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Old 12-06-2019, 01:17 PM
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Band of Assholes -- who's in yours?


The thread about putting your favorite musicians together in a band got me to thinking about a discussion during a night of drinking back in college, where we attempted to put together a band with the biggest asshole we could think of on each instrument. The idea was that the band would instantly implode due to ego conflicts.

If memory serves correctly, the lineup we came up with was:
Lead guitar - Frank Zappa
Rhythm guitar - John Lennon
Bass - Roger Waters
Keyboards - Tony Banks (of Genesis)
Drums - Don Henley

I don't think we picked a vocalist since most of the band could handle that as well.

So, who's in your Band of Assholes?
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:29 PM
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I was thinking about something similar just yesterday. Robbie Robertson probably needs a spot.
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:40 PM
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Tenor sax: Stan Getz
Alto sax: Art Pepper
Drummer: Buddy Rich
Bass: Jaco Pastorius
Trumpet: Chet Baker

Last edited by Chefguy; 12-06-2019 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:43 PM
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Axl Rose on lead vocals?

Maybe pick a Gallagher brother - better yet, BOTH

Wasn't Ginger Baker a notorious asshole?
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:58 PM
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Drummer: Buddy Rich
A letter, addressed "To the world's greatest drummer", arrives at the home of Louie Bellson. He takes one look at it, and says, "well, this is obviously not for me", and forwards it to Gene Krupa. Krupa also takes one look at it, and also says, "well, this is obviously not for me", and he forwards it as well.

The letter makes the rounds of famous drummers' homes, until it finally winds up at the home of Buddy Rich. He takes one look at it, and says, "well, this is obviously for me", rips it open, and reads:

"Dear Ringo...."
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:05 PM
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Ted Nugent and John Lennon.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:12 PM
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You already get a head start if you go with Steely Dan. Everything I've read indicates that Becker and Fagin were the only ones who could stand each other, and sometimes not even each other. (Becker's widow and Fagin are currently suing each other). Everyone else quit to join the Doobie Brothers or Toto.

Bonus: Chevy Chase, who played drums in an earlier band with Becker and Fagin, is also famously an asshole.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:14 PM
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Need Fred Durst on vocals.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:17 PM
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A horn player who had been playing with Buddy Rich for many years came back from vacation to hear a rumour that Buddy had died. He didn't quite believe it, so he phoned Buddy's wife and said "Can I speak to Buddy please?" Buddy's wife said, "I'm sorry, Buddy passed away last week." "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," he said, and hung up.

A couple of hours later, he called her again. "Is Buddy there please?" "No, I'm sorry. Buddy's no longer with us," said Buddy's wife. And hung up the phone. Ten minuted later, he called Buddy's wife again. "Can I speak to Buddy please?" he said. She recognised his voice, and said: "Look, I've told you before, BUDDY'S DEAD!" And slammed down the phone.

Two minutes later, and the phone rang again... "Is Buddy at home please?" the horn player asked. Buddy's wife was furious. "I'm not going to tell you again, Buddy is dead.. D. E. A. D. DEAD. Why do you keep ringing me to ask for Buddy???!!!!" He thought for a moment, and said: "I just love hearing you say it."
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:20 PM
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A letter, addressed "To the world's greatest drummer", arrives at the home of Louie Bellson. He takes one look at it, and says, "well, this is obviously not for me", and forwards it to Gene Krupa. Krupa also takes one look at it, and also says, "well, this is obviously not for me", and he forwards it as well.

The letter makes the rounds of famous drummers' homes, until it finally winds up at the home of Buddy Rich. He takes one look at it, and says, "well, this is obviously for me", rips it open, and reads:

"Dear Ringo...."
I am printing that off immediately and sharing it with a drummer at work!
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:33 PM
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Doesn't Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young already hold his title? I have often thought of Graham Nash as the most patient man in rock and roll.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:38 PM
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Axl Rose on lead vocals?

Maybe pick a Gallagher brother - better yet, BOTH

Wasn't Ginger Baker a notorious asshole?
Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were both notorious assholes. There's 2/3 of a band right there!
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:36 PM
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Maybe pick a Gallagher brother - better yet, BOTH
My first thought.

Ike Turner: guitar and keyboards.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:40 PM
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Whoever ends up in the final line-up, we have to have Phil Spector produce them and Allen Klein be their manager.

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Old 12-06-2019, 04:00 PM
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Whoever ends up in the final line-up, we have to have Phil Spector produce them and Allen Klein be their manager.
Not Lou Pearlman?
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:04 PM
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Lou Reed must be on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Maybe add him to Shoeless' band of assholes. But no way this band plays without Lou, and he will make the rest of the band his bitches in no time.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:30 PM
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Doesn't Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young already hold his title? I have often thought of Graham Nash as the most patient man in rock and roll.
I would think David Crosby could be a one-man-band of assholes.

He and Stills wrote two of the assholiest songs ever: Triad and Love The One You're With.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:55 PM
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Paul Simon
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:01 PM
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Well, this is not the new HBO series that the thread title implied.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:05 PM
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Whoever ends up in the final line-up, we have to have Phil Spector produce them and Allen Klein be their manager.
Actually we've have to swap out Stan Polley of Badfinger infamy as manager and make Morris Levy the label owner. Although to be honest, the list of managers who aren't sleazy/corrupt/incompetent is pretty small.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:16 PM
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Let's see: Varg Vikernes and GG Allin, for starters...

Actually, do I need any more?

Last edited by Ranchoth; 12-06-2019 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:33 PM
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Tenor sax: Stan Getz
Alto sax: Art Pepper
Drummer: Buddy Rich
Bass: Jaco Pastorius
Trumpet: Chet Baker
Battling drug addiction and mental illness doesn't make someone an asshole. Jaco Pastorius in particular was much beloved as a friend by almost everyone he worked with, read the biography by Bill Milkowski sometime or read the many retrospectives of other musicians towards him, he was known to be a very warm and kind individual when he was NOT experiencing manic episodes and/or drunk.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:49 PM
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So, who's in your Band of Assholes?
Well that depends...
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:57 PM
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Richard Rogers was a one-man assholeum, disliked by all including his family. Keep in mind that one must be rather fucked in the head to dive into performance. "Normal" people avoid stages. So, expect much dysfunction.

Tthe first names that popped into my mind were Keith Moon and Joe Walsh. Throwing TVs from hotel windows is a sure sign.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:51 PM
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Or maybe Kim Fowley.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:19 PM
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Vocals- Jim Morrison
Bass- Roger Waters
Guitar- George Lynch
Drums- Don Henley
Keyboards- Charlie Rich


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Old 12-07-2019, 09:03 AM
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Guitar: Richie Blackmore
Bass: Roger Waters*
Drums: Ginger Baker
Keys: (dunno really, all the ones I can think of seem to be nice guys, John Cale maybe)

If you manage to keep that lot in a room long enough chuck in...

Vocals: Sinead O'Connor


* If you want an instant fist fight at this point substitute Ted Nugent** for Mr Blackmore.

** Nominally I'm pretty sure Waters is a pacifist, but I think he'd make an exception for Ted (the fight might be short if Ted has brought some weaponry with him, but Roger might get a sharp word or two in before being shot/stabbed/skewered).

Last edited by Small Clanger; 12-07-2019 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:20 AM
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My first thought.

Ike Turner: guitar and keyboards.
"OHMYGOD, was that a scream?"

"I think that was Ike tuning up his backup singer".
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:14 AM
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Battling drug addiction and mental illness doesn't make someone an asshole. Jaco Pastorius in particular was much beloved as a friend by almost everyone he worked with, read the biography by Bill Milkowski sometime or read the many retrospectives of other musicians towards him, he was known to be a very warm and kind individual when he was NOT experiencing manic episodes and/or drunk.
I'll give you Pastorius, but addiction usually makes people colossal assholes. Chet Baker used up people and threw them away. Both Baker and Pepper were unreliable, missed gigs, nodded off during recording sessions, etc.

I'll add Frank Sinatra on vocals to my list.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:06 PM
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I would think David Crosby could be a one-man-band of assholes.

He and Stills wrote two of the assholiest songs ever: Triad and Love The One You're With.
How about Marrakesh Express? Bright and peppy, privileged college age asses who don't need to work, off to exotic lands on their parents' dime, to get high.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:21 PM
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Battling drug addiction and mental illness doesn't make someone an asshole.
I'm not sure I can wholly agree with that. It's an explanation for why someone is acting like an asshole, but in my book it is not excuse. Jaco Pastorius could apparently be a really great guy. He also was universally spoken of as an extreme egomaniac who very much rubbed some musicians the wrong way. And starting bar fights is asshole behavior, drunk and bipolar or no.

Few people are assholes 24/7. Even notoriously prickly jerks like Lou Reed and Ginger Baker could be decent, generous, loving human beings under the right circumstances. But on balance they were difficult assholes.

Pastorius to the best of my understanding probably doesn't deserve to be ranked with a legendary curmudgeon like Baker. But given his ego I'm sure he could've done his share to shatter a band full of other very difficult people .

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Old 12-07-2019, 01:15 PM
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I'll give you Pastorius, but addiction usually makes people colossal assholes. Chet Baker used up people and threw them away. Both Baker and Pepper were unreliable, missed gigs, nodded off during recording sessions, etc.

I'll add Frank Sinatra on vocals to my list.
I had an old Italian uncle (well, my mother's uncle) who liked to point out that MANY people loved Francis Albert Sinatra, and what's more - - that by and large those who personally knew Sinatra tended to love him while everyone who personally knew Bing Crosby hated him. Or as he put it:

People who never met Bing Crosby love him, but everyone who ever met him in real life hates him including his own family. And schmucks off the street think Sinatra has a temper and is tied up with mob (just because of the vowel at the end of his name), but everyone who ever met him loves him. Loves Him! They sing his praises for his generosity, and his big heart, and . . . .

Without doubt, Sinatra made a better friend than an enemy, and he most certainly had a temper. In addition there seems to be plenty of instances of him associating with unsavory people (like mobsters and the Kennedy's) but many, many people did admire and love him. Not so sure about Crosby in that arena (I will graciously admit they are both very talented singers).
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:54 PM
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I had an old Italian uncle (well, my mother's uncle) who liked to point out that MANY people loved Francis Albert Sinatra, and what's more - - that by and large those who personally knew Sinatra tended to love him while everyone who personally knew Bing Crosby hated him. Or as he put it:

People who never met Bing Crosby love him, but everyone who ever met him in real life hates him including his own family. And schmucks off the street think Sinatra has a temper and is tied up with mob (just because of the vowel at the end of his name), but everyone who ever met him loves him. Loves Him! They sing his praises for his generosity, and his big heart, and . . . .

Without doubt, Sinatra made a better friend than an enemy, and he most certainly had a temper. In addition there seems to be plenty of instances of him associating with unsavory people (like mobsters and the Kennedy's) but many, many people did admire and love him. Not so sure about Crosby in that arena (I will graciously admit they are both very talented singers).
Yeah, I almost made them a duo for this thread, as Crosby was a true prick to his family and to others. Sinatra was mainly an asshole in terms of arrogance and difficulty at work. But then he was a perfectionist in how his music was made, which can be grating for other musicians after the 50th take.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:27 PM
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How about Marrakesh Express? Bright and peppy, privileged college age asses who don't need to work, off to exotic lands on their parents' dime, to get high.
That interpretation never occurred to me. I like it.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:46 PM
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Well, we're going to need an emcee to introduce these bands. How about Johnny Carson? I heard he was not very likable outside of the Tonight Show. Couldn't hold his liquor.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:48 PM
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I'm not sure I can wholly agree with that. It's an explanation for why someone is acting like an asshole, but in my book it is not excuse. Jaco Pastorius could apparently be a really great guy. He also was universally spoken of as an extreme egomaniac who very much rubbed some musicians the wrong way. And starting bar fights is asshole behavior, drunk and bipolar or no.
My understanding of the situation is that Jaco was really off the rails during the last two years of his life, experiencing very frequent manic episodes, abusing alcohol partly to cope with this as the treatment was not very well understood today - the only alternative, I think was to take lithium which he refused to do because he found the side effects unbearable. He didn't exactly "start bar fights" so much as try to provoke people into attacking him as a masochistic compulsion. Numerous people have claimed that he never actually struck back during these incidents.

Where's the line between "mental problems" and "character flaws"? It's not a rhetorical question, I honestly don't know the answer. I do know that Jaco Pastorius collaborated with a LOT of other musicians, even up until the end. He was eager to work with and share creative energy with his peers, and he recorded and performed with a really wide variety of people from different genres. Everything I've read and heard suggests that he spent just as much time talking up other musicians and lavishing praise upon his friends, as he did flexing his own ego, or possibly more. One of the many people interviewed in the documentary about him said that whenever you were with Jaco around other people, he'd never shut up about how you were the "greatest [whatever instrument] player of all time". That's definitely not asshole behavior.

Chet Baker I've never heard described as an asshole so much as "hopelessly addicted to heroin" and a crushed, defeated individual.

Buddy Rich, on the other hand, I have read a lot of accounts of him being a huge asshole. And not because of drugs or alcohol. I don't think Rich was even into drugs and alcohol. I think he was just a really arrogant, condescending guy. (I've also heard people say his drumming was highly overrated, although I do not know enough about the idiom of jazz drumming to offer any opinion.)
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:52 PM
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All of that aside, my pick for asshole vocalist is Elvis Costello. The bad stories I've heard about him outweigh the good ones, by far. But he's undeniably a good vocalist and frontman. The picks for this thread I think shouldn't JUST be assholes, they should also be as talented a musician as you can find within that parameter.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:38 PM
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Where's the line between "mental problems" and "character flaws"? It's not a rhetorical question, I honestly don't know the answer.
I'm not sure I do either and it is a touchy line. I've linked to this story before, but Richard Lloyd is notoriously bipolar and jerkish at least partly because of it. Meanwhile his opposite number Tom Verlaine is notoriously narcissistic, paranoid and controlling, but far as I know not diagnosed with a mental illness. Who's worse? Reading that article I'm not sure I could tolerate Lloyd for very long . .

BUT...I will reiterate that I agree with you that compared to a lot of other people listed in this thread Pastorius doesn't seem to have been that bad. Whereas I think just about everyone agrees someone like Frank Sinatra was an asshole's asshole.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 12-07-2019 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:37 PM
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That band already exists:

Mötley Crüe.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:58 PM
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That band already exists:

Mötley Crüe.
Their group biography "The Dirt" was one of the saddest books I have ever read, and not just because of the death of Vince Neil's daughter.

How about The Replacements?
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:05 PM
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I'm not familiar with the bad rap on Paul Simon (unless it's the treatment of Art Garfunkel..) I have one personal anecdote about Simon that showed incredible, unnecessary kindness to a dying fan. It's just one incident, but it sure made an impression me.
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:23 PM
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Without doubt, Sinatra made a better friend than an enemy, and he most certainly had a temper. In addition there seems to be plenty of instances of him associating with unsavory people (like mobsters and the Kennedy's) but many, many people did admire and love him. Not so sure about Crosby in that arena (I will graciously admit they are both very talented singers).
Crosby had a drinking problem but cleaned up by the time he was in his 40s. His first wife was also an alcoholic and that is likely why the children from his first marriage went on to have troubled substance-abuse plagued lives. (On a more positive note, my uncle once caddied for him and was rewarded with a big tip.)

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Chet Baker I've never heard described as an asshole so much as "hopelessly addicted to heroin" and a crushed, defeated individual.
Likewise, I've heard the same thing. Thus, I propose subbing Chet Baker with Miles Davis who, even after he got off heroin, maintained a reputation for belligerence and stand-offishness.
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:39 PM
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The mention of Miles Davis makes me ask the question: has anyone else mentioned how many absolute geniuses and innovators rightfully have been mentioned in this thread? Is there a pattern? I don't think you HAVE to be and asshole to be outstanding in arts, but I guess it's often not a disadvantage. Though I think there's a thin line between a mere big ego and absolute assholery.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:01 PM
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Yeah, I almost made them a duo for this thread, as Crosby was a true prick to his family and to others.
One of the sons wrote a book outlining the hell he endured. I believe every word. I've personally known ice-cold emotionless monsters like Crosby. The whole world loved them for talent, humor, accomplishments - though utter silent horrors at home. ...Two of his sons committed suicide. I remember one of them said Crosby's wife would be passed out from booze in the hallway, and he would just leave her there, stepping over her on his way elsewhere. Giving a peon a 'big tip' doesn't mean he didn't maim and beat his kids.

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Old 12-07-2019, 08:25 PM
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How about Marrakesh Express? Bright and peppy, privileged college age asses who don't need to work, off to exotic lands on their parents' dime, to get high.
Only assholish if you didn't get to do it!


Just sayin'.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:54 PM
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Natalie Merchant needs to mumble in one of these bands.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:45 PM
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Crosby had a drinking problem but cleaned up by the time he was in his 40s. His first wife was also an alcoholic and that is likely why the children from his first marriage went on to have troubled substance-abuse plagued lives. (On a more positive note, my uncle once caddied for him and was rewarded with a big tip.)



Likewise, I've heard the same thing. Thus, I propose subbing Chet Baker with Miles Davis who, even after he got off heroin, maintained a reputation for belligerence and stand-offishness.
Baker befriended people for the express purpose of having them procure drugs for him. When they balked, he dumped them. Like most addicts, he left a trail of devastation in his wake.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:30 AM
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Miles Davis wrote in his autobiography about how he "slapped the shit" out of Cicely Tyson because she had a friend over whom he didn't like. She called the police, and when they left he hit her again. He wasn't ashamed or apologetic about it either; he said, ". . . she never did pull that kind of shit on me again."
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  #49  
Old 12-08-2019, 04:40 PM
Charlie Wayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
Drums - Don Henley
I'd like to ask why you consider Don Henley to be an asshole. I have always thought he is a fine human being. Are you familiar with the work he has done on his, "Walden Woods" project?

I must admit the primary source for my opinion is the film by Alex Gibney, "History of the Eagles", which I think is one of the best music films I've ever seen. In fact, the only music film I think is better is Tom Petty's, "Running Down A Dream".

If you like movies about the music business, "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Running Down a Dream" is very long (about 3 hours), but for people who like Tom Petty, it's a great film.

One other film that I'd recommend on The Eagles is one of the series called, "Breaking the Band". This is a series of short films that attempt to document the breakup of some of the better known Rock & Roll bands.

Some people will hate this series because they use actors to portray the members of the band and in many cases, when they try to find people who can act and who also look like the members of the bands, the results can be pretty terrible. If you ever get to see, "Breaking the Band - The Eagles", just take a look at the actor who plays Glenn Frey. I thought he was a very unfortunate choice. But you may disagree.

In any case, these "Breaking the Band" movies do provide some info that help to shed some light on why people feel the way they do about members of various bands.

When it comes to The Eagles, I would have thought most people would have found Don Henley to be a very charismatic and well-liked individual and most of the bad feelings directed towards various band members would be directed towards Glenn Frey and Don Felder. But everyone may have a different opinion.

I would like to recommend that anyone who enjoys movies about modern rock bands might enjoy the two movies, "History of the Eagles" and "Breaking the Band - The Eagles". Regardless of how you feel about their music, I think there may be some parts of those two films that you may enjoy.

But, I would very much appreciate if anyone could explain why they think people have some bad feelings towards Don Henley.

Don Henley and Tom Petty both have something in common that I thought were really amazing. They both have gone to war (so to speak) with their record labels over the way money is distributed between record companies and artists.

I recall one superb quote from some movie that went something like this, "Before Tom Petty went to war with his label, recording artists traditionally always got screwed by their labels in an extremely profound way. But after Tom Petty resolved his law suit, artists now only get screwed in a medium way."

I believe that quote may have come from another good series of seven music films titled, "The Seven Ages of Rock & Roll". For any fans of Rock & Roll, I think you might enjoy these seven short films. I believe they were produced by the BBC.

Last edited by Charlie Wayne; 12-08-2019 at 04:43 PM.
  #50  
Old 12-08-2019, 08:38 PM
Southern Yankee is offline
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Per Natalie Merchant... I haven't heard this before. I think she's a great artist. Interested in this perspective.

Last edited by Southern Yankee; 12-08-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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