Eric Carr answered an ad in the “New York Times” and wound up in the group “Kiss”. The group was known for it’s outrageous stage act complete with Gene Simmon’s blood dripping foot-long tongue.The group was never seen in public without it’s trademark make-up. They chalked-up some FM airplay with tunes like “Strutter” and their signature tune “I Want To Rock-n-Roll All Night (and party everyday)”.In 1976 they released the classic two-album set “Kiss Alive”. The group made somewhat of a comeback with the M-TV generation X’ers sans make-up. Eric Carr died of cancer on September 24th,1991 at the age of 41.
Glen Buxton played lead guitar in Alice Cooper’s band. He co-wrote a number of their popular tunes. “Alice Cooper” broke new ground as one of the first shock-rock groups. Their first two albums , “Easy Action” and “Pretties For You” generated little interest. On the album cover for “Easy Action” they were all dressed in skirts. Although mild by today’s standards the name “Alice” (real name Vincent Furnier) caused quite a “stir”. In 1971 they released their breakthough album “Love It To Death” which included the hit single “I’m Eighteen”. The album boasted a wild looking cover with Alice sticking his thumb out thru the zipper like a penis. (Later releases had the thumb airbrushed out) Late that year they released perhaps their greatest album “Killer”. This album spawned the hit “Be My Lover”. It also had a tune entitled “Dead Babies”. The album ended with a mock hanging , but in concert for the “Killer” tour , Alice would actually walk up the gallows and get hanged. It was a sight to behold. The master of shock rock was at his finest. In 1972 they released “School’s Out”. The theme of course , centered around school and it’s trials and tribulations with a “West Side Story” rip-off of the “Sharks and The Jets” gang fight. The original album cover folded out to a school desk and came complete with a pair of panties around the record made of handi-wipe material. 1973 the group released “Billion Dollar Babies” which yielded “Elected” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. Although he claimed not to do drugs , Alice was pounding down the Budweiser in record porportions. By 1974’s “Muscle of Love” it was clear that something was wrong. The album came in a plain cardboard box ! No snakes, no wild mascara around the eyes, no babies, no nothing. The record failed to yield a single also !!!! This was the end of the original band. Alice’s later releases lacked the biting guitar the original band created. It also marked the beginning of the end for Alice who would end up in a sanitarium. Glen evenually turned away from music and spent his last years as a farmer in Mason City , Iowa. Glen Buxton died of pneumonia on October 19th, 1997 at the age of 49.
Paul Butterfield was a white harmonica player from the south side of Chicago. Paul Butterfield was considered the premier harmonica player of his time. In 1965 “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band” was released and remains a classic to this day. Caught up in sixties flower-power, subsequent releases strayed from the blues format and lacked the power and intensity of their debut album. The band also appeared at Woodstock, and their song “Love March” is featured on the soundtrack album. His death on May 4th, 1987 at the age of 44 was contributed to alcohol and drug abuse.
Cliff Burton was the bass player for Metallica. He fell victim to a “turn of an unfriendly card”. On September 27th, 1987 while traveling thru Europe on their tour bus, their tour manager decided to stop the constant bickering over the sleeping arrangements by drawing cards. Cliff Burton drew high card , the Queen of Spades, and chose the “Master Suite”. That very same day the bus slid off an icy road onto its side. While trying to climb out the window, the bus toppled over and crushed him to death.
Tim Buckley/Jeff Scott Buckley
father and son . Tim Buckley was a folk-rock singer of the sixties and seventies known for his haunting melodies. On June 29th of 1975 while partying at a friends house he snorted what he believed to be cocaine but was actually heroin and overdosed. He was 28 years old. His son Jeff Scott Buckley followed in his father’s footsteps, however, a little too closely. Jeff’s music ranged from folk to rock to funk and critics compared his voice to that of Van Morrison. In 1994 he released the album “Grace” which yeilded the alternative hit “Last Goodbye” which reached #19 on the Billboard charts. On May 29th of 1997, Jeff was in Memphis to record a new album when he disappeared while swimming in the Mississippi River. His body was found floating in the “Old Miss” six days later, dead at 30.
Roy Buchannan was one of rock’s great guitarists. He started out as a session player for various fifties groups and co-wrote “Suzie-Q” with Dale Hawkins. In the seventies he fronted a blues band and remained successful in the blues circuit. He was known for the shrilling, squealing, ear pericing high notes he ws able to produce from his Fender Telecaster. (Roy played a Fender Telecaster throughout his career). At one point he was asked to join “The Rolling Stones” but declined. He was arrested August 13th after a family fight at his home , in Reston, Virginia. The following day at 10 p.m.he hung himself in a police cell on his own shirt. He left behind a number of records which testify that he was a word class guitarist, capable of tones and techniques that other guitarists only dream of. he died at the age of 48.
Erik Braunn was a musical prodigy. In 1967 at the age of 17 he replaced Danny Weis as lead guitarist for the Los Angeles group “Iron Butterfly”. In 1968 “Iron Butterfly” broke new ground with the 17 minute side long song Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida. Erik is credited with creating the signature guitar riff. Another important feature of this song was the advent of the extended drum solo. Throughout the late sixties and and early seventies almost every rock band worth it’s salt would perform a song with an extended drum solo. Some of the best being Ginger Baker of Cream banging away on the 18 minute “Toad”, Pete Rivera bashing away on a 24 minute version of “Get Ready” and of course, the greatest pounder of them all. John Bonham on Led Zeppelin’s live version of “Moby Dick”. And let us not forget any of the famous Canned Heat Boogies.Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida sold 4 million copies and stayed on the charts for 140 weeks. Rock folklore has it that the song was actually “In The Garden of Eden” but when Doug Ingle was initially rehearsing the song he was so drunk no one could understand the lyrics. The best they could make out was “Inna-Gada-Da-vida”, so that was what was written on the demo. The album is often considered the first to go platinum. In 1969 Braunn quit citing “the pressures of stardom”. By 1970 “Iron Butterfly” was on the decline. Doug Ingle was looking like more of a junkie then a genius and new guitarist “Mike Pinera” formerly of “Blues Image” was brought in to revamp the band. They released “Metamorphosis” which was actually a decent album. This album was the first to feature the of use of “The Magic Bag” (or voice box).The voice box is best exemplified in the songs “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh and “Show me the way”, “Do you feel like we do” on “Frampton Comes Alive”. However the coffin on the back cover seemed to depict the future of the band, Dead. Little was heard of Erik after his departure from “Iron Butterfly”. In the mid seventies he participated in a brief reunion of the group. He died of heart failure on July 25th, 2003 at the age of 52.
Born Salvatore Bono, “Sonny” Bono started out as a songwriter. He wrote “Needles and Pins” which became a big hit for “The Searchers” during the British rock invasion of the mid-sixties. He met up with “Cher” and recognized her talent as a singer. He formed the duo “Sonny and Cher” and in 1965 hit it big with the number one world wide smash “I Got You Babe”, a song they would milk for the rest of their career. Although Sonny was a poor singer, Cher’s strength as a singer and cool silky sexy-sheik persona coupled with Sonny’s lovable mop-top image, they pulled it off. In 1967 they hit the charts again with “The Beat Goes On”. By the end of the sixties there hits had dried-up. In the early seventies they hosted a variety show which was very successful. They would close the show by singing “I Got You Babe” to their daughter Chastity Bono. Cher eventually grew tired of Sonny’s slave-driving demands and wanted out of the marriage. She finally wrangled a divorce out of Sonny and “went on with the show” but the gig fell apart a short time later. Cher went on to a successful music and film career while Sonny got involved in politics. He was elected mayor of Palm Springs, California and eventually congressman. On January 5th of 1998 while skiing in Heavenly , Nevada he crashed into a tree and was killed. Sonny Bono was 62 years old.
John Bonham was the ultimate definition of a rock drummer and the stalwart backbeat to Led Zeppelin, considered by many as the best rock group of all time. When the Yardbirds crashed and burned in 1968 Jimmy Page was left with the rights to the name and a string of concert dates to fulfill. Page first hooked up with session bassist John Paul Jones. After a couple of jams they backed Donovan on his “Hurdy Gurdy” Album. Page then began to hunt for a lead singer. Page tried to recruit Terry Reid of Procol Harum who declined the invo but recommended “Robert Plant”. So they set out to find this mysterious lead singer known as “The Mohican”. What they found in Plant was a powerful vocalist with incredible range and charismatic stage presence. Plant suggested John Bonham from his old Birmingham group “Band of Joy”. Bonham was a pounder, he worked construction most of his life and was very strong. He used large oversized drumsticks which punctuated his trademark booming blasts. The boys got together and were tinkering around trying to pick a song to play and settled on “train kept a rollin'”. By the end of the song everyone was completely astounded. They also reworked a Yardbirds tune called “I’m Confused” into “Dazed and Confused”. They played their first live debut at Surrey University on October 15th, 1968. The group then embarked on a tour of Scandinavia under the name “The New Yardbirds”. By the time they returned to England they were known as “Led Zeppelin”. (Coined by Keith Moon, who said “there going to go down like a lead zeppelin, although one rabid DEATH ROCK fan insists it was Jeff Beck who suggested the title while mulling around in the studio with Moon and Page). The band then signed on with Peter Grant , one of the most notoriously shrewd managers in the history of rock and roll. Grants deals would later make Zeppelin ( and himself) extremely rich. Grant wanted his boys to sign with “Atlantic” but Epic owned their contract, until a loop hole was discovered. Jimmy Page had never penned his name to the contract ! They recorded their debut album in 30 hours. Atlantic was floored by this new “power blues outfit” and Grant secured a lucrative world wide deal. Zep released their debut album in March of 1969 and with little or no promotion it had crawled into the top ten spot on Billboard within two months. The album contained reworkings of some Willie Dixon tunes plus the classics “Good Times Bad Times” and “Communication Breakdown”. Zeps first US tour was opening for the “Vanilla Fudge”. But Zep was soon to be headliners. In October of 1969 the boys released “Led Zeppelin II” and established themselves as bonifide superstars and gave birth to the term “heavy metal”. Led Zep II contained such classics as “Whole Lotta Love”,”Heartbreaker”, “Living Lovin’ Maid” and “The Lemon Song” and the Bonzo Bash “Moby Dick”. In October 1970 “Led Zeppelin III” was released, a collection of Crosby, Stills and Nash type tunes it left most Zep fans confused and pissed off, although it did contain the single “Immigrant Song”. At this point is when Zep shifted from the “power blues” format and began developing a new format. This format manifested itself with the release of November 71’s Led Zeppelin four. Although actually untitled it became known as the “ZOSO” album. Depending on your taste buds, “ZOSO” is considered Zeps finest. This is a matter of rock critic opinion of course. “ZOSO” also contained one of rocks greatest songs “Stairway To Heaven”. This and Skynyrd’s “Freebird” were the rock anthems of the 70’s. April 1973 saw the release of “Houses of the Holy” and the accompanying tour was filmed. The tour broke box office records previously set by the Beatles. In 1974 Zep formed it’s own label “Swan Song”. In March of 1975 Zep released the two record set “Physical Graffitti” which reached number one by August of 75. Personally I found it plodding and hard to listen to. Although I did make it through the whole thing once but it took 5 giant size magic mushrooms and a bottle of Jack. Ok..now back to the arts. The Zep machine began to wind down in 1975. Plant was sidelined with a back injury sustained in a car accident. The Zep party machine did not though, by now of course “Bonzo” had been hitting the sauce pretty good. In April of 1976 Zep released the disappointing “Presence”. Not even mushrooms could help this one. The resulting tour was canceled due to the death of Plant’s son Karac. GRIM REAPER MOMENT – The only time I saw Zep was during this tour. We made the trek up from Miami to Tampa in a 74 Mercury Montego listening to the 8-track “Fleetwood Mac Rumours”. By the time we got into Tampa Stadium it must of been 100 degrees. We got burned on Quaaludes, Mescaline and Pink THC. The chick I was with said she was going backstage and would be right back, I never saw her again. As soon as Zep came out to perform a big black cloud engulfed Tampa Stadium. They played three songs from an album I didn’t even like and it started pouring. although the rain subsided in 10 minutes Zep got into there limo’s and bolted. 70,000 people rioted. Bottles thrown everywhere, fist fights breaking out…while we were fleeing for our lives I stumbled across a couple fornicating in the mud. On the way back the guy sitting in the front passenger seat starting mooning passing vehicles. Close to Ft. Myers on highway 41 we all got arrested by Florida State Troopers. I guess the Zep bad karma at the time rubbed off a little on all of us.THE END OF A GRIM REAPER MOMENT In October of 1976 with the band in limbo they released “The Song Remains The Same” recorded during the 73 tour with accompanying rockumentary film. A two record set it contained overblown versions of Zep tunes. One whole side was “Dazed and Confused”. This kept the Zep fans at bay but internally disinterest was mounting in the band. “Bonzo” was actually into raising cattle but was more into raising the bottle and his alcohol binges were becoming more frequent. Led Zep was then inactive for a year and a half and Zep fans began to wonder if they would continue.Then in late 1978 the group began work on “In Thru The Out Door”. The record was mainly put together by Plant and Jones as Bonham and Page would rarely show-up. Released in August of 1979 “In Thru the Out Door” showed a mellower Zeppelin but overall was a decent album and garnered FM airplay with “In The Evening”,”Fool in The Rain” and “All of My Love”. Zep embarked on an European tour and were preparing for a US tour when on September 25th, 1980 “Bonzo” was found dead at Page’s house of what was described as asphyxiation,he inhaled his own vomit after excessive vodka comsumption. (rumour has it at over 30 shots). On December 4th, 1980 Jimmy Page released a statement that they could no longer continue as they were. John “Bonzo” Bonham was 32 years old.
Graham Bond was an early purveyor of the swinging London scene in the mid sixties. He followed the typical blueprint of the English bands of that time: skiffle to blues to rock. Schooled in jazz he played the saxophone and keyboards. He soon formed “The Graham Bond Organisation” which included Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Although popular in England Graham never hit it big. After Bruce and Baker left to form Cream in 1966 Graham’s popularity increasingly declined. His financial management was so bad every band he formed lost money. On May 8th of 1974 at the age of 36 he commited suicide by diving off a station platform into the path of an oncoming train.