Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes loves being a rock and roll lead singer. Onstage and off, he plays the role to the hilt. During a photo session at a loft in Manhattan's Soho district, Robinson sashays across the floor as if in concert, shaking his impossibly slender, leather-clad hips and flailing skinny arms swathed in the billowing sleeves of a frilly shirt.
It was early 2001 when Chuck Schuldiner’s headaches returned. Over the past year, he had begun to feel like his old self again—remarkable, considering that, just one year before, the death metal guitarist had nearly died. In early January 2000, doctors in New York City had managed to remove more than half of a cancerous tumor dangerously nestled at the base of his brain. Months of physical therapy followed while he recovered at home, in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
As the lights go down in New York City's Roxy music theater, a sinister, disembodied voice repeats hypnotically, over and over, a digital sample locked into an endless loop: "The whole thing I think is sick/The whole thing I think is sick/The whole thing I think is sick... "
Over the years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been accused of a lot of things (even convicted of a few). But one charge that has never been leveled at the band, in any of its incarnations, is that the Chili Peppers are shy or retiring.
Steve Vai has worn some outlandish costumes onstage. But if his fans saw the baggy, all-white jumpsuit, net-covered pith helmet and massive gloves he often wears around the yard of his Encino home, they would think he's completely lost his mind. This outfit is not some eccentric indulgence, however, but a necessity for Vai's latest obsession -- beekeeping. On his property are four massive hives which last spring produced more than 450 pounds of honey.
Few musical marriages have been so magical, so intuitively right, as that of the great blues singer Howlin’ Wolf and his guitarist, Hubert Sumlin. From the time he joined the blues legend’s band in 1954 until Wolf’s death in 1976, Sumlin played a central role in crafting some of the century’s most memorable and influential American roots music. His economical, stinging fills, unusual rhythmic approach and perfectly placed bent notes are as integral as Wolf’s growl to the blues power of classics like “Spoonful,” “Smokestack Lightnin’,” “Killing Floor” and “The Red Rooster.”
“By the way he carried himself, you really thought that Bon Scott was immortal,” says guitarist Angus Young of AC/DC’s late frontman. “He would drink like a fish, and when you saw him the next morning, he’d be no worse for wear. And you’d think to yourself, ‘How does this guy do this?’”
It was in the early 1960s that Eric Clapton first grabbed people with the scream in his sound. People called it the "woman tone," but that was no woman -- that was his life. On songs like "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Crossroads," he used his guitar to give voice to the emotions he couldn't, or wouldn't, vent as a singer or songwriter.
Inside a wood-panelled Sausalito, California, studio called The Plant, Metallica frontman James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich gaze reflectively at a dust-covered relic sitting in the corner of the room. "This thing's been in the closet for 10 years," says Hetfield. "It was the second guitar I ever owned, and it was the only one I had when we recorded Kill 'Em All." He picks up the cheap, white Flying V copy and begins to pluck out southern rock licks in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd. "It still plays pretty good," he beams.