By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Did you know? Van Halen’s $1.5 million paycheck for 1983’s US Festival landed them in the Guinness Book of World Records for highest-paid single performance by a band. Gene Simmons suggested they change their name to Daddy Longlegs. Sammy Hagar claims to have been visited by aliens in 1968. Bassist Michael Anthony’s girlfriend proposed to him in a McDonald’s drive-thru.
Mom, Have You Seen My Leather Pants?: The Tale of a Teen Rock Wannabe Who Almost Was, Craig A. Williams (Three Rivers Press). Coming from far humbler beginnings, author Williams writes in earnestness of the ages between 14 and 17, when he was a rock star, if not in Orange County, then in his own mind. Nicknamed “Children of the Corn” in high school for having long red hair, Williams and his buddies formed a band called Devolution (yes, they were aware of that other Devolution), which was changed to Onyxxx (yup, they knew about that other Onyx too, hence the extra letters). Their singer was the “greatest front man in the history of the Anaheim Hills/Yorba Linda area.” Williams “wrote songs that made dozens of people sing.” And at 16, he autographed breasts. Even if you still haven’t heard of Onyxxx, Williams’ book is a funny time travel for any child of the late ’80s who fondly remembers KNAC and Pirate Radio, and every guitarist who swears Slash came to him in a dream. Besides, who else wrote the lyrics, “When I woke up this morning/And I looked outside/I saw my soul lying to God”? And what other band had a Loni Anderson impersonator for a manager?
Did you know? More than 2 percent of U.S. presidents were born in Yorba Linda.
Riot on Sunset Strip, Domenic Priore(Jawbone Press). Before the Sunset Strip was a hair-metal haven and Haight-Ashbury became hippie central, the bands that were born and honed their skills in Hollywood during the second half of the ’60s put L.A. on the musical map. After all, it was at the RCA Music Center on Sunset where the Rolling Stones recorded “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and Ciro’s LeDisc where the Byrds premiered “Mr. Tambourine Man” with help from Dylan himself. With a foreword by the late Arthur Lee, Priore’s exhaustive and illustrated encyclopedic text (pictures of Jayne Mansfield dancing at Whisky a Go Go, a protester holding a picket sign that reads, “Fark the Nucks”) chronicles the beginnings of the Byrds, Love, Frank Zappa and the Mothers, and Captain Beefheart, as well as lesser-known garage bands like the Seeds and the Standells; plus the old haunts that popularized them, from Pandora’s Box on one end of the Strip to Gazzarri’s on the other. If it weren’t for the riots — a reaction to the crackdowns and curfews imposed by city officials as a way to cleanse the longhairs — Lou Adler and John Phillips might’ve never organized the Summer of Love’s biggest event, and one of the first music festivals, Monterey Pop.
Did you know? Both Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis owned clubs on the Strip, Lewis’ occupying the old Tower Video address. John Wayne was in the audience heckling the night of Zappa and the Mothers’ debut at the Action on Santa Monica Boulevard. Mae West recorded an album of Beatles and Dylan covers in 1966 with a backing band called Somebody’s Chyldren.
Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book, Aye Jay (ECW Press). Heavy metal has been corrupting young minds since Kiss started selling makeup kits in 1977. And what’s more cartoonish than GWAR? With a foreword by Andrew W.K., illustrator Aye Jay, the man behind the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book and Indie Rock Connect the Dots, gives children a fun and educational way to experience hard rock, metal and Scandinavian black metal with nothing harmful in sight except the smell of crayons. They can connect the moles on Lemmy Kilmister’s face, help Ozzy get to Ozzfest through a maze, make words out of Yngwie Malmsteen and Al Jourgensen, and color Glenn Danzig. (Note: Post-Misfits metal Danzig does not have devil locks.) They can even play “Holy Diver” metal libs, and use a grid to draw Corrosion of Conformity’s logo. Hey, if kids can accept a gay wizard, they can listen to Electric Wizard.
Did you know? Who said, “I must have snorted up all of Peru,” during Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years? No, it wasn’t Ozzy. Clearly, you never played match-the-quote-with-the-addict as a child.