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Benjy says...

Dear Rock of Ages subscribers,

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the Tommy Bolin special on Thursday, he was such a gifted guitar player and in my opinion his kind of talent comes once a generation (like Hendrix, Joplin, etc). If you haven't heard him before check out his solo on Billy Cobham's "Quadrant 4" (off "Spectrum") or get the "Ultimate Tommy Bolin" 2 cd set as an introduction.

Next week's special will be LA's finest, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Peppers are the foremost exponents of what one could term punk-funk metal but their sound owes a lot to classic rock, courtesy of guitarist John Frusciante who is highly rated in Guitar Player's Top 100 and one of my personal fave players. I'll be playing tracks from the band's post 90's output including songs from their brilliant new album "Stadium Arcadium".

and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are ..........


Fairfax High School alumni Anthony Kiedis, Michael Balzary (Flea), Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons, founded the Red Hot Chili Peppers (originally "Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem"), after what was supposed to be a one-time performance in 1983. The four gathered a sizable following for a band that had yet to release an album, mainly through their connections to the Los Angeles music community and their manic live performances, which occasionally included them playing with only socks covering their penises. Later in that same year, they secured a record deal with EMI. However, Irons and Slovak were already committed to their original band, What Is This?, so for the recording sessions of the debut album, Jack Sherman was brought in on guitar with Cliff Martinez on drums. The result was the self-titled Red Hot Chili Peppers. Arguably poor production by Andy Gill (with whom they often argued), a failure to catch the aura of their live performances, and lack of band chemistry doomed it to commercial failure. The tour did not fare much better, as problems between Sherman and the other band members arose, resulting in his removal from the band. Slovak would then leave What Is This? and come back on board full time in the beginning of 1985. The first RHCP hit from the first album would be "True Men Don't Kill Coyotes".Parliament-Funkadelic maestro George Clinton took over production duties for their second album and with the line up of Kiedis, Flea, Slovak, and Martinez, they recorded and released Freaky Styley. Described as straightout funk played at a punked out speed, it featured a rendition of Sly & the Family Stone's "If You Want Me To Stay", and cult classics such as "Jungle Man" and "Catholic School Girls Rule", which would appear on college radio stations. The album did not attract the eye of the mainstream. Martinez would leave the band soon after the release of the album, leaving room for the return of original drummer Jack Irons in early 1986. The only recognizable hit off this album would be "Hollywood (Africa)" which received reasonable airplay in Europe, but didn't make the same impact back in the US.

rhcp The next album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, was produced by Michael Beinhorn and released in September 1987. This would be the only album with the four original Fairfax High School friends performing Jack Irons on drums did not actually go to Fairfax High School. The album was fuelled by the most recognizable of their early anthems, Fight Like A Brave, the first and what would be the only single until the release of Behind The Sun in 1992. Fight Like A Brave would later be featured in 2001 on the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 video game. The album was their first to dent the Billboard Top 200, however, their success was partially stunted by the fact EMI did very little to market the album, due to the confusion of musical styles. Still, the album mixture of thrashed funk, psychedelia, and punk sent them to Europe for the very first time. Drug problems, which were prominent in the band throughout the decade, came to light when Slovak failed to stay clean during the Uplift Mofo tour, especially in 1987, which resulted in erratic behavior and botched performances. The band, at the advice of Fishbone's front man Angelo Moore, allegedly backed off on firing Slovak. When the band toured Europe in May 1988, Slovak was clean again and all the problems seemed far away, but shortly after the band returned to the United States, on June 27 1988, Slovak was found dead in his apartment after a heroin overdose. Irons quit soon after, not wanting to continue with the band after his friend's death.Kiedis (who had just spent a stint in rehab) and Flea decided to continue the band, and after temporarily employing drummer D.H. Peligro and guitarist Dwayne "Blackbird" McKnight, settled on today's line-up of Chad Smith on drums and John Frusciante on guitar. The following effort, Mother's Milk, was recorded and produced with an energetic mixture of funk, rap, metal and jazz, and was released in August 1989. It included a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire", which was the last studio track recorded with Slovak. On the strength of the touchstone "Knock Me Down" (their first top 10 hit), the cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground", and other numbers including "Magic Johnson" (a tribute to their favorite basketball team - the Los Angeles Lakers) "Stone Cold Bush" and "Pretty Little Ditty" (which would be later sampled as "Butterfly" by Crazy Town), the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally entered the mainstream. They progressed to start a successful nine month world tour, which was just as eventful as their last and featured a comprehensive tour of Europe and the US.Although Mother's Milk is considered to be a milestone in their career, the Red Hot Chili Peppers usually refrain from performing songs from this album anymore, due to John's dislike of the way he performed back then. Many avid fans would regret it, though, as Mother's Milk is perceived by many longtime RHCP fans to be one of their strongest albums.

rhcp The winning streak continued into 1990 with "Show Me Your Soul" from the Pretty Woman soundtrack. The following year the Peppers jumped to Warner Brothers Records and hired Rick Rubin to produce their fifth album. That album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which was recorded in the summer of 1991 (at an empty mansion in the Hollywood hills once owned by magician Harry Houdini), and released in September of that year, would launch the band into megastardom. Spurred by hits "Give It Away" (their first ever #1 hit), "Under the Bridge," "Breaking the Girl" and "Suck My Kiss", the album sold a staggering seven million copies in the United States alone. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is often regarded as the finest album in the entire Peppers catalogue, as the mix of funk, punk, metal, hip-hop, and blues flowed together impressively under the masterful production of Rubin, even at a running time of 74 minutes.The band's switch to Warner Bros, its hiring of Rick Rubin as a producer and its bringing John Frusciante into the fold are the 3 major decisions that propelled it to a major commercial and musical success.

Unfortunately, this success was taking its toll on Frusciante, who was finding the band's superstar status hard to deal with and was experiencing severe existential problems. This lead to the degradation of his relationship with other band members until he finally decided to quit the band during the BSSM tour in May of 1992, sinking soon after into a drug addiction. After headlining Lollapalooza with replacement guitarist Arik Marshall and briefly working with Jesse Tobias, the Peppers found a more permanent replacement in former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.In 1994, Live Rare Remix Box was released under the Warner Bros. label. The name explains the concept. After, former record company, EMI, released Out in L.A. (a compilation of rare tracks from their albums before stardom). Their only album with Navarro, One Hot Minute, was released in the fall of 1995 to mixed reviews, usually critically acclaimed by the press, being received with usually good reviews worldwide and nationwide. Many music journalists criticized the lack of chemistry between Navarro and the rest of the line-up, the main reason being the missing John Frusciante and his prodigious and diversified sound on Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The album featured the familiar styles of funk, metal, and jazz, but this time included increased psychedelia and heavy metal instruments along with some of the longest songs ever produced by the Peppers. Despite the criticism the album still was a success and spurred another #1 hit, My Friends, and charted well with songs such as Warped, Aeroplane, Coffee Shop, and internationally with Shallow Be Thy Game. However, the line-up wasn't to last as the band's chemistry progressively deteriorated. In the end of 1997, Navarro and Flea played on the Jane's Addiction reunion tour, but at the time the Peppers were in a state of creative stand-by, and Navarro, who after four years of working with the Peppers wished to focus on his own musical projects, left the band in early 1998. One Hot Minute did fare well, selling four million copies, 2 million of them in the United States alone, and was crowned as a double platinum, but is now considered by the band members as an exception in their career. However, the band did not renounce the album, as is often erroneously stated, but was labeled an "exception" because it was not inspired from jam sessions like other Peppers albums, being mostly composed and fine-tuned in recording studios, which was a very long, complex and sometimes frustrating process, far from the band's usual way of working. After Navarro's departure the band ceased playing songs from OHM during their shows (except for "Pea" that Flea occasionally performs), mainly because the songs didn't match John Frusciante's style and would not fit in their sets. Frusciante claims never to have heard the album.Frusciante rejoined the band in 1998 after spending time in rehab and releasing two solo albums. The refreshed, refocused, and re-energized guitarist was on board for the Peppers 1999 release, Californication. The funk, punk, and psychedelic album produced three more number one hits - "Scar Tissue" (which won a Grammy), "Otherside" and "Californication", in addition to well-charted songs "Around the World", "Road Trippin'" (UK single), and "Parallel Universe" (which was not even released as a single, but still managed to break the top 40 in modern rock). Contrarily to the previous Peppers' albums, Californication contains few rap-driven songs. The band went on a tour which lasted nearly two years, which saw some of their largest shows, including performing in front of 200,000 people in Moscow. In 2001, they released their first concert DVD, Off The Map. Many RHCP fans argue the extent to which Frusciante is responsible for the band's most successful albums; all the RHCP's sold-out albums were produced after his joining/rejoining the band - Mother's Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Californication and By The Way.


After returning to the studio in November 2001, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released By the Way, which received generally positive yet somewhat mixed reactions from many fans. The moodiest and most mellow release they ever had, the psychedelic, alternative, and pop rock album produced two more #1 singles: "By the Way" and "Can't Stop". The Peppers then went on another two year tour, in the meantime releasing their second concert DVD, Live at Slane Castle in 2003 and recording new songs for their Greatest Hits album later that year. In 2004, the Peppers released their first ever live album, Live in Hyde Park, recorded during their 2004 performances at Hyde Park, London.The Red Hot Chili Peppers? recent shows at Hyde Park in London set a new world record as the highest grossing concert event at a single venue in music history, bringing in an astonishing $17 million. The three shows (June 19, 20 and 25) sold out within hours of going on sale, had a paying audience of 258,000 punters, bringing in $17,187,234 (approximately ?9,115,282) setting a new world record. The Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN had previously held the record, with a gross of approximately $14.5 million, but the Clear Channel Entertainment UK promoted and produced RHCP shows, blew the competition out of the water.On October 6, 2004, lead singer Anthony Kiedis released his autobiography entitled Scar Tissue (Hyperion Publishing). The book includes details of his friends, loves, struggles with drug addiction, and music. It also contains lyrics from certain songs, along with the story behind each.

Again working with producer Rick Rubin, they completed their ninth studio album, Stadium Arcadium, in 2005. Although 38 songs were created, it was released as a 28-track double album, originally intended to be released as 3 mini-albums spaced six months apart. The first disc in the set is titled "Jupiter", while the second is called "Mars", which both contain 14 songs.The band performed some of their new material live in concerts in Las Vegas, New York, Atlantic City and in Los Angeles. The album was released on May 9, 2006 in North America (May 8 in UK, May 5 most of rest of Euope). The first single is called "Dani California", according to Kiedis the same girl from songs "By The Way" ("Dani the girl") and "Californication" ("Teenage bride with a baby inside") are representative of every girl he has ever known.

Important Rock of Ages information

As part of it's sports mandate Radio 2000 will be covering all of the major live games in this year's Soccer World Cup and 2 of these games clash with Rock of Ages on Thursday 15th and 22nd June. Unfortunately there will be no Rock of Ages on these dates, we will return live, loud and in your face on 29th June. This also means that our 2nd Birthday celebrations will be extended into July with lots of interviews, competitions and prizes.

Rock of Ages's recommendations

After a fairly quiet couple of months the releases have been coming fast and furious; there are new albums by the perennial Neil Young ("Living with war"); one time alt rockers Pearl Jam ("Pearl Jam"); the double Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Stadium Arcadium"); an amazing new outing from Paul Simon ("Surprise"); Springsteen's Pete Seeger tribute ("We shall overcome") as well as Kevin Martin & the HiWatts ("The possibility of being") and the explosive return of power blues rock trio, Danko Jones ("Sleep is the enemy") ... I will be reviewing these albums over the next few weeks ......... However this week special mentions go to Pebbleman's "The Red Stone Album" and "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" .............


Pebbleman is the alter ego of Mother City guitarist extraordinaire Richard Pryor - those of you who have seen and heard him fire off those stinging licks in the Boulevard Blues Band will know just what a great player he is. However "The Red Stone Album" sees him venturing into melodic hard rock territory with shades of Satriani/McAlpine/Vai and this is where he really shines. Check out "Headglow", Loaded gun" and "Architect of pain" for an overdose of great guitar rock. The album is not available in the stores but you can get directly from Richard at 083-4671031 .....

Ars Longa Vita Brevis

If you are, like myself, an ardent early 70's rock fan then "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" is tailormade for you. It's a 3 cd compendium of progressive rock 1967-1974 available on Sanctuary Records and features heavyweights like The Nice, Renaissance, Soft Machine, ELP, Atomic Rooster, Keef Hartley Band, Colosseum and Man as well as a host of more obscure bands that I had read about but never actually got around to listening to: things like Comus, Gryphon, Skin Alley, Stray, Jan Dukes de Gray, Heavy Jelly and Marsupilami. The set strikes a good balance between the traditional progrock sound and bands that were regarded as generally 'progressive' like Jethro Tull, Savoy Brown, Uriah Heep and Gravy Train .... well worth investing in !


Rockspert of the week is ...... Nigel McBeth of Paarden Eiland who successfully answered the tricky questions and won himself a copy of the new Greg Lake DVD ... Don't forget that June is our 2nd birthday and we will have tons of cds, dvds and t-shirts to give away so stay tuned!

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The views, opinions, rants, raves and ramblings expressed on this website are the author's own and in no way reflect the views of Radio 2000 or the SABC.

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Pot Talk
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McCartney's lame excuse
As you know the McCartneys are to offically separate, I thought that Classic Rock's Dave White pretty much said what a lot of people feel.......

"I really hadn't planned to say anything about Paul McCartney's marriage breaking up. The tabloids are covering this "news" quite adequately (overly so, one might argue) and, more importantly, it has nothing to do with the classic rock music that is the subject of this site. The reason that Sir Paul and Lady Heather gave for the breakup is so ridiculous, however, that I either had to vent or risk blowing a blood vessel. It has become popular to blame "the media" for everything from political bias to global warming. The McCartneys have taken this lame copout to new heights, however, when they pout that "media intrusion" caused their marriage to fail. That, in a word, is so much bull$&*! It isn't as if these are shy innocents who have somehow been forced into the public eye against their will. They have frequently invited the media to "intrude" on their various charity campaigns. Both chose high profile careers. Now they whine that they can't "maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives." Give me a break. A marriage may fail for a variety of reasons. Placing the blame on "the media" is nothing more than a convenient way to avoid personal responsibility. Okay, I'm done. I feel a lot better know. Thanks for letting me vent. If you have a problem with it, the media made me do it. "

Lynyrd Skynyrd emergency
Lynyrd Skynyrd lead vocalist, Johnny Van Zant underwent emergency surgery Thursday night to remove his appendix. His manager says Van Zant has been ill for several days, but continued to perform as late as Wednesday night. Doctors at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California say their patient will have to rest for at least a week, forcing the cancellation of three Skynyrd shows in California and Nevada.

Live Gigs
Jack Hammer
19th May Steak & Ale, Centurion

Boulevard Blues Band
28th May Die Boer, Durbanville

Arno Carstens
31st May Rhodes Drill Hall, Grahamstown

26 - 28 May Loerie festival, Knysna

@ London Calling
Fairview, Joburg. Contact: 011 6181018 26 May Death Valley Blues Band, Kosmonauts, Ill Audio, and End Of My Leave

Stoned Goblin
26 May One Ring, Obs
3 June Gandalfs, Obs
10 June Cool Runnings, Obs
30 June One Ring, Obs

Back on Track
Every Saturday @ Cheetah's, Brackenfell CT from 5.30pm - play 60's/70's blues and rock

"Benjy says..." Archive

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Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's Benjy Mudie 2004
Then Now

Benjy Mudie was inducted into the South African Rock Hall Of Fame on 14th August 2002. Of Scottish origin, Mudie started out in the music industry working in record shops. He later became the A&R man for WEA records, signing such luminaries as Lesley Rae Dowling, Baxtop and Falling Mirror. He has ventured briefly into the realms of songwriting, getting co-writing credit for Little Sister's song 'You Got My Heart', but it is mainly for his running of record labels, notably Tusk and more recently Fresh and Retro Fresh that he is honoured. With these labels he has tirelessly dedicated himself to putting South African music out there, showing an unshaking belief in the quality of SA music.


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