THE SPINAL COUNTDOWN
Mala-prop-isms du Rock
Talk of the glory days of the Boob Chariot has sent Hot Press off into a pleasant reverie, recherching les rockers perdu, if you will. Mind you, not all stage props have been as glorious as young Hawkins’ “voiture à heurtoir”. For every heart-warming, ear-threatening AC/DC cannon, there have been several equivalent unholy disasters. If I may paraphrase the great Ian Dury, “There Ain’t Half Been Some Stupid Bastards!” But not to worry lads, sure we can’t all be David Bowie.
The Terrible Big Bang
Despite diminishing returns, hardened road warriors Spinal Tap still gave out a show when they toured Smell The Glove in ‘82. Cucumber smuggling bass player Derek Smalls’ “rock pod” failed to open during ‘Rock N’ Roll Creation’ but, rather than let this dampen his ardour, he birthed a gut-disturbing bass solo whilst snared inside. The road crew finally got the pod open only for Smalls to trap his arm as it closed again at the song’s end. Did he despair? Did he balls! He raised his free hand in rock salute! What do you mean, “they’re not a real band”?!?
Lemmy At ‘Em
‘Bomber’ was a minor 1979 hit for legendary crazy bastards Motörhead, inspired by Lemmy’s reading of a Len Deighton novel. Yes, Lemmy could read. One night, during the encore, Lemmy got in the 40-foot aluminium lighting rig, which was shaped like a Heinkel He 111 German aircraft. Unfortunately his bass was still plugged in. As the “plane” ascended, our man was nearly pulled to his doom. He vowed that if he got out alive, he’d kill the bastard responsible. Once back on terra firma, he was informed that said roadie had already left the building. Legend has it he’s running still. We can never know what awaits us after death but we do know that wherever Lemmy is, he’s kicking arse.
A Right Lemon
U2’s PopMart tour had a golden arch and a traveling mirrorball lemon from which the band would nightly emerge, but it was all ironic, so that was okay. When you have more money than Jesus, every crazy idea can become manifest, but also sour so quickly. A surfeit of dry ice on opening night in Vegas meant the Edge couldn’t locate the foot pedal to release the mighty ‘2 from their citrus prison. I’d say “Laughing” Larry Mullen was having the wildest of craic inside. A wag might comment that they found it all too taxing, but you can make up your own gags at this point.
Lark By The Lee
Never one to be outdone, Rock eejit nonpareil Tommy “Cooper” Lee, of hair glam chancers Mötley Crüe, had a rollercoaster created for the Crüe’s final tour, which Tommy christened “The Crüecify”. The idea was that Lee and his drum kit would be suspended upside down over the crowd as the roller coaster went along, delivering a blistering tub solo and driving the faithful bananas. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. New Year’s Eve 2015 in Los Angeles, the rig malfunctions leaving Lee hanging upside down above the punters. As various roadies give it a bit of Edmund Hilary trying to assist, Tommy was heard to declare, “It looks like the roller coaster is broken, well fuck the roller coaster!” Rock on, Tommy.