Rock & Roll Myths

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
The 10 greatest rock'n'roll myths

From strange deaths to blood transfusions and dubious fish-related practices, it's time to debunk the tallest tales

Graeme Thomson
Sunday February 20, 2005
The Observer

1: 'Mama' Cass choking on a sandwich

When 'Mama' Cass Elliot died in her London flat in 1974 at the age of 32, a hasty postmortem suggested she had choked on her own vomit while chomping a sandwich in bed. At 5' 5" and 240 pounds, it was easy to believe that - like a female version of Monty Python's Mr Creosote - Elliot had simply gambled on one mouthful too many. Not so. The coroner's report after her death concluded that Cass died of massive heart failure, brought on by obesity and the strains of crash dieting. Though a sandwich may well have been found at her bedside, the autopsy revealed no evidence of food in her trachea. Tragically, it appears she died peckish.

2: Marilyn Manson starring in 'The Wonder Years'

This fuels every parent's fear that the most innocuous geek-child can go stone bad. Did the young Brian Warner (aka Mr Manson) play Paul Pfeiffer, goofy pal of Kevin Arnold, in the schmaltzy rites-of passage TV show? 'It's kind of irrelevant whether these rumours are true or not,' quoth Manson. Well actually, Marilyn, it's not irrelevant to Josh Saviano, who really did play Paul Pfeiffer.

3: The Beatles' spliff in Buckingham Palace

Sometime after our four young heroes bounced into the Palace in October 1965 to receive their MBEs, John Lennon claimed they'd shared a toke in the loos. Not the most reliable witness - he once claimed he wrote 'Eleanor Rigby' - Lennon later 'fessed up, admitting 'we'd have been far too scared to do it'. McCartney, meanwhile, remembers simply having a 'sly ciggie' with the chaps to calm nerves.

4: Keef's blood transfusion

Keen to clean up for a European tour, Richards reportedly replaced his poisoned old claret with an infusion of healthy blood in a Swiss clinic in September 1973. In reality, it was probably only haemodialysis, which filters impurities from the bloodstream. 'Someone asked me how I cleaned up, so I said I had my blood completely changed,' Richards said. 'I was fucking sick of answering that question, so I gave them a story.'

5: Stevie Nicks having cocaine blown up her bum

It's tempting to believe Fleetwood Mac's queen bee followed her addiction to such deliciously depraved depths - but sadly, untrue. 'That's absurd,' said Nicks in 2001. 'Maybe it came about because people knew I had such a big hole in my nose. Let's put a belt through my nose, because that's how big the hole is.' So she just talks through her arse, then. Maybe.

6: Robert Johnson's pact with the devil

Famously, Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to play guitar like a demon. You want prima facie evidence? How about 'Me and the Devil Blues', and the fact that young Robert was a poor guitarist whose improvement was remarkable. Actually, he used that little known voodoo technique 'practice', and was tutored by a bluesman called Ike Zimmerman. Not Satan.

7: Jacko and the elephant man

Reports surfaced in 1987 that Wacko had offered $50,000 for the remains of the Victorian patient Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man. The offer may have been genuine, but Jackson doesn't own the bones. Merrick's organs were destroyed in an air raid on the Royal London Hospital during the Second World War. Casts of his head, an arm and a foot survived, but were not up for sale.

8: Sid checks in at Heathrow

Punk romantics believe that Sid's mum scattered his ashes over Nancy's grave in Philadelphia. It's more likely that Ma Vicious arrived back at Heathrow with his remains. Malcolm McLaren claims she knocked them over in the arrivals lounge; hence the fanciful myth that Sid's essence still circulates, wafting through the air vents and moving among the travellers.

9: Richey Edwards lives

Ten years on, Richey's disappearance remains imbued with a Lucan-like mythology by those who love a good mystery. Given the extent of his problems - self-harm, alcoholism, anorexia - and the fact that numerous sightings have amounted to nothing, it's safe to assume he's probably no longer alive, sadly. But don't expect the rumours to evaporate.

10: Led Zep and the mud shark

'A pretty young groupie with red hair was tied to the bed,' claimed Stephen Davis in Hammer of the Gods. 'Led Zeppelin proceeded to stuff pieces of shark into her vagina and rectum.' Not quite. Zep did catch sharks from the window of their hotel, but the pesce in question was actually a red snapper, while the perpetrator was road manager Richard Cole.

-----------------
Making the law - Graeme Thomson justifies his selection of rock mythologies

Sex, death, drugs, sharks, TV, elephants and the devil himself. Nothing sums up the ridiculous circus of rock'n'roll better than the mythology that both nourishes and devours it, vividly illustrating the impossible feats of self destruction and degradation we would have our 'rock gods' vicariously act out on our behalf.

The fact that Bill Wyman is an authority on the thorny questions of mechanical royalties and overseas tax shelters is all well and good but really, we just want to believe that Keef is a vampire. We might grudgingly acknowledge that Ringo Starr made a decent fist of narrating Thomas the Tank Engine, but it doesn't compete with John Lennon (metaphorically) blowing reefer smoke in the Queen's face. As John Ford once said: 'When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.'

In the end, I omitted the Adam and Eve of all rock'n'roll myths: that Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1966 and has subsequently been played by an impersonator, who was originally employed by The Beatles.

Why did I leave it out? For one, it would take a degree in Beatleology to adequately comprehend the various bewildering permutations; and anyway, it might just be true. Those listening to the bulk of McCartney's output from 1967 onwards (and yes, let's include the pretty tedious Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in that time-frame, as long as we can exclude 'Maybe I'm Amazed') could be forgiven for entertaining a little confusion on the matter.

Similarly, the tale of Marianne Faithfull and the Mars Bar is so well worn as to be practically dull. I think you'll find Led Zeppelin, or their road manager at least, had a slightly more lewdly imaginative take on that particular format. Or did he?
Source
 

Bokononist

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#2
Let's not forget Frank Zappa, who is reputed to have won a gross out competition on stage during one of his concerts. The would be winner was a man who dared to have a shit on stage, unbeatable until Zappa won by eating it...

Vigorously denied by Zappa in his autobiography.
 

fluffle9

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#3
i have heard that various people did not have their instruments plugged in for live performances (sid vicious, richey edwards).

some people claim that meg white from the white stripes is a real human woman, but that's just an urban legend. she is in fact a robot.
http://www.geocities.com/wilhelmina_wonka/ws.html
 

escargot

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#4
I heard that a female sculptor was making casts of rock stars' willies, for which she needed them 'interested' for the whole time it took the casting medium to set.

Of all her subjects, Jimi Hendrix had the most impressive member, and further, he needed no encouragement to sustain his 'interest' during the process.

I just shrug and say, so what? to 'legends' about famous people. Everyone does bizarre things in private. Richer people with stupid admirers probably get away with it more often.

Aha, Frank Zappa and the turd, now we know who REALLY did that. It was Divine, or so John Waters says. You can see Divine follow a poodle, pick up its crap and eat it in one of the fillums. Looks authentic.
The scene was considered so offensive by the BBC that the actual popping into the mouth of the morsel was blacked-out when I saw it about 15 years ago.
 
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Anonymous

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#5
That would be Cynthia Plaster Caster. I met her once, at a party where someone threw a vibrating dildo into an oven. The noise was deafening.

Edit:

Erm.. should warn that her page is full of penises. :oops:
 

Anome

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#6
escargot said:
Aha, Frank Zappa and the turd, now we know who REALLY did that. It was Divine, or so John Waters says. You can see Divine follow a poodle, pick up its crap and eat it in one of the fillums. Looks authentic.
Well, it was authentic. The main problem with shooting the scene was that the poodle wouldn't "produce". This resulted in them giving it an enema with a bottle they got from the hairdresser.

Pink Flamingos I believe it was.
 

OneWingedBird

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#7
There was the Rod Stewart and later Marc Almond UL about the stomach pump that revealed a prolific volume of semen.
 

elffriend

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#8
Ones I've heard:

Marianne Faithfull and the Mars bar!!!

U2 are members of the IRA, still believed to this day by my ex-husband, and he is a copper!!!!!!
 

JurekB

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#10
Elffriend said:
Ones I've heard:

U2 are members of the IRA, still believed to this day by my ex-husband, and he is a copper!!!!!!
The one I heard was that U2 were under a death threat from the IRA.
 

AsamiYamazaki

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#11
I remember Lemmy saying that he went to have a similar process to Keef's UL - full blood transfusion - only they turned him away saying that the lack of booze and nicotine in the clean blood would probably be such a shock to the system it would kill him.
 

ignatiusII

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#14
JurekB said:
Elffriend said:
Ones I've heard:

U2 are members of the IRA, still believed to this day by my ex-husband, and he is a copper!!!!!!
The one I heard was that U2 were under a death threat from the IRA.
I had the fortune of being backstage at a U2 concert in L.A. back in the mid-90's ( admit it, they USED to be a great band ) quietly observing the trappings of the rockstar life, when some half-drunk hanger-on mentioned something to Bono about fighting for 'the cause', and the 'dead boys back home' ( apparently in an attempt to gain favor with him ), and was immediately the recipient of a minute-long, obscenity-laced lecture about how both sides of the IRA conflict had f***ed up Ireland. After having been put in his place, and following profuse apologies from the offending fan, his pass was confiscated and he was quickly ejected from the room.
 

Stormkhan

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#15
Linked to the U2-IRA UL (how easy it is to slip into shorthand) is the nonsense of Clannad donating a percentage of profits to "the cause".
 

Bokononist

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#16
Megadeth played in Belfast once and someone convinced them to dedicate their version of Anarchy in the UK to the cause. Didn't go down too well.
 

MrRING

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#17
http://www.alicecoopertrivia.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/misc/thename.php

The Name
Many legends about how the name 'Alice Cooper' came about have been told through the years.

Here is the version given by Alice in 'Me Alice':

"The Nazz, it turned out, was already taken. This time we wanted a distinctive name, something that would draw attention to us but not a rock cliché. One boring January evening I said, "How about Alice Cooper?" and everybody said, "No, that's ridiculous." About half an hour later Dick Christian said, "What about that name, Alice Cooper?" But nobody even wanted to discuss it. I thought it was perfect. It was so American and so eerie at the same time. It had the same ring to it that Lizzy Borden did. I knew that if there was really an Alice Cooper somewhere chances were she was an ax murderer.

We forgot about it for a few days until Dick Christain dragged us all over to Alice Paxton's house. Both Charlie Carnal and Dick were friendly with Mrs. Paxton's daughter, who claimed her mother was a clairvoyant and could help us solve our problems. Alice Paxton also had her Ouija board, which she hadn't used in a few years, and we started asking it questions. I wasn't even working the board when we asked if there was a spirit in the room. There was.

The board spelled out the name Alice Cooper.

For three hours everyone drilled the board on Alice Cooper, and we came up with the following story (with a few additional details added by me over the course of some five thousand interviews):

In the early sixteen hundreds scientists and occultists became aware of a celectrial disturbance which seemed to have a strange concentrated effect on the British Isles. There was an odd feeling of unrest and suspicion in the countryside. In the midst of this general feeling of alarm, on February 4 (my birthday), 1623 (not my birthday), in Sussex, England, Alice Cooper was born.

She was the daughter of well-to-do parents and a very strange child. She seemed always to be listening to voices that no one else could hear, often smiling secretly as if she knew the answer to some cosmic joke.
Much of Alice's time was taken up with her sister Christine, who was three years older than she. Christine taught her magic, including the use of strange plants that grew in abundance in the forest, and the techniques of speaking ancient words of old that could make thunder roll and fire burn. On Alice's twelfth birthday her parents died in a mysterious fire, their charred bodies never recovered from the blazing house. One year later little Alice was to witness the death of her sister, Christine, who was accused of being a witch and burned at the stake by the villagers.
A week later little Alice herself was dead, poisoned perhaps by her own hand so she could join her sister Christine in the other world. She was only thirteen years old. Pretty good, huh? Well, it really worked at the time.

I was thrilled with the name, but Neal Smith was disgusted. He finally thought he had gotten into a group that was going to go somewhere, do something important, get him a Rolls-Royce and a mansion in the country and now we were changing our name to something stupid like Alice Cooper!


While apparently, there are elements of truth to the Ouija board story, much of it can be taken with a grain of salt. However, this story did serve the band very well and is still regularly quoted to this day.

The rumour about the Ouija board and the seance was only a story that they created to make the whole thing mystical.

Not exactly. The witch part of the story was fabricated. However, there are aspects of truth concerning the Ouija board (exactly what is still unclear to this day). The name Alice Cooper was something that Alice just came up with.
(Renfield, February & March 1997)
 

Leaferne

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#18
Nitpick: they didn't burn witches in England. Nice story otherwise.
 
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Anonymous

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#20
The Yithian said:
Mike Patton: Poo eater.
Add to this: Mike Patton: Hair-dryer saboteur?
Mike Patton: Darth Vader-Masked groupie despoiler?
Mike Patton: man who pissed in a shoe and drank it on stage?
Mike Patton: self-golden shower on-stage using a bottle of piss the crowd threw at him?

See also:
Jim Martin: Arrested for setting up a shooting range in a Hotel car park?
Bill Gould: Is he the man behind Brujeria?
Bill Gould: All his royalties from the first two albums were sent to a songwriter called Wilhemina Gould by mistake?
Puffy Bordin: Won $16,000 on the non-celeb "Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire"?
Roddy Bottum: First openly gay heavy metal star / dated Courtney Love weeks befor he came out?

Oh, and related to this:

Courtney Love: First 'permanent' vocalist in "Faith. No Man" (sic)?

Bob Kieth (of "Jim Martin's Behemoth") - Arrested by traffic police / broke ankle in surprisingly high-speed tractor chase?
 
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Anonymous

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#22
Rrose Selavy said:
Roddy Bottum: First openly gay heavy metal star
Wasn't that Rob Halford of Judas Priest?
So far as I know, although Halford was quite obviously gay, his sexuality was considered an "open secret" for years. That is to say, he only 'officially' and publically announced that he was gay in about the mid 1990s. Roddy has been out for most of his career, eg, since the mid 1980s.
 
A

Anonymous

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#23
Flick said:
The would be winner was a man who dared to have a shit on stage, unbeatable until Zappa won by eating it...
I've also heard Mike Patton did the same thing... :shock: Anyone else read/ hear of this?

BTW, why do people insist on calling music like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More "heavy metal"?? But then, why am I surprised, since Talking Heads was first classified as punk because the crits didn't know what else to call it...
 

Yithian

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#24
breathe said:
Flick said:
The would be winner was a man who dared to have a shit on stage, unbeatable until Zappa won by eating it...
I've also heard Mike Patton did the same thing... :shock: Anyone else read/ hear of this?

BTW, why do people insist on calling music like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More "heavy metal"?? But then, why am I surprised, since Talking Heads was first classified as punk because the crits didn't know what else to call it...
Patton: yes, see above!

Labels are lazy but Zeppelin aren't metal by any stretch and Faith No More have metal moments but it's selling them short to compare them with talentless thrashers. Great band.

Distorted guitars and loose blues structures with guitar solos seem to be enough to garner the metal tag...
 

DanTheGPI

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#26
breathe said:
Flick said:
The would be winner was a man who dared to have a shit on stage, unbeatable until Zappa won by eating it...
I've also heard Mike Patton did the same thing... :shock: Anyone else read/ hear of this?

BTW, why do people insist on calling music like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More "heavy metal"?? But then, why am I surprised, since Talking Heads was first classified as punk because the crits didn't know what else to call it...
According to Zappa's very readable Autobiography this never happened, but he does have a chapter on groupie stories from his years touring.
Led Zeppelin are considered one of the originators of Heavy Metal.
When Faith No More started they were a heavy metal-ish band and it tended to be metal heads who liked them.
 

amester

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#27
Boy, some of these ULs were fodder for the "all rock music is satanic" fundy books and lectures that I overheard as a teenager. What about the supposed meaning of KISS; namely, "Kings in Satan's Service?" I suspect urban legend but I'm not sure. Also, rumors kept circulating around my high school that Rush's name stood for something evil, but no one could ever articulate the acronym.
 
A

Anonymous

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#29
Dan The GPI said:
Led Zeppelin are considered one of the originators of Heavy Metal.
I know they're considered thus - my point is that they most certainly ain't.
Dan The GPI said:
When Faith No More started they were a heavy metal-ish band and it tended to be metal heads who liked them.
'Fraid I'll have to disagree on this as well. I worked with a girl about 15 years ago whom I was surprised liked FNM - when I said to her, "You don't look the type to like that sort of music", she responded with a resounding, "Well, what does a FNM fan look like?"
Touche.
I know lots of FNM fans who aren't into metal - including myself. We prefer to think of ourselves as into "Alternative Rock".
Sorry to be picky... ;)
 

DanTheGPI

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#30
breathe said:
Dan The GPI said:
Led Zeppelin are considered one of the originators of Heavy Metal.
I know they're considered thus - my point is that they most certainly ain't. I think its more than a lot of early metal bands were influenced by them.
Dan The GPI said:
When Faith No More started they were a heavy metal-ish band and it tended to be metal heads who liked them.
'Fraid I'll have to disagree on this as well. I worked with a girl about 15 years ago whom I was surprised liked FNM - when I said to her, "You don't look the type to like that sort of music", she responded with a resounding, "Well, what does a FNM fan look like?"
Touche.
I know lots of FNM fans who aren't into metal - including myself. We prefer to think of ourselves as into "Alternative Rock".
Sorry to be picky... ;)
If it weren't for people being picky what we have to talk about on a internet message board? :p
 
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