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BAD-ASS REPUTATION: The former Joan Marie Larkin comes off as one tough chick, but admits to being an approachable softie. Nonetheless, her swagger and perseverance have made her an American rock-n-roll icon.

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SIN-SATION: Jett’s 2006 album includes songwriting credits to Linda Perry and Kathleen Hanna as well as a cover of the Replacements’ “Androgynous.”

By David Glessner

On tour promoting her latest album, “Sinner,” Joan Jett is rushing through (what else?) an airport when she phones for a quick interview on the eve of her recent fortysomething birthday. “Sorry,” the Philadelphia native says after a brief interruption. “I’m checking my bags and I’m getting hassled.”

Since her teens in the late-1970s all-girl rock band the Runaways, hassles have threatened to clip Jett’s wings. Initially dismissed as a novelty act in the macho world of rock ‘n’ roll, Jett proved to be tougher than leather as she overcame the naysayers to become a legend with classic 1980s hit songs and MTV videos. Backed by her bad-boy band, the Blackhearts, Jett is an inspiration and the undisputed queen of sneering punk ‘n’ roll.

With her bags finally checked, I landed Jett before takeoff.

Tell us something about yourself that contradicts your tough image.
Wow! You’d have to hang out with me (to know). I love animals. I like to read. I think people tend to think I’m mean because of the image, but that’s the biggest misconception. I’m not unapproachable.

Your new single, “A.C.D.C.” is a re-make of an old Sweet song. Why did you choose it as the single and how did you get Carmen Electra to star in the video?
When I was 15 years old, I used to go to this disco where they played glitter music, so I was aware of the song long ago. It’s provocative and I thought it would be fun to do. I happened to meet Carmen at a gig and I heard she was a fan. She’s so unaffected by her fame. She’s perfect (for the video) because she’s beautiful and she’s edgy, so we gave it a shot.

BROKEN ARROWS: After being turned down by every record company on the planet, Jett broke big with her 1981 cover of “I Love Rock-n-Roll.” It immediately became — and remains — her signature song.

Your best-known song is another cover from a little-known band called the Arrows. How did you discover “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”?
The Runaways were on tour in England and I heard that song. It was the B-side of an Arrows’ single. Nobody was paying attention to it, so I thought the Runaways should do it. None of the girls liked it, so I just held onto it until I had a chance to do it with the Blackhearts. It certainly wasn’t an instant hit. It took awhile because I had a lot of resistance from the industry and radio.

Were your parents supportive when you tuned into rock ‘n’ roll?
They opened their mouths and had to live by their word. They told me I could be anything I wanted in life. They were very supportive. I wanted to be an astronaut, an archeologist, an actress. Once I got to rock ‘n’ roll, I’m sure they thought it was a fad.

Sexuality is very up front in your music, yet you keep your private life fairly secretive.
It’s not secretive; it’s just nobody’s business. Everybody’s game, so why should I pin myself down? I want the girls to think I’m playing for them and I want all the boys to think I’m playing for them.

How do you stay in shape? How many sit-ups can you do?
I’ve probably reached 100 of different kinds, but it’s not everyday. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I’m pretty boring. I’m vegetarian. I exercise a bit, but not enough to claim that’s the only reason I look OK. My job is intense. It’s very physical.

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GERM WARFARE: Jett produced the Germs’ cult-classic 1979 “(GI)” album. Guitarist Pat Smear has since been a longtime member of the Foo Fighters.

What do you remember about producing the Germs’ 1979 debut album?
People remember the Germs and that time as being very wild and (messed) up. That certainly was the case in a lot of instances, but when it came time to do that record, we had four days to be serious and do it. I think they thought I knew what I was doing because I had been in the studio with the Runaways.

The new songs “Riddles” and “Change the World” are unusually political.
A lot of people are just oblivious to the fact we’re in a war. Until it affects the quality of their day, people just don’t give a (care). (Those songs) are more about starting a conversation. It’s dangerous when everyone is so righteous in their beliefs. At the same time, I understand because everyone is passionate about their vision for America. It’s an interesting time to be alive.

This article originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman XL entertainment section on Thursday, Nov. 09, 2006

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HORROR BUSINESS: Iconic heavy metal vocalist Philip H. Anselmo shares his life-long passion for horror movies, including — believe it or not — the one that made him cry.

HHFBy David Glessner
Special to the American-Statesman

For a guy who rose to fame barking heavy metal threats, Philip Anselmo is a stone-mellow dude. Drawling in a groggy croak on the phone from his New Orleans home, the former Pantera and current Down singer is discussing the inspiration behind his second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival running Oct. 24-26 at Emo’s.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where the whole weekend was jam-packed full of horror flicks and monster movies,” he said. “I also loved all the television stuff like ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The Outer Limits.’ I’m sitting here right now staring at this wall of VHS tapes. My box copy of the original ‘Evil Dead’ is fantastic, but is it any better than my box copy of ‘The Sinful Dwarf’? I’m not sure.”

Named for Anselmo’s Housecore Records label and created in partnership with true–crime author Corey Mitchell, the horror fest combines screaming heavy metal bands with horror film actors, exhibits, zombie makeovers and other bloody treats. Along with the grinding howl of bands like Danzig, Voivod, GWAR and Evil United, a main attraction this year is appearances by cast members of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies.

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HELLBENT FOR LEATHER: Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ ain’t lookin’ to saw no logs

“It’s very surreal for me (to have them on the bill),” Anselmo said. “‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is a disturbing flick, man. It’s got that sick element of lunacy and it still holds up even today. To me, it’s just a classic.”

Naturally, the demonic imagery of horror films pairs wickedly well with heavy metal.

“I’ll tell anyone with ears that if it wasn’t for ‘The Exorcist’ or the ‘Living Dead’ movies, there wouldn’t be a genre of music called death metal where the singers are singing with the guttural vocals and whatnot,” Anselmo said.

Another exclusive at this year’s fest is the return of Anselmo’s Superjoint Ritual.

superjoint“From what I heard, there was a poll of some sort asking people what band of mine from the past would people like to see me reorganize and Superjoint won. (Freakin’) peer pressure, right there! We said, ‘(Screw) it. Why not?’ It’s one day, one show, no harm, no foul. Plus, it’s pretty easy to do. I mean, there’s no image or stage show involved (laughs). Hopefully some of the people will remember the words to the songs, because I most certainly won’t.”

So what horror flick first scared the bejesus out of young Anselmo?

“I won’t say it scared me, because it actually made me cry my eyes out, but ‘King Kong’ was the first movie that really touched me as a kid,” he said. “As far as scaring me and giving me the fear when I was a youngster, there was a movie called ‘How Awful About Allan’ starring Anthony Perkins of ‘Psycho’ fame. That movie scared me. And of course, there’s no denying the power of ‘The Exorcist.’”

“In grade school I saw ‘Don’t Go in the House’ at the theater,” he continued. “I saw ‘The Changeling’ at the theater — which scared the living, flying (crap) out of me! I saw ‘Silent Scream’ with Barbara Steele and that was insane.”

evil deadA few years later, a friend invited Anselmo over to watch “The Evil Dead.” He’s been scarred ever since.

“Man, I will just say it was a long walk home on these empty, desolate streets,” Anselmo said. “Oh my God, I was pretty much awake all night. It outdid ‘The Exorcist,’ because at that age you go through this gore phase where the gorier the better. That one hit a nerve, man.”

Like many of the horror fest musicians, Anselmo’s friend Glenn Danzig was heavily influenced by horror movies. From his iconic horror-punk Misfits to Samhain and Danzig, the so-called “Evil Elvis” is a horror-rock pioneer. A rare appearance by cult-favorite Samhain followed by Danzig will have him pulling double duty.

“The first time I ever met Glenn Danzig was in Los Angeles when Pantera was playing with S.O.D.,” Anselmo said. “That was a helluva show. I didn’t think he knew me from anybody ‘cause Pantera was still up and coming, but he walked right up to me, shook my hand and said hello, and it made my entire night. Ever since then, we’ve stayed in touch via email and he sends me his Verotik comics. He’s just a dynamite guy so I took a wild stab and said, ‘Big brother, would you play the Horror Fest?’ He named his price and I said let’s do it.”

Asked if he might one day organize a festival that combines his other love of boxing with heavy metal, Anselmo ponders the question and says, “Well, damn, man! I might have to give you some side-cash credit for that. I hadn’t even thought of that one. That’s pretty good, man.”

For more Housecore Horror Film Festival info, including schedules and appearances, visit housecorehorrorfilmfestival.com

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WATCHIN’ YOU: The intensity of legendary metal vocalist Phil Anselmo can be traced to a four-letter word.

By Metal Dave

Philip Anselmo is on the phone exhaling another thick drag of smoke. We’ve just finished discussing his upcoming, second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival (ticket info below) when he graciously offers to extend the interview into whatever else I’d like to ask. “Take your time, man,” he croaks with a rasp. “You’re my only job today.”

Hmmm. OK. Damn! While such an offer presents limitless temptations, I’m unfortunately on a tight lunch break from my day job (and I refuse to overbake the Pantera drama), so I toss out my always-reliable, general-interest, go-to question. Considering we’ve spent the past 30 minutes dissecting monsters and blood, Phil’s answer seems perfectly fitting.

2FAST2DIE: OK, brother … so what album made the biggest impression on you as a kid? I know for me it was KISS “Destroyer.” Is there a single album you’d call a game-changer for young, impressionable Philip Anselmo?

PHILIP ANSELMO: Well, man, you just opened up this Pandora’s Box of jumping, insane monkeys. My brain is going bananas right now. I grew up in a house full of music because I had a young mother who was in her young 20s or whatnot so she had all the hip records from the ’50s and ’60s. So I love ’50s music, I love ’60s music, I love ’70s music and I’m talking everything from prog rock to radio rock, so I’m familiar with all that stuff. Then my mother’s sister, my Aunt Pam, was a theater performer and she was a great singer and a great stage personality in the local scene in New Orleans so I grew up around all this type of shit. 

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VULGAR DISPLAY OF PUCKER: A corruptive influence on many young boys, ‘KISS Alive!’ also stole the soul of young Phil Anselmo.

But I gotta agree with you … I’d say it was the imagery of KISS that first grabbed my eyeballs and intrigued my young mind. The drug store down the street used to sell albums and I remember buying KISS “Alive!” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” on the same day and, man, it was KISS! Those first three KISS albums had such shitty production, but “Alive!” was pure energy and had such awesome versions of “100,000 Years,” “Watchin’ You” and “Parasite” and all that shit. So, definitely … KISS was a huge, huge influence on me chasing this music dream. 

But I will say this: Once I hit my teens, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden really, really, really fucking stuck out for me and grabbed me by the neck and said, “This is where you’re heading young man.” You also had those in-betweeners like Van Halen. There’s no denying the power of Van Halen. And then those first couple of Ozzy Osbourne albums with Randy Rhoads. Overall, if I had to pick just one that got me started, though, I’d have to vote KISS.

2FAST2DIE Says: Turns out I’m a year older than Phil so we grew up on the same rock influences. Obviously, there’s no way I can argue the impact and energy of KISS “Alive!” (and I’m not just saying that because I’m worried about getting punched). If KISS “Alive!” is partially to blame for giving us Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual and Phil’s myriad other bands, then I salute you Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul.

For more on Philip Anselmo, go here.
For more on Housecore Horror Film Festival Oct. 24-26 in Austin, go here.
To get beaten up by Down, click below …

ELECTRIC GYPSY Phil Lewis pulls the trigger in Austin, TX. (photo by Jerry Milton)

ELECTRIC GYPSY Phil Lewis lets it rip in Austin, TX. (photo by Jerry Milton)

By Metal Dave

Ripping into Austin, Texas last night, L.A. Guns was a whirlwind of jet-black hair, smudgy black eyes and high-voltage rock-n-roll. Yeah, they’ve seen more drama than General Hospital, but singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley still keep the band electric.

Joined by bassist Scotty Griffin and guitarist Michael Grant, L.A. Guns tore through the sleaze-rock party starters “Sex Action,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Never Enough” and “Rip and Tear.” Unlike many of his 1980’s peers, Lewis is still in amazing voice. And for the record, Grant was no slouch.

A cover of Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots” was an odd surprise, but damn if they didn’t nail every drum fill, bass run, guitar solo and vocal wail. Well done, lads.

Ah, yes. “The Ballad of Jayne.” A rightful hit in 1989, this gem is unjustly eclipsed by the likes of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” but without a doubt ranks among the very best power ballads of the glam-metal genre. The sing-along audience surely agreed.

And lest anyone think L.A. Guns is purely a 1980’s nostalgia act, the band hurled a few latter-day Molotovs, including “Revolution” and “You Better Not Love Me,” proving they still pack enough ammo to match their out-for-blood, sleaze-groove legacy. By the way, if you stopped buying L.A. Guns albums after 1991’s “Hollywood Vampires,” you owe it to yourself to get 2002’s “Waking the Dead” and 2012’s “Hollywood Forever.” Both beat the living tar out of Motley Crue’s last few albums.

As much as fans  (me included) wish for a reunion with departed guitar hero Tracii Guns, L.A. Guns has been impressively consistent under the leadership of Lewis and Riley. It’s safe to say last night in Austin was another victorious howl at the moon.

For more L.A. Guns info, including tour dates and ticket info, go here.

BELOW: Something old and something new from L.A. Guns

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HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES: The L.A. Guns lineup has changed more times than Elton John, but singer Phil Lewis (middle) and drummer Steve Riley (top) remain as core members of the band that gave us such 1980s hits as “Ballad of Jayne,” “Rip and Tear” and “Never Enough.” Unlike many of their peers, L.A. Guns’ post-heyday albums are also well worth a listen. Check out “Man in the Moon,” “Waking the Dead,” “Tales from the Strip” and “Hollywood Forever.”

By Metal Dave

Well, shit! Now I feel like an ass! After learning L.A. Guns was aiming for Austin on Wednesday (ticket info below), I reached out to my pal Adam Hamilton, who happens to be the band’s former bass player, and asked him to put me in touch with singer Phil Lewis. For three days, Phil and I played tag until I was ready to call it quits.

Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Phil. He earlier agreed to a full-blown interview, but with a deadline spilling salt in my wound, I suggested the Plan B that follows below. Phil was game and I was happy. Cool.

But wait. The story gets better. Phil’s reason for not getting back to me is the mother of all rock-n-roll “excuses.” Was he in jail? Was he passed out in a Dumpster after a three-night bender of snot-slinging debauchery? Oh, hell no! It’s much more shocking than that.

Believe it or not, Mr. “Sex Action” volunteers at his local humane society where phones are not allowed while on duty. In more than two decades of interviewing rock stars, this, for me, is truly a first. How can I possibly be frustrated with an iconic sleaze-rock vampire who spends his free time helping neglected animals? Well, I can’t! And I won’t. Bravo, Phil.

2FAST2DIE: Nice to catch up, Phil. Thanks for being in touch. So, what album can we credit for turning you into a hit-making, rock-n-roll outlaw?

T Rex Electric WarriorPHIL LEWIS: The early ’70s were my introduction to the world of music, and I couldn’t have been luckier. I once saw Sly and the Family Stone, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple on the same bill. So much amazing music to choose. I was well aware of the political and philosophical power of rock-n-roll music from bands like the Who and Rolling Stones, but at that time, I was just a kid. And while I’d love to be tragically “Prog” and say something cool like Yes, Genesis, ELP or even Led Zeppelin — all fine bands and hugely popular at the time — I proudly admit my first legitimately acquired LP vinyl record was T. Rex, “Electric Warrior.” I still have it. It crackles a bit, but so do I.

The simple black and gold cover silhouette of Marc Bolan pulling the greatest guitar pose ­ leaning into his Les Paul with a big, black Marshall stack right behind ­ was totally iconic art for me and my G­-G-Generation. As David Bowie observed in “All The Young Dudes,” “Who needs TV when I got T. Rex?” After buying this record, the only time I watched TV was to see T. Rex! Fortunately, back in 1971 London town, that was quite often.

I remember tearing off the plastic wrapper and beholding the big, double-gatefold cover with a huge black-and-white photo of my Metal Guru, looking every inch the Merlin I knew him to be. I remember carefully removing and gently lowering the heavy, black, virgin vinyl as if it was Ophelia herself on my unworthy Garrard 72 B turntable, and expertly laying the stylus in the grooves of the first track. Turn up the amp and Bang! Literally Bang! “Bang a Gong” — arguably one of the greatest opening rock-and-roll riffs of all time. A big sound from a huge, short-lived, almost mythical character — truly a warrior poet.

Every song on the record was original and cleverly crafted — the soundtrack to my life. It got me pumped, it got me thinking and it got me laid. Back then (in Phil’s native Britain), you had two choices: ­ take her majesty’s shilling and get shipped off to Belfast, or become a soccer hooligan. Music, art and culture, to me, were just background noise for the rich when I was 17-years-old, but this record changed everything. I got to appreciate the avenues “Electric Warrior” opened to me, and the quality of my life improved drastically. Very powerful stuff …

2FAST2DIE SAYS: Phil’s passionate recollection of this album is either Shakespearean or semi-pornographic. Actually, it’s  a bit of both. And hey, who can blame him? T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan did indeed write the book on sexually-charged, riff-gasm, glam-banging. Well done, Phil. Thanks for playing along and thanks for that one-of-a-kind tidbit about the humane society. Who says sleaze-metal rockers are all wasted, heartless derelicts?

For more L.A. Guns info, including tour dates and ticket info for the Austin concert featuring special guests Cosmic Wolf and High-Watt Crucifixers, go here.

BELOW: Something old and something new from L.A. Guns

crue live

RED HOT: Motley Crue bids farewell in true-to-form, fiery fashion. (photo from Google images).

NICE GUY: Alice Cooper welcomes you to his nightmare (photo by David Castillo)

NICE GUY: Alice Cooper welcomes you to his nightmare (photo by David Castillo)

By Metal Dave

Curse words are hardly shocking when spit forth by Motley Crue, but when the F-word in question is a sworn farewell, there is suddenly cause for alarm (or celebration if you’re so inclined).

Stopping last night at the Cedar Park Center for what’s being billed as the “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” tour, the notorious hair-metal glam band swears this is the final bow. If so, it was a rowdy party made even better by melodic mop-tops the Raskins and special guest Alice Cooper. Give the Crue credit for having the guts to invite such a formidable legend.

Taking the stage in black-smudged eyes, Alice tightened his set into a no-time-to-waste lesson in momentum. Efficient and dripping with rabies, his backing band was a leather-and-studs vampire squad that delivered “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “Under My Wheels” with assassin-like precision. As for Alice himself, his gorgeously wretched voice and corpse-skinny frame still packed the same venomous snarl and menace that scared the bejesus out of Mom and Dad back in 1973.

In a word, Alice and his band were killer – especially when his guillotine, ghouls and boa constrictor  lent their shock and awe to “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” “Welcome to My Nightmare,” “Billion Dollar Babies” and a set-closing “School’s Out” — which perfectly oozed into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” It was an eye-popping display of choreographed, yet somehow, spontaneous theatrics (including Cooper’s electrocuted transformation into a 12-foot zombie during “Feed My Frankenstein”). The crowd just loved it to death. You had to be there.

With marching orders from Uncle Alice, Motley Crue hit the stage with a big bang of pyro, lava-hot go-go girls and let’s party bravado. Nothing new there, but hey, if it ain’t broke … To his credit (for those keeping score), singer Vince Neil sang more than wheezed. He got plenty of high-pitched help from his near-naked back-up gals, but did the job better than years past as he powered his Crue through “Wild Side,” “Primal Scream,” “Looks that Kill” and “On With the Show.”

Had they scrapped the non-Eddie Van Halen guitar solo and bassist Nikki Sixx’s long-winded recap of the Crue’s history, L.A.’s baddest bad boys could have dug deeper into debut album “Too Fast For Love” and obscurities like “Toast of the Town” and “Stick to Your Guns.” If this is goodbye, why not blast some rarities instead of Sex Pistols and Brownsville Station covers?

Guitarist Mick Mars muffed the intro to “Shout at the Devil” and Neil had to ask if the crowd was still with him after the whine-and-cheese ballad, “Without You,” but overall, Motley Crue gave the fans what they wanted, namely scream-and-grind rock-n-roll, including drummer Tommy Lee’s hang-from-the-rafters drum solo (which oddly enough featured a vocal sample from John Corabi who replaced Vince Neil for a couple years).

The finish-line sprint of “Livewire,” “Too Young to Fall in Love,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and a fist-bumping escort through the crowd that landed the band on a mini-stage for “Home Sweet Home” was indeed pretty sweet. Goodbye or good riddance, Motley Crue left a decent bruise.

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ALL THE YOUNG DUDES: Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx circa 1981. Big-time fame and bigger trouble were right around the corner.

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PARTING SHOT: Nikki, Tommy, Vince and Mick in 2014.

Text originally published in
the Austin American-Statesman
July 10, 2014

By David Glessner
Special to the American-Statesman

When they started the band in 1981, all they needed was a laugh. Who knew aiming so low would get Mötley Crüe so high?

World-famous for more than three decades, the notorious sleaze-metal glam rockers have sold more than 80 million albums while turning bad behavior into sex tapes, jail time and overdoses. So much for a future in politics. Then again, why not?

Now a bit (ahem) tamer, Mötley Crüe struts into the Cedar Park Center on Tuesday for the “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” farewell tour. Shock-rock granddaddy Alice Cooper is special guest along with the Raskins. Expect a few choice words and skintight fashion as the Crüe lines up “Looks That Kill,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Wild Side” alongside the Coop’s “School’s Out,” “I’m Eighteen” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

DEVIL MUSIC: Motley Crue's second album and a support tour with Ozzy Osbourne garnered international notoriety.

DEVIL MUSIC: Motley Crue’s second album and a support tour with Ozzy Osbourne garnered international notoriety.

Born in Los Angeles under the influence of Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Slade, Mötley Crüe’s mix of glam-rock theatrics and punk-rock sneer became an X-rated version of Kiss (also in town this week, playing Saturday at the Austin360 Amphitheater; read our preview, published earlier this week, at austin360.comand mystatesman.com). A succession of albums — “Too Fast for Love,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Theatre of Pain,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood” — produced a string of radio and MTV hits that pushed the poster boys for big hair, tattoos and strip-club shenanigans into Mom and Dad’s living room.

Being Mötley Crüe, of course, the victories were laced with peril. In 1984, drunken singer Vince Neil slammed his sports car into an oncoming vehicle, killing his passenger and injuring two others. By his own admission, Neil wrote a check for $2.5 million and spent 30 days in jail sneaking beers and at least one groupie.

DIRTY: Motley Crue's best-selling autobiography is a near-lethal lesson in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

DIRTY: Motley Crue’s best-selling autobiography is a near-lethal lesson in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

In 1987, bassist Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin and died before the medics kick-started his heart with adrenaline shots. He was back on the needle the very next day.

In 1989, drummer Tommy Lee served six months behind bars for spousal abuse against Playboy/“Baywatch” bombshell Pamela Anderson. Meanwhile, demonic guitarist Mick Mars quietly struggled with his own addictions while battling a crippling spine disease that haunts him to this day.

All of the above and more threatens to be captured in a pending movie version of Mötley Crüe’s 2001 New York Times best-selling autobiography, “The Dirt.”

If this truly is goodbye for Mötley Crüe, there will be plenty who bid good riddance. As for Nikki, Vince, Tommy and Mick, they’d have it no other way.

SNAKE CHARMER: Alice Cooper has welcomed generations to his nightmare

SNAKE CHARMER: Alice Cooper has welcomed generations to his nightmare

Opening act: Alice Cooper

For all the depravity Mötley Crüe added to rock’s recipe for rebellion, it was a man named Alice who first handed it down. Predating Mötley Crüe by a decade, the former Vincent Furnier named himself after a 17th century witch following a Ouija board session and became the corpse-faced king of horror-show, shock-rock. Backed by an androgynous band of cadaverous misfits, Alice’s prop-filled concerts were a hideous wonderland of live boa constrictors, simulated beheadings, hypodermic needles and subservient ghouls.

Every parent’s nightmare during the early 1970s — and a notorious drunk who hid a cocaine habit until the recent release of his DVD documentary, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” — Alice’s wicked persona and songs like “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and “Billion Dollar Babies,” influenced every band from Kiss and the Sex Pistols to Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Today, at age 66, Alice is a sober golf enthusiast who could charm the cookies off June Cleaver.

Mötley Crüe — When: 7 p.m. Tuesday; Where: Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park; Cost: $65 to $145; Information: www.cedarparkcenter.com.

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GUN NUT FEVER: As an arena-rocker in the 1970s, Ted Nugent was an undisputed badass. In 2014, more often than not, he comes across as a Neanderthal jackass.

Ted Nugent

MOTOR CITY MARKSMAN: Nugent with his other weapon of choice

By Metal Dave

Of all the weapons at Ted Nugent’s disposal (his high-powered mouth, blazing guns and goofy redneck arrogance, etc.), I wish he’d just shut the hell up and pull the trigger on that Byrdland guitar.

Yeah, I absolutely loathe the Nuge’s suffocating politics, but I could never deny the slicing guitar and wild-eyed testosterone that fueled “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Wango Tango” and my personal favorite, “Great White Buffalo.”

The following was published in the San Antonio Express-News on Aug. 20, 1999. Like him or not, Ted is an over-the-top, all-American rock-n-roll icon. I just wish he’d lock down his overworked bear trap and let the music do the talking.

JUST WHAT THE NRA ORDERED: Nugent makes another point.

JUST WHAT THE NRA ORDERED: Cooter makes another point.

By David Glessner
Special to the Express-News

He’s known the world over as the “Motor City Madman,” “Terrible Ted” and even “Sweaty Teddy,” but to his publicist, the gonzo guitarist who penned “love” songs such as “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Wango Tango” is referred to as Mr. Nugent.

“Yeah, I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people,” Nugent said, prior to a gig in New Orleans. “I move at a high rate of speed and those people make it happen.”

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NUDE GENT: Ted in his semi-naked yesteryear

Talking is something else Nugent, who turns 51 in December, does at a high rate of speed. Like a campaigning politician, he is articulate, opinionated, confident and personable to the point of interjecting his interviewer’s first name whenever possible.

“I’m a prioritizer first and foremost,” he said, explaining how he balances rock ‘n’ roll, his outdoor adventure empire and his role as spokesperson for the right to bear arms. “I maintain a balance of the sonic bombast of my middle finger rock ‘n’ roll maneuvers with the ultra peaceful outdoor life.”

The outdoor life will be anything but peaceful at Sunken Garden Theater on Wednesday, when Mr. Nugent headlines the “Rock Never Stops” tour featuring Quiet Riot, Slaughter and Night Ranger. Nugent is joined by journeyman drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Jon Gunnell. (NOTE: Tix = $25-35)

“Without question, this is the most exciting period of my musical career,” Nugent said. “Together we’ve got more throb per mile, more grunt factor, a certain swagger. I want to raise maximum hell.”

Raising hell has been a Nugent specialty since he formed the Amboy Dukes back in 1965 and gained airplay with “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Journey to the Center of the Mind.”

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ARENA WARRIOR: At one point in the 1970s, Nugent filled the nation’s biggest stadiums

A decade later, as a loincloth-wearing solo artist, he became notorious for his caveman-like stage persona and hyper-speed stage banter. Albums like “Free For All,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Double Live Gonzo” (partially recorded in San Antonio) and “Weekend Warriors” earned Nugent the title of world’s top-grossing concert act in 1977-1979. Through it all, he staunchly opposed the drugs and alcohol that seem to go hand-in-hand with rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m absolutely militant against that nonsense,” he said. “I have never, ever been willing to compromise my level of awareness, and that can be traced back to my hunting. Jerry Garcia despised me and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Nugent’s calendar is divided equally between music and hunting.

SHOOT TO GRILLNugent takes aim at dinner and leftovers.

SHOOT TO GRILL: Nugent takes aim at dinner and leftovers.

“I’ve never missed a hunting season since 1949 when I was 1 year-old and hanging on my dad’s back,” he said.

Since then, he’s been honored by countless law-enforcement agencies and the National Rifle Association, where he serves on the Board of Directors. A bow hunter as well as rifleman who eats his kills, Nugent blames the media for the hysteria surrounding the gun debate.

“More than 100 million law-abiding gun owners went to bed last night without any incident of death, misuse or negligence,” he piped. “The media is quick to report about the idiot in Atlanta who shot up an office building, but where the good guys have firepower, lives are saved. Dan Rather doesn’t tell you that.”

Ask him if musical acts such as Insane Clown Posse or Eminem influence the deadly actions of some of today’s youth, and Nugent goes on a tear.

“There’s always been stupid music,” he said. “Some people say ‘Wango Tango’ is stupid, but it’s fun. These rap guys … not a day goes by when I don’t pick up a paper and read about one who’s busted for drugs or illegal weapons or stealing. I (urinate) on their graves. In the absence of good parents, decent guidance and nurturing, those guys become meaningful.”

Back to the music, Nugent said he recently covered “Rag Doll” for an upcoming Aerosmith tribute album and expects to have new solo and Damn Yankees albums out early next year. In the meantime, he’s got his sights set on Texas.

“The hospitality of the people in Texas is incredible,” he said. “I go hunting in Kerrville every December, head out to Junction, rock San Antonio, Dallas, Houston. Those people are my blood brothers. I consider myself an official Texan.”

BELOW: One of my favorite Nugent hits. The audio/video synch is pretty horrible, but DAMN that rhythm guitarist MEANS it at the :39-second mark (and if you miss it, they repeat the exact same clip at 1:21). Rock, dude!

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DOWN CAST: These perky fellas are, left to right, drummer Jimmy Bower, guitarist Bobby Landgraf, singer Philip Anselmo, bassist Pat Bruders and guitarist Pepper Keenan. Don’t make them come looking for you.

THE RIPPER: Bobby Rock channels his inner Glenn Tipton

THE RIPPER: Bobby Rock channels his inner Glenn Tipton. Earlier this year, Bobby replaced Kirk Windstein. who left Down to focus on his other band, Crowbar.

By Metal Dave

It’s always cool when one of your own slugs his way into the rock-roll Big Leagues. It’s even cooler when the gig is awarded after years of proven loyalty and tested behind-the-scenes service.

Ladies and gents, please give a hearty hoot-n-howdy to Down guitarist Bobby “Rock” Landgraf, a veteran of the Austin music scene (Honky, Gahdzilla Motor Company, Nosebleed, Continental Club sound man, etc.) who recently was promoted to stage duty after seven years of working as the band’s guitar tech and stage manager.

Returning to Austin on Saturday to play Emo’s (ticket info here), Bobby was kind enough to corral a few of his Down mates for a round of 2Fast2Die’s “Ask…” Be sure to get your copy of Bobby’s recorded Down debut “Down IV Pt II,” get your concert tickets, ice the beer and help give our boy a proper Down-home, Austin homecoming this Saturday.

2FAST2DIE: What’s up, Honky? Congrats again on being named an official member of Down. Well deserved! And what the hell? I’ll just go right ahead and speak for all of Austin when I say we couldn’t be prouder. So, what album from your youth helped put you where you are today?

JP sharpBOBBY LANDGRAF: Metal Dave, my man! When you asked me to name the record that stole my soul I thought about Judas Priest “Unleashed in the East.” My jam box was never without that cassette. I had already started playing guitar, but that record helped focus where I was going as a guitar player. Song after song of relentless guitar chops. I learned every damn song on it. It was the most jammed-in-my-room record EVER. I convinced myself that I could tell the difference between Glenn Tipton and KK Downing’s chops. Then, I finally saw them live on the “British Steel” tour w/Iron Maiden’s first album tour. It’s then that I saw them both getting it. I then realized who played what and decided that Glenn Tipton was my hero. Nothin’ against KK at all. He is a Daddy-O as well. I even had the blue half-sleeved “Live in Japan” Priest shirt. Even though they Live in England. Oh well … It’s funny to me that after all I’ve done and played all these years, it’s come full circle. Although in Honky I have a Billy Gibbons type thing going, now that I play guitar in Down I can embrace my inner Glenn Tipton.

zappaPAT BRUDERS: Out of all the records I would dig out of my parents records, I always kept putting on Frank Zappa’s “Over-Nite Sensation.” In this one album you have everything you needed to hear in a rock album, and way ahead of its time covering many styles of music including heavier styles that were not yet achieved for its time in 1973. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t get it as I grew up trying to turn them on to this record, but no one had to explain it to me, and it opened me up to a whole new world growing up as a music listener first, and then later as a musician. Zappa to me is one person who could roll all styles of music into one with genius precision, and was truly a Mozart of his time and for all time. He was also an ambassador for social issues no one else  wanted to take on. Listen to this record, or any of his records, with an extremely open mind and you’ll see what I mean. If not, keep listening to the same boring shit.

GPTJIMMY BOWER: If I had to define one album that changed my life, it would have to be The Melvins’ “Gluey Porch Treatments”! Why you ask?
1. This album totally defined the band I heard in my head.
2. This album changed my outlook on drums and inspired me to pick up the guitar.
3. Dale Crover’s drumming style to me was unorthodox and fresh. The heaviest drumming I had ever heard.
4. Same thing with Buzz Osborne’s guitar sound and use of feedback truly inspired me.
5. The songs on this record are truly unpredictable at a first listen and follow no formula.


2FAST2DIE SAYS: According to Bobby, Pepper Keenan cited Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in passing, but never did elaborate. Phil Anselmo was unavailable for comment. Overall, I’d say Down’s bag of influences has more variety than a Cheech & Chong sampler. Careful, son. This ain’t for lightweights!

For more Down info including tour, tickets and merch, go here. To see and hear new track, “We Knew Him Well,” click below.