Random Rock Trivia

Every once in a while, either while researching posts or just from some article I read or thing I heard, I come upon some interesting trivia. Since they don’t really fit into any particular post, I figured I’d lump them together, share them here. Just for – as we say – shits and grins. 

-The first time David Bowie ever smoked pot it was with John Paul Jones of Zep, then a session musician playing on Herman’s Hermits records. Jones lived in a vast flat with a huge Hammond organ, right next to a police department. Bowie subsequently ate two loaves of bread, then wandered out onto the street, fascinated with the cracks in the pavement.

-Rumor has always had it that Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham tossed Jagger and Richards into a kitchen and told them ‘don’t come out till you write something.’ And despite all the blues they were listening to, they wrote a ballad, “As Time Goes By.” Richards corroborates this in his book, Life.

-Jimmy Page, of course, used to be a session musician. He started drawing a bow across his guitar after he borrowed it from a violinist, one David McCallum, Sr. (Yes, father of Man from Uncle and now, NCIS guy.)

-When Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson were recording together in the early ’80’s, McCartney suggested MJ should start buying music publishing rights as he could make some good money. Jackson laughingly suggested he would buy the Beatles’ catalog one day. And one day, he did. McCartney was not – as the Brits are wont to say – “best pleased.” However, due to some copyright law, Paul may be able to reclaim his (and Lennon’s) publishing in 2018.

-Pete Townshend saw Keith Richards do a guitar windmill, very early on (’62? ’63?) at a show in London. When he caught up with Keith later, he asked him if he would mind if he (Pete) did the windmill. Keef had no idea what he was talking about. And so Pete did it and does it to this day.

-Gregg Allman wrote “Whipping Post” on an ironing board cover with burnt matches because he couldn’t find paper and pencil.

-I’ve lost count of the number of second-generation rockers, like The Beatles, who became musicians because they heard “Heartbreak Hotel”, or third-generation rockers who became musicians because they saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. And as John Lennon said, no Elvis no Beatles.

-One more Beatle thing – in the early days, McCartney wanted to work under a pseudonym, in part because the press kept screwing up his name. So he called himself Paul Ramon. From which The Ramones got their name.

-The dog heard on Pink Floyd’s song “Seamus,” (album Meddle), belonged to Steve Marriott.

-When Pete Townshend was working on Tommy, he was also hanging out with a rock critic who was an avid pinball player. Assured he would get a good review if Townshend made Tommy a pinball player, voila! Of such cynical motives are creative decisions sometimes made.

-I read a 1971 interview with Syd Barrett. He comes across less schizo and more, I dunno, distracted. If you didn’t know better,  you’d think he was stoned or maybe just a circular, elliptical thinker. He attributes the difference in his approach to music vs. the rest of the band’s as him being an art student, them being architectural students. Does that imply the other guys were designing and constructing songs like they would a building?

-By his own admission, during the early ’80’s when Aerosmith was a drugged-out, almost-forgotten band, Joe Perry was so down and out he was effectively homeless. He stayed for a time at people’s apartments around Boston and sometimes his manager would put him up in a rooming house.

-To the best of my knowledge, Joe Perry’s autobiography, Rocks, is the only one that has a Index entry that says:

—-Tyler, Steven, fellatio and, 262.

Ha! Rock stars.

9 thoughts on “Random Rock Trivia

  1. — I am glad Greg Allman found burnt matches for writing “Whipping Post” – one of my favorites from the Allman Brothers.

    — I read articles that, ever the businessman, Paul McCartney practically told Michael Jackson to buy the publishing rights to the Beatles songs. I like your version better. However it happened, I’m just glad McCartney is trying to claim back the song rights.

    –Love the story about Jimmy Page and David McCallum, Sr. I didn’t know that (one of my fave’s) David McCallum’s father was a violinist. Very cool.

    –That was fun. Nobody died. Thanks.


    1. Yeah, Gregg was actually out in California for a while before joining his brother’s band. He hung out with Jackson Browne and that crowd. Whipping Post was about a real relationship gone bad.

      No Paul didn’t encourage MJ to buy Beatles stuff. In fact, Jackson outfoxed Paul. The whole sordid story is here if you’re looking for something to read:


      Yeah, Page has told this story a couple of times. He’s one of the few rockers to have started in a studio.

      As to deaths, yeah, tell me about it. I was reading the letters to Rolling Stone about Prince’s death and somebody expressed the same thing.


  2. Thanks for the article on the Beatles’ songs publishing rights. It’s really interesting that this is the first article I read that claimed what Michael Jackson did was sleazy. I think people reverend MJ so much it would’ve been hard to put his name next to such a derogatory word. Really hope McCartney wins this one!


  3. Almost blurted out my apple juice when I saw that index reference…
    Isn’t it funny how rock musicians have a particular affinity for recounting their bandmate’s sexual activity: I believe Keef’s bio includes the exact dimensions of Jagger’s family jewels.

    Speaking of Whipping Post, you’ll be glad to hear that I have finally acquired the original (the best) edition of At Fillmore East, and have been lovin’ it. Under consideration for entry into the Dark Star Album Guide, for sure…
    Cool series, btw!


    1. Actually that fellatio reference is specifically about attempts by Aerosmith’s management to keep the band under control. They didn’t want Tyler’s wanton sex life to fuck things up for the band. So they decided (!) that blow jobs were permissible, full-on sex, not so much. Fucked-up or what?


    2. As to Fillmore East, glad to hear it. Like ‘Exile,’ I have to listen to it every 6-8 weeks or so to maintain sanity. Just started learning Duane’s Elizabeth Reed solo. See me in a year. 😀


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