10 Things We Learned From The New Issue Of Classic Rock

This month it’ll be 30 years since the death of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott. We’re marking the occasion with a celebration of his eventful life.

We bid farewell to Scott Weiland, looking at his tragic, arguably unavoidable passing. And from the past to the present and future, we look ahead with our 2016 Preview.

Here’s 10 things the new issue taught us.

1. The Dorset Wimpy Bar is the place to go after the show.
It’s true. Dublin’s burger joint on Dorset Street was the town’s most happening place, back in the 1960s. For evidence, look no further than the old newspaper clipping we unearthed to illustrate our cover story on the late, great Thin Lizzy leader, Phil Lynott. Turn to p43 and you’ll find a photo of an unfeasibly young Lynott sitting on a stool in said Wimpy, glancing sideways at the camera beneath the capitalized legend ‘WHIPPSY’. Oo-er! Is that a pork bender we see on the counter?

2. Um, talking about pork benders…
Legendary producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange hasn’t any time for journeyman session musicians. Speaking about the life of sadly departed Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark, current Leps axeman Phil Collen reveals: “I remember how ‘Mutt’ summed up Steve one day. He said: ‘Give me the thinker over the player, any day.’ That was Steve. ‘Mutt’ said there are a million session sausages – that’s what he called session players – but they have no ideas, they’re clinical. But Steve was a thinker. As a player and as a man.” But not as a sausage.

3. The Faces’ Ooh La La is “a stinking rotten album”.
At least that’s what frontman Rod Stewart reckoned, upon the record’s release in April 1973. Though, as writer Max Bell points out in his feature on Ronnie Lane’s post-Faces band Slim Chance, “Rod’s absence from half the recording sessions hardly gave him much authority”. No wonder Lane habitually called his bandmate “that c**t Rod”. He didn’t think he was sexy, either.

4. Rush’s Geddy Lee owns 5,000 bottles of wine.
Turns out the Rush bassist/vocalist is a connoisseur and collector of classic vino. So, naturally, we ask him the question: Which wines would your bandmates be? “Alex Lifeson would be a Zinfandel,” Lee responds, “overripe and alcoholic. And Neil Peart’s a claret – one that needs ageing, softening up around the edges.” Geddy doesn’t say which wine he is but we suspect he worships at the temple of Shiraz, 2112 vintage.

5. Lemmy Kilmister used to call Biff Byford and Saxon “Widow Twankey and the boys”.
But which one was Wishy Washy? We’d venture Paul Quinn.

6. Ritchie Blackmore was “a hundred per cent against my haircut,” reveals Graham Bonnet.
No doubt about it, when GB joined Rainbow back in 1979 the Man In Black despised the singer’s closely cropped barnet. “There was a hair situation,” Ritchie admits on his new documentary DVD. But that’s not important right now. What we want to know is, how come (on the song Since You’ve Been Gone) Bonnet confesses to having “the same old dreams, same time every night”? How in tarnation did he know what the time was? He was asleep, wasn’t he?! Sheesh, the haircut issue pales by comparison.

7. Ronnie Romero, the singer in the 2016 incarnation of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, has a short haircut.
Just FYI.

8. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir is an Icelandic fiddle player.
Again, just FYI.

9. Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler will release his country-music solo debut album in February.
“Country music is the new rock’n’roll,” the singer insists. “It’s not just about porches and dogs.” But bandmate, guitarist Brad Whitford, isn’t impressed. “We feel a little abandoned by Steven,” he says. “His fans want to see him in the context of Aerosmith… It’s just pretty disappointing.” Hmm, are the ‘Smiths heading for an achy breaky break-up? Watch this space.

10. Metallica’s new album, the follow-up to 2008’s Death Magnetic, is “ninety percent written, it’s just got to be kind of assembled,” says drummer Lars Ulrich.
However, since our new issue went to press we understand the album’s release has been delayed indefinitely due to a worldwide shortage of cross dowels, barrel nuts and shelf supports.

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Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.