Black Sabbath’s iconic axeman has always been known as a joker. In the fast times of the group’s early success, his prank’s became so severe that they nearly ended up in the death of a bandmate. This particular malpractice was concerned with setting people ablaze. “It was our party piece,” Iommi confirmed to The Guardian in 2016 about setting people on fire, “Which always worked until the last time we did it.” The final time took place as Martin Birch looked on, the producer who was already a little cautious of working with the disreputable band.
Iommi remembers: “Bill says – in front of Martin – ‘Are you going to set fire to me then, Tony?’ I tipped rubbing alcohol over him. Normally it just burned off, but this time it soaked into his clothes, so when I lit it, he went up like a bomb. He was rolling on the floor, shouting, and screaming. I thought it was part of the joke, so I poured more stuff on him. Martin couldn’t believe it. We had to get an ambulance for Bill.” Adding: “He’d got third-degree burns. I felt bloody awful. We still play jokes on each other. Not quite as severe as that. I learned my lesson.”
The incident in question took place in 1972, a time whilst the Rolling Stones were on their infamous tour of North America that saw the group cause a torrent of chaos in every town they visited. The Stones performed three shows in Chicago at the International Amphitheatre. Upon their arrival, where else would the sexiest rock act on the planet take their rest apart from Hugh Heffner’s original Playboy Mansion?
In his autobiography, Richards came clean about the scandalous stay at the party house and explained how he nearly made the whole mansion erupt into flames. “(Saxophonist) Bobby (Keys) and I played it a little far when we set fire to the bathroom,” he noted. “Well, we didn’t, the dope did. Not our fault. Bobby and I were just sitting in the john, comfortable, nice john, sitting on the floor, and we’ve got the doc’s bag, and we’re just smorgasbording.”
Richards then disclosed further detail: “‘I wonder what these do?’ Bong. And at a certain point… talk about hazy, or foggy, Bobby says, ‘It’s smoky in here.’ And I’m looking at Bobby and can’t see him. And the drapes are smoldering away; everything was just about to go off big-time… There was a thumping on the door, waiters and guys in black suits bringing buckets of water. They get the door open, and we’re sitting on the floor, our pupils very pinned. I said, ‘We could have done that ourselves. How dare you burst in on our private affair?’”
Iconic Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont, located on Sunset Boulevard, first opened its glamorous doors in 1929. Ever since then, it has welcomed some of history’s most famous stars, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter S. Thompson. Tragically, Blues Brother John Belushi overdosed whilst staying there in 1982.However, its most notorious occurrence came at the hands of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
It is said that the percussionist rode a Harley Davidson motorbike through the hotel’s lobby at the start of a string of such events at the Continental Hyatt House Hotel and the Andaz West Hollywood. The iconic drummer destroyed the carpet of the hotel lobby. However, the hotel kept it in the state he left it to mark his legacy after his death in 1980. Sadly, when Andre Balazs purchased the hotel in 1990, he would replace the Bonham tire marks.
Is there anything more black metal than burning a historic church down? Maybe, killing your bandmate. However, the picture of some of Norway’s most historic places of worship engulfed in flames is hard to beat on a visually striking level. The early black metal scene of ’90s Norway had a particular penchant for sensationalism and misanthropic worldviews.
In a “retaliation” against Christianity in the country, members of the ‘Black Metal Inner Circle’ undertook a spate of arson. Between 1992 and 1995 over twenty churches were targeted. Featuring the likes of Varg Vikernes, Faust, Samoth and Gaahl, you’d be hard pressed to find any of Norway’s black metal pioneers who didn’t either take part in the burning’s or get arrested for them. Surprisingly, this was to be the tip of the iceberg for the satanic scene, as violence was a key part of the underground scene’s sentiment.
The Stooges frontman, Iggy Pop, had been in the throes of drug addiction for quite some time come 1975. This resulted in him withdrawing from his friends and family, and by this time, in the middle of the decade, it had taken its toll. He found himself admitted to a psychiatric ward. On his own, and missing his favorite narcotic, the white powder de jour, cocaine, Pop’s friends, the equally as out of hand David Bowie and Dennis Hopper, decided to lend him a helping hand.
Bowie and Hopper, the ’70s most famous cocaine users visited Pop at the facility stoned out their minds wearing spacesuits. Owing to the pair’s massive stardom, they made it in fairly quickly and presented Pop with a box of his white idol. Bowie later recalled: “If I remember it right, it was me and Dennis Hopper.
We trooped into the hospital with a load of drugs for (Iggy) him. This was very much a leave-your-drugs-at-the-door hospital. We were out of our minds, all of us. He wasn’t well; that’s all we knew. We thought we should bring him some drugs because he probably hadn’t had any for days.”
Credits: Mick McStarkey / Far Out Magazine