The Classic Rock Awards – Live
Live text coverage from tonight’s Classic Rock Roll Of Honour, sponsored by Orange Amplification in association with Currencies.co.uk at the Roundhouse in London…
1850: Jimmy Page and Ian Hunter arrive together amid much handshaking. James Dean Bradfield, Ricky Warwick, Biff Byford, Rick Wakeman and many others. There’s no race to sit down as old friendships are rekindled and the chatter is soon louder than the choral music being piped through the PA (which will be out to better use later…)
1859: The ‘voice of god’ urges: ‘Ladies as gentlemen, your starters await you at your tables – as, appropriately. Do your drinks.’ That does the trick. Well, nearly.
1908: The Temperance Movement take the stage for tonight’s first musical action. There’s no two ways about it — it’s a difficult gig with people eating and talking; but the band make the right call by not leaving any time between songs. Close-crop vocal harmonies and acoustic goodness is a great way to start the night and a good 40% of the room have abandoned their starters.
1917: Classic Rock editor in chief Scott Rowley bids everyone welcome. He notes it’s been an interesting year in which the magazine lost a “record deal with a label that didn’t understand us, and signed with one that dioes”. Of course he’s talking about TeamRock, and he notes: “We are TeamRock – and if you’re here, so are you.”
1946: among the conversations in the Roundhouse… Rick Wakeman is pointing out an invisible list of things that annoy him; Zakk Wylde is miming a vocal argument turning into a fist fight and Jimmy Page and Ian Hunter are using the space between them on ther table to mark out an imaginary object. But we’ll never know what any of it was about.
1949: Good luck to the waiting staff who are attempting to serve main courses through throngs of industry people deep in discussion.
1952: The Darkness have come in fancy dress. Which is to say, they’ve come dressed up as The Darkness.
2014: There’s a wee bit of a buzz as Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler wander around. Not a massive buzz, even though we know they’ve own the Living Legends award. Because really it’s just 600 folk having dinner with Black Sabbath. As they do.
2022: It looks as if Geezer just reminded Zakk about a story that really embarrasses the guitarist. But again, we’ll never know…
2042: And now Zakk has a big hug for Tony. Shouldn’t intrude – but it’s lovely.
2051: Another big friendly hug – this time between Fish and Ginger Wildheart. Fish had said he hadn’t seen the guy in years and was looking forward to catching up. (He also bemoaned the fact he’d only met one other person from his native Edinburgh area, and that man was a Hearts fan…)
2103: The ‘voice of god’ tells us if we don’t fall completely silent the next magical moment might not take place. His warning is heeded – and Zakk Wylde sits down at a grand piano and croons his way through a heartbreaking piece of musical beauty.
2121: Fish starts the presentation by quoting Alex Harvey: “Good evening boys and girls.” He explains: “The last time I was this nervous was when I was asked to sing Flower Of Scotland at Wembley in 1996…”
2123: WINNER: Best New Band, sponsored by Kraken – The Temperance Movement
Two years after forming the blues-rock five-piece released their self-titled debut album to acclaim earlier this year. They’re led by vocalist Phil Campbell with guitarists Luke Potashnik and Paul Sayer, bassist Nick Fyffe and drummer Damon Wilson. Between them they have experience as members of Jamiroquai, Rooster, Ray Davies, the Waterboys and Feeder. Catch them on tour in the coming days:
Nov 15: Stoke Sugarmill
Nov 17: London KOKO
Nov 18: Cardiff Globe
Nov 20: Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Nov 21: Edinburgh Liquid Room
Nov 22: Manchester Club Academy
The band say: “We’ve had a fantastic year… thanks to Classic Rock and the fans who voted for us.”
2125: WINNER: Reissue Of The Year, sponsored by Alchemy – Fleetwood Mac, Rumours 35th Anniversary Edition
The 1977 classic has sold in excess of 45 million copies worldwide and includes the tracks Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop and The Chain. The new three-disc edition includes additional live recordings, demos and early takes.
Mick Fleetwood has recorded a thank-you video in a hotel lobby, sitting on his suitcases. The band have been touring on the back of an EP release, which saw them reunite with Christine McVie as a special guest. But guitarist Lindsey Buckingham says it’s down to Stevie Nicks whether they record another album. Best wishes go to John McVie, who recently confirmed he was being treated for cancer.
Mick promises Mac will return to the UK next year as Fish promises the award will make its way to the US to the band…
2127: Fish admits he’s delighted that Fleetwood “took a bullet for him” in 1989 by presenting the infamous Brit Awards with Samantha Fox –– Fish had been lined up for the job. Definite lucky escape.
2128: WINNER: Album Of The Year, sponsored by Live Nation – Black Sabbath, 13
WINNER: Event Of The Year, sponsored by Roadrunner Records – Black Sabbath hits No1 after 43 years
It was long, slow, laborious work stringing Sabbath’s 19th studio album together. Work actually began in 2001 before being abandoned. Then, last year, they had to deal with the question of who should play drums – Ginger Baker and Carl Palmer were among those considered – learn how to work with “confusing” producer Rick Rubin, and also plan sessions around Iommi’s hospital appointments. But when the record landed at the top of the charts, leading Ozzy to admit: “I’m in shock!” it was a massive vindication for what’s still one of the most powerful and authoritative bands in heavy music.
They’re back in the UK next month:
Dec 10: London 02 Arena
Dec 12: Belfast Odyssey Arena
Dec 14: Sheffield Arena
Dec 16: Glasgow Hydro
Dec 18: Manchester Arena
Dec 20: Birmingham LG Arena
Dec 22: Birmingham LG Arena
Ozzy: “I never thought I’d be standing here, what, 45 years later? It’s an incredible event for us all. We’re still in shock.”
Geezer Butler: “Thanks – and up the Villa!”
2131: WINNER: Band Of The Year, sponsored by Investec – The Rolling Stones
Fish knows what he’s talking about when he hails the Stones’ bravery in appearing at Glastonbury this year. They weren’t just facing a festival crowd, they were facing millions of TV viewers – but they delivered the good. A brief clip of their Hyde Park show earlier this summer underlines just how good they remain after all these years. It’s on sale now as a live DVD – have another blast here.
Mick Jagger via video: “We’re delighted. We did have a fantastic time in England, on our home turf. Glastonbury was brilliant and Hyde Park was a fantastic summer’s evening. See you all… somewhere soon…”
2133: Fish welcomes Ginger on stage as “a man who always escapes from the wreckage with yet another cunning plan.” He’s here to name the Breakthrough act…
2134: WINNER: Breakthrough, sponsored by Fuji – The Virginmarys
You’ll have been hearing the name in recent months… The Virginmarys deliver breathtaking live performances and they write great tunes too. The Macclesfield trio were formed in 2006 and finally launched their debut album, King Of Conflict (produced by LIttle Angels’ Toby Jepson) in February. Two tracks became iTunes singles of the week soon afterwards – proof that hard work pays off.
Ginger: “We want music to be more interesting than crime and addiction. If the UK media continue to stifle talent I hope more American bands come over, all we’re all fucked. We have to thank Classic Rock for supporting bands who don’t fit into establish scenes. Scott Rowley deserves one of these things himself.”
2136: The band were so far back they ran out of intro music. Ally Dickaty says: “We’re all about writing no-bullshit rock’n'roll and being true to ourselves.This is one of the biggest honours we’ve ever had.”
2137: Fish: “I keep wanting to use the Marc Bolan pronunciation and say ‘Metal Gu-roo.’ Of course, it’s ‘Metsl Guru’ – and Ricky Warwick knows all about it…”
2139: WINNER: Metal Guru, sponsored by Mascot Label Group – Zakk Wylde
You’d be wrong to think the only thing Wylde can do is shred, and he proved it earlier this evening by delivering a piano performance that pulled on the heartstrings. Still, though, we’re here tonight to celebrate the metal end of his output – and there’s plenty of it. He may not be allowed to drink any more, but the former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society mainman is still living it up to the full.
Ricky: “This man, my brother, once gave me an award. I’m delighted to return the favour.”
Zakk: “Between the piano playing and this award, I’m glad I’m on 100mg of Viagra because I’ve got the wife with me and the kids are at home. God bless.”
Fish: “I’m so used to seeing this big hairy guy with a guitar. Watching him at that piano, it was like a movie set.”
2141: WINNER: Film Of The Year – Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day
Even died-in-the-wool haters of live DVDs have admitted to watching this show again and again. It was shot in 2007 when Led Zep got back together in a one-off tribute to Atlantic label boss Ahmet Ertegun. Their previous gatherings had been so iffy that they were determined to give it everything they had – and they did. Robert Plant later admitted that, after the show, while everyone else partied to celebrate a great result, he went for a quiet pint in a pub round the corner, thinking: “Job done.” Drummer Jason Bonham told Classic Rock he’d bought a home cinema system just to watch Celebration Day, and every scene brought back memories of the same moment from his point of view behind the kit. He even sneaked out in disguise to watch it in the cinema every night it was on show.
Fish: “I thought I was doing well when I shot them on my Nikon at Knebworth…”
Jimmy Page: “I know this comes from the readers so I’ve got to extend my great thanks. It was a great concert and we got the energy into the video – well, the DVD… and the Blu-ray. I’m here on behalf of the band and I thank you on their behalf.”
2143: Alex Lifeson and Brody Dalle come up to present the next award. Fish describes their relationship as “an uniikely friendship” and they immediately argue like a married couple, before announcing:
2144: WINNER: Musicians’ Union Maestro – James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers
The Welsh outfit remain a force to be reckoned with… and if for any reason you find the acoustic-led sound of latest album Rewind The Film, just wait for its “harder and heavier” partner Futurology, recorded at the same time and due for release next year. One of those important bands with a message – and they’ll prove it on their upcoming UK tour:
Mar 28: Leeds, First Direct Arena
Mar 29: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
Mar 31: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
Apr 01: Manchester, O2 Apollo
Apr 03: Edinburgh, Corn Exchange
Apr 04: Glasgow, Barrowland
Apr 06: Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
Apr 08: Bournemouth, O2 Academy
Apr 09: Brighton, Brighton Centre
Apr 11: London, O2 Brixton Academy
Bradfield: “At 44 years of age this means something to me – I take everything I can get now…” Then he dribbles a bit at standing close to a member of Rush.
2150: WINNER: VIP, sponsored by Currencies.co.uk – Shep Gordon
From his university biography: “Don’t even try to top Shep Gordon’s ‘How I got my start’ story. Quitting, after one day, his job as a probation officer in LA, Gordon checked into a Hollywood motel – where Janis Joplin punched him out and Jimi Hendrix tipped him off that Alice Cooper needed a manager.” Alice, Blondie, the Gypsy Kings and many other acts have Shep to thank for their success. He’s also the man behind a stack of Oscar-winning movies… and now he’s the subject of one himself, Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon, directed by Mike Myers. It would be easier to list who’s not in the trailer we’re shown.
Gordon: “It shows that if you have sex, drugs and rock’n'roll, and you still win awards, it’s all still valid.”
2154: Scott Gorham comes up to present the next award, and it’s fair to say he knows something about the subject…
2155: WINNER: Showman, sponsored by Butlins – The Darkness
You can’t accuse The Darkness of squandering their second chance. Since getting the original lineup back together in the aftermath of a not-quite-Kinks level of fall-out between brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins, the over-the-top team have climbed back to the top and stayed there. Which other rock outfit could support Lady Gaga and nearly make it okay? They’re currently working on a follow-up to 2012′s Hot Cakes, due next year. See them on tour right now, where they’re playing debut album Permission To Land in full:
Nov 13: London Electric Ballroom
Nov 15: Bath Pavilion
Nov 16: Plymouth Uni
Nov 17: Cardiff Coal Exchange
Nov 19: Buckley Tivoli
Nov 20: Kilmarnock Grand Hall
Nov 21: Inverness Iron Works
Nov 23: Belfast Limelight
Nov 24: Dublin Olympia
Nov 26: Lincoln Engine Shed
Nov 27: Middlesbrough Empire
Nov 28: Holmfirth Picturedrome
Nov 29: Scunthorpe Bath Halls
Dec 01: Preston 53 Degrees
Dec 02: Wolverhampton Wulfrun
Dec 03: Leamington Spa Assembly
Dec 06: Portsmouth Pyramids
Dec 07: Brighton Concorde 2
Dec 08: Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
Dec 10: Salisbury City Hall
Dec 11: Dorking Hall
Dec 12: Oxford O2 Academy
Dec 14: Northampton Roadmenders
Dec 15: Leicester O2 Academy
Dec 16: Norwich UEA
Gorham admits: “When I went to see them in Wembley I didn’t know what to expect. They tore a new one – big time.”
Justin Hawkins: “It’s been a long time since we won an award, and this is the most special of all of them. Right guys? I want to thank my band – and I want to say ‘thank fuck we don’t have to do this every day.’ It’s the most nerve-racking thing about being in a band.”
2158: WINNER: Tommy Vance Inspiration, sponsored by Spinefarm Records – Rory Gallagher
One of the most acclaimed, energetic and best-selling blues-rock guitarists of all time, Gallagher’s passing in 1995 hasn’t done anything to reduce appreciation of the legacy he left. Just this month a unique collaboration album entitled Continental Op was released, including a novella written by crimes author and fan Ian Rankin. His battered old Fender Strat, on display this evening, has been played by Joe Bonamassa and many others, and it’s true to say that Rory will remain alive as long as his catalogue does. Two former members of his band, Gerry McAvoy and Ted McKenna, just won the European Blues Award for Band Of The Year. Fittingly they’re on tour in Ireland this very moment.
Rory’s brother Donal accepts the award on his behalf: “Ideally Rory should be here himself. It’s sad he isn’t, particularly since he played a couple of great gigs here. Thanks everyone for flying the Rory flag. This one’s for the family.”
2202: Fish says: “Prog used to have a bad name – you’d never let your daughter go out with a prog musician. Now you can hold your albums above your head with price. Wonderful! This is a self-proclaimed grumpy old man and I completely agree with that… he’s an imperfect gentleman, which I find is the best kind. Mr Rick Wakeman!” The man himself comes up to announce…
2205: WINNER: Spirit Of Prog, sponsored by USM/UMC – Alex Lifeson of Rush
It seems that Rush documentary movie Beyond The Lighted Stage is the gift that keeps on giving for the Canadian band… after spending decades in the doldrums of uncool, they’re suddenly talk of the town. Those who enjoyed the bonus scene of the three members having dinner may not have been surprised at how Lifeson behaved during his Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame acceptance speech –– although Geddy Lee and Neil Peart certainly were. Let’s see how this goes…
Wakeman: “This is a man I truly admire. He formed the band in 1968. His wife came up with the band name shortly after they first made love. He was in hospital earlier this afternoon after misunderstanding he instructions on a Dyson ball cleaner…” He more or less admits he’s trying to outdo Lifeson’s Blah-blah routine. But he finishes: “This is very well deserved.”
Lifeson: “many thanks to the wonderful folks at Classic Rock. I’m wondering if we got a sympathy vote because we’re from Toronto. I got a call from the mayor saying he heard they were serving Krak-en here. He’s going to be disappointed…” Well, you couldn’t follow the Hall Of Fame, could you?
Fish recalls how Lifeson once walked all the way down a concert hall and mooned him. “You can’t come back from that.”
2210: WINNER: Classic Album, sponsored by Eagle Rock – Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton by John Mayall
Some people call it “Beano” because Slowhand is reading that comic on the album cover. But whatever you call it, this 1966 blues release has an undying impact and remains a highlight of the careers of Mayall, Clapton, John McVie and Hughie Flint. Listed by Rolling Stone at No195 in their 500 greatest albums of all time, the 12-track record introduced the world to the sound of a Gibson Les Paul played through an overdriven Marshall Bluesbreaker amp… and the rest is history.
Walter Trout makes an impassioned speech about retaining integrity in music before presenting the award to Mayall.
2211: Mayall: “It’s a lovely turnout… although I don’t really recognise anyone.” He recalls the Beano album was a strange experience but “we had a lot of fun with it – we just did what we did on stage and had no designs other than making an honest album. The label never did understand how it sold so well.”
2215: WINNER: Innovator, sponsored by Rocksmith – Wilko Johnson
The blues rock icon shows no sign at all of slowing down, and he’s determined to make the most of what’s left of his career. When he cancelled the last shows of his farewell your, one might have been forgiven for fearing the worse. But he came back, and he’s still hitting stages whenever he can. He’s in full force on his upcoming live DVD – even if the chorus of Bye Bye Johnny as the audience join in might bring a lump to the throat. Stay tuned for Wilko’s final album, due to feature Roger Daltrey on vocals. If anyone’s a poster-boy for celebrating life, it’s Wilko, and the crowd are delighted to celebrate him tonight.
Jimmy Page admits he’s “truly honoured” to present the award to Wilko, who says: “I must say I’m so glad to be standing here tonight. Not only because I’m supposed to be dead. They told me I had ten months to live and ten months have gone by. Doing Fuji Rock and knowing it could be the last one you play – it’s quite a kick. How long can this go on? We don’t know. But it’s particularly gratifying to receive this recognition of my efforts.”
There’s no need to call for a standing ovation.
2218: Ed-in-chief Scott Rowley is half delighted and half terrified to present the next award…
2219: WINNER: Outstanding Contribution, sponsored by Monitor Audio – Mott The Hoople
Ian Hunter and co take a pause from a rare tour to visit the Classic Rock Awards, where everyone is delighted to recognise their sterling songwriting, unique approach and iconic status. While Hunter told us, in a typically grumpy manner: “I don’t get why people are still passionate about Mott,” Verden Allen recently showed the band’s softer side. Explaining that drummer Dale Griffin couldn’t be on road with them due to ill health, the keyboardist said: “We’ll dedicate a song or two to him. I’m hoping we can pop into his care home and take him for a stroll down the pub.”
Our very own Fish will perform as Mott’s special guest, alongside Thunder, in London on Monday night.
Nov 16: Newcastle City Hall
Nov 17: Manchester O2 Apollo
Nov 18: London The O2 with Thunder and Fish
Rowley: “They’re no longer young but they’re still the dudes.”
2221: Ian Hunter: “The awards we used to get were ugly bits of wood and no one really argued if you took it home. There’s going to be a punch-up over this one.” An argument ensues until they’re told they’ll get one each. Verden Allen: “Thanks for putting up with us, even though we’ve been so grumpy.” Then most of the band leave without their own awards, so Fish calls them back one by one. “See you on Monday at the O2!”
2223: Zakk Wylde takes the stage to present the one award we knew about in advance…
2223: WINNER: Living Legends, sponsored by Orange Amplification – Black Sabbath
A chart-topping album, a dynamic live DVD out in under a fortnight and more dates added to their world tour… you could say it’s really been Black Sabbath’s year. But what’s next? While Geezer Butler speculated their current trek could be their last, Tony Iommi wants to make another album. Can they top 13? Only time will tell… Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the fact that Sabbath are here, still making music, and still very much a band that defines the classic rock spirit.
Wylde: “I heard them when I was 12. I was a Catholic, and by the end of the first side I was a Satanist. By the second side I was a Scientologist, then by the end of the record I’d converted back to Catholicism. It’s incredible what these guys have done. When you listen to Sabbath it’s the amazing songs. That album is number one all over the Earth and on planets that haven’t been discovered yet.”
2229: We don’t need reminded how important they are, but a video clip hammers it home. Ozzy: “It’s been an incredible year, after I spent all those earlier ones trying to kill myself.” Iommi: “Thanks for everything – it’s great to see all these old and new faces.” Butler: “Up Norwich – and thanks to John Mayall, because without him we wouldn’t be here.” Naturally enough it’s another standing ovation.
2232: Fish tells the crowd: “It’s live music time. Have you had enough wine to come down the front?” Behind him the stage crew are setting up pyros. “I’m about to lose all the hair I have… left…” Finally he admits: “I’m dying for a glass of wine. As a Scotsman I’ve found it incredibly difficult to stand here for an hour and a half without a drink.”
2234: The Darkness take the stage and fire off their pyros within the first four bars. It’s just the kind of end a night like this needs.
2247: No wait, I spoke too soon! Just as The Darkness roar up to full power a drunken dancer who’s invaded the podium gets a bit tasty when invited to move away. Dan Hawkins throws himself across the stage and air-kicks him out of the area, without missing a note. The song ends and frontman Justin remonstrates: “Dan, I thought that man was dancing in a seductive way.” His brother replies: “I thought he was being a prick.” Justin continues to the crowd: “So either you dance seductively or my brother will lamp you.” While the angry heckler shouts abuse from the corner, Justin asks for replacement dancers, and with the crowd on his side resolve what he admits was an experience that needed “softened.” Afterwards he thanks the room, saying: “This is a difficult environment to create energy, but with your help we did it.” The rest of the set, of course, goes to plan – and with another blast of pyro, this time, it really is all over.