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Monday, 3 August 2009

Ace Frehley... Yes, THE Ace Frehley wears BathroomWall

ACE FUCKING FREHLEY is wearing a BathroomWall T-shirt. One of the guys that made me fall in love with rock n' roll is standing centre stage as guest of all-star rock n' roll jam band, Camp Freddy and he, the man that gave Kiss a heart and soul; the man that set an entirely new standard for stage craft and performance; the guitarist 100% responsible for all of Kiss' finest moments (Love It Loud excepted); the space man that influenced a whole generation of guitarists is WEARING a Keith Richards Dr Keith's Rock N' Roll Pharmacy T-shirt that I designed. Rock N' Roll All Nite. Do You Love Me? Too right I do Ace.... YOU RULE.

On stage with Ace are Camp Freddy, which tonight are Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver, The Cult & Guns N' Roses), Steve Stevens (loads of people, but most famous as Billy Idol's guitarist), Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction), Billy Morrisson (The Cult, Ginger Wildheart's solo band).

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Monday, 1 December 2008

General Rock Stuff

Ahh, less than a week after Axl Rose destroyed the status quo (without capital letters) by actually doing something a normal for a musician and releasing an album, things have returned to back to the way we have come to expect them to be with old Waxy doing weird rock star stuff. No, I am not talking about him still refusing to give interviews or still refusing to make a video for any of the tracks on the new album, but because he is threatening to sue Dr Pepper for not giving away enough free cans and for abusing his 'reputation'. By that I assume he means that he means his reputation for be a loon will be tarnished be being associated with a can of fizzy pop? I dare say if Dr Pepper had been offering cans of virgin vampire piss or the distilled milk of the Amazonian tree frog, then all would be OK?

In sort of more related Axl news, everyone's favourite capitalist demon, Mr Gene $immon$ has told a recent conference that "if you are not on stage at 9, then you are a bitch". OK, so he didn't use the words "Rose" or "Axl", but is was both obvious and funny all the same. Not so funny is that $immon$ has promised the world a new Kiss album in 2009. Please no, just a proper European tour, but please God, no new album - otherwise they will feel the need to play tracks from it.

If the thought of a new Kiss album isn't sad enough then there is actually some genuinely sad news in that former Little Angels, Cult, Page & Plant etc drummer Michael Lee has died aged just 39. There is still no cause of death being published, so we can only assume that the family want to keep it private - which is something we should obviously respect. A quality drummer and by all accounts a fine chap too. Very sad and our thoughts are with his family.

Oh yeah, I hadn't mentioned that the Faces are reforming. Now I couldn't give a rats ass about most of the reformed nostalgia acts, but to paraphrase the Michigan Loon, Ted Nugent.... I would drag my dick through broken glass for that one.

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Friday, 24 October 2008

In defence of Axl Rose

Are we supposed to be excited about the fact (a strange word to be associated with GnR, I know) that Chinese Democracy is about to surface after 15 years? Every fibre of my rock n’ roll soul is telling me to say, “Fuck it, beyond caring.” But for some bizarre reason I am actually excited about it. Maybe it is borne from the same sense of curiosity that makes people slow down to look at car crashes? I have so far resisted the opportunity to listen the leaked tracks, just like I don’t want to know what I am getting for Christmas. Axl is going to surprise us and let’s face it, when was the last time a rock star did anything surprising? I hope it is great, but if it’s not I won’t care as the release of Chinese Democracy has nothing to do with music and is all about myth, legend and rock stars doing weird shit.

So many people have a pop at Axl about the legitimacy of calling the band Guns N’ Roses when it is pretty much just an Axl solo project and that it is simply not Guns N’ Roses without Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven. But is that really fair? I am a huge fan of Slash, Duff is a star and Izzy was always my personal favourite, but it is Axl that created the mythology. Appetite For Destruction was of course just as much about Slash’s guitar tone and Izzy’s vibe as it was Axl’s vocals, yet as the years rolled on Slash’s solo projects sold poorly and only hardcore fans showed to gigs, Izzy is what is known as ‘big in Japan’, Duff’s really cool Loaded project sadly drew little but apathy, while the train wreck of Adler’s Appetite struggled to sell out Camden Underworld (for those that don’t know the place, imagine you bedroom…. Put a bar at one end, a stage at the other and drown the floor in piss). Even when Duff and Slash teamed up for Velvet Revolver they were still no more than a theatre sized band. I like Velvet Revolver and thought the first album was pretty damn good, while they certainly performed wonders live. Yet Axl can show up with a bunch of guys he has just grabbed off the street and he can headline the Download Festival. I saw Velvet Revolver a couple of times and had no problem getting tickets. They shows eventually sold out, but not so fans couldn’t get in if they really wanted. Yet I had to pull serious favours from friends and contacts to get in to see Guns N’ Roses at Hammersmith in 2006 (or was it 2007?). Why? It is because as much as every rocker in the world loves Slash and will tell you that he is the person that they would most like to hang out with, he is not a mystery. Duff is a gnarly old punk, but you get the feeling that if you rocked up at his house with a bunch of Stooges bootlegs he would invite you in for a beer. But Axl…. Axl Rose is a mysterious rock star. He is a rock star of the old school. He is just who he is and genuinely doesn’t care what the world thinks. Slash writes a book and treads carefully around everything, and he does so because he is a great bloke and because he is a fine enough human being to care what people think of him and indeed the people he is writing about. Axl on the other hand hasn’t written a book because he doesn’t give a shit what you think.

We live in a world where we know everything about everyone, a celebrity obsessed culture where nothing is a mystery. So when a rock star comes on like a later day Howard Hughes we should celebrate him and be thankful that he is there.

No one really knows the truth about the recording of Chinese Democracy, yet thanks to the Spinal Tap qualities of Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster we know EVERYTHING about them. It destroyed any mystic and left pretty much no one with any respect for Lars (hey, we do a Kirk Hammett T-shirt, a James Hetfield T-shirt and a Cliff Burton T-shirts, but do you see one for Lars?). Which one do you want from your rock stars? To be the aliens from another planet full of intrigue and mystery or a bunch of fuck-ups about whom nothing is now left to the imagination?

The world needs rock stars that do weird shit. We need them to lord it over us from their Malibu mansions. I want to believe that our icons really do keep the bones of Sharon Tate in a pickling jar and that they bathe only in a secret blend of cobra milk and marmite. People are shocked and get all moralistic about Pete Dogherty being in court on drug charges. I am appalled to, but not because he is a junky, but because he is so public and crass about it. I want rock stars to be off of their tits if that what makes them produce their best work (are you listening Eric Clapton?) not to be scrabbling around with the general public.

So forget giving Axl are hard time (not that he gives a toss). Forget telling us that it is not the ‘Real’ Guns N’ Roses (as as much as you might love the others, Axl is who actually counts… that said, I would dearly love to at least see Slash return). Stop telling us that the tracks you have so far heard are crap or for that matter that they are great. Because none of this matters. All that matters is that at last a rock star has come to save us from banality. Long live Axl and long may he remain the weirdest guy this side of Michael Jackson.

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