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Meet Aria, the band known as ‘the Russian Iron Maiden’
02.20.2017
12:16 pm
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An early shot of Soviet-era heavy metal band Aria, “the Russian Iron Maiden,” (looking here very much like the actual Iron Maiden)

Born during a tumultuous time in Russia where the Communist government was still routinely attempting to repress musical expression—metal band Aria became one of the first Russian bands in the genre to rise up and achieve commercial success in the 80s.

Aria (or if you prefer Ария) came to be around 1985 and if vocalist Valery Kipelov didn’t perform his vocals in his native tongue, the casual metalhead might be inclined to believe that Aria was some undiscovered gem that was a part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands (or “NWOBHM” as I like to abbreviate it) that included heavy hitters such as Motörhead, Def Leppard, Venom, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. After releasing their debut Megalomania in 1985 the Russian music press and metal fans quickly bestowed the band with a weighty comparison, calling the group “the Russian Iron Maiden.” Which begs the question—did Aria deserve to be compared with a band that is as synonymous with heavy metal as leather pants, ear-piercing vocals, and sweaty, bare-chested hedonism? The answer is Da my devil-horn throwing friends.

As I mentioned previously, it wasn’t easy to get a band going as scrutiny by the Soviet government not only made it difficult for bands to do their thing, it also made their ability to procure the things they needed to do their thing difficult. Like instruments and amps and tape recorders. So repressive was the environment in Russia that it was conceivable that it might take more than a decade for a band to go from forming to actually releasing music as even acquiring basic necessities like guitars and drum kits could be next to impossible. Despite these challenges, Aria would thrive much in part to the death of Russian rock and roll’s worst enemy, Konstantin Chernenko, and the appointment of his successor Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. They would also seemingly pepper their music with anti-US propaganda, which is especially apparent in the title of a song from their debut “America is Behind.”
 

A vintage shot of Aria.

The band’s heavy, melodic sound and use of synth has also been compared to the work of Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtrack composer, Greek electronic wizard Vangelis. I’ve included a number of selections from Aria’s massive catalog that spans over 30 years as well as some live footage, below. If the existence of Aria—who are still active and currently on tour with a 40 piece orchestra—is news to you, I’d highly recommend adding Megalomania to your vinyl collection as a start.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.20.2017
12:16 pm
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Photographing Demons: The ‘brutal’ photographer who rivaled Francis Bacon
02.15.2017
10:23 am
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Portrait of Francis Bacon.
 
The photographer John Deakin was usually pissed as a fart. He haunted the bars and after-hours drinking dens in and around Soho during the fifties and sixties. He cadged booze and on occasion hawked “dirty pictures” to sailors at ten-bob a throw. Most who saw this shabby character drifting through the London streets dismissed him as a bit-player, a hanger-on, part of the alcoholic detritus heaved-up on the sidewalk. To those who knew him Deakin was either loved or loathed—there was no halfway house.

Lucian Freud described Deakin as:

Like Cinderella and the Ugly Sisters at the same time.

While socialite and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton said he was:

The second nastiest man I ever met.

Who the first was, we can only imagine. No matter the divisive response Deakin’s personality engendered, there was one thing about John Deakin everyone agreed upon—he was a genius photographer whose work was uncompromising, almost brutal in its full-frontal honesty.

As the art critic John Russell noted this fact after Deakin’s death in 1972:

When John Deakin died, there was lost a photographer who often rivaled [Francis] Bacon in his ability to make a likeness in which truth came unwrapped and unpackaged. His portraits like Bacon’s, had a dead-centred, unrhetorical quality. A complete human being was set before us, without additives.

While Deakin said of himself, that he was:

...fatally drawn to the human race, what I want to do when I photograph it is to make a revelation about it. So my sitters turn into my victims. But I would like to add that it is only those with a daemon, whose faces lend themselves to be victimized at all.

Born in Liverpool in 1912, Deakin was educated at West Kirby Grammar School, which he left at the age of sixteen to travel across Ireland and Spain. On his return to England he met up and started a relationship with gallery owner Arthur Jeffress, who bankrolled Deakin until after the Second World War when the pair split up.

Deakin started taking photographs in 1938. During the war he served as a photographer with the British Army Film Unit, documenting the Allies’ campaign at El Alamein. During one briefing given by Field Marshall Montgomery in which “Monty” warned the assembled soldiers they were vastly outnumbered by “Wommel” and his superior German tanks, Deakin could be heard anxiously asking one of his comrades, “Do you think we are on the right side?”

After the war, Deakin started his career as a photographer in earnest achieving considerable success and notoriety as a fashion photographer for Vogue. He was fired from Vogue twice: once for losing his camera equipment (which some alleged Deakin sold to pay for booze); and a second time for his “blistering” personality. He worked at various jobs—including a stint at the Observer newspaper.

Most significantly, he was regularly hired by the artist Francis Bacon to take photographs of his models—Henrietta Moraes, Isabel Rawsthorn, Lucian Freud and George Dyer. It was his “pornographic” photographs of Henrietta Moraes that Deakin hawked around Soho’s bars for beer money. Bacon said Deakin was “the best portrait photographer since Nadar and Julia Margaret Cameron.”

Though Deakin was an alcoholic, he didn’t piss his talent up against the wall. After his death, the large portfolio of photographs and negatives he left behind revealed the extent of Deakin’s talent and utter dedication to his craft. He was a genius who never received the acclaim he rightly deserved. Critic Robin Muir wrote that Deakin’s “portraits still look starkly modern, half a century on.” While his friend the writer Dan Farson considered Deakin’s place would be:

...as one of the most disturbing photographers of the century. The expressions of his victims look suitably appalled for Deakin had no time for such niceties as “cheese” and the effect was magnified by huge contrasty blow-ups with every pore, blemish, and blood-shot eyeball exposed. In this way, he combined the instant horror of a passport photo with a shock value all his own.

In 1991, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary The Life and Unsteady Times of John Deakin which brought together all of the key players in Deakin’s life (now all sadly dead) to discuss this strange and talented photographer’s incredible career.
 
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Francis Bacon, 1952.
 
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Girl in a cafe, circa late 1950s.
 
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Jeffrey Bernard, London 1950s.
 
Watch the documentary, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.15.2017
10:23 am
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Terrifying stills & chilling images from Joan Crawford’s bonkers axe-murderer film ‘Strait-Jacket’
02.15.2017
09:49 am
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A terrifying still of Joan Crawford and her best friend, an axe, from the 1964 film, ‘Strait-Jacket.’

Though she was widely vilified by the gossip columnists of her time and is best recalled today for being a very bad mommie, it is impossible to dispute the fact that Joan Crawford was one hell of an actress. She was a talented dancer and worked as a showgirl before starting her long career in Hollywood during which she became one of the most iconic actresses of all time. She also served on the board of directors of the Pepsi-Cola Company for well over a decade. Even Blue Öyster Cult wrote a song about her. And for yours truly, street credibility just doesn’t get any better than being immortalized by the mighty BÖC.

Joan Crawford was tough—a defense mechanism that she likely developed during her difficult childhood. While attending a private school she paid her tuition by doing jobs at the school such as washing dishes; cooking; making beds, and waitressing. Due to this overload of work, her studies suffered. Crawford dropped out of school in the sixth grade—something that the actress allegedly deeply regretted. However, the event would also signal the beginning of Crawford’s aspirations to become an actress and after taking a strong interest in dance, her luck finally started to change when she took off for Chicago and landed a gig as a showgirl in a vaudeville act. She was quickly discovered and within a short period of time, she was under contract by MGM by way of producer Harry Rapf.

After a successful early run with her films, Crawford’s star began to fade, leading her to part ways with MGM in the mid-1940s for Warner Brothers who would gift her with one of the greatest roles she would ever play as the star of the 1945 film Mildred Pierce. Crawford would receive the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 for the role—her only Oscar in her entire career—which she accepted while at home in bed after skipping the ceremony. Then in 1962, she went head-to-head in the dark cinematic masterpiece What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with her real-life nemesis, Bette Davis. Two years later Crawford would star in another bleak masterpiece of sorts—which is the subject of this post—the 1964 film Strait-Jacket which was scripted by the same man who authored the 1960 novel-turned-film Psycho, Robert Bloch. It was directed and produced by the master of scary movie gimmicks William Castle. The film’s byline read “FROM THE DIRECTOR OF HOMICIDAL, THE AUTHOR OF PSYCHO, AND THE CO-STAR OF WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
During the film’s original release, moviegoers were given cardboard axes by movie ushers and Castle provided an “animated” moving movie poster to exhibitors. At the end of the film, the Columbia logo’s torch-bearing woman is shown decapitated, with her head resting beside her feet.
 

 
In the film, Crawford plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who has just been released from an insane asylum after a twenty-year bid as punishment for chopping up her husband (marking the first role for TV’s future Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors) and his mistress with an axe in a fit of jealous rage, an act witnessed by her three-year-old daughter. Things go south pretty quickly in Strait-Jacket as we soon see Crawford sucking down bourbon, chain-smoking and acting as though she’s about to have a complete psychotic break from reality at any moment. It’s rumored that when she took on the challenge of playing Crawford in Mommie Dearest, actress Faye Dunaway got much of her inspiration for her spot-on portrayal of a completely unhinged Crawford straight from Strait-Jacket.

If you have never seen this film I can say with complete confidence that it is as remarkable as it is abjectly horrifying at times. In fact, it is also my humble opinion that Crawford’s performance is on par with fellow axe-aficionado Jack Nicholson and his portrayal of “Jack Torrance” in The Shining. I’ve included some great artifacts from the film including stills, vintage lobby cards, and some sinister posters that will help prove my point about Crawford’s baleful performance in this wickedly frightening film below. Sleep tight!
 

Crawford inside a striped dressing room featured in the film that has her recalling her days in the asylum.
 

A ‘Strait-Jacket’ lobby card.
 
More Joan Crawford after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.15.2017
09:49 am
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The Melvins mind-melting first ever television appearance from 1995
02.14.2017
01:20 pm
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An early shot of Washington State fuzz kings, Melvins.

Sound FX was a short-lived show on the FX Network back in the mid-90s. Its greatest claim to fame was when it had the honor of hosting the Melvins’ very first national television appearance in 1995.

This clip features the band absolutely slaying “Revolve” from their eighth album Stoner Witch in front of an audience that clearly has NO idea what was happening on stage or how to handle it. It’s an awesomely awkward experience from beginning to end as during the performance the show rolled a bunch of Melvins’ factoids on the screen to hip their viewers to the band. Such as the fact that none of them drink or do drugs—and even featured an artist sketching the band while they played.

But things get really uncomfortable when the band and King Buzzo sit down with one of Sound FX‘s hosts—and future host of the reality series Survivor—Jeff Probst who was tasked with interviewing the band. The trio had just released Stoner Witch which Probst carelessly describes as more “user-friendly” than other records their catalog. Yeesh. The entire affair is highly amusing to watch as the Melvins quite literally roll all over Probst and his silly questions and then thankfully take the small stage again and murder out a version of “Goose Freight Train.” Nice. The fifteen minutes of footage is ready for you to watch below.
 

The Melvins’ first national television appearance on the FX Network show ‘Sound FX’ in 1995.

Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.14.2017
01:20 pm
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Behold a disturbing dollhouse-sized nude and hairy vintage Burt Reynolds figure
02.09.2017
02:59 pm
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A vintage dollhouse-sized figure of Burt Reynolds striking his famous pose as seen in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1972.
 
Today my dear Dangerous Minds readers you are going to get an eyeful of a tiny reproduction of Burt Reynolds’ famous Cosmopolitan spread, where the then 36-year-old actor posed nude on a bearskin rug. According to Burt, he now regrets the decision and recalls that to work up the courage to lose his clothes for the shoot he got completely plastered before becoming the first man in history to get naked for a major magazine.

Usually, decisions made after getting “zonkered” as Reynolds so eloquently put it and then taking off your clothes while there are cameras around often doesn’t end well. But this was simply not the case when it comes to the image of Mr. Reynolds that forever set the bar for nude photography at the highest possible level when it comes to the unbridled beauty of a hunky, hairy, naked man looking right at home on top of a bearskin rug made from the hide of a bear that he had presumably killed himself. Now that’s a man. But as usual, I’ve digressed a bit from the point of this post which is my recent discovery that a tiny reproduction of this blessed event exists—and can be yours for the low-low price of $314.99.

According to the information in the eBay listing for little Burt, the dollhouse-sized figure is likely made of porcelain or bisque and just over five inches long. It also includes an inscription, probably added by the maker of the figure, one “Joy #22” (if that is, in fact, her real name). The figure is said to be in excellent condition despite the fact that it’s probably 30-40 years old. Little Burt is slightly less tan than his real-life doppelgänger but is nicely covered with hair that looks to be entirely too real.

Buy it today and keep hairy little Burt prisoner in your own dollhouse. It could be therapeutic?

I’ve included photos from the listing below and even though this isn’t really Burt Reynolds in the nude, it’s still slightly NSFW.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.09.2017
02:59 pm
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Fuse: Rick Nielsen’s awesome pre-Cheap Trick psychedelic rock band
02.09.2017
10:50 am
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An early shot of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen.
 
Long before he helped Cheap Trick take over the world by way of Budokan, guitarist Rick Nielsen recorded a record with another Rockford, Illinois band called Fuse. Originally going by the name The Grim Reapers, Nielson was instrumental in convincing another Rockford band Toast and Jam to join forces and Fuse were born from that rock and roll union sometime in 1968.

According to Nielson, he had already secured a record contract at the time Fuse was coming together and they recorded a couple of singles on Smack Records in 1969, “Hound Dog” and “Cruisin for Burgers.” Fuse drummer Chip Greenman recalls that their manager at the time, Ken Adamany, had been pitching the band to different labels hoping to land them a record deal. Later that year—and again according to Greenman—Fuse scored the opening slot for a Fleetwood Mac gig in Chicago. Luckily Mort Hoffman, who was doing A&R for Epic Records was in the audience and told the band that he had to sign them. As all of the members of Fuse had yet to turn 21, their first record contract was signed by their fathers in July of 1969. Awww. Here’s more from Nielson on the early days of Fuse—whose name came about at the insistence of Epic as a requirement in order to finalize their record deal:

The guys we were with were all superior musicians—they’re probably in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now. Tom and I had the stick-to-it-iveness and positive thinking to know what we wanted to do, so we split the band and went off to hang out in England. That Fuse stuff was my finest work. We stand by it and wished Cheap Trick played that well!

Fuse would record their only self-titled album in 1970 and it is full of loud, raucous psychedelically tinged rock with Nielson’s ever present guitar squalls raining down throughout its eight tracks. With influences from The Yardbirds and Cream, there isn’t a single jam on the record that isn’t rock solid.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.09.2017
10:50 am
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African gods and goddesses drawn as ass-kicking Jack Kirby-style superheroes
02.08.2017
01:19 pm
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Oxóssi, a spirit associated with the hunt, forests, animals, and wealth
 
You don’t have to be anthropologist Clifford Geertz to make the connection that the superheroes developed in comic books in the middle of the last century function something like a new American mythology. The Greeks had Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and Aphrodite; the Romans had Mars, Minerva, Janus, and Juno; and the Norse had Thor, Odin, Loki, and Frigg. In America we have Iron Man, Spider-Man, Flash Gordon, and the Silver Surfer (oh, and Thor too, right). Unlike Zeus and Minerva, our mythological heroes are currently drawing millions of people to multiplexes the world over, for whatever that’s worth. Mythology is breaking box office records!

A artist named Hugo Canuto has recently looked to his own African-influenced culture in Brazil to make a similar connection for figures from African mythology, depicting them as ass-kicking superheroes drawn in the style of the legendary Jack Kirby. Many deities of modern-day Afro-Brazilian religions find their roots in the mythologies of Nigeria and Benin, and these covers reflect that, using specifically local, that is to say Portuguese, spellings of the names.

For instance, the water deity Yemo̩ja is rendered here as Yemanjá, as she is known in Brazilian culture. Oshunmare, god of the rainbow, here pops up as Oxumaré. And Oya, a major Orisha governing death and rebirth, can be found here as Iansã, for that is what she is called on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean.
 

Avengers No. 4 (1963)
 
Last year Canuto reworked an iconic early cover of The Avengers to showcase the major Orishas, called Orixas in Portuguese, which are key elemental spirits of the Yoruba religion. So “The Orixas” is the umbrella category, like “The Avengers,” that houses all of the mythological figures that followed.

Interestingly, in the early 1990s, DC Comics had a line based on Yoruba mythology, called Orishas—it was also known as “Gods of Africa” and featured characters such as Eshu, Ogun, Erinle, and Oshunmare. Anybody out there a fan of that series? I don’t remember it.

You can purchase prints of Canuto’s covers on Facebook.
 

The Orixas
 

Yemanjá, major water deity, mother of all 14 Yoruba gods and goddesses
 
Much more after the jump…...

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.08.2017
01:19 pm
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Unsung surf rock girl group The Trashwomen RULE
02.08.2017
11:54 am
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San Francisco area surf queens, The Trashwomen.

The great Dave Crider of Estrus Records knew what he was doing when he signed San Francisco area girl group The Trashwomen to the label back in the early 90s. The group was originally conceived as a kind of one-off thing when they were asked to perform a live set of covers by 60s Minneapolis teen rockers The Trashmen. The glue for the concept was the talent of long-time smoking hot guitarist Elka “Kitten Kaboodle” Zolot who joined forces with Tina “Boom Boom” Lucchesi on drums and Dannielle “Lead Pedal” Pimm on bass—neither of which could play their assigned instruments at the time. Four weeks later the day of the gig arrived and according to those who were there to see it, their fledgling show was a success. 

The Trashwomen quickly released a couple of singles before getting picked up by Estrus that was already home to bands such as The Mummies; New York fuzz-freaks The Mooney Suzuki; Southern Culture on the Skids; and one best bands to ever come out of Bellingham, Washington (led by Crider himself), Mono Men. Sometime during their existence, the girls crowned themselves the “Queens of Tease Rock” and Zolot’s powerful riffs added an extra layer of cool to The Trashwomen’s smutty lyrics, like their nod to the usefulness of sex toys, “Batteries.” Playing up their tough vibe, the band was all about cultivating an image of a pin-up girl gang gone bad. Who instead of running away with the band, stole their fucking instruments and started their own groovy group.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.08.2017
11:54 am
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All the excellent faces that Winona Ryder made at the SAG Awards are now equally excellent buttons!
02.03.2017
08:41 am
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The many faces of actress Winona Ryder at the SAG Awards last week.
 
I love that the award-winning performance given by Winona Ryder’s face at the SAG Awards—or the faces that “launched a million memes”—have been quickly made into nifty buttons each featuring one of the many different reactions the actress had during David Harbour’s powerful acceptance speech at SAG as he accepted the award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Each button retails for the low low price of $2 and 13 bucks will get you all eight over at one of my favorite places on the Internet, the Globlinko Megamall. I’d hurry up though as I’m pretty sure that they are going to be as popular as the memes that continue to invade your social media news feeds. Photos of all the buttons follow as well as footage from the speech if you haven’t already seen that yet. Winona FOREVER! 
 

 

 

The many faces of Winona Ryder: THE VIDEO!

Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.03.2017
08:41 am
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Go back in time to when Led Zeppelin & Alice Cooper shared the stage at the Whisky a Go Go, 1969
02.02.2017
12:20 pm
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A show poster for a series of live gigs at the Whisky A Go Go featuring Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper, January 1969.
 
Beginning on January 2nd, 1969, Led Zeppelin played a series of live gigs with Alice Cooper at the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. According to Alice, both bands were still so under the radar that they took turns opening the bill by flipping a coin to see who would start the show each night. To support Alice’s point, a scan of an old print ad for the show makes a point to promote Zeppelin by noting that the band featured the talents of former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page. Zeppelin’s set on January 5th, which you can listen to below, would allegedly mark the first time “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (originally writen by American songwriter Anne Bredon in the 50s and popularized by Joan Baez back in the early 60s), was captured in a live recording. Cooper was only 21, and Jimmy Page the oldest member of Led Zeppelin, was just 24.

The January 5th show was part of Zeppelin’s first tour of America and once again to illustrate the point of how unknown the band was, they had yet to release their first self-titled record, which was panned by some after it came out on January 12th. The first stop for Led Zeppelin in the U.S. would be Denver and a last-minute opening slot for a sold-out Vanilla Fudge gig (along with LA band Spirit) for which they were paid $750. Promoter Barry Fey, who almost didn’t book the band for the show, recalls how blown away he was by the band that was about to take over the world:

You didn’t have to be a genius to know that Zeppelin was going to be a smash. Oh, my God. People were going crazy!

The next day the program director for local Dever station KLZ contacted Fey telling him the station’s phone lines had been inundated by calls from people who had born witness to the first coming of Led Zeppelin, demanding that the station play their music. Fey headed over to KLZ with his copy of Zep’s eponymous (and still unreleased) album which the station would play over and over again for the entire day.

When it comes to shock-and-roll history associated with Alice Cooper’s reception by critics at the time, it’s not that much different than Zeppelin’s. Pretties for You, the 1969 debut from the group was also being beaten up by music reviewers including legendary meanie Lester Bangs who had this to say about the record in his review published by Rolling Stone on July 12, 1969:

But neither is there any hint of life, spontaneity, joy, rage, or any kind of authentic passion or conviction. As such, Alice Cooper’s music is, for this reviewer at any rate, totally dispensable.

Oof. After playing three shows, Page and other members of the group came down with the flu and so Alice Cooper would soldier on with the Buddy Miles Express filling in Zeppelin’s slot.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.02.2017
12:20 pm
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