’s influence and music contribute to be felt around the globe, by the outpouring of fan support everywhere and tributes by those of prominence in the music, art,fashion, and film worlds. Bowie’s record company gave the definitive statement years ago by saying “There is old wave, there is new wave, and then there is Bowie.” Couldn’t agree more. David was way ahead of his time.

View “Heroes” by David Bowie—one of our enduring heroes forever.


Glam Rock Inventor and Innovator: the Androgynous, Eclectic World of David Bowie

 
    The world of Glam Rock music lost its principle originator and pioneer when David Bowie died on January 10, 2016, leaving behind hundreds -if not hundreds of thousands- of imitators and purveyors of his extraordinary sound and style, an eclectic Rock N Roll vision. Bowie’s music was a fusion of Warhol art decadence, Campbell’s-soup-meets Mao Zhe Dong; intergalactic sexual encounters with an alien that oddly, bore a strong resemblance to Bowie himself; drug-induced disappointments adding to an addictive despair: “Major Tom’s a junkie”! and of course, Androgynous style that brought about the metrosexual power-chord rock star, Pretty Boy revolution. There is no higher honor in the realm of rock music than to be called revolutionary and Bowie was that. The planet was shocked to its seismic core when Bowie’s alter-ego “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” sang “Suffragete City” and “Rebel Rebel”. Anyone who had the excellent fortune to be a teen ager in the 1970s will never forget the opening guitar chords and lyrics of “Rebel Rebel”: it is part of our radical, subversive DNA.

You’ve got your mother in a whirl

She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl

Hey Babe, your hair’s alright

Hey Babe, let’s go out tonight

You like me and I like it all

We like dancing and we look divine

You love bands when they’re playing hard

You want more and you want it fast

They put you down, they say I’m wrong

You tacky thing

You put them on.

Rebel Rebel you’ve torn your dress

Rebel Rebel your face is a mess

Rebel Rebel how could they know

Hot tramp, I love you so.

( “Rebel Rebel” Lyrics courtesy of Diamond Dogs May 1974 on RCA records Producer David Bowie)

David Bowie was born in Brixton (South London) England as David Robert Jones. He was a songwriter, singer, record producer, actor and painter whose artistic career spanned four decades. (see Wikipedia).  Bowie changed his name to the recognizable name of a knife in order to avoid being confused with David “Davy” Jones of the bubblegum group, The Monkees. Bowie took up the saxophone and began leading various bands in the 1960s as a teenager without success. During a physical altercation, his left eye was permanently damaged. (New York Times, “David Bowie Dies at 69: Chameleon in Music, Art and Fashion Jan.10th, 2016) Bowie went onto become the architect of glamour rock -the style of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s and performed by musicians who wore outrageous clothes, makeup, hairstyles, many times with platform-soled boots and glitter (see Wikipedia). Sexual orientation was often blurred, androgynous, “camp”. Other Glam Rock artists of that time included Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Sweet, Roxy Music, the Alice Cooper band, and New York Dolls, to name a few. 

However, after being influenced by Lindsay Kemp-a British dancer and mime artist who formed his own dance troupe in the 60s, Bowie “experimented with mixed media, cinema, mime, Tibetan Buddhism, acting and love.The album, originally titled David Bowie, then Man of Words, Man of Music, pays homage to all the influences of the London artistic scene. It shows the early song-writing talent that was yet to yield some of Rock-n-Rolls finest work, even if it would take the world a few years to catch up with him.” (http://www.davidbowie.com/bio)

Hey man oh leave me alone, you know
Hey man oh Henry, get off the phone I gotta
Hey man I gotta straighten my face
This mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place
Hey man schooldays insane
Hey man my work’s down the drain
Hey man she’s total blam-blam
She said she had to squeeze it but she….then she…

Chorus:
Oh don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back on Suffragette City
Oh don’t lean on me man,
Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight…she’s all right

(“Suffragette City” lyrics courtesy of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust June 1972 on RCA records producers: Ken Scott, David Bowie)

“Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first five entry onto the UK Singles chart in 1969. Bowie later said that the song came to him after seeing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey, that “I went stoned out of my mind to see the movie, and it really freaked me out, especially the trip passage.” The song coincided with the Apollo 11 moon landing in the U.S. and added to sales of the song. (http://www.biography.com) David Buckley, Bowie’s biographer, said that David “challenged the core belief of rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult of popular culture.” Ziggy Stardust was a glam, androgynous, emotionally disturbed (or distraught?) persona that characterized musical innovation. It broke all the molds of what popular music could be. Every teenager in the 1970s owned at least one of Bowie’s life-altering music albums, whether it was: Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), Aladdin Sane (1973), Pin Ups (1973), Diamond Dogs (1974) or Young Americans (1975).Bowie was also a prolific cinema actor, appearing in 23 films, most notably The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Just a Gigolo (1976), The Hunger (1983), Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Zoolander (2001). David Bowie dressed in brazen,flagrant costuming, and told the mainstream press he was bi-sexual. Ziggy Stardust had become a counter-culture icon to the dismay of the “establishment” (as everyone over 30 was called back then) who saw him as ignoble and shocking.

    Bowie moved to the U.S. in 1974, first staying in New York city, then settling in Los Angeles. Diamond Dogs was based on a post-apolcalyptic perception whereby George Orwell’s 1984 would be set to music. Bowie launched a Diamond Dogs tour which had high-budget stage productions, while the singer himself slid into cocaine addiction.

    Young Americans (1975) was characterized by the singer as “plastic soul”, with Bowie’s distinctive baritone voice poured over soul and funk-infused tracks such as “Fame” (co-written with John Lennon),  “Golden Years” and “Station to Station” as well as the title track. Hunky Dory (1971) featured two hits: the title track that was a tribute to Andy Warhol, Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan.(http://www.biography.com) The main hit from the album, “Changes”, communicated to the public what Bowie himself was and would always be about. A collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin produced “Heroes”.

This was the era of the “Thin White Duke” -another persona, this one an extension of Thomas Newton, the extraterrestrial being he portrayed in “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. Bowie’s addiction to hard drugs such as cocaine led to the unravelling of his mental and physical state: physically he was pale and emaciated; mentally, his verbal interviews with the rock press at the time were incoherent. And then there was the “Victoria Station” incident, where Bowie waved to the crowd from an open-air vehicle in a gesture that was published in the NME (New Musical Express) as a Nazi salute, and the singer had also announced “Britain could benefit from a Fascist leader.” Later Bowie acknowledged “I was out of my mind, totally crazed. The main thing I was functioning on was mythology. I’d found King Arthur.” (see Wikipedia)

Note from GlamRock4Ever/Weblog author: In that this is a blog post on one of the top five legendary musicians of all time, it is part one,and in reality, all true Rock music fans could write their own book on the genius of David Bowie’s art and music. The next blog post continues in a couple days to cover Bowie’s career from 1990-2016. Although some famous rock mags rank David at “39th” “(Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Rock Artists), GlamRockStar puts Bowie at number 5 after The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Motown Artists. It is then after that: David Bowie, Michael Jackson. That is our list. Throughout Bowie’s career he sold 140 million record albums: 

    U.K.  9 Platinum  11 Gold  8 Silver

    U.S.  5 Platinum  7 Gold

As the BBC Writer and music reporter Mark Savage put it: “David Bowie changed music forever. Throughout his career, he reinvented not just his sound, but his persona over and over again.”  (BBC Music News “David Bowie: A Career that Shaped Pop January 11, 2016)

The entire planet is in mourning. Our hearts ache at the death of the Glittering Starman.