Ten Things We Learned From The New Issue Of Classic Rock

Issue 221 of Classic Rock features the inside story of Guns N’ Roses’ multimillion-dollar reunion, and looks back at the band’s early love affair with the UK. We learned about Axl’s first encounter with spotted dick, but that’s not all the issue taught us…

**1. Nick Beggs has written and illustrated a children’s book called Dangerous Potatoes.**

In actual fact, the current Mute Gods/former Kajagoogoo bassist has written an entire series of books – a grand total of 13 stories about evil vegetables, or to be specific: “Strange cruel potatoes that love nothing better than to bite people on the bottom.”

2. Talking about dangerous potatoes…

Phil Collins has not ruled out a reunion of the Collins/Mike Rutherford/Tony Banks line-up of Genesis, saying: “The three-piece [incarnation of] Genesis gets on great. Anything is possible and I’ve learned that one should never say never.”

3. XTC don’t get the credit they deserve because they come from Swindon.

“To the English, anything that comes from Swindon must have comedic value,” says band mainman Andy Partridge. “It’s held us back terribly. If XTC had come from New York or Manchester, our turds would have been held up as high art.” Hmm, Katherine Thomas* might have something to say on this subject too…

4. Avantasia, the German heavy metal supergoup and purveyors of something called ‘bombastrock’, are bidding to represent their home country in Eurovision this year.

Update! Since our issue went to press the preliminaries have taken place. Unfortunately Avantasia failed in their quest, being placed third out of the 10 featured German acts. Ah well, at least they didn’t end up… yes, it’s Eurovision pun time… rock bottom.**

5. They eat crows in Sweden.

Speaking in 1978, Dee Dee Ramone revealed: “We’ve been eating a lot of squab recently. When we were touring Sweden, all we could get to eat was squab. Which is like a crow. We thought we were eating chicken, but it was a squab!” Note to (the now sadly deceased) Dee Dee: a squab is, in fact, a pigeon. But then again, so is a giant runt. Pigeons, eh?!

6. Talking about pigeons…

A major tourist trap in eastern Tennessee, Pigeon Forge is home to the Dolly Parton theme park, Dollywood. Nashville quartet All Them Witches (who are the subject of one of our High Hopes new-band features) recorded their new album Dying Surfer Meets His Maker in a mountainside cabin overlooking the resort. Pigeon-tastic! Also, did you know that when Jobriath – America’s answer to David Bowie, or so it was claimed in the 1970s – was known as Jobriath Salisbury, he was in a band called Pidgeon? (That’s enough about pigeons/pidgeons. – Ed.)

7. For many fans half the fun of any Bruce Springsteen show is the thrill of guessing which song might pop up next in the invariably outsized setlist.

We’ve got a fiver on Middle Of The Road’s Chirpy Chirp Cheep Cheep at 100,000-1. Go on, Bruce. We dare you.

8. Alex Harvey – of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, natch – was Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steele.

No bull. (Little White or otherwise.)

9. Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider is too smart to be a politician.

“It’s been suggested that I should run for President,” Snider says, “but I would be a complete failure. I’m too fair, honourable, loyal and intelligent to be a politician.”

10. Talking about the next President of America (which we were, sort of), does Donald Trump stand a chance?

“We have to hope not,” says Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, “because that’s just absurd.” Amen to that.

* Katherine Thomas, aka lunatic shred-guitarist The Great Kat, was born in Swindon in ‘66 and once claimed to be the reincarnation of Beethoven. Put that in your comedic-value pipe and smoke it!

** Rock Bottom was the British entry in the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran.

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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.