I’ve finally finished the first of a small limited edition as a tribute to David Bowie. Each one is cast using a mould taken from a life mask made in late 1974 or early 1975 for the film, “The Man Who Fell To Earth”.
They’re cast in resin plaster and allowed to cure for 5 days prior to being gilded with 25 – 30 sheets of 23.5 carat, heavy gold leaf. A process that takes about 15 hours to complete. Finally, they’re given a protective coating of varnish to ensure the gold leaf isn’t damaged.
Not surprisingly, I’ve decided to call the edition, “Golden Years”. The finished product is a museum grade piece that makes a stunning exhibit and conversation piece. Further details can be found on Rockmine’s main site at: http://www.rockmine.com/rockmall/goldenyears.html
It’s been a difficult time for lovers of rock music with Lemmy, David Bowie and Glen Frey passing recently. On a personal note, a friend suffered two heart attacks on December 26th and it’s coming up the the first anniversary of my wife’s death.
These events have made me realise that I carry way too much baggage with me. I have a house and a storage container filled with books and music papers going back to the late 1950s. If anything were to happen to me, I would leave my friends and family the onerous task of disposing of an vast archive accumulated over more than 30 years.
To that end, my New Year Resolution is a simple one – get rid of my clutter! That means the archive in physical form. I’ve spent the last few years digitising my music paper library, so why do I still need the paper copies?
I’m currently in France and will be returning within a week to start putting papers online. Until then, you can view the copies I have here: Music paper Library. I’ll happily accept requests for complete years or single copies.
In the meantime, to whet your appetite, here are some NMEs featuring Bowie covers from the early and mid 1970s which I’ll soon have available for sale. Clicking on anyone will give you larger images to flick through.
You can enquire about copies via the comments here or by email to email@example.com
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Sunday, 8th February):
1946. Alfredo Fito (Canned Heat) born Adolpho De La Parra in Mexico City, Mexico.
1963. Shane Fenton is pelted with eggs when he appears at a lunchtime rock ‘n’ roll session at the Lyceum Ballroom in The Strand, London. Fenton was a last minute replacement for Jess Conrad and was miming when the eggs started to fly.
1980. David Bowie‘s marriage to Angie ends as their divorce is finalised today. David gets custody of their son, Zowie (now calling himself Joe). Angie gets a cash settlement of £ 30,000. She’s also telling the world that she expects to make another £ 100,000 by writing her memoirs!
1997. The New Edition reunion tour runs into problems in Los Angeles. Bobby Brown fails to show for the gig claiming he has flu and couldn’t perform. If that wasn’t enough, Ronnie Devoe walked off stage during the set after seeing his uncle, the group’s manager Brooke Payne, collapse with chest pains in the wings. Devoe accompanied his uncle to hospital where he was checked over before being discharged to rest at home.
2008. Later… With Jools Holand. (BBC-2, U.K.) Mayra Andrade; Morrissey; Ida Maria; British Sea Power and Joe Brown. Morrissey performs four tracks. Here he is with one of them, “All You Need Is Me”.
1973. Max Yasgur, the farmer on whose land Woodstock was staged, dies of a heart attack in a Florida hospital.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 28th October):
1941. Hank B. Marvin (The Shadows) born Brian Rankin in Newcastle, Northumberland.
1990. Six people are arrested and a number of fans injured when a riot breaks out after The High call a halt to their gig at Newcastle University. Singer John Matthews left the stage after almost collapsing during the second song. The rest of the band played a 15 minute instrumental version of “Bombay Mix” but Matthews wasn’t well enough to return and the crowd decided to make their own entertainment.
1965. Eric Burdon (The Animals) is arrested by police at his Chelsea home for failing to appear in court to answer a summons elleging that he did not pay import duty on a camera. He is bailed to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on November 1st.
1997. David Bowie is named Britain’s richest rock star with a fortune of $ 917 million according to “Business Age”. A $ 55 million Wall Street bond issue secured on the star’s back catalogue helped push Bowie past Paul McCartney for the first time.
1972. Beat Club (WDR, West Germany) 81: Ike & Tina Turner, Everly Brothers, Grease Band, Byrds, Mick Abrahams, Manassas, Heads Hands & Feet, James Taylor, Three Dog Night. Here are Manassas with “Hide It So Deep”
1991. R&B vocalist Billy Wright (“The Prince Of Blues”) dies from a pulmonary embolism in Atlanta, Georgia aged 73.
First of all, I have to point out that the Newcastle connection in three of today’s entries was totally unintentional. If you noticed it, I’m sorry, there are no prizes!
Having done a slightly longer rant than normal in babble I pressed the publish button about 20 minutes ago and lost everything. I have taken the added precaution of saving this one a couple of times.
As if I haven’t got enough blogs, I am seriously considering another. This time concentrating on memorabilia; both my own and other interesting items I come across. Partly, it’s as a result of listing some new additions to Rockmine’s main site and still not finding them on the search engines. Whether this was down to the spiders giving up on me while I was having a major sulk and not posting remains to be seen. Anyway, those days are behind me and I’m full of positive thinking now!
One thing I am surprised by is the lack of interest in the Fillmore blog. I know I’ve only got one year up but it’s one of the most famous venues in the world with an array of astonishing bands. maybe that’s also down to the spiders.
To try and get a handle on what is happening with the spiders, I’m going to do another of my blatant plugs. If you don’t want to see it, look away now.
Here are three of the most interesting items for sale on Rockmine just now:
Kate Bush – Cathy.Privately published in 1986 by Kate’s brother John Carder Bush. This really is a beautiful book and almost impossible to find. Back in 2001, Future Publishing, the magazine group were keen to buy me and the archive. It even got to the point of me being flown down to meet the board and have a formal offer made but the day of the meeting their share price fell 25% and it never happened. I digress, as usual. Mick Wall, who was then editor of Classic Rock had come to see the archive. When he was browsing through it, he saw this book and was very keen that the magazine reprint some of it. Unfortunately, that never happened. It’s a pity as many fans will never get the chance to see these wonderful shots.
George Harrison – Konnichiwa. The rarest Beatle related book EVER made? George Harrison commissioned 30 to give as personal gifts on a concert tour of Japan.
Derek Taylor – Fifty Years Adrift. Probably the best Beatles-related book ever written. 23 years after it was published, normal copies of this are extremely hard to find and always very expensive. This is not part of the limited edition and is neither numbered nor signed. A real rarity!
For more on the collectable rock books available for sale on Rockmine, click here.
Finally, on the subject of collectable books, I’ll be adding a true gem to Rockmine in the next day or so. A copy of Pink Floyd‘s “Shine On” signed on the title page in three different pens by David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 12th August):
1951. August Darnell (Kid Creole) born Thomas August Darnell Browder in Montreal, Canada.
1971. The Edgar Broughton Band who had planned to give a free concert in Brighton today, are escorted by police to the edge of town. The town’s corporation had refused to allow the event to take place but the band and a crowd of 400 turned up, hoping it would go ahead. When they reached the town limit, the group asked police if they could play on the downs but their request was refused. The group and some fans then became abusive. Lorry driver Keith George Landells refused to drive his lorry away. It had been intended as the stage on which the group would play. He was arrested and charged with obstruction. He’ll appear in court tomorrow along with eight others arrested on similar charges.
1998. Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) is sentenced to three months in a drug treatment programme at the Impact Drug And Alcohol Treatment Center in Port Hueneme after pleading guilty to felony heroin possession. Superior Court Judge Paul Fidler also placed the singer on three years probation during which time he will have random drug tests.
1988. Edinburgh rockers The Cateran have a near fatal crash on their way to London for a gig at the Fulham Greyhound. A tyre blows, flipping their van three times and off the road. Drummer Andy Milne and roadie Alec McLeod are admitted to hospital after being thrown out the back of the van. They are later released having only suffered broken arms. The van and all the band’s gear is a write-off. Guitarist Cameron Fraser is charged by police with carrying too many passengers.
2002. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC, U.S.A.) Show #2320. David Bowie and Moby. Here they are with “Cactus”. 2m 56s.
1990. Roy Williamson, half of The Corries folk duo and writer of “Flower Of Scotland”, dies at his home in Forres. He had undergone emergency surgery earlier in the year to remove a brain tumour but treatment was unable to hold back the cancer which killed him.
Yesterday was spent trying to find premises in Nairn to stage the memorabilia exhibition that’s been bumped from “The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema Of Dreams”. It was very much a case of following every lead and tapping the local knowledge of Steve who seems to be general handyman at the ballroom. There’s a wonderful shop literally across from the Ballerina that would be ideal but its though the owner is in hospital and trying to find someone who could make a decision as to whether it could be used was a real problem.
A chance remark about The Beatles playing the ballroom by a local gift shop owner to someone working there led me to him and then on to a pub which shares the same cleaner as the shop. My phone number was passed on but I’m still waiting for “Margaret” (which is the only name I have) to get back to me.
Today, I think I’ll work the phone and see if I can find a local solicitor who may help. I did manage an hour in the local library sifting through the microfiches of The Nairnshire Telegraph which was a mine of information and gig adverts. I came away contented, with a complete listing for 1966 which had eluded me so far.
Whatever happens, I think I’ll be hosting a virtual exhibition/memorabilia sale on Rockmine’s site. As a back up, I got back to the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin and asked if they were still interested in the idea of exhibiting there. Despite there being a problem with insurance, it seemed there was an obvious solution – I sit in during opening hours. They said “Yes”.
It seems there’s a variety of possibilities and with Nairn’s festival swinging into life on Friday, I don’t have much time to make up my mind. I will, however, keep you posted.
As I mentioned above, The Beatles did play Nairn. It was May 27th, 1960 and they were backing Johnny Gentle. For some of the gigs on this small tour, they were advertised as The Silver Beetles but for Nairn they were only described as Johnny Gentle’s band as you’ll see from the advert above.
This advert has puzzled me for a while. The Regal was at the other end of Nairn from the Balllerina Ballroom. Its site is now a Somerfield supermarket. Somehow, I’ve got it into my head that the Regal may have been the first home to promoter Albert Bonici’s events in Nairn and possibly the original site for the Ballerina but no-one I’ve spoken to can confirm this. I was given the name of a contact at the local planning office who was a musician back then and would be able to confirm the story.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 5th August):
1959. Pete Burns (Dead Or Alive) born Pete Jozeppi in Port Sunlight, Merseyside.
1980. David Bowie starts a three week run as “The Elephant Man” at Chicago’s Blackstone Theater.
1973. The Rolling Stones‘ producer, Jimmy Miller suffers the loss of at least £ 75,000 of studio gear when the Mercer Arts Center in New York (which houses Jimmy Miller Productions) collapses into a pile of rubble. The hotel next door collapses at the same time and although two people are killed, recent Rolling Stones Records signing, Kracker, who are staying there, escape unhurt.
1983. David Crosby is sentenced to five years in jail by Judge Pat McDowell in Dallas, Texas after being found guilty of possessing cocaine and carrying a gun into a bar. His lawyers lodge an instant appeal and he is released on bail.
1965. Where The Action Is (U.S.A.) The Byrds; Jewel Akens; Linda Scott; Steve Alaimo. Here are The Byrds with “All I Really Want To Do”. 2m 02s. The quality of this clip is probably the poorest I’ve ever included but its a real rarity.
1978. Pete Meadon, The Who‘s first manager and writer of “Zoot Suit” dies of barbiturate poisoning at his parents’ home in London.
Regular readers will know I’ve been struggling since April to stage a rock and pop memorabilia exhibition at the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin. In the 1960s it was one of Scotland’s busiest and best known venues for the hundreds of bands who constantly toured the U.K. The Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd were among the star names that played there. I was in Elgin yesterday, fully intending to have one last go at rescuing the exhibition but ended up driving another half hour west to Nairn.
Nairn was home to another venue run by Albert Bonici, the Elgin promoter who’d put The Fabs and all the others on. The Ballerina Ballroom (as it was then called), which played host to The Who, Cream, Pink Floyd et al., has lain empty for years until recently when Nairn based Hollywood actress, Tilda Swinton decided to re-open the venue and stage a film festival there. The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema Of Dreams festival lasts 8 1/2 days, starting August 15th.
It was easy to find, driving off the main road to Edinburgh, turning left for the town centre and straight into the High Street. A few hundred yards later, I passed it. I found a parking space and walked back. The doors weren’t locked, so I just walked in. There I found Tilda’s husband, the artist and playwright, John Byrne. I explained my troubles with the Ballerina’s sister venue and he instantly showed me a huge ante-room off the main ballroom with large unobstructed walls and agreed it was a great idea and a perfect adjunct to the film festival.
So, now I’ve got 10 days to promote and create the exhibition. I’m heading back to the ballroom this morning with some of the pieces I’m planning to hang and get some images for tomorrow’s blog. My plan is to replicate the real exhibition with a virtual version online. Sadly, I’d spent a lot of time researching the bands who played the Two Red Shoes and now I’m going to have to redo that for the Ballerina. I loved the idea of boards with gig adverts, reviews and listings to spark the memories of those who’d attended them.
Anyway, enough of what’s to be done. I love ferreting through old newspapers, so I can’t complain. Click on the film festival link above for full details. For some background to the festival, there’s a really great article from The Independent dated July 23rd here.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Sunday 22nd June):
1947. Howard Kaylan (The Turtles) born Howard Lawrence Kaplan in New York.
2001. As R&B singer Lil’ Mo leaves San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre, she’s attacked by a man who smashes a champagne bottle into her head. Mo had been performing in the theatre at a concert given by radio station KMEL. She was taken to hospital where she needed 22 stitches in her face and head. Her assailant escaped.
1981. Mark David Chapman (26) appears in Manhattan Supreme Court accused of murdering John Lennon. Despite protests from his lawyers who advised him to plead not guilty, by reason of insanity, Chapman pleads guilty. Judge Dennis Edwards, presiding, sets a date of August 24th for sentencing. Chapman’s lawyer, Jonathan Marks, said that earlier in the month his client had two conversations with God – one on June 8th and the other on June 10th. Since then, it had become impossible for him to “have any meaningful dialogue” with Chapman. He went on to tell the court, “I do not believe Mr. Chapman is capable of listening to my advice”.
2000. Hamilton Jordan, Chief Of White House Staff when Jimmy Carter was in office, tells an audience at West Virginia University that the president used to get nuisance calls from Elvis Presley. It seems “The King” was excited at having another Southern boy in the top job and liked to keep in touch. Trouble was Presley was “usually pretty loaded” and wouldn’t notice if Carter handed the phone to anyone else he could find.
1996. Rockpalast (WDR, Germany) Placebo; Crown Of Thorns; Frank Black; Heather Nova; Pulp; Iggy Pop; Bad Religion; David Bowie (Loreley St. Goarshausen) Here’s David Bowie with, “The Voyeur”.
1969. Judy Garland is found dead by her fifth husband, Mickey Deans, at the couple’s home in Cadogan Lane, Chelsea, London. Initial tests rule out a drug overdose or cirrhosis of the liver.
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday 19th June):
1948. Nick Drake born in Rangoon, Burma.
1984. Michael Jackson is denounced by the Kremlin for having sold out his black roots and being a puppet of the Reagan administration.
1990. Adam Franklin (Swervedriver) is arrested and charged with causing an affray after an incident with a bouncer after the band’s gig at London’s Borderline Club which leaves him with several broken teeth and facial bruising. He spends a night in police cells before being released in the morning. Due to his injuries he can barely speak. As a result the band cancel the rest of their U.K. tour.
In The Press
1976. Seventeen year old scribe, Steven Morrissey hits the big time when he gets a letter published in Melody Maker and New Musical Express about The Sex Pistols concert on June 4th in Manchester. Here’s the letter:
“I PEN this epistle after witnessing the infamous Sex Pistols ‘in concert’ at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. The bumptious Pistols in jumble sale attire had those few that attended dancing in the aisles despite their discordant music and barely audible audacious lyrics, and they were called back for two encores. The Pistols boast no inspiration from the New York / Manhattan rock scene, yet their set includes “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone” a number believed to be done almost to perfection by the Heartbreakers on any sleazy New York night, and the Pistols’ vocalist/exhibitionist Johnny Rotten‘s attitude and self-asserted “love us or leave us” approach can be compared to both Iggy Pop and David JoHansen in their heyday.
Not to mention the fact that the Pistol’s manager is the legendary Malcolm MacClaren who has had close connections with the New York Dolls. The Sex Pistols are very New York and it’s nice to see that the British have produced a band capable of producing atmosphere created by the N.Y. Dolls and their many imitators, even though it may be too late. I’d love to see the Pistols make it. Maybe then they will be able to afford some clothes which don’t look as though they’ve been slept in.” – STEVE MORRISEY, Stretford, Manchester
1980. Musikladen (ZDF, Germany) 54. A la Carte – Do wah diddy diddy; Gibson Brothers – Mariana; The Days – Teacher, teacher; Oscar Harris – Song for the children; Matchbox – Midnite dynamos; Jona Lewie – Kitchen at parties; Jimmy Ruffin – Hold on to my love; Paul McCartney – Coming up (Video); Pretenders – Brass in pocket; Marianne Faithful – Broken English; Roxy Music – Over you; Lipps Inc. – Funkytown; Johnny Cash – Sunday morning coming down (Oldie: 1972); Showaddywaddy – Always & ever. Here’s Marianne Faithful.
2002. Frank “Skip” Candelon, ex-lead singer of Turning Point is found dead in his New Jersey home from a suspected drug overdose. The event is announced by the band’s web site which also says, “the family wishes the details of Skip’s death to remain private”.
I’ve finally got some of Rockmine’s music film posters up for sale on-line. They’ve been sitting in drawers and portfolios since they were last taken to a memorabilia/record fair in Paris back in 1995! They’re all originals, sent out to cinemas to promote the movie. Here are direct links to them:
From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Friday, 6th June):
1944. Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream) born in West Berlin.
1975. The Movies are injured in a rail crash near Nuneaton on their journey from London to Glasgow to support Joan Armatrading. All the band members receive minor injuries but bass player, Durban Laverne undergoes surgery at Nuneaton Manor Hospital.
2002. Chris Gratton, tour manager for Limp Bizkit tells an inquest in Sydney, Australia that concert promoters were to blame for the death of a fifteen-year-old fan during a concert last year. Jessica Michalik died after suffering a heart attack during a crowd crush while Limp Biskit performed at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney on January 26, 2001.
Gratton said that the promoters failed to control the “absolute crowd mayhem” and that in 12 years on tour he had “never, ever seen something so frightful”. He went on to say that the death would have been avoided had promoters stopped the show but security staff did nothing when a crowd of 50 people collapsed yards from the stage.
The tour manager aslo rejected claims that the band’s front man, Fred Durst, aggravated and provoked the crowd by screaming obscenities at them. Durst is scheduled to give evidence on June 17th, via video link from Los Angeles.
1992. David Bowie and his wife Iman have their wedding blessed at a church service in Florence, Italy. They were married in a civil service last month.
2003. Rockpalast (WDR, Germany) Iron Maiden; Zwan; The Cardigans; Maná; Lifehouse; The Donnas; Murderdolls; Reamonn; Silverchair; The Hives; The Dandy Warhols; Die Happy; Blackmail; M.I.A; Joachim; Whyte Seeds (Rock Am Ring, Nürburgring). Here are Iron Maiden with, “The Clansman”.
1991. Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz dies of liver cancer in Malibu, California, aged 64.
1910. Blues guitarist T-Bone Walker born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in Linden, Texas.
1969. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull are arrested at Mick’s house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London. The couple are taken to Chelsea police station where they are charged with possessing cannabis before being released on £ 50 bail each. They are due to appear in Marylebone Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.
1998. Journalist Belissa Cohen files a lawsuit against Courtney Love at Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit follows an incident last month when Cohen tried to take a photograph of Love at a fashion show they were attending. Before she was able to snap her picture, Courtney is alleged to have grabbed Cohen’s hair, kneed her in the groin and hit her in the face.
It’s alleged that after the incident, Courtney said, “I just hit Belissa Cohen, and it felt so good”. The suit seeks undisclosed damages.
1971. David Bowie‘s wife Angie gives birth to a son, Duncan Zowie Haywood Bowie in Bromley hospital.
2004. Later… With Jools Holland (BBC-2, U.K.) 19.4. Ash; P.J. Harvey; Kanye West; John Martyn; Amp Fiddler; Tinariwen. Here’s John Martyn with “Johnny Too Bad”.
1981. Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams (born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs) dies of cancer in Dyrham, North Carolina aged 71.
I was pleased to see just how many clips YouTube had of John Martyn – 375 in total. The man has always been one of our most gifted and underrated singer-songwriters but suffers from what seems to be a huge self-destruct streak. I often wonder how much he’s haunted by the spectre of Nick Drake with whom he shared a room at Cambridge.
John was Chris Blackwell’s first white signing to Island Records but somehow he was eclipsed by the tragedy of Drake’s death and subsequent elevation of Nick to folk deity. Life hasn’t been a bed of roses for John and the loss of a leg in recent years may well have destroyed lesser men but he is a giant in British music. If you don’t know about him, he need to!
Everyone who’s ever met John will have an anecdote about him but mine has a piece of video tape to go with it. John had been playing Edinburgh’s Usher Hall where he was one of the acts during an Ethiopia benefit. He was as they say, “tired and emotional” and decided that he’d like to join in with the final act. Closing the show were Jack Bruce, Rory Gallagher, Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart.
I was standing in Radio Clyde’s mobile recording studio outside listening to the live sound. All of a sudden, all we could hear was distortion on the guitar channel. It was John, he’d plugged himself in to Rory’s amp and was starting to join in. There was a monitor in the mobile and I could see John standing at the back of the stage. A moment later, the sound went dead and John was lying on the floor. Rory’s roadie had dealt with the sound problem with immediate force. I’m sure I can remember seeing John’s feet disappearing as someone dragged him out of view but my memory may not be accurate.
What I need to do is dig out the video and maybe even think about making it the 376th John Martyn clip on YouTube!