Category Archives: Commentary

“A French magazine printed my obituary. How did I die? I dunno, it was in French.” – Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister

20 Great Heavy Metal Quotes

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead died in 2015, but supplied our headline quote a few years before his passing.

The man who spoke with Lemmy was Dave Ling. As a U.K. rock journalist, Ling has spent countless hours interviewing the greats of the heavy metal world. I strongly recommend his website.

Within Ling’s site there are hundreds of quotations from hard rock artists.

Here are 20 quotations that are funny, scathing and somewhat insightful.

“Lemmy came to me once and said ‘Alice, I have quit drinking,’ and he had a drink in his hand! I replied ‘That must be Coca-Cola?’, and he said ‘No, there’s a little whiskey in there’. His idea of not drinking was not drinking a bottle of whiskey each night. Maybe just five or six drinks.”
Alice Cooper in 2019

Do I have any theories on why our audience keeps coming back? Maybe it’s some kind of intense communal masochistic urge?”
Rush’s Geddy Lee.

“I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”
AC/DC’s Angus Young.

“People keep asking why we don’t play ‘Sinner’ anymore. I tell them it’s because we’ve repented.”
KK Downing, Judas Priest.

“Sharon told me about a place where they teach you to drink properly. It was the Betty Ford Centre. I thought, ‘That’s it! I’ve been doing it wrong!’. So I walk in, expecting a demonstration of how to drink a Martini, and I say, ‘Hi Betty Ford, where’s the bar?’ This receptionist is like, ‘What?!'”
Ozzy Osbourne.

“Mae West whispered to me, ‘Why don’t you come on back to my trailer?’ I said: ‘Because you’re 86 years old and I’m not even sure if you’re a woman or not’. But if I hadn’t have been married I would’ve gone. Definitely. Just for the experience.”
Alice Cooper.“

“Adding rap to rock music is a bit like taking the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen to a plastic surgeon, then asking him to give her a penis.”
Manowar’s Karl Logan.

“It was pretty obvious, really. Ritchie must have been suffering from pre-minstrel tension.”
Ian Paice on Ritchie Blackmore’s final exit from Deep Purple, back in 1993 to form Blackmore’s Night, a Renaissance music band.

“The day that this group becomes a machine is the day it’s over.”
Gene Simmons of Kiss, back in 1992.

“Gene lives about five minutes from me – I can see his ego from my house!”
Paul Stanley of Kiss

“What are my hobbies? Helping old ladies into the middle of the road.”
Lemmy, 1992

“If you want to stop the spread of AIDS around the world, give it to Z Records to distribute.”
Ex-Tyketto/Vaughn singer Danny Vaughn.

“If I was going to listen to anybody, I’d listen to me. I love the stuff I do. It’s the greatest. I’ve played things that were just the ultimate. If there had been blind people in the audience, they’d have walked away from the gig seeing.”
Ted Nugent in 1977.

“The only chick I could fall in love with is Kate Bush. I love her, totally. I cried at her gig at the Sunderland Empire a few years ago, then walked home 30 miles with my head in the clouds.”
Cronos from Venom, back in 1985.

“When I was doing cocaine regularly I would say it was very much out of boredom – plus the fact that I was addicted.”
UFO’s Pete Way.

“I’m a family-oriented guy. I’ve personally started four or five [of them] this year already.”
Van Halen’s David Lee Roth.

“I don’t own a gun. Actually, I own about 150 guns.”
James Hetfield of Metallica.

“Nicko McBrain and I have had some belting arguments. We’ve been virtually nose-to-nose screaming at each other, and with his nose being so flat, that’s very close up.”
Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris.

“I wouldn’t send him cat food if he was starving.”
Whitesnake’s David Coverdale on Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, 1994

Though he was not in the hard rock field, the final words belong to the brilliant, Frank Zappa.

“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.”
Frank Zappa.

American Magazine Advertising In 1947

50 Advertisements From The 1947 Saturday Evening Post

Champion spark plugs Saturday Evening Post 1947Maybe advertising is not an accurate portrayal of what America is or ever was. But it shines a light on American dreams, living the good life and most of all consumerism.  Today we’re turning back the clock to just after World War II.

Saeurday Evening Post 1947All the ads appear in the February 8, 1947 Saturday Evening Post, a bastion of conservative American values.

American soldiers returning home to a prosperous economy. A baby boom follows. Spend, America, spend.

Ajax CombOne thing you’ll notice if you read the fine print: EVERYTHING was “Made in America.” Everything. Even a simple comb. Yes, Ajax comb company took out a small ad in the magazine that must have cost them the equivalent of at least 500 combs. It’s the sort of item that today would only be made in China, as we’ve decimated our ability to produce our own goods. Continue reading

New York Illustrated – As It Was 150 Years Ago – Part I

Illustrations Of New York As Seen By Artists Around 1870

Part I – Demolished & Mostly Forgotten

Intersection Fifth Ave and Broadway at 23rd St looking north 1870

Intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue looking north towards the Worth Monument with The Fifth Avenue Hotel on the left (c. 1870)

Demolition of anything old  goes on every day without regard for New York’s history. I believe a day will come when all the pre-20th century buildings not given landmark protection will be gone. Demolished in the name of progress. Real estate values rule, not history values. That’s always been the way of New York.

When a historic structure like The St. Denis Hotel is obliterated instead of renovated it is a shame.

I see more and more ordinary tenement and commercial buildings falling at an astonishing rate. So I look around trying to see vestiges of things my great-grandparents might have known and been familiar with.

What did they see?

Recently I took out my copy of Reverend J.F. Richmond’s New York and Its Institutions 1609-1871 (E.B. Treat; 1871) and started to re-read it. I had forgotten how many excellent illustrations were in the book. Belying the name, New York and Its Institutions is not solely focused only upon hospitals, asylum, charity and worship facilities. The book thoroughly covers other important sites and buildings with their respective histories. Though it was not written as a guide book, it essentially is one.

What my ancestors saw were these historic buildings which are now not even memories to most New Yorkers, most having been taken down over a hundred years ago,

Let’s take a look at what New York City looked like around 1871 and take in what the visitor and native New Yorker would have seen.

Part I – Buildings No Longer In Existence

Very few lamented the loss of the old Post Office at the corner of Nassau and Liberty Street – — until they saw what replaced it in 1875.

The modest Police Department headquarters at 300 Mulberry Street was replaced in 1909 by a grand structure on Broome and Centre Streets.

Wilson's industrial school for girls 1870 new york Wilson’s Mission House or Industrial School For Girls at 27-29 Avenue A corner of St. Mark’s Place across from Tompkins Square Park.

Broadway Grand Central Hotel 1870The Grand Central Hotel stood on the west side of Broadway opposite Bond Street between Amity and Bleecker Street. Illegal alterations caused a major collapse of the Broadway facade  on August 3, 1973. Incredibly only four people were killed. The remaining section of the hotel was soon demolished. Continue reading

What’s So Unusual About Platt Rogers Spencer’s Tombstone?

This Tombstone Is Unique. Do You Know Why?

The Penmanship of Platt Rogers Spencer

Why is it that when we see an old postcard people remark that the handwriting is so beautiful? The graceful penmanship all looks similar because millions of people in the mid-nineteenth and up to the early twentieth century were taught a single method of handwriting.

This calligraphy type of writing was invented by Platt Rogers Spencer and called the Spencerian style and method of penmanship.

Spencer’s unique tombstone at Evergreen cemetery in Geneva, OH is the first grave marker to display the cursive handwriting that he developed and popularized.

Platt Rogers Spencer

Platt Rogers Spencer was the youngest of a family of ten children. He was born November 7, 1800, in East Fishkill, New York. He lived there and in Windham, N. Y., until he was nine years old, when he moved with his widowed mother and family to Jefferson, Ohio, which was then wilderness country.

There, Spencer developed his love of writing and devoted his life to the art of penmanship. Continue reading

5 Of The Greatest UK Hard Rock Songs You (Probably) Never Heard Of

Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)

Slade photo Paul Cox

Slade on stage photo Paul Cox

I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading

Five Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Were Cover Versions

 Original Songs Made Popular By Other Bands

Badfinger photograph

Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland

There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.

First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.

Hanging on the Telephone

Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”

The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song  after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.

The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says,  “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me  unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”

The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.

Without You

Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including  Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.

Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.

But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.

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Worst Product Design & Print Advertisement Of The 21st Century

What Are They Selling?

Phallic perfume bottle ad Donna Karan

There is subliminal advertising. Then there is the advertising trying to be subliminal, yet it’s not. It’s a step above subliminal, painfully obvious and the equivalent of blunt force trauma.

It hits so hard that if you turn the page without stopping, you will stop and say “wait a second, what did I just see?” And then turn back a page to double-check.

No, this product shown above is not from the Adam and Eve sex catalog.

I’m not quite sure which magazine this ad appeared in possibly Vogue or an in-flight magazine.  It ran sometime in the early to mid-2000s.

When I saw it, I tore it out, saying to myself this has to be a joke no one would believe this.

Donna Karan phallic perfume ad

Donna Karan Phallic Perfume bottle ad text (click to enlarge –  no pun intended.)

But it’s real. I folded it up showed it to a few friends. Then I saved it in my shoebox full of oddities with the funny poem, the wooden nickel and a mood ring. Continue reading

Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP

Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop

What Happened?

Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired

Can We Forget About The Past?

Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.

When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.

l-r Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980

It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.

Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.

Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!

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Early Rare Audio Recordings – Alexander Graham Bell In 1885

Our Audio Time Machine:

Listen To Alexander Graham Bell Demonstrate Early Recording Technology In 1885 & The Only Known Recording Of Someone Born In The 18th Century

You almost certainly have never heard the voice of somebody who lived in the 18th century, That means someone born between 1701- 1800. Well later in this story you will hear the only known recording of someone who was alive in that period. We’ll get to that later.

Why do you have to get a new iPhone or laptop every couple of years? Modern technology has been accelerating at an astonishing pace. Every few years computing power has been improving exponentially.

What was breakthrough technology like 135 years ago? Let’s return to the dawn of audio recording. Here is the voice of Alexander Graham Bell – yes, the man associated with the invention of the telephone, speaking on a recording cylinder.

What we just presented is the concluding part of a four minute recording made on April 15, 1885. In the recording Bell recites a not very exciting litany of numbers. Continue reading