Famous Rock Stars & Music
Well, a couple of questions may come to mind before we get started. What is prog rock and who are Muse? Are (British Rockers) M– USE prog rock (progressive rock)? (or) do they come under the category of an “arena rock” or “anthem rock” band? These details seem to be hot topics of debate on blog sites like Prog Archives.com
These sites are dedicated to progressive rock (more on this later) and tout subtitles like “Your Ultimate Prog Rock Resource”. Speaking of which, Famous Rock Posters.com (this site) is dedicated to artists of all kinds. Music, poster art, commercial art, fine art, graphic art, and literature are all represented here, just to clarify any question of relevance.
Anyway, back to the M– USE prog rock show we attended Wednesday night September 4, 2013. It took place @ The Arena at Gwinnett Center-Duluth, Ga. (Metro Atlanta). My wife and I have attended four concerts there , so far. This arena opened in 2003, so it is relatively new (as far as venues go). It actually does feel very new and well maintained. It was well staffed, plenty of options for adult refreshments and clean rest rooms.
Lets get to the acoustics of the venue. We got floor tickets (again) because the sound was so good from the last concert we attended there. This Muse concert was no exception. Bass would be thumping your chest but, you were still able to speak and hear over pretty loud volumes. That goes to a great mix and sound crew.
I was going to start this article with that quote from Mr. T..”I pity the fool that missed this concert” but, I guess it works just as well here. Yes, it was one of those. It was phenomenal. I said (more than a few times) it felt like I was being transcended into another cosmos. Literally a bombastic, beautiful, wonderful, and colorful assault on all of the senses. Goosebumps, much of the time.
Now I may be a little bias here ( because I am a fan) but, this was such an experience I could only equate it to the 1960s Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom concerts we have discussed here many times. The concentration on sound and lights was intense. There was a huge folding cube of LED screens ascending from the ceiling (see attached picture) being fed all kinds of data and live feed.. Also, there was a laser light show like I’ve never witnessed in my life.
All of that along with the perfection, power and force of Muse’s musical performance was just about too much. Had us dancing, on our toes, and applauding for more. They also graced us with an encore, which was great as well. Sound like a rock show? It will go in the books as was one of the best!
Are Muse Prog Rock?
After reading and hearing different view points today, I would have to say its ultimately up to the listener. Progressive rock (prog rock) is usually a fusion between rock and jazz or classical music. (e.g. Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Rush, King Crimson). I personally hear a definite “progressive rock” element in M– USE compositions. Most in this debate would agree with that, I believe. My wife likes the “anthem rock” aspect of Muse very much (e.g. “Uprising”). Anthem songs bring strong clear message usually sung in solidarity. Other examples of anthem rock bands includes (the biggie) Queen (e.g. We Will Rock You), David Bowie, T. Rex, and Mott The Hoople, etc.
So, depending on your taste you may not call this a Muse Prog Rock show, it could be titled “Muse’s Arena Rock Show in Atlanta” or “Arena Rock Band Muse Plays Atlanta” or something totally different. It’s just what it is to me.
Not to be mistaken for “Jersey Shores” U.S.A., our story comes from across the pond. In August of 1963, world supergroup The Beatles toured The Channel Islands. This leg of the tour incorporated different ballrooms and auditoriums throughout crown dependancies of Jersey and Guernsey in The English Channel. Posters and all types of Beatles rock memorabilia are being made available to commemorate their debut concert tour from 1963. August 6, 2013 (Next Tuesday) begins a 50th Anniversary celebration of The Beatles coming to The Channel Islands. The original tour of the Islands lasted August 6th-10th 1963.
Tracks, LTD. is one of the world’s largest dealer in Beatles rock memorabilia. During the celebration, they are encouraging the public to submit any Beatles artifacts for free appraisal. This (of course) includes rock posters, concert programs, handbills and ticket stubs etc. It works the same way as the TV show “American Pickers”. People have junk in their attic’s or basements they haven’t cleaned out in decades. Only to find artifacts of rock or Beatlemania ephemera that are rare, collectible and sometimes very, very valuable. Tracks, LTD. says for some reason The Beatles rock memorabilia have doubled in value within the last five years. This major increase is much quicker and higher than most other rock ‘n roll collectibles.
Here are a few examples of how much your posters and stuff may be worth:
- A Channel Islands Beatle concert poster may go for as much as $12,000
- Signed record albums could go from $9,000 -$12,000
- Signed record album of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is one of the most coveted. it will go at auction for around $37,500
- Also, the value of printed pieces, programs and photos of The Beatles has increased tremendously. They are now more collectable & popular than any other rock stars memorabilia.
The general public and collectors are watching rock memorabilia allot more closely and more seriously as investments these days. It is becoming, not just a nostalgic whimsical kind a thing, but something worth investing in. Especially with the sharp increase in value on Beatles rock memorabilia. You actually have a “better than fair chance” of turning pieces around for a profit in a relatively short period of time. Remember, their value has doubled or tripled in the past 2 to 5 years. That’s smart money.
Along with Beatle posters and signed Beatle record albums, written material, autographs, fab four clothing, personal items and original posters from The Channel Islands tour are in very high demand. These items will fetch some high bids when auctioned. Also, artifacts of other rock stars are on the rise. Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Bob Marley. Rock memorabilia from these artists are highly valued, but not as much as items from the fab four.
Links of interest:
To explore famous rock posters in detail you may have a hard time separating them from the works of the 60s psychedelic poster artists. There are many reasons for this.
The “rock” poster was invented to advertise events both musical and social that were growing larger and larger in the San Francisco area. The seeds of the counterculture (or hippie movement) were coming of age. This movement was bound to remove itself from the ideals and rigidness of the 1950s. Creating a new culture, with its own ideals, experiences, music, fashion and sustainability.
The 60s psychedelic poster artists were very much a part of this experimentation. The three martini lunch was out! LSD and marijuana would take its place in the new counterculture. It was as much a rebellion as it was a mind expanding new frontier.
What was black-and-white in the 1950s was now bright and vibrant colors in the 1960s. The light switch had been turned on. Experimentation in all types of media would push the limits of good taste in order to be different or original. But then, bad taste could be good taste in these newfound freedoms of expression.
Whatever the case, there was much art being created around this time. Some hang in museums and some were swept away as trash. I’m speaking particularly about rock posters and handbills made usually for concerts at ballrooms and auditoriums.
The music drove the 60s psychedelic poster artists to aspire to what they did. Mostly commissioned to do concerts rock concerts, but, many would create the posters and put the shows on themselves. A good example of that would be the Pinnacle Rock Concerts that were put on in LA. (See Pinnacle Concerts posts on this site)
Although we concentrate mainly on the art, artists and famous rock posters of the 1960s–many great changes in our country were made because of the ideals and grasp for a better world from the counterculture.
Links of Interest:
I am extending my conversation about San Francisco band Blue Cheer. It seems they were very much the residents at the corner of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. (This was at the height of Hippiedom in the mid 1960’s). It is very interesting to me how the Pinnacle Rock Concerts (based in LA) seemed to really bolster their career. San Francisco was a very fertile ground for up and coming musical artists. Many like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company made their bones right there in San Francisco.
The counterculture movement was happening everywhere. It was happening in San Francisco as well as Los Angeles, New York and all the world. However (California in particular), the scene in Los Angeles (music as well) was much different than Frisco. It is interesting to me to explore why San Francisco band Blue Cheer would be so wildly popular in LA.
In my opinion it could be that many bands in San Francisco derived mainly from folk music roots. I know this to be true of groups like the Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby stills and Nash and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Many of these mentioned were influenced by Fred Neil and the coffeehouses and the “beat” movement in Greenwich Village New York in the late 1950’s.
They were followers of the folk movement and turned it electric after many of them moved to California. Case in point: David Crosby wanted to call his group (before CSN) “The Sons Of Neil”. Thats how deep seeded the “folk” connection was. More on this in another post.
Los Angeles artists included The Doors, The Seeds, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, Capt. Beefheart and Love. Not really the “trippy” kind of music coming out of S.F. Although some of LA bands could be considered crossover folk acts they didn’t rely on those roots. It seems (to this author) it was much more electric blues oriented than folk music. For a San Francisco band Blue Cheer made a huge splash in Los Angeles. This music being created in LA was much more more electric, harder edged, and heavier.
As we mentioned in the previous post, Blue Cheer was wildly popular and accepted in Los Angeles. I am trying to determine if this is how they captured national attention. It is odd to me they landed a spot on Dick Clarks-American Bandstand…pretty commercial stuff.
But, you must remember their 1st Album was a huge success, peaked at number 11 on Billboard and still sells to this day. They certainly had strong management (see Eric Albronda comments), promotion and support in LA. I think I lean toward the opinion of our friends at Rock Prosopography 101
Blue Cheer had cachet insofar as they came from San Francisco, but their music was pretty far from the sinuous folk rock improvisations typical of the Fillmore. The San Francisco band Blue Cheer was a loud, loud, loud and proud power trio, playing through veritable wall of Marshall Stax amps.
I may be getting closer to some fire on this. I just stumbled across a list of gigs for Blue Cheer in chronological order (a real labor of love by Bruno Ceriotti). This is unbelievable! What I learned was the many transformations (every few months!) of this group. Five incarnations from 1966 until July 16, 1967 which evolved the power trio Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens and Paul Whaley. They would play non stop until September 1968 promoting the albums “Vincebus Eruptum” & “Outside Inside”. Line up #6 would soon take over.
After this research, its not hard to imagine how San Francisco band Blue Cheer made it in LosAngeles. Maybe a fish out of water. A little more extreme…a little more experimental…a little more Blue Cheer!
Links of Interest:
I learned some very interesting facts today about the connection of 1960s psychedelic rock band Blue Cheer with Pinnacle Rock Concerts. Pinnacle Rock Concerts (or Pinnacle Productions) put on many shows at the Shrine Auditorium and adjacent Exhibition Hall in Los Angeles California in the 60s. It looks like they were most influential in exposing Blue Cheer to the public.
As a matter of fact, Blue Cheer (Dickie Peterson, Paul Whaley and Leigh Stephens) did the first Pinnacle Concert at the Shrine Auditorium along with Jimi Hendrix and The Electric Flag.
From what I see, Pinnacle Productions promoted many bands that would otherwise may not have been seen or heard of. Actually, I was doing some research on artist John Van Hamersveld and discovered he was one of the founding partners of Pinnacle Rock Concerts. You may not know the name immediately, but you know his art. He did the Endless Summer movie poster and The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour album cover. Both, very iconic.
Van Hamersveld knew Allen “Gut” Turk, Blue Cheer’s manager. He was working on an album cover design and asked Van Hamersveld to photograph the band. That was Blue Cheer’s first album (Vincebus Eruptum). It was a huge success and the award winning cover is still recognizable and an iconic image from the 60s. So for the first time I’m seeing a San Francisco based band playing in Los Angeles on a lot. it seems.
The combination of Blue Cheer with Pinnacle Rock Concerts at the Shrine Stadium were obviously very popular. 4,000 strong they would storm the gates. I’m not from California and am just discovering these Pinnacle Production concerts. Of course, I had heard about the famous Shrine Auditorium, but didn’t realize they promoted rock concerts in the 1960s.
Strangely, there were not a lot of rock art posters being done in Los Angeles. It looks like Van Hamersveld did most or allot of the posters for the Pinnacle Rock Concerts (an obvious choice) and shrine Auditorium promotions. But, they are arguably some of the best of the genre.
The Blue Cheer band was very, VERY loud (maybe the loudest) and possibly abrasive/abusive onstage. More than once getting into tussles with other bands on the same bill, like the Grateful Dead and the Jeff Beck Group. Nonetheless, they are attributed to being the godfathers of metal music or the beginings of heavy rock. At the time it was just very original and experimental music they were doing.
What was the connection of Blue Cheer with Pinnacle Rock Concerts? (I believe) they were destined to be partners. Gut Turk, Van Hamersveld and the other managers saw them (Blue Cheer) as innovators and way ahead of their time.
As you might imagine from this post, yes I was a fan back in the day and I would say, still am today. It was some of the most animal, raw, unbridled and original rock ‘n roll I had ever heard. Liberating.
Also, the relationship of Blue Cheer with Pinnacle is relevant to this blog. Because it is believed to have been born from the collaboration of an album cover design no less.
“Vincebus Eruptum” (pronounced ‘win-kay-bus’) is Latin for “Conquering Attack” or “Conquering Explosion.” It’s the best translation I could find. Dickie Peterson (however) defined it as”control of chaos” or “controlled chaos” on a Blue Cheer appearance of the Steve Allen Show.
The answer to the question is… not many! If you’ve seen the movie “Saint Misbehavin’: the Wavy Gravy Movie”– you know what I mean. Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney) is an activist and defender of peace, basic human needs and humanitarian causes. He spread the word around the world in a group called The Hog Farm dressed as a juggler, a clown in a caravan of psychedelic painted buses in the 1960s.
As a matter of fact he wrote the song called “Basic Human Needs” (the existence of certain universal needs that must be satisfied if people are to prevent or resolve destructive conflicts – International Journal Of Peace). Wavy Gravy was always an apostle of peace and love and still is to this day. He also works very hard at it. Wavy says, “some people tell me I’m a saint, I tell them I am a saint misbehavin’”.
Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy) was born in East Greenbush, New York and grew up in Princeton New Jersey. He would take walks with Albert Einstein, be roommates with Bob Dylan (while writing A Hard Rains Gonna Fall) and become a beat poet in Greenwich Village. He became the poetry director at the Gaslight Café (New York City) and was instrumental in introducing jazz and poetry there. He was so popular he began opening up for acts such as John Coletrane, Thelonious Monk, Peter, Paul, and Mary plus many others.
At some point Wavy becomes part of an improvisational group from San Francisco called “The Committee”. He and his wife Bonnie Jean are living outside of Los Angeles in 1965 when a neighbor (recovering from a stroke) offered a mountaintop spread rent-free in exchange for slopping the hogs. Thus was born The Hog Farm commune and will be Wavy Gravy’s headquarters for everything else to come. There would be many humanitarian bus tours, tours with Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters, also an MC and member of the support crew “The Please Force” at Woodstock along with The Hog Farm.
All in all, the movie covers his life and work pretty thoroughly (including iconic friends and colleagues from the 1960s). I came away feeling that this was a very good man and serious about making the world a more happy, safe and peaceful place to be in. It is also a history lesson about how the 60s really did change the world and we feel it still today.
The scope of his goodness is much more than can be covered in this post. If you’ve never heard of Wavy Gravy or are interested in learning more, it will be well worth your time to see what’s behind this cosmic clown and all that he’s done. Pretty fascinating.