All The Goss From The Classic Rock Awards
The dust might’ve settled but the memories linger on. There follows a selection of Classic Rock’s own quickfire highlights from our awards ceremony in London last night. Come inside…
* Billy Gibbons’ speech. The ZZ Top legend delivered an awesomely amusing anecdote. Turns out that when ZZ played Wembley t’other week, Gibbons decided to travel to the venue not by limo, but via everyday public transport. Billy walked from the Royal Garden Hotel to the nearest tube station only to find the Circle Line suspended. Gibbons was forced to take a series of buses before he managed to board the tube “on the Baker line”. Finally on his way to Wembley, Gibbons was eyed suspiciously by a ZZ fan in the train carriage – but amazingly he wasn’t identified! Who would have thought it? Billy’s story was confirmed as 100 per cent true by the Top’s manager.
* Ginger Baker. Well, we knew the Cream tub-thumper was a grump, but at the CR awards he surpassed all known levels of grouchiness. Within seconds of arriving he became stratospherically crotchety, continually muttering: “I hate this shit. I need a smoke.” (Ginger favours “proper old-man Rothmans” apparently.) Gotta love him, though… we think. “Somebody put Toad on, let’s hear his good side,” chirrups Classic Rock’s Paul Henderson.
* Steve Harley. The Cockney Rebel was genuinely shocked and surprised to receive the Childline Award. Taking to the stage to receive his gong, Harley eventually composed himself enough to relate a moving tale about excavating landmines in Cambodia with the terrified – and often limbless – populace. It’s not only rock’n’roll, y’know.
* Pearl Aday (Meat Loaf’s daughter) and Anthrax’s Scott Ian might seem an unlikely partnership, but they are plainly one lurved-up couple. Incidentally, Pearl is the latest signing to Classic Rock’s own Powerage label. Debut album Little Immaculate White Fox will be out in Europe in early 2010.
* Iggy Pop: officially the nicest man in rock. No question! The punk pioneer, naturally, had no hesitation in getting his kit off for photographer Ross Halfin. But Saxon’s Biff Byford was a little bit more subdued. Maybe Biff feared Ross was about to whip out a half-full men’s urinal from his back pocket. It has been known.
* Talking about Iggy being the nicest man in rock, Saxon bassist ‘Nibs’ Carter is officially the drunkest man in rock. By the look of he will remain so in perpetuity.
* Even though the members of Uriah Heep were out in force, the band most deserving of the phrase ‘very ’eavy, very ’umble’ was Anvil. Lips and Robb Reiner were totally starstruck, and unbelievably enthusiastic about the prospect of supporting Saxon on tour in the UK shortly. The pair also promised that upcoming new album Juggernaut Of Justice will prove that Anvil’s is no novelty comeback. Let’s hope so, because the self-effacing Canucks certainly deserve it.
* Kiss manager Doc McGhee won the VIP award. There was a video tribute to Doc from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley that dwelled on the, shall we say, rather more dubious aspects of his past. But was McGhee fazed? No a bit of it. Later, we collared Doc to talk to him about the Matthew Trippe/Nikki Sixx fracas. McGhee managed Mötley Crüe at the height of their fame – and drug-taking. You may remember that this guy Trippe – call him a doppleganger, if you will – was supposed to have replaced Sixx in Mötley for a short time back in the late 80s. “Naw, Trippe was just a crazy guy,” said Doc. “It didn’t happen. He was never in the Crüe. Although the strange thing is that Nikki, I think, does believe it happened; that Trippe was actually in the band instead of him.” Which tells you something about Sixx’s state of mind at the time!
* Ex-Waysted guitarist Chris George gave us an update on bassist Pete Way’s health. Chris’s prognosis was, sadly, not so good. C’mon, Pete – pull yourself together!
* Guitarmageddon! Where else in the world would you get Slash, Ronnie Wood, Pete Townshend, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons and more, all hanging out and chatting convivially in the same room? Nowhere in the world, we’d venture.
* Editor In Chief Scott Rowley took the opportunity to announce from the stage that Classic Rock will be staging a brand new outdoor event – the High Voltage Festival – in London next year. Stay tuned for further developments.
* Bizarrely, Rick Wakeman revealed why coastguards wear white uniforms on the Isle Of Man. It’s because they keep getting covered in bird-shit, and the pale colour of their uniforms helps conceal the stains. So now you know!
* Slash told a highly amusing story in his run-up to giving Joe Perry the Classic Album award for Aerosmith’s Rocks. Apparently the first time Slash heard Rocks he was round a girl’s house, getting ready to make hot and steamy love. But Slash was so impressed by Rocks, he just kept playing it again and again and again – much to the girl’s chagrin (and frustration). So Slash never did get his rocks off. Although we suppose he did, in a manner of speaking…
* Look out for an exhaustive report on the 2009 Roll Of Honour in a future edition of Classic Rock.