Photo by Iam Burn.
By Steve Beard
For the last few years, I’ve gotten hooked on livestreaming the Dropkick Murphys’ St. Patrick’s Day concert. This remains the one redemptive habit I’ve clung to from the pandemic years.
Over the last 25 years, the bagpipe-and-banjo-infused Celtic punk band has built a devoted fanbase in its sweaty moshpit. It played four straight nights to sold-out audiences over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in their hometown of Boston. Continue reading →
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1966 movie poster for “One Million Years B.C.” and Raquel Welch’s 2010 cover her book “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.”
By Steve Beard
“Contrary to popular myth, I didn’t just hatch out of an eagle’s nest, circa ‘One Million Years B.C.,’ clad in a doeskin bikini …,” wrote Raquel Welch about her provocative cavewoman publicity photo for the 1966 film. “With the release of that famous movie poster, in one fell swoop, everything in my life changed and everything about the real me was swept away. All else would be eclipsed by this bigger-than-life sex symbol.”
That’s the way she launched her engaging 2010 memoir “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.” The Golden Globe-winning actress who appeared on stage and in dozens of films and TV shows died at her home in Los Angeles on February 15, 2023. She was 82.
Despite being the very definition of her generation’s bombshell, Welch never appeared in the nude for film or magazines, despite many lucrative offers. “I’ve definitely used my body and sex appeal to advantage in my work, but always within limits,” she wrote. “I feel strongly that a woman’s mystery is part of her appeal; and the power of the imagination is more potent and provocative than graphic on-camera sex or explicit nudity. I reserve some things for my private life, and they are not for sale.” Continue reading →
I just can’t imagine my high school years without “London Calling” and the song “Train in Vain.”
If I ever end up taking refuge in a bomb shelter someday, this is one of 10 albums that go underground with me – along with five boxes of Little Debbie Nutty Buddy treats and 14 cans of Spam. The cover of Paul Simonon smashing his bass guitar on stage might have been an indicator of my state of mind in 1980 when the album was released. I was trying to process high school, girls and weekends at the Cuckoo’s Nest – nothing notably traumatic, just run-of-the-mill teenage angst and wonderment.
Photographer Pennie Smith reported that the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer, who died in 2002, picked the photo for the cover. Great decision. Iconic.
“The Clash was not only trying to assault the tame, conventional direction of corporate rock,” wrote Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times, “but also break through the limitations of punk by adding touches of everything from rockabilly to reggae.”
Regrettably, the internal band dynamics reflected their combustible band name – especially the break with Mick Jones. Nevertheless, the whole “London Calling” package worked for me – and apparently a lot of other fans. I continue to be grateful for Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper.
Happy International Clash Day.
Happy Birthday to Alice Cooper, the hilarious and provocative golf-addicted, churchgoer who is most well known as the granddaddy of shock rock. He turns 75 today — and he still owns that stage. For nearly 20 years, he owned Cooperstown in Phoenix — a memorable cross between a Hard Rock Café and an ESPN Zone. Before it closed in 2017, my best friend and I had a great time there. I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center where kids can learn how to play music for free, as well as take classes on the music business, photography, art, and dance. It has been a great after-school program run by Alice and his wife Sheryl for more than 10 years. Married for more than 46 years, Alice credits his wife with helping find his faith and 40 years of sobriety. From one of the minions, all the best and Happy Birthday!
Archive: Alice Cooper: Twisted Human Nature
By Steve Beard, 2002
It was recently announced that the biggest hit in the 24-year history of MTV is a program called “The Osbournes.” The half-hour show – complete with constant bleeping from excessive foul language – is a curiously fascinating docu-comedy starring the members of Ozzy Osbourne’s family – wife and two teenage siblings (the eldest child bowed out of the show). Ozzy, of course, is the 53-year-old British rock singer acclaimed for his ghoulish heavy metal performances. Continue reading →
Mural of Brigid in Dundalk, Ireland. Photo by Steve Beard.
In Ireland, the first day of February is St. Brigid’s Day, as well as the ancient Celtic holiday of Imbolc, marking new birth and the threshold of spring. It has just recently been christened as a government holiday in Ireland (St. Patrick’s Day became “official” there in 1903). The occasion is a celebration for both Christians and those who observe pre-Christian Gaelic traditions.
Over the summer, I was mesmerized by this mural depicting Brigid in Dundalk – halfway between Belfast and Dublin on Ireland’s east coast. After my vacation, I read up on the hagiography of this woman who died almost 1,500 years ago.
St. Brigid is said to be the child of a pagan chieftain and a Christian slave. It is thought that her father named his daughter after Brigid, the Celtic goddess of healing, fire, and poetry. The two-story mural in Dundalk attempted to portray both Brigids.
Continue reading →
Bob Dylan – Azkena Rock Festival. Creative Commons.
Bob Dylan has always been a bit of an enigma — a genius cloaked in many shades of mystery. His recent interview with the Wall Street Journal is regarding his recent book “The Philosophy of Modern Song.” The discussion can be found HERE.
Dylan fires missiles like this: “You need a solar X-ray detector just to find somebody’s heart, see if they still have one. What’s the gold standard for a song these days? What song will walk off with the trophy? ‘Paint it Black’ is black as black can be, black as a crow’s head, a galvanizing song. ‘Paperback Writer’ sounds good, too. The biographer, the ghost writer, doing it long hand. I can visualize that song; see it in my mind’s eye. ‘Strangers in the Night,’ that, too. A couple of people who don’t know each other on the dark side of things. I don’t know which one I’d vote for. I have sympathies for them all.”
Dylan on entertainment and faith: “I’ve binge watched Coronation Street, Father Brown, and some early Twilight Zones. I know they’re old-fashioned shows, but they make me feel at home. I’m not a fan of packaged programs, or news shows, so I don’t watch them. I never watch anything foul smelling or evil. Nothing disgusting … I’m a religious person. I read the scriptures a lot, meditate and pray, light candles in church. I believe in damnation and salvation, as well as predestination. The Five Books of Moses, Pauline Epistles, Invocation of the Saints, all of it.” Continue reading →
Surrender is a beautifully etched scrawl in the sidewalk of rock ‘n’ roll history – right about the time I was coming of age. Bono was four steps ahead (I just turned 58) trying to juggle anger, loss, love, and a unbearable urge to be center stage. Oh, and there was Jesus. And Ali – his wife of now 40 years. There are enough judiciously placed f-bombs to make sure that this is not written off as a modern day religious tract or Pilgrim’s Progress. There are 545 pages for the haters to hate and the lovers to love. Mock him all you want. He’s heard it all before. But in the midst of the chatter of negotiating with politicians, vacationing with billionaires, and saving the world, Bono still seems to be the flush-face Irishman with both oars in the water, paddling like a madman, still trying to save his soul.
“I’d always be first up when there was an altar call, the ‘come to Jesus’ moment. I still am. If I was in a cafe right now and someone said, ‘Stand up if you’re ready to give your life to Jesus,’ I’d be the first to my feet. I took Jesus with me everywhere and I still do. I’ve never left Jesus out of the most banal or profane actions of my life.”