Archive for the Mick Ronson Category

Guns N’ Roses: Glam Rock’s Slash N’ Burn

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Guns N Roses, Heavy Metal Music, Mick Ronson, Music, Rock Music with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by glamrock4ever

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Guns N’ Roses are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in the mid-1980s. The classic GNR line-up consisted of Axl Rose on vocals, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagen, and drummer Steven Adler. (See Wikipedia for this and further info). GNR is one of the best-selling hard-rock bands of all time, with a bent towards Glamour Rock. To date the band has sold over 150 million albums worldwide. These sales originated from only six albums: Appetite for Destruction (1987), G N’ R Lies (1988), Use Your Illusion (I and II) (1991), The Spaghetti Incident (1993), and Chinese Democracy (2008). Guns N’ Roses has been credited with reviving the popularity of hard rock music at a time when pop and dance music dominated the radio and music scene in the 80s and 90s.

 

Guns N’ Roses was formed in 1985 by singer Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin of Hollywood Rose, along with lead guitarist Tracii Guns, bassist Ole Bach, and drummer Rob Gardner of L.A. Guns. The band coined the name by combining the names of both groups. After 2 or 3 shows, Beich was replaced by Duff McKagen, and Guns’ lack of attendance led to his replacement by Slash. Four days after this line-up was established, GNR embarked on a “Hell” tour of the West Coast. Later, McKagen said “This trip had set a new benchmark for what we were capable of, what we could and would put ourselves through to achieve our goal”. Guns N’ Roses then dedicated themselves with the superlative path to rock success of playing the Hollywood club scene  -rocking such famed bars as The Troubadour and The Roxy-which drew the interest of major record labels. Geffen records signed them in 1986, with the band receiving a $75,000 advance. (See Wikipedia)

 

The most extraordinary masterpiece by Guns N’ Roses by far was their debut album Appetite for Destruction (1987), featuring “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City”. “Welcome to the Jungle” was the band’s first single with accompanying video. At first the album did not do well; -that is, until David Geffen convinced MTV to play the video to “Welcome to the Jungle” in their afterhours rotation. (See Wikipedia) Even though it was played at 4am only once, metal and hard rock fans took notice, and requested the song/video be played en masse.  Another interesting fact is that, according to Axl Rose, the lyrics to “Jungle” came from an encounter he and a friend had with a homeless man after disembarking from a bus in New York City;the homeless dude screamed at them: “You know where you are?! You’re in the jungle, baby! You’re gonna die!” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was a love song co-written by Rose to his then girlfriend, Erin Everly.GNR toured extensively in support of AFD. The band opened in North America for The Cult, Motley Crue, and Alice Cooper in 1987.

 

GNR shows in the late 1980s were marked by several events which led some fans to describe Guns N’ Roses as “The Most Dangerous Band in the World”. In a 1987 show Atlanta, Axl Rose assaulted a security guard, and was detained backstage while a roadie sang and the other band members played on. Near riots broke out in a 1988 concert in New York state. At England’s “Monsters of Rock” fest, two fans were crushed to death by the ecstatic crowd. At one opening gig for the Rolling Stones in 1989, Axl Rose announced that the shows would be their last if certain members of the band did not stop “Dancing with Mr.Brownstone” –a reference to some in the group’s heroin use. Regarding his own drug use, Axl Rose told Rolling Stone in 1989, “I’m not and never have been a junkie. I’m not necessarily against their use but they don’t fit in my life right now. Right now drugs get in the way of my dreams and goals. Then again, I could be out on tour for six months and a blast that night might be what cheers me up.”

 

Use Your Illusion I and II was one of the more ambitious projects by GNR. Drummer Steven Adler, however, was struggling during recording sessions for the two album blockbuster due to his cocaine and heroin use, resulting in more than 30 takes on one song alone. Adler was fired and replaced by Matt Sorum who had played with The Cult. Guns N’ Roses released Use Your Illusion I and II on September 17, 1991. The albums debuted at #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard charts. GNR had several music videos on MTV accompanying the effort: “Don’t Cry”, “November Rain”, and “Estranged”. “November Rain” became the most requested video in MTV history, winning the 1992 music video award for best cinematography.

 

The band’s history is extensive and fascinating. (Please see Wikipedia and rock media such as Rolling Stone and AllMusic.com for further details). However, there are a few more “stand-out” events worth mentioning from the band’s seminal background. One is the “Riverport Riot”, where, in a 1991 concert at the Riverport Amphitheatre outside St.Louis, Missouri during the performance of “Rocket Queen” singer Rose noticed a fan filming the concert. He asked security to confiscate the fan’s camera, and when it didn’t happen fast enough, Rose jumped off the stage into the crowd, confronting the fan about the camera before assaulting him. Axl was pulled off the fan by crew, and then announced onstage “Well, thanks to the lame-ass security, I’m going home!”, threw down the microphone and left! The stunned crowd turned angry, rioting and in the process dozens of concert-goers were injured.

 

Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin quit the band in 1991 after a repeat of the St.Louis incident nearly happened again in Germany. Stradlin cited a combination of Rose’s personal behavior (Rose frequently delayed shows for hours at a time) and difficulties being around drug-abusing band members when he himself had gotten sober.Tension between Slash and Rose led to Slash’s quitting of GNR in 1996. Shortly afterward, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagen ditched the band as well. An actual break-up of Guns N’Roses never occurred since departing band members were replaced.

 

The much anticipated release of Chinese Democracy, which had been in music production since 1994 and in that year alone had already cost $13 million, finally occurred on November 22, 2009. It was GNR’s 6th album and their first since 1993’s The Spaghetti Incident. On Dec. 11, 2011 it was announced that the classic Guns N’ Roses line-up would be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Faces. In April 2012, Axl Rose announced on the GNR Facebook page that he would not be attending the RRHF induction. In April 2012, former Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, Steven Adler, and Matt Sorum all reunited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They performed “Mr. Brownstone”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and “Paradise City” with Slash’s band vocalist Myles Kennedy filling in for the absent Rose. Axl Rose, along with current band members (including lead guitarist DJ Ashba and rhythm guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thai) continue to tour in support of Chinese Democracy.

 

Mott The Hoople “Young Dudes” Glam Rock

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Ian Hunter, Metal Rock, Mick Ronson, Mott the Hoople, Rock Music with tags , , , , on November 13, 2011 by glamrock4ever

The advertisement to the 2010 documentary on the band, entitled “The Ballad of Mott the Hoople” (see http://www.music-news.com for details) leads off with this statement, “The ballad begins with four lads from Herefordshire [England] who, in the 1960s, fell under the spell of musicians like Little Richard. So impressed were they that they set off for the big city of London to indulge in their newly found passion.” Essentially, Mott the Hoople were an English rock band who came to prominence in the Glam Rock era of the early 1970s, primarily after they were discovered by David Bowie, who gave them the song “All the Young Dudes”, which became their vehicle to fame. According to Wikipedia, Mott the Hoople began as two separate “beat” bands in the 1960s, which featured Pete Overend Watts on bass guitar, Verden Allen on organ/piano, Mick Ralphs on guitar, Dale “Buffin” Griffin on drums, and Stan Tippens on vocals, eventually forming a rock’n’roll group they called “Doc Thomas”, then “Shakedown Sound” , and then finally “The Silence”. Silence recorded demos at Rockfield studios in Wales and were submitted to record labels EMI, Polydor, and Apple with no success. (See Wikipedia). One record label did notice them, which was Island records, who agreed to sign the band, but not with Tippens as lead singer. Guy Stevens at Island wanted them to replace the lead singer, so ads were placed, according to Wikipedia, which read “Singer wanted, must be image-minded and hungry”; Ian Hunter was selected as lead singer and piano player, and Tippens became the band’s road manager.
Island records’ manager Stevens had read a book while in prison (for drug charges) by one Willard Manus called Mott the Hoople, and he decided he had to find a band to match the name. The book is about a circus freak show. The band reluctantly agreed to the name change upon Stevens’ urging. Mott the Hoople’s debut album of the same name, Mott the Hoople (1969) became a cult success and now is regarded as one of the top ten Glamour Rock music albums of all time. The rock band’s next three albums did not achieve the same level of success; they were Mad Shadows (1970), Wildfire (1971), and Brain Capers (1971). According to Wikipedia, after a dismal show at a former gas holder [gas containment industrial area] in Switzerland, the band was close to breaking up.
David Bowie had been a long-time fan of the rock group, and upon hearing that they were going to disband, persuaded them to record one of his songs, to break into the top selling UK music charts. They turned down “Suffragete City” but accepted “All the Young Dudes” and it became their biggest hit, released in 1972. In an element of some confusion, David Bowie also produced an album of his own, also called All the Young Dudes. Mott the Hoople was going to record another Bowie song “Drive-In Saturday” but their arrangement did not satisfy Bowie, and their professional relationship ended in 1972. (Wikipedia). The next album during those Glam years was Mott, which climbed to the top 10 in the UK Albums chart, and this was also the bands biggest US seller.
The band went through several changes in line-up, and although it seems incredible now, there was an expose in a rock magazine at the time called New Musical Express that said Tippens had sung back-up on the bands’ albums and this caused a furor! By today’s standards, this seems quaint, but it led to a group shakeup. Mick Ralphs left in 1973 to form Bad Company. Mick Ronson, David Bowie’s guitarist, replaced Ariel Bender. When Mick Ronson and Ian Hunter left to pursue solo efforts in 1974, this was the beginning of the end for Mott the Hoople. However, in 1974, their tour of America was supported by Queen, and this tour provided inspiration for Queen’s 1975 single “Now I’m Here” with the lyrics “Down in the city, just Hoople and me”, as well as the inspiration for Ian Hunter’s book about the tour Diary of a Rock’N’Roll Star. It also resulted in lifelong friendships between Hunter, Ronson, and Bowie, who performed together for the Freddie Mercury concert tribute in 1992.
Ian Hunter began a successful solo career while joining forces with Mick Ronson. Ian Hunter had actually met Ronson pre-Bowie years and had noticed his elegance as a sensational guitarist. Ian Hunter’s best known solo album was Once Bitten, Twice Shy (later covered by Great White) as well as Cleveland Rocks. See Wikipedia for complete discography of Ian Hunter’s solo albums from 1975 with Ian Hunter, to 2009 with Man Overboard.
After lead singer Ian Hunter left Mott the Hoople, the band had little success with albums Drive On (1975) and Shouting and Pointing (1976). In 1990 some former members of The Silence recorded songs from earlier days resulting in 1998 The Italian Job. In 1996, K-Tel released a CD purported to be the best of Mott the Hoople, but was actually a tribute band, and K-Tel was subsequently fined. (See Wikipedia). In 2005, it was reported in Classic Rock that Hunter was offered a seven-figure sum to reunite the band, and on January 16, 2009, it was announced the band would reunite for two concerts at the Hammersmith Apollo in London October 2009, where all five original members of the band participated. Please see both Ian Hunter’s website and Mott the Hoople’s website for latest updates and tune back in for an exclusive podcast featuring Mott the Hoople, Guns N Roses, and Nazareth!

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