Archive for Rock Music

Alice Cooper for President: Shockingly Glam

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal Music, Metal Rock, Music, Rock Music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by glamrock4ever

     Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in 1948; he is an American rock singer whose career spans more than four decades. Alice Cooper was the inventor of the genre of rock music known as “Shock Rock”, which he achieved by incorporating a mixture of horror and vaudeville with garage band punk lyrics into his act. According to Wikipedia, Alice Cooper used “guillotines, electric chains, fake blood, boa constrictors, and plastic baby dolls” in his act. Although Alice Cooper’s brand of music is more in the distinction of conceptual rock or hard experimental rock, when you view the video from the 1970s UK performance by Alice Cooper(from the then-popular TV Show “Top of the Pops”), you will see there are also origins in Alice Cooper’s music trending towards Glamour Rock and Glitter Rock. And in the spirit of Election Year politics, the song is “Elected” -timeless classic from Alice seeking YOUR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT!  Well, not really but listen to this: Alice Cooper was so innovative in this style of music that he was often compared to another ground-breaking Glam Rock innovator of the 70s, David Bowie.

     Alice Cooper’s roots are in Detroit, Michigan; the band broke into the mainstream of rock music with the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” and 1972’s hit “School’s Out”. The commercial peak of the Alice Cooper band’s success was with 1973’s album Billion Dollar Babies. (For this and the following information , see Wikipedia.) In the year 1975, Alice Cooper came out with one of the most conceptual albums of the time, called Welcome to my Nightmare. Ask any rock fan from the 70s era, and most likely they have a copy of that album. In 2011, Alice Cooper released Welcome to My Nightmare 2, and in 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The original Alice Cooper band members are Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and Neal Smith on drums. This original band’s roots can be traced back to 1964 when Vincent Furnier at age 16 was eager to enter the annual high school talent show and gathered up some of his classmates to form a group for the show. They called themselves The Earwigs, obtained some used instruments from a local pawn shop in the Detroit area, and mimed their way through some Beatles’ songs, dressing up as the Beatles. The group won the talent show, and loved the experience of being onstage, so they formed a more permanent rock group while still in high school and called themselves The Spiders. Alice Cooper has said that the band’s musical roots include not just the Beatles, but also The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors, and The Yardbirds.

     In 1966, the Spiders graduated from High School and the band scored a #1 hit on the radio

with “Don’t Blow Your Mind.” By 1967 the band was making regular trips to L.A. to play gigs. They renamed themselves Nazz and relocated to Los Angeles by the end of the year. In 1968, the band called Nazz had to change their name when they came across the fact that Todd Rundgren already had a band with that name. Furnier thought that the band needed a gimmick to succeed, and chose the name Alice Cooper, because it sounded innocent, in contrast to the band’s look and sound.  Later, Cooper nee Furnier said that the name change was one of the most exigent career moves that the band made. To grab more headlines and generate more controversy, the Alilce Cooper band decided to push the concept of a male villain dressed as a murderess in tattered women’s clothing and makeup. Alice Cooper in his 2007 book Alice Cooper, Golf Monster said that his look was inspired by film, such as Bette Davis in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”, where Bette wears caked makeup and smeared eyeliner. (Alice Cooper at one time had difficulty with alcoholism and to become sober took up the game of golf, thereby “trading one addiction for another” hence the self-imposed title “golf monster.”

     After an unsuccessful gig in California, the Alice Cooper band was approached by music impresario Shep Gordon, who arranged an audition with bizarro rock star, Frank Zappa, who was looking to add another act to his record label. Zappa told the band to come to his house at “7 o’clock” for the audition; the band mistakenly thought he meant 7am. Being awakened at 7 in the morning for the Alice Cooper band’s unique hard-rocking sound impressed Frank Z. enough to sign the band to a three record deal. Afterwards, Alice Cooper’s brand of “Shock Rock” happened by accident due to an onstage antic with a stray chicken. Alice Cooper later developed this concept of “Shock Rock” to the hilt, such as the 1971 tour which featured gothic torture models, and a staged execution by electric chair. Taken in its entirety, along with the band’s tight, sequined outfits, and Glam Rock style costumes (designed by rock fashion icon Cindy Dunaway) persuaded Warner Brothers to offer Alice Cooper a multi-recording contract.

     The Alice Cooper band’s first hit was “I’m Eighteen” on the third album Love It to Death. The next album Killer featured hit songs “Under My Wheels” and “Be My Lover.” More hits followed; however, the biggest hit of all, and one that anyone who was a teenager in the 70s recalls precisely, was “Schools Out”, which reached #2 on the charts, and sold over 1 million copies. The next album was Billion Dollar Babies, featuring the hit of the same name, as well as “Elected” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Around this time, the British parliament sought to ban Alice Cooper from performing! due to the stage show where Alice sported a boa constrictor snake, accompanied by the murderous axing of bloodied baby dolls.

     The original Alice Cooper band’s last studio album was 1973’s Muscle of Love with A.C.’s last hit single “Teenage Lament ’74”. In 1975, Alice Cooper released his first solo album Welcome to My Nightmare. To avoid legal complications, Vincent Furnier adopted “Alice Cooper” as his legal name. What followed was a successful solo career with subsequent albums such as Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976), Lace and Whiskey (1977). The albums in the 1980s were not as successful, and these included Flush the Fashion (1980), Special Forces (1981), and Zipper Catches Skin (1982). Alice Cooper’s alcohol consumption began to cause considerable problems on tour, affecting Cooper’s onstage performances. During the Welcome to My Nightmare tour in Vancouver, A.C. tripped over a foot light and plunged several hundred feet onto the concrete floor amidst fans, who thought it was all part of the act. However, Welcome to My Nightmare also preceded another ground-breaking event in rock history, which was a prime-time television special called The Nightmare, starring A.C. and Vincent Price, which aired in 1975, and garnered a Grammy nomination.

     The latest update on Alice Cooper, which can be viewed on http://www.alicecooper.com: After finishing up his tour with heavy metal artists Iron Maiden, and continuing to tour around the world this fall, Alice opened up a dedicated maze at Universal Studio Hollywood’s based on A.C.’s album Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Earlier in the year, A.C. joined on allstar Glam Metal jam with Queens’ Brian May, Deep Purple’s Ian Paice, Whitesnake former guitarist Micky Moody, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.

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“Flash-in-the-Pan” Glam: Silverhead & Mud

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Rock Music, Rock Stars with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by glamrock4ever

Silverhead were a British band led by singer Michael Des Barres, with Robbie Blunt on guitar, Rod Davies on guitar, percussion, and vocals, Nigel Harrison on bass guitar, and Pete Thompson on drums, keyboards, and vocals. (For this and the following information, see Wikipedia). Silverhead were part of the Glam Rock scene in Britain in the 1970s before the group disbanded in 1974. They recorded two albums: Silverhead (1972) and 16 and Savaged (1973). In April 2012, the band reunited in Tokyo, Japan for a set of concert dates much to the delight of their die-hard Glitter Rock fans. The global story of Silverhead is a bit of a mystery for true Glam Rock followers who have wondered, “what the heck happened?”- that this fantastic band simply disappeared off of the map in the mid-70s when they were headed for Glitter fame and fortune? The answer has finally come about this many decades later, as documented in classicrockmagazine.com: “Silverhead were regarded at the start of the 70s as the British band that would follow T-Rex and David Bowie into the stratosphere of Glam Rockers who had it all.” The truly fascinating story follows and may indeed have you on the edge of your seat, as it did this rock blogger! Silverhead fans will definitely want to read the full-version on http://www.classicrockmagazine.com. According to that website, drummer Pete Thompson, who now lives in Texas, said, “We had it all. The glam, the rock ‘n’roll, the sex appeal, the nastiness…Everything was going our way. And if you saw us live, then you’ll know we really could deliver.”  Again, read the full story by Malcolm Dome on the website, but what happened next is astonishing! Silverhead were set to tour the states on a six-week tour with Fleetwood Mac; only, it wasn’t the real Fleetwood Mac but a bogus group using the F.Mac name! The group Silverhead was sent to Los Angeles once this was discovered while their management company figured out what to do next. (Obviously Silverhead did not tour with the F. Mac imposters.) So get this: when the band returned to Britain, they walked into their manager’s office at the record label, about to embark on a tour of Japan, when they were told that they were all out of a job, and that they could no longer use the Silverhead name or record! What?! How bizarre! From Malcolm Dome’s report, it took “Thompson a few years to recover” and drummer Thompson is quoted as saying, “I was so angry I didn’t play drums for a long time.”

     The other short-lived Glam flash-in-the-pan rock group to be discussed here is Mud. Mud were an English Glitter rock band formed in 1968, best-known for their single “Tiger Feet.” According to Wikipedia, Mud had 14 top 20 hits in the U.K. between 1973-1976. The band members of Mud were Les Gray (lead vocals), Rob Davis (lead guitarist), Ray Stiles (bass guitarist), and Dave Mount (drummer). They signed to Mickie Most’s RAK records and had their first hit with “Crazy.” (For this and the following band history, see Wikipedia.)  The other hits by Mud include “Tiger Feet” (1974), “Lonely This Christmas” (1974), “Oh Boy” cover of Buddy Holly hit (1975), and “Shake It Down” (1976). The final performance of the group Mud with original band members was in 1990 for Dave Mount’s wedding. Les Gray also toured with “Les Gray’s Mud” from 1980-1985. Ray Stiles joined the Hollies; Rob Davis went on to write several dance hits. Dave Mount went into the insurance business. He also appeared in an episode of BBC TV’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks in November 2005 which type-cast Mount as a washed-up, has-been rock star. On 12.2.06, Mud drummer Dave Mount committed suicide.

     Although both these Glam Rock bands had a short history, they are still worth listening to, this many years later. Just ask any Silverhead or Mud fan. They’ll tell you.

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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Nazareth Glam Metal

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Hair of the Dog, Heavy Metal Music, Nazareth, Scottish Rock with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by glamrock4ever

Nazareth was a Scottish hard rock (and Glam Rock) band that had several hits in the UK and USA in the early 1970s, garnering international fame with the release of their hard-rocking, unforgettable album Hair of the Dog. Nazareth’s most famous hits from this record album were “Love Hurts” and “Hair of the Dog”, made well-known by the guitar hooks and lyrics of “Now You’re Messin’ with a Son of a Bitch!” Nazareth was formed in 1968 in Dunfermline, Scotland from a local group named The Shadettes (see Wikipedia) by vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bass guitarist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet.  According to Wikipedia, the fledgling band took their name from the city of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Nazareth as a band still records and tours today, and there is a complete history of the band on their website http://www.nazarethdirect.co.uk. On this website, Nazareth writes that in the early days the “Scottish promoters and ballroom managers insisted on [Scottish] groups limiting their music set-list to strictly cover singles in the UK Top 30” and that the band decided that if they were going to make it in the music business,that they would need to move to London. Nazareth writes this they did and in doing so “quitting good day jobs and moving to a grotty communal flat in London” in 1970.

The band released their debut album Nazareth in 1971, but it was not until their third album Razamanaz (produced by Roger Glover of Deep Purple) that the band began to receive recognition, with two U.K. hits, “Broken Down Angel”, and “Bad Bad Boy”. Following this came the album,

Loud N Proud (1973) which contained a cover of a song by folksinger Joni Mitchell “This Flight Tonight.” Nazareth’s fifth album was Rampant (1974) with the single “Shanghai’ed in Shanghai”. The website for Nazareth (often referred to as “Naz” by the band themselves) states this: “Musically, 1974’s Rampant was a move towards metal and it was also the last of three albums produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover before Naz’ Manny Charlton took over.” (http://www.nazarethdirect.co.uk). In 1975, Nazareth catapulted to international stardom with the release of Hair of the Dog with monster hits “Love Hurts” and “Hair of the Dog”. The Nazareth website states that their label “Mooncrest” “still badly wanted another hit so Naz recorded the Everly Brothers’ hit “Love Hurts.” This went nowhere in England but was Top 10 in America, and then in Norway, it reached #1 and stayed there for 40 weeks.” The Wikipedia reference described this as “60 weeks” on the Norweigen/European charts! You can decide which is correct! Also according to Wikipedia, a second guitarist Zal Cleminson was added in 1979 for Nazareth’s album No Mean City and Malice in Wonderland.  Wiki also said that in 1981 Nazareth contributed the song “Crazy (Suitable for Treatment)” to the soundtrack for the film Heavy Metal.  Nazareth continued to tour and record in the 80s and 90s as their popularity began to wane, although they remained popular in Europe, particularly Germany.

The most recent updates on the band come from their website http://www.nazarethdirect.co.uk: “2004 saw the band head out to the USA, Russia, Israel and Europe with a welcome return to the UK.” and “2008 marks the 40th anniversary (of the original band’s formation in 1968)”

Nazareth’s newest album, just released, is called Big Dogz, released for 2012.

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Glamour Rock aka Glitter Rock Style

Posted in Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Music, Rock Music with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2011 by glamrock4ever

      Glam Rock (Glamour Rock aka Glitter Rock) is a form of pop rock music that developed in the UK and US in the 1970s, and continued its influence into the 1980s. It all truly began with two major inventors of the Art form, which were T. Rex (Marc Bolan) and David Bowie. It is and was a style of music that focused on androgynous and/or transgender roles, outrageous hair and glittery, ostentatious outfits, with makeup that was theatrical and a style that was “camp”. According to Wikipedia, the term “camp” evolved in its meaning as “exaggerated, theatrical, effeminate”, and that the true beginning of Glam Rock was Marc Bolan/T.Rex’s appearance in March 1971 on the UK’s Top of the Pops, where the group wore satin and glitter and performed in an effeminate, outrageous manner. T. Rex’s best known singles are “Get It On”, “Hot Love” and “Children of the Revolution.” Soon after came the release of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust in 1972, with the song “All the Young Dudes” followed immediately by Diamond Dogs, with the electrifying single “Rebel Rebel”. Indeed, the lyrics of “Rebel, Rebel” capture the camp of Glam Rock, “You’ve got your mother in a whirl, she can’t tell if you’re a boy or a girl. Hey babe, your hair’s allright; hey babe, let’s go out tonight.” Other huge hits by David Bowie include, “Space Oddity” (his first hit in 1969), “Changes”, “Suffragete City” “The Jean Genie” and many more.  Bowie was an extremely prolific artist, overall selling over 140 million albums throughout the span of his career, which included 9 Platinum, 11 Gold and 8 Silver.

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