By Ian Liberman
THE DEATH OF CHUCK BERRY
Chuck Berry was born on October 18, 1926 to a large family in St. Louis. He was an exceptional guitarist with a theatrical stage presence that added to his legacy. Peers and rock critics alike labelled him the “father of rock n roll.”
Berry’s love of poetry and blues was incorporated into his club sets, which featured songs by Muddy Waters and Nat King Cole. His first marketable (and commercially successful) band was called The Chuck Berry Trio. The group took up residence in a club called Cosmopolitan in St. Louis. They had a diverse racial audience who enjoyed the melodies and complexity of southern blues, combined with a lighthearted country flair and hillbilly harmonies.
When Berry met Muddy Waters in 1955, who referred him to Leonard Chess of Chess Records. Shortly thereafter he released his first single (“Maybelline”), and the father of rock n roll was born. A young, influential DJ named Alan Freed thought that Berry`s music embodied a sound that appealed to the young people of all races. Freed put Berry’s music into heavy rotation, while also organizing tours across America.
This brilliant musician penned many favorites such as “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Thirty Days,” “You Can’t Catch Me,” “School Day,” “Back in the U.S.A.,” and “Little Queenie.” He inspired countless artists from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones to Motley Crue and Metallica. Berry died on March 18, 2017, in Saint Charles Missouri.
Hard rock and metal artists reacted to the passing of this legend…
Rob Zombie – “Hail Hail Rock and Roll!” #ripchuckberry”
Slash – “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry. He was undisputedly the king. A moment of silence is indefinitely n order. RIP.”
Gene Simmons – “RIP Chuck Berry. My profound respect and admiration to one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, who sadly passed today — the late, great CHUCK BERRY. A sad day.”
Rush – “Rest in Peace Chuck Berry. One of the original rock and roll guitar legends….thank you for the music!”
Sammy Hagar – “Rock n roll would not be what it is today without the influence of @ChuckBerry! Thank God for his Rock and roll presence on this planet! If it had not been for Mr. Berry, I would not be writing today. Rest In Peace, Chuck.”
THE COURT BATTLE OVER “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”
Michael Skidmore has filed an appeal of the verdict in the 2016 “Stairway To Heaven” copyright infringement lawsuit against Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
Last year, a Los Angeles federal court jury exonerated the duo of anything illegal in the composition of the song. The challenge was made by Skidmore on behalf of the Estate and Trust of Spirit guitarist, Randy California. Their contention was that that the acoustic beginning to “Stairway To Heaven” was similar to the group`s instrumental track, “Taurus.” The sides have returned to court.
VAN HALEN REUNION WITH TWO SINGERS?
The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, told Billboard that he would be interested in a Van Halen reunion if it also included original frontman David Lee Roth, so that each could perform the songs that they made famous. It has been reported that Hagar broke the ice with Eddie Van Halen by sending him a warm birthday greeting, however, there was never a reply.
Although Hagar is open to a reunion, and hopes that the bad blood that he has with Van Halen can be overcome, there is no sign of that happening anytime soon. Meanwhile, Hagar is keeping himself busy with Chickenfoot and other musical projects.
METALLICA & MIX MASTER MIKE
Beastie Boys legend Mix Master Mike will be an integral part of Metallica`s North American tour. The DJ, who usually scratches for hip-hop artists these days, will be entertaining the crowds before the show starts and in between sets. According to Metallica’s website…
“Mike will be spinning some of your favorite (and ours!) hard rock and metal tracks throughout the evening at all of the stadium dates this summer. A pioneer in the hip-hop and DJ communities, you’ll be able to catch his skilful, hard-hitting scratch work, once the doors open each night and between acts before we hit the stage.”
The tour, which began on March 10th in Baltimore, will be coming to my neck of the woods in July. My review of the show will be featured in the August edition of Inferno Of Rock.
RECORD STORE DAY 2017
This Record Store Day, the emphasis will be on rock and metal, with exclusive special releases to independent record stores. Watch out for vinyl releases from Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine, Jimmy Hendrix, Ramones, Iggy Pop, Alice in Chains, Saxon, Offspring, Sex Pistols, Dillinger Escape Plan, White Zombie and Motorhead.
INFERNO OF ROCK TRIVIA QUESTIONS:
APRIL 2017 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
 What do Korn, The White Stripes and Dropkick Murphys have in common?
 Which country has launched a set of David Bowie first-issues stamps into space using helium balloons?
MARCH 2017 TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWERS
 What famous scientist (and his theories on wormholes) inspired Mastodon’s Crack The Skye album?
 Name the first two bands to be labelled as “Space Rock” by critics in the 1970s.
Hawkwind and Pink Floyd