Rock’n’Roll Wild Stories: memories and oddity of stars

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Wilson sisters, Townshend, Keith Moon,  Elton John, Van Halen, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Cindy Lauper.

The Who

Townshend and Keith Moon got drunk while staying at a Holiday Inn and, while strolling down a second-floor balcony, the drummer leapt over the railing into the pool. “I followed but miscalculated managing to just scrape into the pool, badly grazing my back and one arm. I might have broken my neck or my back. I should have known better than to emulate Keith’s antics.” The band was banned from Holiday Inns for life after Moon drove a car into a pool.

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Townshend found Mick Jagger irresistible, admitting the “clearly very well-endowed” singer was the only man he ever wanted to bed. After seeing the Rolling Stones perform for the first time in 1963, Townshend became “an instant and lifelong fan. Mick was mysteriously attractive and sexually provocative, possibly the first such talisman since Elvis.”

Writing Pinball Wizard for rock opera Tommy, “I made a huge leap into the absurd when I decided that the hero would play pinball while still deaf, dumb and blind. It was daft, flawed and muddled, but also insolent, liberated and adventurous. If I had failed to deliver The Who an operatic masterpiece that would change people’s lives, I was giving them something almost as good: a hit.” (Source- Who I Am)

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson

Ann reveals that “the first nude man” she ever saw was guitarist Roger Fisher — a colleague in one of her earlier bands, Hocus Pocus, and later in Heart — walking unabashedly around a motel room. (Roger later became Nancy’s boyfriend, while Ann had a long relationship with his older brother, Michael, Heart’s sound man, who inspired the hits Magic Manand Crazy On You.)

Nancy remembers attending Elton John’s swank 33rd birthday party in West Hollywood, where John’s songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, “repeatedly pulled me into the bathroom” and offered her cocaine. “Bernie was convinced that getting me high was the key to seducing me.”

Nancy recalls meeting Eddie and Alex Van Halen at a hotel, where the brothers had a “Kamikaze-drinking contest, followed by a cocaine-snorting fest.” They also expressed interest in sleeping with both Wilsons, and “wanted us in one bed. It wasn’t the first time we had that offer, and as with every other request, we turned it down.” (source Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll)

Neil Young

In order to get to Woodstock, Young says he met Jimi Hendrix in a small airport and they rode to the concert in a pickup truck with the noted lawyer Melvin Belli. But his performance with Crosby, Stills & Nash “was one of the worst-feeling gigs I can ever remember. What a monster cocaine-fueled ego trip! The music really sucked air.”

Young  reveals that after some 50 years of drinking and smoking marijuana, he’s finally quit those habits. He’s following the advice of his doctor, who recently saw “a sign of something developing in my brain.” He notes that his father Scott, a writer, developed dementia at age 75.

Rod Stewart

“The night when I opened the door to my hotel suite and found a bass player stark naked and gaffer-taped to the bed was well, it was pretty typical,” writes Stewart in a chapter about the Sex Police, a “loose affiliation of band members and tour crew whose intention was to stamp out sex on the road.” There was “a lot of sex on tour,” so the playful game became trying to disrupt this rock pastime

Stewart and guitarist Jeff Beck have an enduring if fraught relationship, dating to the late ’60s Jeff Beck Group. Fans are still waiting for a reunion. The men swapped demos last year, but Stewart wasn’t keen on them and “Jeff felt he’d wasted his time. We haven’t spoke since,” Stewart writes, adding that a Christmas greeting e-mail went unanswered. “A shame, because there’s nothing like it — Beck’s guitar and my voice.” (source Rod: The Autobiography)

Cindy Lauper

Deeply depressed after a breakup and career setback, she considered killing her

© John Spellman

self and spent hours drinking vodka alone in her hotel. She recalls, “The only thing that always prevented me from suicide is that I never wanted a headline to read, ‘Girl who wanted to have fun just didn’t.’’

The press and even Madonna’s label tried to stir a rivalry between the singers. Lauper refused the bait. “You don’t (expletive) knock another sister, ever,” she writes. “Our music wasn’t even similar.” However, she adds, “if you ask me, her voice was sped up in Like A Virgin to make it sound high like mine.”

Lauper describes Jeff Goldblum, her co-star in 1988’s Vibes, as “awful,” “upsetting” and “a strange fellow.” “We did a love scene and suddenly he put his big fat hands all over my face. So I pulled them down and he got all upset.” His habit of distracting the cast with faux nervous breakdowns before scenes prompted Lauper to snap, “If you keep doing this, this movie won’t be a murder mystery anymore, because I’ll kill you right here in front of everybody.” (Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir)

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