Sex, Drugs, And Rock And Roll, 'In The Limo'

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The 1960’s established rock and roll as a movement of peace, love, and community. In the 1970s, it became sex, drugs, and rock and roll. According to writer Michael Walker, 1973 was a watershed moment — and three tours in particular had a massive impact. The book is called What You Want Is In The Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born.


Interview Highlights


Michael Walker, on Alice Cooper’s calculated destruction of the 1960s flower power movement:

They started out in Los Angeles and they were probably the most unpopular band in L.A. They were famous for clearing ballrooms. They used to open their shows with the theme to The Patty Duke Show. They were postmodernists and ironists well before that became popular with David Letterman style humor. They were way, way ahead of their time in that regard. They were parodying the whole peace and love generation — they were just skewering it. And that was their mission.



On one of The Who’s epic fails during their 1973 tour:

Apparently, two groupies backstage gave [Who drummer Keith Moon] a drink that was spiked with some sort of extremely power drug — probably an animal tranquilizer. He made it through most of the concert — in fact, he made it through all of Quadrophenia — and all of a sudden he passed out face first into his drums. So they pulled him off stage, gave him a shower and a shot of B12, put him back on stage, he played a little bit longer, and then he fell backwards off of the drums.

[Pete Townshend] wanted to keep playing. So he said to the audience, “Does anybody here play drums?” Well it turns out there was a guy in the front row. They take him backstage, give him a shot of brandy, and the next thing you know, he’s sitting behind Keith Moon’s drums.



On Led Zeppelin’s sense of entitlement, which became rock and roll norm:

There’s this classic photo of Zeppelin posing in front of their plane with the Led Zeppelin logo on the side. It is such a great photograph, because the looks on their faces is this strange mixture of pride and just complete naked smugness. These guys are rock stars. And there’s some wish fulfillment in that.

Guys in the '60s, I don’t know what their heroes were — maybe they wanted to be football players. But in the '70s, you wanted to be a rock star, because you got the girls, you got the plane, you got the drugs. What wasn’t there to like?