Watson’s Mom’s Dead F***ers
WATSON’S MOM’S DEAD F***ERS
ROCK STARS (AND THEIR FRIENDS) WHO LEARNED THEIR LESSON THE HARD WAY
Daniel MacMaster (Bonham)
July 11, 1968 – March 16, 2008
Starting off on a personal note, RIP Daniel MacMaster, a sweet guy and the only vocalist I didn’t feel compelled to shoot on stage for covering Led Zeppelin songs. He was freaking incredible. Continuing sympathy to his family, who wrote such kind words to me after Daniel died. He was lead singer for Bonham, the band formed by John Bonham of Zeppelin’s son, Jason, who is also a kind soul, and who assured me that I am not the only one occasionally visited by his Dad’s ghost. On the anniversary of the death of the greatest drummer in rock and roll, I will post my interview with Jason regarding the similarity between Jason’s after life encounters with John, and Watson’s encounters with his own Dad. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Daniel died from a staph infection.
Lesson learned (over and over): Don’t get too attached to rock stars if you can’t handle the grief of losing them.
Here’s Daniel singing Bonham’s hit song, ‘Wait For You’. Click here.
Jan Berry (Jan & Dean)
Apr. 3, 1941 – Mar. 26, 2004
Jan Berry wrote a hit song about a near fatal accident on Sunset Boulevard involving a Corvette Sting Ray, and then he lived it. The Bad News is that Jan Berry is dead. The Good News is that he survived nearly 40 years after suffering brain damage and paralysis after crashing his Corvette Stingray near Dead Man’s Curve. The accident happened two years after the song became a hit. After being told he would never walk Jan pushed himself until, eventually, he stood on stage and performed with Dean Torrence again. Jan died on March 26, 2004, after suffering a seizure at the age of 62.
Lesson Learned The Hard Way: Be careful what you write songs about. Ronnie James Dio tried to tell us when he wrote ‘Don’t Talk To Stranger’s, where he clearly warns to be careful what we write ‘Cause the words may come out real’. To see the video of Dead Man’s Curve, click here.
Ola Brunkert (ABBA)
September 15, 1946 – March 16, 2008
Ola Brunkert was the drummer for ABBA. He walked through a glass door and somehow managed to slit his throat on a piece of the broken glass. He was found in his garden with a towel wrapped around his neck, apparently trying to seek help from neighbors.
Lesson learned the hard way: Put little safety sticky thingies on all of your glass doors. Duh.
To hear Ola, click here for Fernando….Can you hear the drums….’
May 18, 1965 – March 8, 1995
If you’re into German power metal, and who isn’t, then you have heard Helloween. Drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg suffered from schizophrenia, compounded by excessive use of alcohol and cocaine. Often refusing to take his meds, Ingo would display extremely bizarre behavior and would sometimes be unable to take the stage. Eventually, of course, he was kicked out of the band. This move naturally added to his depression, which was sometimes made obvious by uncontrollable crying jags. In March of 1995, shortly before his 30th birthday, Ingo, a talented (and if I may say so for the benefit of the ladies) HOT young man, threw himself in front of a subway train.
That just pisses me off.
Lesson learned the hard way: Don’t trade your prescription meds for recreational drugs.
To catch a glimpse of Ingo on drums, click here for their video of Halloween, from the Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1 album. God, I love Michael Kiske’s voice.
Richard Manuel (The Band)
Apr. 3, 1943 - Mar. 4, 1986
Richard Manuel hanged himself in his room at the Quality Inn in Winter Park, FL after drinking with friends and then chugging a bottle of Grand Marnier. Before retiring to his room, Richard quietly thanked a band mate, Garth Hudson, for “twenty-five years of incredible music’.
Lesson learned the hard way: If your buddy seems to be saying good-bye…he probably is.
To see and hear Richard singing ‘I Shall Be Released’, click here.
For my favorite song by The Band that has absolutely nothing to do with Richard hanging himself, click here.
Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne)
December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982
When it comes to talking or thinking about Randy’s death, I’d really rather not go there. But a loss like that can’t be ignored, and neither can the stupidity of it all.
Randy was barely over 5’ tall, but his talent was huge. After success with Quiet Riot, he moved on to Ozzy’s band and turned out some of the most famous, and most recognizable, guitar riffs and intros of all time. Randy played his last show at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, after which the band continued their road trip, heading for Florida. Stopping at a friend’s home along the way, they parked the tour bus to catch some sleep. The house had its own airstrip, and one of the planes belonged to the band’s tour bus driver. Somehow Randy, in spite of his fear of flying, was convinced to take a ride with the bus driver, whose autopsy showed that he had cocaine in his system at the time of his death. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead’s ‘Casey Jones’, ‘he was flying that plane high on cocaine’.
Which is maybe why the coked up son of a bitch decided it would be great fun to buzz the tour bus. That is until he clipped it with one wing, and crashed into a house. The fire that resulted was so intense that all on board were burned beyond recognition. Randy was identified by his jewelry.
Ozzy’s wife and manager, Sharon, decided that the show must go on, and insisted that the band continue their tour. I am lucky to have met Rudy Sarzo, Ozzy’s bassist at the time, when he was touring with Dio. Rudy was sleeping on the bus at the time of the crash. I wanted so much to ask him about it, but after reading a quote from an interview with him, I’m glad I didn’t broach such a sensitive subject. Rudy said in his interview, ‘The reason I left Ozzy was only, only because it was so painful to go onstage and be a member of Ozzy’s band within 10 days of the crash.”
. Lesson learned the hard way: If you are afraid of flying, don’t get on a damn plane.
To see this tiny bundle of energy click here.
It’s enough to make you weep for his loss.
Paul Kossoff (Free)
September 14, 1950 – March 19, 1976
Paul Kossoff was truly a victim of the rock and roll lifestyle. He hit it big at age 20 when ‘All Right Now’ hit #4 on the Billboard Charts. He was dead at age 25. Drug-related heart problems caused him to drop dead on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. Was no one looking out for him? Surely his friends and family had to know the lethal path he was on. ‘Seagull, you must have known for a long time the shape of things to come’…the lyrics of the Bad Company song written in his memory by Paul Rodgers, his band mate in Free, indicate that at least Rodgers knew. There is a long, long list of these Dead F***ers whose personal needs did not exceed the needs of a band wanting to sell records.
Lesson learned the hard way: Topping the charts is not more important than the life of a friend.
To see Paul, at age 20, onstage at the Isle Of Wight festival, click here.
For Bad Company’s tribute song, click here.
Paul was cremated, and this is his marker.
All Right Now? I don’t f***ing think so.
Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan (Grateful Dead)
September 8, 1945 – March 8, 1973
‘Pigpen was and is now forever one of the Grateful Dead’, says Ron McKernan’s grave marker.
Don’t even get me started on the whole Grateful Dead Keyboardist Curse. All four of those Dumb F***ers are ‘gratefully’ dead. Pigpen was the first to go, followed by each and every keyboardist the Dead ever had. The curse even spilled over to Dark Star, the famous Grateful Dead tribute band, when their founding keyboard player died while on tour.
Pigpen had a little drinking problem. Maybe he developed it during his love affair with the infamous booze hound, Janis Joplin. He died of a hemorrhage that resulted from the condition that caused him to leave the band, cirrhosis of the liver, a common disease amongst those who love the bottle a little too much.
Lesson learned the hard way:
For Pigpen…Maybe ‘don’t hook up with Janis Joplin’.
For rest of the dumb f***ers…don’t play keyboard for the Dead.
So you thought the Black Crowes were the first to sing ‘Hard to Handle’? It’s actually an Otis Redding original. Love that damn song. Click here to see Pigpen do it justice back in ’70. The video is classic. Can’t tell who’s more drugged out…the band or the Deadheads in the crowd.
Toss back a few for Pigpen McKernan.