April 11, 2012
Those Rock Stars eh? They're a lark. Everyone has a favourite story about some ego maniac musician's drug fuelled cavorting around some concert venue and/or 5 star hotel. But though we deal with plenty of big names at Sternberg Clarke, we seldom come face to face with anything approaching the level of Crashing a Rolls Royce into a Swimming Pool or tossing a TV out of a window into a swimming pool and... what is it with these guys and swimming pools?
While we've been fortunate to work with big names who thankfully never descend into prima donna behavior, there's still a natural fascination with seeing someone explore the very limits of human decency, drunk on their own self importance. But even in the most outlandish of rock star anecdotes, there are lessons to be learnt about entertainment in general and so, in the spirit of band month, here are just a few of our favourite Rock Star anecdotes and what they teach us about Events.
Ozzy Osbourne Bites the Head off a Live Dove, then a Bat
Maybe the most famous tale of rock star excess involves the shambling, mumbling reality star Ozzy Osbourne who made a name for himself by biting the head off a dove in a meeting with his record company. Having planned to release a dove as a gesture of peace (?) Osbourne instead chose to gnaw off the bird's head, probably as a gesture of how intoxicated he was. A year later, a fan threw a bat on stage at one of Ozzy's gigs hoping for a similar scene... Ozzy obliged...
What can we learn from this? Bands are on site at an event for a long time setting up, sound checking, performing and generally waiting around. If you're booking a band - make sure to arrange outmess for them at some point.
Van Halen and the Brown M&Ms
Hair metal rock goblins Van Halen became famous for the specificity of their technical rider due to their increasingly flamboyant performances but one requirement in particular has passed into rock legend; the Bowl of M&Ms with all the Brown M&Ms removed. It might seem like the archetypal example of superstar egos running wild, but according to David Lee Roth, the seemingly ridiculous request was placed on the tech rider to make sure that the venue paid attention to the health and safety requests that were a necessity in a potentially dangerous environment.
What can we learn from this? The band's demands came, rather endearingly, from a desire to keep their crew and band members safe which is why it's so important to pay attention to tech riders when booking any act.
Oasis and the Importance of 'Deps'
Family is for life, band members less so... The turbulent relationship between the Mancunian Brit Pop Brothers is well documented (last we heard they were suing each other) but the brothers Gallagher managed to stomach each other for longer than many of their band mates. By the time of the band's acrimonious split, none of the original band members (save Noel and Liam) remained having all been replaced at some point or other. Furthermore, thanks to a series of heated arguments on tour, Oasis regularly played without one or other Gallagher, drafting in whoever was on hand to cover.
What Can We Learn From This? It's vital that a function band be able to deputize every member of the band even if they get on famously.
Guns n' Roses Guitarist 'Buckethead'
Another famous case of a band having multiple personel-ities (man alive, I'm good sometimes) Guns n' Roses front man Axel Rose enforced a sort of revolving door policy for his band members following their commercial peak in the early 90s. One semi-fixture of the band was now semi-famous guitarist 'Buckethead' who, true to his evocative sobriquet, performed with an (empty) Fried Chicken Bucket obscuring his face and head.
What Can we Learn From This? When you're booking a band, make sure you specify a dress code, or risk an appearance from rarely seen bassist "Happy Meal Box Face"
Keith Moon's Cherry Bomb Bass Drum
What list of Rock n' Roll antics would be Complete without Keith Moon? A bad one probably. Moon's literally destructive behavior and penchant for explosives had him banned from most of the world's biggest hotel chains (no corporate work for Keith then.) His predilection for making things go 'KABLAMMO!' reportedly contributed to guitarist Pete Townsend's hearing loss and tinnitus following a TV performance in which Moon persuaded the crew to load his bass drum with a dangerous amount of Cherry Bombs. The Bass drum blew directly into Townsend's ear (which you can see at around 2.27 in the video above) leaving him staggering around the stage in a daze.
What Can We Learn From This? Sound restrictions are there for a reason, sometimes its to appease nearby residents, other times it's to protect the hearing of guests. At the very least, take care when rigging things to explode.
For more information on any of the bands we feature during band month (except maybe the ones above) get in touch.