Classic Rock 217 is on sale now. Jimi Hendrix is on the cover, while Def Leppard, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Gibbons, Clutch, Nick Marsh, Phil Collins, Justin Hawkins and many more can be found inside. Here’s what they taught us.
1. Def Leppard broke up Thin Lizzy
It’s true – when late Lizzy leader Phil Lynott first clapped ears on Leppard’s Pyromania album, he decided it was high time to throw in the towel. Recalls guitarist Vivian Campbell (who wasn’t even a member of the Leps at the time of Pyromania’s 1983 release): “I met Phil in a club and he was really down. I asked him if he’d heard Pyromania and he said he had, adding: ‘That album is a game-changer. It makes us sound old-fashioned. I’m thinking of breaking up Thin Lizzy.‘” And that’s exactly what he did, shortly afterwards. In a strange twist of fate after Lynott’s demise, Campbell would briefly join a version of Lizzy in early 2011. But then hasn’t everybody?
2. Finally, we have incontrovertible proof that Justin Hawkins believes in a thing called love
“For me, life is about finding happiness and sharing happiness,” says the now teetotal and drug-free Darkness mainman. “My life goal is to live as long as possible so I can share that happiness with the people I love.” Hawkins has certainly come a mighty long way since those hell-raising days when he blew £150,000 on cocaine. “That was exaggerated, it was only £149,000,” he insists. (We’ve heard the other £1,000 went on purchasing seafood, specifically whelks. Crazy times!)
3. Billy Gibbons doesn’t like beards
“I often talk with Dusty [Hill, bass] and wonder why we stuck ourselves with these chin whiskers,” admits the ZZ Top guitarist. Thankfully, Gibbons never pursued the radical stubble-free route suggested by the title of ZZ’s 1979 album, Degüello.*
4. Phil Collins’ wife ran off with the interior decorator
The bitter marital breakup spawned the drummer’s “very personal” 1981 album, Face Value. Moreover, the improvised lyrics to showcase song In The Air Tonight were “weirdly, written on the back of the letter-headed notepaper from the painter and decorator,” says Collins, adding: “She took great umbrage, my ex-wife, at me writing about anything like this. But I didn’t colour it any way.” Not even magnolia.
5. Glenn Schwartz was one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists of the 1960s – but he vanished into a bizarre and dark religious cult. He is now know as ‘The Lost White Hendrix’
…Just don’t tell Frank Marino, okay?!
6. Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford doesn’t think much of Metal For Men, the new fragrance from ex-Priest guitarist KK Downing
“I’m a Bvlgari man myself,” Halford sniffs. Ah, yes. We can just imagine Rob at the mic-stand, dabbing a few drops of Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir behind his shell-likes – “a rich, elegant and woody scent aimed at charismatic men looking for a refined and sensuous evening fragrance… hints of amber and musk” – before wrapping his fragrant tonsils around Priest’s estimable cover of the Joan Baez song of the same name. (Diamonds And Rust, surely? – Ed.)
7. Donovan’s novelty track Intergalactic Laxative got the crowd at Edinburgh Queen’s Hall clapping along
…But not crapping along, thank goodness.
8. Punk guitar-slinger Brian James recorded his new album in an old men’s toilet in Brighton
“Yes, Studio 284,” James says. “It’s built into a cliff [but] it was considered a risk so it’s just been closed down, which is a tragedy.” It sure is. Particularly if you’re an old man, in Brighton, dying for a leak, and they won’t let you into the young men’s toilet.
9. Yes were rubbish, says Jon Anderson
When Yes were recording Close To The Edge, the studio cleaning lady inadvertently dumped a bunch of precious tapes. “Me, Eddie [Offord, engineer] and Steve [Howe] went outside to the bins in total panic,” Anderson reveals. “We found the first half of the last chorus of Close To The Edge in the bin.”
10. BulletBoys’ new album is called *Elephanté* because frontman Marq Torien’s father likes elephants**
“My dad is also keen on the frill-necked lizard, the star-nosed mole and the mustached puffbird, but thankfully the elephant is his favourite,” a relieved Torien explains.
*Spanish for ‘headless’ or ‘throat-slitting’ or ‘rather drastic wet shave’.
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