June 04 1990 was the date that I lost one of my Rock and Roll heroes. Born Steven John Bator in Ohio back on October 22, 1949, Stiv passed away on this day in June almost thirty years ago! Shit is it really that long? Bator was taken to a Paris hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor, after waiting several hours and assuming he was not injured after being hit by a car near his Paris home. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a traumatic brain injury. Dave Tregunna said that Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison’s Paris grave and that his girlfriend complied but not after some friends of Stivs snorted some of the singers ashes it was later revealed in the movie about the singer (‘Stiv’) Which was released yesterday as it happens (pick it up Here

Stiv not only fronted the amazing punk rock legends The Dead Boys back in the mid-’70s but after he split he had a successful solo career releasing the amazing ‘Disconnected‘ album back in 1980 Batos then went on to front the punk supergroup the Wanderers who managed one very underrated album ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ along with Dave Parsons, Dave Tregunna and Ricky Goldstein but that was short lived and it wasn’t long before BAtors was onto his next project with help from Tregunna he formed another supergroup – The Lords Of The New Church  featuring Brian James of The Damned, Tregunna from Sham 69 and The Wanderers and Nicky Turner from The Baraccudas. The band released their first self entitled album in ’82 and arguably their finest work.  Over time it has to be considered a stone wall classic.

The Lords continued for the next half a dozen years and some before imploding onstage that fateful night at the Astoria when Stiv came onstage for the encores wearing the t-shirt of the advert that James and Tregunna had made to replace Stiv.  I was there that night and couldn’t believe what I’d seen but it was pre-internet and pre multi news updates so it wasn’t until I had it confirmed in Sounds that what I’d thought happened really did.  gutted to see one of my favourite bands bite the dust was an understatement, to say the least.

It was then that Stiv moved to Paris and embarked on his next phase and a solo record. The rest is history.  There were no reunions and Stiv passed in such tragic circumstances.  He has been the subject of the much-covered movie ‘Stiv’ and his Legacy is the records and concert footage and memories he has left with us all.  Stiv Bator Rest In Piece you were one of a kind and should be remembered as a legend. That certainly what RPM will look back and think when his name is mentioned.

 

 

Ronald Frederick “Ronnie” Lane (1 April 1946 – 4 June 1997) was  best known as the bass guitarist and founding member of two English rock and roll bands: The Small Faces followed by The Faces.  With Small Faces, he was nicknamed “Plonk”. After their breakup, reorganisation and Lane’s losing the band’s frontman slot to Rod Stewart, he earned the nickname “Three-Piece”.

In the late 1970s, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was supported by charity projects and financial contributions from friends, former bandmates and fans. After suffering from the disease for 21 years, he died at 51.

born in Plaistow Maternity Hospital, to Elsie Lane and Stanley Lane, a truck driver. Lane later described his father as a “saint”, who would work a long work day, and then return home to nurse his wife and two sons, all of whom were diagnosed with M.S.  Doctors assured Lane as a child that the destructive disease was not necessarily inherited, although he found out later in his life that he had indeed inherited it.

After leaving school at the age of 16, Lane met Kenney Jones at a local pub, and they formed a group they named The Outcasts. Initially playing lead guitar, Lane quickly switched to bass. When shopping for a  bass, Lane visited a Bar (shock horror), where he met Steve Marriott, who was working there. Lane bought his bass and went to Marriott’s house after work, where Marriott introduced him to his record collection. Lane and Marriott set out to form a band, recruiting friends Kenney Jones and Jimmy Winston, who switched from guitar to organ. Marriott was chosen to be the frontman and singer.

The name “Small” was chosen as they were all under 5’5″ in height. They made their debut in 1965, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston in November 1965. Lane and Marriott began writing hit songs consistently, including “Itchycoo Park” and “All or Nothing”. At least a dozen successful songs credit Lane, and the 1968 concept album ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ features songs co-written by Lane with one exception. The band imploded in 1969 as Marriott left the group.

In 1973 Ronnie Lane moved to Fishpool Farm in the village of Hyssington, Montgomeryshire, Wales, just over the border from England, off the Shrewsbury to Bishop’s Castle road. With Ronnie already beginning to feel the effects of MS, he moved back to London in the late 70s After leaving the Faces, Lane formed his own band, Slim Chance.

Lane emigrated to Texas, USA, in 1984 (first to Houston, then Austin), where the climate was more beneficial to his health and he continued playing, writing, and recording. He formed an American version of Slim Chance, which was, as always, a loose-knit conglomeration of available musicians. For much of the time, membership included Alejandro Escovedo. For close to a decade Lane enjoyed “rock royalty” status in the Austin area. He toured Japan but his health continued to decline. His last performance was in 1992 at a Ronnie Wood gig alongside Ian McLagan.

In 1994 Ronnie and his wife Susan moved to the small town of Trinidad, Colorado. Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood funded his medical care as no royalties from the Small Faces work was forthcoming – until Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan were eventually able to secure payments, by which time Steve Marriott had died in a house fire and Lane had also died.

Lane finally lost his life due to pneumonia, in the final stages of his progressive multiple sclerosis, on 4 June 1997 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Trinidad, Colorado.

A street was named after him, “Ronnie Lane”, in Manor Park in 2001and if you’ve got an hour spare check out this beautiful documentary on Ronnie.  Rest In Peace both – Legends

on this day way back in 1970,  Black Sabbath released their debut self-titled studio album on Vertigo records in the UK.  The album happened to come out on a Friday which is a spooky fact. Peaking at No.8 on the charts which is something of a commercial success to be fair to the four lads from working-class backgrounds in Birmingham.

Recognised as the first heavy metal record. It seems like so long ago and be thankful that it was this album and these people. I’m not sure we should blame the four for giving us the likes of Danger Danger, Steel Panther and Manowar but if they were the first then they should take some collective responsibility because had this record never have been made would we have had judas priest? Who knows.  If only they’d added a keytar instead of Iommi’s Les Paul things might have ended so differently. Oh well. To think that back in 1970 the band released not one but two albums because later that year ‘Paranoid’ hit the streets and was responsible for that riff. Amazing work ethic and turn over that my friends wouldn’t happen today.

 

On February 13th1980, Police raided the home of former Sex Pistols John Lydon who greeted them waving a ceremonial sword, the only illegal item they found was a canister of tear gas, claimed to be for defence against intruders. Imagine that, musical outsider having their homes invaded by the fuzz for what under what crime prevention?  Makes you wonder why the bugger off to live in other countries. Of the incident, Lydon said, “I used to have these wooden slat blinds. They break, so up went an Italian flag. “But somebody thought that meant it was an IRA house, so… police raid!”  Lydon had long since left the Pistols and PIL were a going concern the incident was between ‘Metal Box’ and ‘Flowers Of Romance’ Lydon was basking in the afterglow of ‘Metal Box’ which had come out only four months earlier.

Amazingly The title of the album refers to its original packaging, which consisted of a metal 16mm film canister embossed with the band’s logo and containing three records. It was designed by Dennis Morris and was innovative and inexpensive, costing little more to the label than the cost of standard printed sleeves for equivalent 12″ releases (although Virgin did ask for a refund of 1/3 of the band’s advance due to the cost). Before the metal tin was finalised, there was discussion of the album being released in a sandpaper package that would effectively ruin the sleeve art of any records shelved next to it. That idea would later be realised by the Durutti Column

The album’s lack of accessibility extended to the discs themselves. Packed tightly inside the canister and separated by paper sheets, they were difficult to remove and were prone to be scratched and dropped in the process. Due to the short run on each side of the records, the listener had to change sides to hear the complete album rather more often than normal (not like Lydon to be awkward).

Deleted in November 1979 after an initial release of 60,000 sales, the album was re-issued on in February 1980  (funnily enough just after his house was raided) as a standard double LP in a more conventional gatefold. The sleeve art of ‘Second Edition’ consists of a distorted Keith Levene.

Also today in the mists of time (1982 to be precise) The Jam were at number 1 in the charts with double A-side single ‘A Town Called Malice’ and ‘Precious’ incidently the song is played at the local football ground before every second half gets underway (have that one fact fans).  Sadly the three members of the Jam have never reformed and the only chance of them ever being in the same place together would be when they’ve been to court – shame that but not many bands get to perform on TOTP  twice in the same night playing both sides of their single

 

Finally, in 2007 Rod Steward did a hard days graft and only got paid $1 million.  A wealthy billionaire Steve Schwarzman paid the singer to perform an hour-long set for his 60th Birthday celebrations in New York, (nice work if you can get it). Other performers are available for a lot cheaper. but I guess well done Rod We’d all like a piece of that. It’s not the only time Stewart has performed for wealthy people for large sums of money. A long way from his busking days in Paris and Spain or on train platforms in West London Stewart hung up his rock n roll wildman boots long before ’07 to be fair.  but still quite an achievement.  I hope Mr Schwarzman got his moneys worth and told Rod what to play.

 

Dave Alexander original Stooges Bass Player (June 3, 1947 – February 10, 1975) in Ann Arbor where he met brothers Ron and Scott Asheton. “Zander” (as Alexander was known) dropped out after 45 minutes on the first day of his senior year in 1965 to win a bet. Later in 1965, Ron sold his motorbike and they left for England to see The Who and to “try and find The Beatles”.

Alexander and the Asheton brothers soon met Iggy Pop and formed The Stooges in 1967. Although Alexander was a total novice on his instrument, he was a quick learner and subsequently had a hand in arranging, composing and performing all of the songs that appeared on the band’s first two albums, ‘The Stooges’ and ‘Fun House’. He is often credited by Pop and was credited by the late Ron Asheton in interviews with being the primary composer of the music for the Stooges songs “We Will Fall”, “Little Doll” (both on The Stooges), “Dirt” and “1970” (Fun House).

Alexander died of pulmonary edema in 1975, at the age of 27 in Ann Arbor after being admitted to a hospital for pancreatitis, which was linked to his drinking. Sadly it was drinking that ultimatly got him sacked from the Stooges as its believed to have been the reason he was fired in August of 1970 after turning up drunk to a show and not being able to perform. Rest In Peace and thank you for those awesome tunes. ‘Funhouse’ has one of the greatest basslines ever in Rock n Roll music, full stop not even up for debate.   Gone but not forgotten. 

Buy The Stooges Here

On a happier note on this day in 1979, Rod Stewart started hit No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’,  Also today Rod started a three-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Blondes Have More Fun.’ An absolute killer record in my humble opinion.  right up there with his earlier work.  It might not have been of the same quality as his work with The Faces but has stood the test of time as he demonstrates in this video for the title track.

Buy Blondes Have More Fun Here

Finally how about this for some news. On this very day in 1977, The Clash started recording their debut album at CBS studios in London,  The album was recorded over three weekends at CBS Studio 3 in the month of  February 1977. By the third of these sessions, the album was completed, CBS then sent it for production in the March.and then released in the April, It cost just £4000 to produce! Imagine that? Such an iconic album recorded so quickly and for 4K you’d be lucky to replicate that today it would take you three months in the queue at the pressing plant.