Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Living Dead and Rockers Who Survived

Recently I had tickets to see three see rock stars who have survived a lot longer than might have been expected given their lifestyles.

Mike Ness is the lead singer, songwriter and a guitarist for Social Distortion. Social Distortion has been around for a long time in multiple incarnations with Mike Ness. See this "list of Social Distortion Band Members" from wikipedia for the rotating cast, with Mr. Ness the one constant since the debut album in 1983 (almost 30 years ago!). I was pumped up to see the band and really liked a Direct TV Guitar Center sessions show they played (in HD) from which I took the photo below. Unfortunately they canceled in Reno (one expects the worst, an OD, although I have no information whatsoever except that it was canceled "due to illness") so I won't get a chance to see them unless they hit Chicago.

Two more guys who have no business being alive are Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and the famous Lemmy of Motorhead. They played together in a show I saw recently, both defiant in their own way. Lemmy, who has 35 (!) years as a rock star under his belt, has a lot of illnesses now including diabetes (I saw a documentary on him by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters) and yet is touring as hard as ever. Their most famous album features "the Ace of Spades" of which I have a little bit recorded below. It certainly isn't HD quality but perhaps this is appropriate for a Motorhead concert which is more to be experienced than savored because the mix was like mud and it was more of a piledriver experience.

Finally there is Dave Mustaine. I recently bought a book called "the Hundred Greatest Metal Guitarists" which ranked Dave Mustaine #1 (which is probably more of a lifetime survival award, because the guitarist he has with him today, Chris Broderick, sounded way better at least for this show). Here is an interview with Mustaine about this ranking:
Then I got to No. 2 and it was John Petrucci [of Dream Theater] and I froze. I was No. 1. What made it better still is that the guy wrote: "This isn't about Dave as a person because he's been a cock" — [interjects with a bray of laughter] — "These four pages are about his guitar playing, which is the best. There are people who are better at one thing that Mustaine does, and others that are better than another, but no-one who's as good at everything." All I thought was… I win!
While we are hopeful Ness is done battling his demons and Lemmy is committed to not changing a thing and going down exactly the same way he came in, Mustaine seems to have totally dropped alcohol and changed his life and even lightened up a bit. This says a lot for a guy who was kicked out of Metallica for being a bad drunk back in the days when all they did was party. One thing all three of these rockers (Ness, Lemmy & Mustaine) have in common is an amazingly long list of various band members. Thanks to wikipedia for adding the band member timeline to keep it all straight. Due to Mustaine's "lightening up" (he found religion) he now tours with some more youth-friendly and female-friendly fans - check out this "A Tout Le Monde" with the singer from Lacuna Coil (we missed them because they must have come onstage within a few minutes of the doors opening - the new Mustaine must drive a well-oiled ship because I've never heard of that).

1 comment:

Dan from Madison said...

Well bummer about the sound for Motorhead - the sound for SxDx here in Madison was fantastic.