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Browsing: Behind the Curtain

Prologue: This is unlike any other story I’ve ever written here. Those of you who have followed my travails and triumphs here in our Behind the Curtain column — and I thank you for that — will recognize this as being different than what you’ve previously read. It is not a story about interviewing someone who plays guitar or writes songs or magazine articles or sitting in an office somewhere.  It is musical in nature but only in a roundabout sort of way. It’s more an exploration, an uncovering, a discovery. I know that sounds cryptic or–and I shudder to…

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In his latest Behind the Curtain entry, veteran rock music scribe Steve Rosen details run-ins with Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars that didn’t quite go as planned … (Photo: Glen Laferman) In a previous life before he began wearing makeup and outrageous clothes and was part of a hair metal band, Motley Crue, that celebrated sex, drugs and women with big breasts, Mick Mars was a mere mortal known as Robert Alan Deal. Born on May 4, 1951, he grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana, moved to Huntington about three hours away and then just prior to his ninth birthday…

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Back in late 1978 when I first interviewed Ace Frehley and found out I would be talking to him on the phone and not in person, I was relieved. I had no burning desire to meet him, and in fact I didn’t have much of a desire to talk to him at all. I didn’t much care for the music of KISS and in all honesty, I thought Ace was a mediocre guitarist at best and the rest of the band little more than marginal players. Not that technique alone was the only measure I used to quantify a player’s…

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Photo: Rosen, Leo Fender and Hyatt (Glen Laferman) I can’t remember a lot of things. I can’t remember my house in St. Louis, which is where I lived for the first six years of my life before my parents decided to relocate to California. I can’t remember what it was like sitting in a classroom when I was in the first grade or second grade. Hell, I barely remember high school. I mean I can recall being there but I can’t bring back more distinct memories of walking to classes or opening my hall locker or eating lunch or taking tests.…

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In which writer Steve Rosen recounts his adventures with guitarist/composer John McLaughlin …  This story was originally meant to begin with a short preamble about how human beings are creatures of habit and how we tend to do the same things over and over — the habits of creatures –because we know what we’ll find on the other side and that makes us happy and content.  I was going to say something about being drawn to things we understand and how if we dug dinosaurs and Jurassic Park and spaceships and Star Wars movies that we were unlikely to go…

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I remember it was a Wednesday night sometime in early 1980 when the phone rang. My friend, Craig, wanted to see a guitarist named Eric Johnson in Hollywood. I had probably been mindlessly watching some serial rerun of a ‘70s television show like Adam-12 [a cop show], Green Acres [a hilarious comedy about a hotshot lawyer who moves from New York to become a farmer in a small town called Hooterville] or Kung Fu [a program about a Shaolin priest-martial artist who uses his skills to right wrongs and beat up every bad guy in the Old West]. Or maybe…

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Sometimes, interviews don’t go well. It’s part of the business, and as rock journalist Steve Rosen can attest in his latest Behind the Curtain entry, it happens.  I’m often asked, “What is the worst interview you ever did?” It’s an interesting turn of phrase, because lurking behind the suggestive and intriguing façade of the query is the true heart of what the person posing the question really wants to know and that is, “Who is the biggest asshole you ever met?” Mainly this kind of inquiry comes from friends who are trying not to be indelicate in their line of…

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Photo by: Glen LaFerman www.glenlaferman.com Before I begin this rock and roll tale about my encounter with Rick James, I want to explain in a way—or attempt to anyway—how I write these stories. If you’ve read any of my previous narratives, you know that a lot of times I’ll talk about stuff that doesn’t seem to have anything at all to do with rock and roll or interviewing some guitar player or hanging out with some rock band.  The story might contain bits and pieces of stuff that might strike you as extraneous, unnecessary, unimportant or just plain stupid.  I…

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January 4, 2017 was christened The Day of the Doors in Venice, California — and surviving members John Densmore and Robby Krieger were on-hand for a fun event streamed live on the band’s Facebook page. It’s within that context, as well as the 50th anniversary of the band’s legendary 1976 debut album, that we present Steve Rosen’s recollections of Ray Manzarek below.  If you were playing in a rock band doing covers anytime between 1967 and 1972, there were certain songs you had to play. De rigueur.  Dude, if you didn’t play these, your band sucked. You had to play…

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There’s an old saying about traveling to the beat of your own drummer. Taking the road less walked upon. Following your own muse. Making up your own rules. Writing your own code. We sometimes describe these individuals as unique or different; sometimes eccentric or even just fruitbat crazy. They come in all shapes and sizes and all walks of life: they are scientists and inventors; painters and writers; designers, builders, dreamers and, oh, yeah, musicians. David Lindley belongs to that rare fraternity, a gifted instrumentalist who has always followed his own heart and not only heeded the beat of a…

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