|Rock Urban Legends|
|Written by Hugo Naschy|
|Monday, 04 January 2010 22:23|
The mystery of rock 'n' roll is part of its irresistable flavour. But in absence of fact sometimes fiction fills the vacuum.
While musicians are seemingly perpetually denying erroneous reports by so-called "journalists" in the tabloid press the tell-all books of former band employees, ex-wives or girlfriends etc are somewhat more difficult to debunk than the ever-popular "anonymous source".
I have always found fact infinitely more interesting than fiction for the simple reason it is often even more bizarre. As a result I never understood the allure of hearsay even when it comes to rock 'n' roll, a subject I enjoy writing about particularly when it concerns bands I write about.
The performers themselves do also put on an act on stage and off of it to generate publicity. Most of the time though it is just an act. Yet there are those times when it isn't. There are those urban legends that have a strong basis in fact.
I think we have all heard the old urban campfire stories or locker room banter about bands destroying hotel rooms, abusing groupies, inserting objects into disgusting places, doing odd rituals before taking the stage etc.
Modern rumours have something old urban legends tended to lack - i.e. a distribution point more rapid than simple word of mouth - i.e. the Internet.
I have personally encountered people who swear that blatant falsehoods are one hundred percent true. That is why I decided to write this article about instances where fiction masquerades as fact.
10. Doors Singer Jim Morrison Was Assassinated By The U.S. Government.
James Douglas Morrison's life story is surrounded by conjecture. At least this urban legend acknowledges that he really is dead. Given how the man lived it should be more surprising he didn't die sooner.
Morrison died in July 1971 in Paris, France. His funeral was closed to the public and the casket was also purportedly closed.
The man was never a security threat to his government or any other and was less critical of his government than most other artists of his time and place.
Morrison was pretty consistently a threat only to himself and those in proximity.
He was also never a CIA agent affiliated with the MK_Ultra program.
9. Debbie Harry of Blondie Escaped an Attack by Serial Killer Ted Bundy.
In 1989, Blondie singer Debbie Harry claimed to have narrowly escaped from serial killer Ted Bundy after he picked her up and gave her a lift in his car near the East Village in New York City in the early 1970s.
This incident was alleged to have occurred when Harry was not yet active on the music scene and before the first Bundy murders (of the ones he was convicted of) took place in mainly in the Pacific Northwest but also in Florida and Utah.
Before and after Bundy was executed in 1989 women purporting to have escaped from him were coming forward throughout the 1980s convinced he had attempted to abduct and murder them. Like Harry, many of the women who came forward did not match the description of Bundy's other victims i.e. slender young brunettes.
These accusations were also about crimes committed in places where Bundy could not have been at the times they occured. In a few cases the unproven allegations give Bundy alibis for the murders he really did commit.
Bundy was born in Vermont and partly raised in Pennsylvania. His life and violent crimespree brought him to Washington state, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia and Florida. He likely had to drive through numerous other states to get where he was going. But at no time has he been placed in New York City other than in Harry's account.
Why would Harry lie? She wouldn't consciously and she likely didn't. But Bundy probably wasn't the guy who attacked her. Keep in mind that she was recounting an incident over fifteen years in her past about a man she had never seen before and only briefly encountered.
It is possible she remembered a man who merely resembled Bundy. Everybody looks like somebody and there were quite a few murderers and kidnappers at work in New York City then and always.
8. Marilyn Manson Is A Hermaphrodite.
False. Some of his videos suggest he might be but they are only part of his act. Manson is an artist who likes to use shock value as a hook with audiences. Same thing with Lady Gaga and both have had some fun with this rumour.
Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson also never played Paul (It was Josh Saviano) on the TV show The Wonder Years or Kevin (It was Rob Stone) on the sitcom Mr.Belvedere. I once encountered an individual utterly convinced Manson got his start on that sitcom and then simply decided to go into music using his TV fame as a kind of springboard.
Nor has Manson ever tossed live puppies into the audiences at his shows and demanded they be killed before the concert could continue.
7. Grand Funk Railroad Confronted a Heckler At A Concert who Turned to be Eric Clapton.
The legend has it that when the band Grand Funk Railroad played a show and were heckled repeatedly they challenged the perpetrator to present himself and do better. The guy turned out to be Eric Clapton.
Different variations have it that the guy was Jimmy Page whom it is well-known held Grand Funk in low-regard. Still others saw it was Alvin Lee or Robin Trower.
Again, completely false. Do you really think any one of those legends would buy a ticket to see Grand Funk Railroad, skulk around in the audience and heckle remaining unrecognised until this big reveal.
The real story? Grand Funk opened for several bands in the early 1970s and were consistently blown off the stage by the headliners.
6. Rod Stewart Collapsed On Stage During a Show, Had to Have His Stomach Pumped After Ingesting A Gallon of Male Ejaculate.
This one has also been attributed to other loathed and similarly disrespected acts in days since. When I was a teen it was attributed to New Kids On The Block and the story went that they had orally gratified each other and gotten sick.
I'm not sure how or why Rod Stewart would have had this spread about him. But keep in mind that other musicians, particularly the many that have more talent than him, are jealous of his success. Stewart happens to be a serial womaniser and it is unlikely there is an inkling of truth to the story.
A gallon huh? What did he do? Go down on the entire roster of the New England Patriots?
5. Stevie Nicks Had Roadies Blow Cocaine Up Her Ass When She Toured With Fleetwood Mac.
Ms.Nicks denies this whenever asked and whomever started the rumour remains anonymous. On the basis of that the rumour has no credibility.
Speaking just for myself I would have to decline doing this for anyone female or male. But Ms.Nicks was something of a sex symbol in her day and may well have coaxed a young band employee into doing her this favour.
At Seatle's Edgwater Inn in July 1969 a young groupie (never identified) was tied to a hotel room bed and one or members of Vanilla Fudge are alleged to have inserted pieces of shark into her vagina and rectum.
When I was growing up this story was attributed to Led Zeppelin with whom Vanilla Fudge were touring in 1969 as labelmates on Atlantic Records' roster.
It is now more often attributed to Vanilla Fudge with Led Zeppelin road manager Richard Cole taking dubious credit for staging the infamous incident.
Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge (later to work with Tommy Bolin and Alice Cooper) is supposed to have filmed the entire event on a Super 8 camera.
This footage has never been released and Stein has offered no comment confirming or denying it took place.
The only source at present thus far is Richard Cole. Cole claims to have inserted a Red Snapper into the young woman's nether region, not pieces of cut up mudshark as has often been claimed.
3. Via Backward Masking, Rock Bands Send Out Secret Messages.
A silly fabrication. I assure the reader that musicians are far too preoccupied with how their music sounds when played forwards to consider how it might sound backwards.
Nevertheless numerous famous rock songs are singled out for having somehow secret messages into their recordings.
Many of us have heard the accusation that Led Zeppelin put a backward message in to Stairway to Heaven which can be heard to say "Here's to my sweet Satan". Other messages can supposedly also be heard.
Hotel California by The Eagles supposedly also has this kind of message. The Electric Light Orchestra, Queen and Ozzy Osbourne have been accused of this kind of thing too.
Nowadays Beyonce, Rihanna and Linkin Park face similar allegations with the so-called "evidence" presented on Youtube. Judge for yourself. You'll likely find it is a lot of hooey.
2. Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful and a Mars Bar.
The most bizarre menage a trois in rock history.
English police drug-raided a house owned by Keith Richards where Mick Jagger was staying along with Marianne Faithful and several friends of the band in February 1967. The police supposedly walked in on he and Marianne Faithful performing a lewd act.
Ms.Faithful was purported to have had a chocolate bar (generally identified as a Mars Bar) sticking out of her rectum (Presumably held between her buttocks in vice-like fashion) which Jagger was supposedly eating.
I don't imagine the makers of Mars Bars look upon this urban legend as any kind of beneficial celebrity endorsement.
The Rolling Stones were at their lowest point in terms of their relationship with the British establishment very much including Scotland Yard when the raid happened and is thought that one of the constables perhaps embellished what he had seen in recounting the story.
All other witnesses state it is a complete fabrication.
1. Ozzy Osbourne Bit the Head Off of A live Bat and Pissed on the Alamo.
True and false with some qualification. The incidents took place separately in different locations in the United States whilst Mr.Osbourne was at the peak of his battle with alcoholism.
The incident with the bat DID happen and is well-documented. John Michael Osbourne AKA Ozzy Osbourne maintains that when a live bat was thrown on stage with him at one of his concerts in Iowa in January 1982, he thought is was a rubber toy and bit its head off as an impromptu part of his show. The bat turned out to be live. Osbourne faced a Cruelty to Animals charge and was himself bitten by the bat during the act of decapitating it. This resulted in a round of rabies shots.
As for the Alamo. Mr.Osbourne, in a state of profound intoxication, whilst wearing one his wife's dresses urinated on a cenotaph honoring the heroes of the Alamo in 1982. But it was located across the street from the actual site of the Alamo.
Banned from San Antonio for the next decade afterward, Osbourne still insists he intended no disrespect. He merely had to relieve himself urgently and chose an unfortunate place to do so.