Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed is an American rock musician out of New York City, who originated an alternative form of rock music with threads of Glam rock, Glitter rock, Avant Garde, German and French expressionism, Bohemian pop art, as well as punk rock/metal music. all integrated in a beautifully complicated mixture that is often mind-bending and surreal.
During the time that Lou Reed, and with the original group called The Velvet Underground made records, their music was (and still is) unlike anything anyone has ever heard. According to Wikipedia, the Velvet Underground were a “commercial failure” in the late 60s, but due to their dedicated cult-status and following, their albums are regarded as some of the most significant in modern rock music history.This enduring underground following continues to this day with the collaborative efforts in 2011 and 2012 between Lou Reed and the heavy metal group Metallica. Lou Reed was the Velvet Underground’s principal songwriter in the 1960s (until the band disbanded in 1970) and as a songwriter Reed incorporated subjects of “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” –a well-known mantra to heavy metal fans today, but was strictly taboo in that formative era (the 1960s). Rolling Stone magazine wrote, “Lou Reed helped invent punk rock music while writing about femme fatales, black angels, and heroin.”
Lou Reed was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn and grew up in Long Island. (For this and the following info, see Wikipedia.) Reed reportedly learned to play guitar by listening to the radio, and played in different bands in high school. His first recording was with a Doo Wop group called The Jades. In 1956, Reed received ECT (electro-convulsive therapy or “shock treatments”) as a teenager to try to “cure” his bisexuality. Reed wrote about the experience in his 1974 song, “Kill Your Sons.” Lou Reed began attending Syracuse University in 1960, studying journalism, film directing, and creative writing. In 1961, he hosted a late night radio program on WAE, featuring doo wop, rhythm and blues and jazz.
In 1964, Reed moved to New York City and began working as an inhouse songwriter for Pickwick Records. In 1964, Reed scored a minor hit with “The Ostrich”;
Pickwick assembled a band for Reed around this song, hoping to have a hit, called The Primitives, which included Welsh musician John Cale. (Wikipedia) Reed and Cale lived together on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and after inviting Reed’s college acquaintances guitarist Sterling Morris and drummer Maureen Tucker to join the group, The Velvet Underground was formed. Rolling Stone described The Velvet Underground’s sound as “dissonant, poignant art songs”. The group caught the attention of avant garde photographer, pop art visual artist Andy Warhol, who decided to became their benefactor and general manager, introducing them to high-art concepts and his Bohemian lifestyle. Lou Reed told Rolling Stone, ” Warhol was one of the greatest people I’ve met in my life,” Reed remarked. “It’s hard to conceive where we would be without him. If he had a gallery opening he took us with him. He fed us.”
Lou Reed’s songs began to take on more of the reflection of Warhol’s artistic lifestyle to great success, but there was conflict in the group when Warhol stated the Underground should have a chanteuse (female singer), suggesting European model and singer Nico. Not all of the band members agreed with this, and their debut album was entitled The Velvet Underground and Nico, to note that Nico was not actually part of the group. Although the album did not initially do well, Rolling Stone has said it is one of the most influential albums of all time. Between 1966 and 1970, the Velvet Underground recorded four “classic, highly influential albums.” (Rolling Stone)
Rolling Stone magazine wrote that Lou Reed’s departure from the Velvet Underground was “bitter” (http://www.rollingstone.com) in August 1970. Reed briefly took a job as a typist at his father’s tax accounting firm (see Wikipedia) but a year later, however, he signed a recording contract with RCA, which included top session musicians from the rock group Yes. In 1972, Reed released Transformer, which David Bowie and Mick Ronson co-produced. It yielded Lou Reed’s only top 20 hit “Walk on the Wild Side” (1973), an ode to some of the flamboyant Bohemian artists surrounding Andy Warhol. With Bowie’s aid, Reed transformed into Glitter Rock, his signature camp style including bleach-blond hair and black fingernail polish. “Glam Rock was the rage and Lou Reed was a central figure,” according to Rolling Stone. Another single from the album was “A Perfect Day”. There was a falling-out between Reed and Bowie, but their friendship was reconciled in 1997 with a Madison Square Garden appearance by both, and Bowie’s collaboration on Lou Reed’s album Raven (2003).In the1970s, Lou Reed’s best-known albums were Berlin(1973), Sally Can’t Dance (1974), and Rock N Roll Animal (1975).Rock N Roll Animal became Reed’s biggest-selling record to date (Wikipedia).
Lou Reed’s music recording, performance, and artistic career is extremely prolific. Please visit Wikipedia, RollingStone.com, or LouReed.com for more extensive history. Currently, Lou Reed and Metallica have a musical collaboration called “LULU”; the website http://www.loureedmetallica.com describes it as “inspired by German expressionist writer Frank Wiedekind’s plays”.
January 31, 2012 | Categories: Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal Music, Metal Rock, Rock Music | Tags: Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Germany, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Glitter Rock Music, Heavy Metal Music, Lou Reed, Metallica, Mick Ronson, Velvet Underground | 3 Comments
Kiss (often written as KISS) is an American rock band that brought about their own unique form of Glitter Rock and Metal Rock music; they were formed in New York City in 1973. What characterizes their brand of American Glam Rock is their facepaint -often looking like real-life comicbook heroes- the constant themes of sex and seduction in their song lyrics, their catchy, iconic guitar riffs, and their astounding stage theatrics such as rockets, firebreathing, and fake blood consumed/vomited by Gene Simmons. According to Wikipedia, KISS has been awarded 28 gold albums, the most for any American band. The original classic lineup for KISS consisted of Paul Stanley (guitar, vocals), Ace Frehley (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Simmons (bass guitar, vocals), and Peter Criss (drums, vocals).
What has captivated worldwide audiences for over 35 years now by KISS has been the elaborate stage makeup that the band members, up until their famous 1983 “unmasking”, were rarely seen without. Indeed, some fans would have preferred that the comic book illusion continued, while others thought it just added to the reality of the group. Not everyone is a fan of Gene Simmons in the cable reality TV series “Family Jewels”, and some thought Gene has come across as almost obnoxious. Anyway, the makeup, according to Kiss themselves, were from fan suggestions. Paul Stanley has the star on his face (Starchild), Gene Simmons has the garish Halloween-type makeup (Demon), Ace Frehley’s makeup and costuming suggested Alien worlds (Spaceman), and Peter Criss looked like a cat (Catman). KISS continues to tour and record to this day, but with only Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons from the original lineup. Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left in 1982 over creative differences, rejoined the group in 1996 and 1997 for high grossing worldwide tours, then left the band again shortly thereafter.
KISS began with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in New York City in 1972 forming a group called Wicked Lester (see Wikipedia for this and the following information). They came across an ad in Rolling Stone placed by Peter Criss, and with Criss as an addition to the group shortly thereafter began experimenting with various costumes and stage theatrics, drawing upon American Glitter acts such as The New York Dolls and Alice Cooper. In 1973, the band added guitarist Ace Frehley; reportedly, the band came up with the name “Kiss” while driving around New York City. Criss mentioned that he had been in a band called “Lips” and Simmons suggested “What about ‘Kiss’?”, while Frehley drew the iconic logo, with the double “S” looking like lightning bolts. Because the double “S” also possibly connotated Nazism to some, the logo had to be modified in Germany. The first KISS performance, according to the band’s website, http://www.kissonline.com, was in a venue called “The Popcorn Club” in Queens 1973 to an audience of three people.
On March 13, 1973, the band recorded a five song demo tape and Bill Aucoin (former TV director) offered to become the band’s manager. The band entered Bell Sound Studios in New York City in October 1973 to begin recording their first album, and performed as an opening act for Blue Oyster Cult. It was during this concert when Simmons first set his hair ablaze in his firebreathing stunt onstage.
Kiss’ first album was entitled KISS and released Feb. 18, 1974 with hits “Nothin’ to Lose”, “Firehouse”, and “Black Diamond”. In 1974, the band performed “Firehouse” on the Mike Douglas Show, which featured an interview with Gene Simmons that made the studio audience fairly uncomfortable. The next album, Hotter than Hell, fared better (KISS initially only sold 75,000 copies) with the band’s now trademark song “Rock and Roll All Nite”. By 1975, the record label Casablanca was almost bankrupt, and the group needed a smash…which came in the form of their next release -a double live album set called Alive! which went to gold status, and almost every teenager in the 1970s would own.
The band’s history is quite extensive; for the most detailed timeline, see KISS’ website, http://www.kissonline.com. The group continued to gain more and more exposure, and worldwide fame, with the success of albums Destroyer (1976), Rock and Roll Over (1976), Love Gun (1977), and a second live album Alive II (1977). Between 1976 and 1978, KISS earned $17.7 million from recording royaties and publishing. In Japan, KISS performed five sold out shows breaking the Beatles record at the same venue.
KISS will embark on a 100 city worldwide tour following the release of their next album, Monster, due out June 2012.
December 1, 2011 | Categories: Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal Music, Metal Rock, Rock Stars | Tags: Ace Frehley, Entertainment, Gene Simmons, Glam Rock, Glitter Rock Music, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal Music, Kiss, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss | Leave a comment
The Sweet (sometimes simply known as Sweet) were an English rock band that achieved international fame in the 1970s, and are widely known as one of the most prominent of Glamour Rock artists, in that they promulgated outrageous outfits, effeminate style, brazen lyrics with tight drums, vocal harmony (in four parts -each member had an excellent singing voice), and extensive musical hooks. The classic lineup included Brian Connelly as lead singer, Steve Priest on bass, Andy Scott on guitar, and Mick Tucker on drums. The Sweet band was formed in 1968 and had a string of hits in the 1970s, beginning in 1971 with the sugary “Funny, Funny”. Their hit-making continued throughout the 70s with Blockbuster (1973), Hellraiser (1973), and Ballroom Blitz (1973). Other well-known songs are Teenage Rampage, Action , Wig Wam Bam and Love is Like Oxygen. Musical influences to The Sweet were The Who, The Hollies and various legendary drummers , who influenced Mick Tucker’s drumming style.
The Sweet’s ostentatious clothing trends rivalled Gary Glitter, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, and Queen. The Sweet debuted on several UK TV shows such as “Top of the Pops” and “Supersonic”. The hit single, “Love is Like Oxygen” was their last top 10 seller, as their popularity began to wane in the late 1970s, and the band disbanded in 1981. To this day, however, Steve Priest has his version of The Sweet in the U.S., and Andy Scott has his version of The Sweet in the UK and Australia. Many hard-core fans will argue, and quite rightly, that without the astonishing vocals of Brian Connelly, that the true Sweet no longer exists. It is a well-known fact that Brian Connelly was a tragic figure, whose chronic alcoholism ended his life in 1997 with alcoholism-related disease. There are several documented cases of Connelly showing up so drunk or intoxicated to shows that the band had to cancel; or in a dramatic example of The Sweet’s only US tour in 1978, at a Birmingham ,Alabama show, Connelly was so drunk that he gave an intoxicated, incoherent performance, collapsing onstage while the band played on. Shortly thereafter, Brian Connelly quit The Sweet to pursue a solo career, which never really materialized, and the remaining three band members attempted to carry on, with little success. Come back to this site soon to see attached videos and an exclusive podcast featuring The Sweet and other fantastic Glam Rock artists.