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Where have all the groupies gone?

October 3rd, 2008

After explaining just why Paramore’s Hayley Williams is ace, the next installment of Hell’s Belles sees Emma Edmondson pondering the disappearance of one of the staples of a rock show’s backstage: the groupie.

groupies barbie thrash hits

Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s an age-old sought after dream more weathered and decrepid than Jordan’s shrinking silicone tits. Boys in bands crave it. Girls after the boys in bands follow it. But only some truly live it. And now it seems that those few are fast becoming even fewer.

Make no doubt about it – the calibre of true rockin’ and rollin’ gals, or band aids as they’re affectionately labelled in iconic groupie flick Almost Famous, are withering faster than your, or your boyfriend’s, cock might do when thinking of Margaret Thatcher in a thong. Just imagine.

So where have all the real groupies gone? The sixties had Pamela Des Barres and her pals. A self-confessed serial rock star shagger, who even babysat Frank Zappa’s sprogs, she made a career, and found fame, by riding some of the most famous penises in rock history.

Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Jim Morrison all sampled her lower loins. Hell, Ms Des Barres released an album due to her loose legs and even documented her bed hopping ways in a best selling book. That’s big dividends for little work. She wasn’t the last though.

Watch an interview with Pamela Des Barres

The seventies meant punk. And punk is Siouxsie Sioux. Now a recording artist in her own, albeit terrible, right Sioux avidly followed the Sex Pistols before cleverly taking advantage of the media coverage surrounding them and their followers to launch her own band Siouxsie and The Banshees“. And she’s still making money solo style today.

1980 onwards saw the onset of poodle permed cock rockers adopting groupies who were already celebutards. Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson are just a couple who found true, yet fleeting, love with someone in that Mötley Crüe. And the band’s non-famous groupies were hardcore with a capital H. Don’t know why? Just read The Dirt and you’ll see.

The nineties had Courtney Love. Who, although not fully-fledged band humper as she was already a working musician, dabbled with the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan before settling on the late legend who became her husband – Kurt Cobain.

But these music loving laydees seem to have been one offs as we’re now left with a bargain bin selection of groupie girls in the noughties. Most of them seem to have rather well known rock star daddies – and that certainly doesn’t play by the (unwritten) groupie girl book. No fair laydees.

Watch a clip of some groupies talking about being groupies

Let’s look at the options. Probably most infamous of the bunch is that Croydon born fabric-wearing matchstick – Kate Moss. Counting Pete Doherty and The Kills’ Jamie Hince in her long-term relationship history Mossy is the most clichéd of all wannabe groupies, being a supermodel and all.

Other half-mast modern day band fuckers include Paris Hilton who is dating Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden, and last, but not least, that thorn in the British public’s side Peaches Geldof. The fruity-named teen recently made front-page not so jaw-dropping news by shotgun marrying the guitarist from little known schminde band Chester French. Go girl. But he’s not the first of the notches on her band boy bedpost by far.

One thing’s certain – these fakers don’t have anything on their predecessors, especially not the sixties originals. Battling to meet their heroes rather than born into it Pamela Des Barres and co make the Geldof crew seem like a bunch of chastity belted Mozart-loving virgins.

Bring back the originals say I. For although they didn’t have morals they had loads of fun losing them. Plus they have plenty better stories to tell than the champagne swilling groupie pretenders who bought their way into a life some crawled through the gutter to get. And that deserves some kind of warped respect. Right?

Read Hell’s Belles 001: The Paramore Effect.

Live: Foo Fighters @ Wembley Stadium – 07 June 2008

June 9th, 2008

If the mighty Foo Fighters were playing Wembley Stadium, Thrash Hits .com had to be there. Raziq Rauf reports from the biggest shows of this year and maybe even this century.

Dave Grohl on the big screen

A decade ago I had a disagreement with a friend that Foo Fighters could ever be a bigger, better more successful band than Nirvana; one that more people would pay good money to go and see.

On Saturday night, 07 June 2008, Foo Fighters played what a roused, riled and emotional Dave Grohl said was “the greatest fucking night in [their] band’s lives”. Tens of thousands agreed that it was theirs as well.

The second of the international megastars’ appearances at 86,000-capacity Wembley Stadium saw an encore with a surprise appearance from some very, very special guests.

Jimmy Page and Jon Paul Jones, guitarist and bassist from the legendary Led Zeppelin came onstage to perform two songs with Grohl, who has a Led Zep tattoo, and drummer Taylor Hawkins. It was the first Led Zeppelin performance since their London O2 Arena show in December 2007.

Hawkins took to the microphone first to sing ‘Rock And Roll’ while Grohl drummed. The pair then switched places to perform ‘Ramble On’. However heavily it had been rumoured that this event would transpire, the crowd still reacted accordingly.

Watch the Foo Fighters perform ‘Rock And Roll’ with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin

The band’s two-hour set included the band’s most famous singles as well as some lesser-known tracks, such as ‘Marigold’, the Grohl-penned B-side to Nirvana’s 1993 single ‘Heart-Shaped Box’. It was the only Nirvana-released song that Kurt Cobain had absolutely no part in writing.

Other set highlights included a magnificent acoustic version of ‘My Hero’ and fully-plugged in renditions of show opener ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ as well as the last song of the night, ‘Best Of You’.

The fireworks that signaled the end of the evening were as much in the sky as they were in everyone’s hearts. Not every band can fill a stadium of this magnitude and make a success of it.

It turns out that I was completely wrong and owe that old friend a tenner. When the downside of that bet is seeing a fantastic Wembley Stadium headline show from one of the greatest rock bands of this and last generation, however, it’s not so bad.

6/6

Setlist:

‘The Pretender’
‘Times Like These’
‘No Way Back’
‘Cheer Up Boys, Your Make Up Is Running’
‘Learn To Fly’
‘This Is A Call’
‘Long Road To Ruin’
‘Breakout’
‘Stacked Actors’
‘Skin And Bones’
‘Big Me’
‘Marigold’
‘My Hero’
‘Cold Day In The Sun’
‘Let It Die’
‘Everlong’
‘Monkey Wrench’
‘All My Life’
—–
‘Rock And Roll’
‘Ramble On’
‘Best Of You’

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Iron Maiden go to Cannes for a Chemical Wedding

May 27th, 2008

When Bruce Dickinson, singer with legendary metallers Iron Maiden, invited Thrash Hits .com onto the band’s private jet for a special screening of his film, we were never going to refuse. Ruby Q reports back on a tough day out.

Iron Maiden\'s private jet

“Welcome aboard Flight 666 to Hell and back,” splutters the plane tannoy while passengers choke on their early morning Bloody Marys. It’s not because of what’s being said, or because it’s 10.30am and we’re on our third drink of the morning, no. It’s who’s saying it.

We’re at Gatwick airport on the Iron Maiden tour plane, (ahem, Maiden logo-adorned Boeing 757) Ed Force One, destined for Cannes listening to the band’s front man – fencer, radio DJ, author, screenplay writer, et cetera, et cetera, Mr Bruce Dickinson – make the final call before takeoff.

He’ll be our pilot today, flying us to Satan’s lair and back via a screening of his new film, Chemical Wedding, in Cannes in just under thirteen hours. Yes. Really.

official chemical wedding film poster

More of that later but now let’s go back to the start; to the 1990s when Brucie took some time off from being the howling, hard rock overlord he normally is to write a screenplay about infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. For those unsure of Crowley’s omnipotent presence over the music world, take note.

    1. Jimmy Page bought and lived in his house during Led Zeppelin’s heyday.
    2. John Lennon fought, and won, to have Crowley’s face on the cover of seminal Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
    3. Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson has now written a supernatural thriller flick about him.

Oft dubbed “the wickedest man in the world”, Crowley was an obsession of many a rock icon due to his hedonistic ways and avant garde philosophical thoughts and musings. He was seen as an evil, bisexual demon by many and caused uproar and outrage much like Elvis and his guitar-gnawing, pheromone-sweating songs did in the ‘50s, yet Crowley did it forty years prior – without music.

Going against the grain of everything that was seen as righteous and good around the turn of the twentieth century he paved the way for many of the guitar slayers that grace our stages nowadays, or as Bruce Dickinson proclaims in a pre screening chat, “He was the first rock star – a sort of ‘70s zeitgeist.”

Bruce has bought him nose first into the Noughties with Chemical Wedding. The film sees iconic Brit flick actor Simon Callow take up residence as a modern day reincarnation of Crowley who has possessed an Oxford tutor.

Simon Callow as Aleister Crowley

As Dickinson aptly puts it, “We bring [Aleister Crowley] back from the dead and we do it for three days – it’s like Christ, only better.” It’s weird, it’s whacky and it’s stylistically superglued to the ‘70s – where most musical Crowley obsessives seem to originate from – but it’s a future straight-to-DVD cult movie. Plus Brucie penned the soundtrack to it so it can’t be all bad.

We’re not just here to gush about the film though. It’s the journey that presides over that. We were off to where the devil lives, right?

After an airplane-food breakfast we land in Cannes. Slightly inebriated but ready for action, thanks to a free in-air bar, we head to the screening with the Maiden frontman in tow. The post-plane journey passes with a distinct lack of alcohol but we follow Bruce through the confused streets of Cannes to the awaiting press conference.

Picture the scene: wrinkly perma-tanned film walruses and their Chanel-encrusted wives litter the streets like withering, half-smoked cigarette butts while camera crews and Dictaphones dodge them amateur commando-style (myself included) for a piece of Brucie pie. It’s utter chaos.

There are cameras papping possible celebutards in boats across the way, middling film stars eyeballing anyone for a vague sense of recognition while Bruce himself sits at a plastic table in the corner with director Julian Doyle talking to a line of press about his first ever film. Random.

Having lost a journalist on the way – who apparently ended up puffing Gauloises and chatting with some lovely, froggy French ladies in a bar over the road – it’s over to the watch the film. It proves entertaining viewing, not only due to its supernatural plot but also thanks to a few smuggled beer cans that join the viewing. Great. Watch the trailer here.

With the obligatory dodgy sex scenes, crassly cast and slightly clichéd American scientist/love interest and midnight séance it’s definitely one for the front room late night DVD shelf but not in a bad way. It’s a must see for any Aleister Crowley enthusiast but if you’re looking for an Iron Maiden biopic rather than a whacky horror flick, it’s probably not for you.

“It’s an odd eccentric movie,” smiles Dickinson. “If you want an exploitation movie that involves a lot of nubile girls and rock music go somewhere else – this is Withnail And I meets The Wickerman.” To be honest that sums up Chemical Wedding pretty well.

With the screening over, the bleary-eyed Flight 666 herd gathers for their return but this isn’t without its problems. After being cattle prodded back to the buses, with a few mandatory “have you seen ?”s along the way, the coach journey to the airport sees beer spillage aplenty.

The flight home is much of the same with some well-needed mouth-open, tongue-drooling shuteye as well, of course. After touching down just after 11pm half-hungover but intact after a 12-hour boozing session, it was all a tad surreal.

Bruce Dickinson live onstage with Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson has refused to stick to the cock rock singer rulebook of being just a bit of big-haired, small-brained, groupie-loving eye candy. He’s gone beyond that and re-written it by making this oddly intriguing film and flying us over to France in his plane to see it. So R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Bruce and his non-blockbuster destined masterpiece.

Just the less said the better about the chocolate milkshake and orange juice projectile vomit combo on the train home. I blame the post-turbulence blues. And my lack of an Iron (Maiden) stomach. Hic.

Chemical Wedding hits screens May 30th. [Read more →]

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