Thursday, July 4, 2013

Death, Blood, and Rock-n-Roll: A macabre look at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame (Part 1)

Eric, awesome as always, and me...with the whitest legs ever!
Last weekend, I got a wonderful surprise when Eric's wife, Jo, told me they were coming to Cleveland for Eric's Birthday (which was the 2nd, so everyone tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY! cause he's awesome) and asked if we could all hang out. I don't get to see Eric as much as I'd like so this would have been awesome no matter what, but when Eric said we were going to the rock hall, I got excited. Cleveland is the home of Rock-n-Roll and I haven't been to the Hall since I was six! And being the weirdo I am, I always try to find the creepy in everything. If you didn't already know, I kinda have this fascination with true crime, serial killers, and interesting stories surrounding suspicious and/or unusual deaths (hey, don't watch C.S.I. don't you?). So while walking through the Rock Hall, I got the chance to see some interesting exhibits that went hand in hand with my unusual interest and thought I'd share a little info of how sometimes, rock and death can dance hand in hand. This will be a three part post (there is just no way I can do it all in one post, so think of it as long ride through the macabre)

An image showing the pool Brian Jones' body was found in
A funeral program from Jones' memorial service
The first section I'd like the share came from the Rolling Stones exhibit regarding a band member that...well I'm gonna be honest, I didn't even know of (please don't shoot...I'm only 23 and wasn't around back then!). I actually had to do a little research and frankly, his story is a truly tragic one. Brian Jones was one of the original members of the group...actually, he was the founding member, originally the singer before Jagger, and was responsible for the band's name (how did I not know about him? Ok, you can shoot me...). From the beginning, it seemed he was somewhat of an outsider even to his own band mates. He traveled separately from the band and slept at different hotels, all while playing the role of the group's 'leader'. As time went on, hostilities grew and Jones started to feel alienated, leading to heavy drug use and several arrests. Due to this, Jones was told by his band mates that they would be moving on without him. Just one month later on the night of  July 2nd-3rd (around midnight), Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool by girlfriend Anna Wohlin. The coroner's report lists his death as a "death by misadventure" and notes organ enlargement due to his drug use. Many artists, including Pete Townshend, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, and Jimi Hendrix wrote poems for him. The Rolling Stones dedicated a concert to him (ironically, the concert  they dedicated to him was originally scheduled to introduce their new guitarist (Mick Taylor)...the guitarist that replaced Jones). He was said to have been buried 12 feet down to prevent grave robbers since he was buried in a lavish coffin from Bob Dylan. Of course, there are those who don't believe his death was an accident. A conspiracy theory surrounding his death exists that a man named Frank Thorogood, the last man to see Jones alive, murdered him. A movie was made about this theory in 2005 called Stoned. No evidence has been found to show any support for this theory.

A telegraph sent to the mother of Sid Vicious asking her to return his body to London after his death. She refused and his ashes were reportedly spread over Nancy's grave so they could be together even in death.

The second section involves the most infamous member of one of my favorite bands. Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie) was the bassist for the influential punk rock band The Sex Pistols. He was asked to join the band after the departure of Glen Matlock in February of 1977. Sid had an undeniable "punk" image and stage presence that abandoned all reason and was pure madness and magic. He would throw insults at the crowds, would intentionally just fuck himself up (and other things too)...and he was just reckless and seemingly free as can be. Mind you, this was at the height of punk where in the punk community being different and expressing yourself was looked upon as a good thing (not crappy ass Lady Ga Ga different either) so it's no wonder why Sid, even today, is seen as an artist to be remembered (even if his abilities to actually play the bass is still in question to this day). In late 1977, Sid met Nancy Spungen and began a relationship that would last (tumultuously) until her death. Together, Sid and Nancy's relationship spelled out the downfall of not only the band, but both of them as well. Together for 23 months, the two spent much of their time high on heroine and other drugs. The press called Nancy "Nauseating Nancy" due to her public displays of verbal obscenities and violence. The band disbanded and Sid and Nancy moved into a hotel (room 100) at New York's Hotel Chelsea. Sid tried to continue his career solo with Nancy as his manager with little success. As their addictions got worse, so did the violence between the two. All of this came to a head on October 12, 1978. That night, Nancy's body was found under the sink in the bathroom of their hotel room with a single fatal stab wound to the abdomen. The knife was reportedly owned by Sid and he was arrested for the murder. Sid couldn't exactly remember what happened and gave conflicting reports, one being that he stabbed her but didn't mean to, another that they were arguing and she fell on the knife. Another theory is that Sid didn't do it at all, a drug dealer did. No one knows for sure what happened that night, but Sid was arrested and eventually made bail. Sid was now about a month clean and staying with a new girlfriend when his mother, Anne, an addict herself, had some heroine delivered to the home. On February 2nd, 1979, Sid overdosed at midnight but the people there worked to try and revive him and had him walking around a bit. At 3am, he and his new girlfriend went to sleep. Late that morning, he was found dead. His mother reportedly found a note in his coat pocket 3 days later that read:
We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots Goodbye
His ashes were reportedly scattered over Nancy's grave by his mother and Jerry Only of the Misfits since he could not be buried next to her (family objections and the fact she was buried in a Jewish cemetery)

Now here is the interesting part of the story, none of which has not been proven fact or not, but I think it's interesting enough to share. A documentary entitled Final 24 claims that Anna, before her death in 96', admitted to giving her son a fatal dose of heroine. She did not provide a motive for doing so but it sounds like a sick way of protecting him.

I know the post has gotten a bit long, so the next part of this series covering Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain will be coming this weekend. Let me know what you think of these posts in the comments below. This is something new for me to write and I'd like some feedback. If it's good, I might do more true crime stuff on the site (It's horror themed...kinda lol)

1 comment:

Helena Philomena Liebekraft said...

According to Keith Richards, the hostilities between the other band members and Brian Jones were because of Jones' behavior. He also said that he doubted that Brian's death was anything but an accident, but he could see why someone would want to kill him. Apparently Brian was quite an arrogant prick. Keith's book is an interesting read.