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1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

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1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:16 pm

Kerrang! February 9, 1991

THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL PART I


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THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL
 
GUNS N’ ROSES, MEGADETH, QUEENSRYCHE, FAITH NO MORE, JUDAS PRIEST and many more bands travelled to Brazil l’other week to perform at the Rock In Rio II festival. ‘T was a mammoth event by any standards... deserving of a mammoth Big K! report. So grab a pitcher of chilled Sangria and down it at one: cos what follows is only the first part of a monstrous three-issue assessment of these South American proceedings! We begin with some scene-setting statements from our sun-drenched scribe MICK WALL, a man ‘trapped in a nightmare of egos, eccentrics and existentialist pop zeros’...
 
Halfway through my stay in Rio de Janeiro, eating breakfast by the kidney-shaped pool one afternoon at the Rio Palace hotel, it occurred to me that it wasn’t the bombs over Baghdad or the rockets aimed at Riyadh that were doing in my brain and ruining my digestion.
 
(Believe me, you don’t really get to know a Third World country like Brazil until you’ve spent a good eight hours squatting, teethe gritted, on one of its toilets.)
 
No... the Gulf War had to take a backseat to the deafening screams that engulfed the entire poolside terrace every time Donny The Dangerous One from New Dicks On The Block showed his spotty mug, which he took great care to do at least once every 15 minutes, waving like an unseemly glove puppet from the balcony of his fifth floor suite.
 
Twice I nearly swallowed my spoon, the noise from the tear-streaked fans on the street below hitting me in the back of the craw like a jackhammer, and twice I grumpily promised myself I would kick the smarmy little f**ker’s ass if ever I ran into him.
 
And now, sitting here on the balcony of my own room on the fifth floor, one ear cocked to the sound of the early morning waves crashing ominously on to Copacabana beach, a few hours before dawn on what will be my last day here in this incredibly beautiful, incredibly strange, incredibly sick city, I think back on the last 10 days, gorged as they have been by Rock In Rio II, and like Harry Enfield’s cor blimey twat who never quite sees the point of anything, I can’t help but ask myself: what the f**k was all that about, then?
 
I mean... really? Why suddenly, six years after the first financially disastrous and critically scorned Rock In Rio festival, has this extraordinarily over-stretched, uniquely overrated and manifestly over-hyped event risen its strange and often ugly head again?
 
Well, the main reason of course, bambinos, is money; spondies, moolah, the thing that makes the wallet go round. And plenty of it.
 
In common with the first Rock In Rio in 1985, Rock In Rio II is the brainchild of one Roberto Medina, the head honcho at Arrplan, the largest advertising agency in Brazil, whose clients include such heavyweights as Coca-Cola and several lucrative government contracts.
 
A sharp-eyed entrepreneur used to playing for the highest stakes, Medina is also the man who enticed Frank Sinatra down to Brazil in 1983 for a show before a reported audience of over 140,000 in San Paulo. And it was Medina who picked up the $5 million dollar shortfall when the original Rock In Rio festival - staged at an abomination called the Barra da Tijuca stadium, purpose-built on reclaimed marshlands that quickly turned into a river of mud, piss and shit - failed to meet its $12 million break-even line.
 
Nobody except the bands — Rod Stewart, Queen, AC/DC and the rest of the headliners took home over a million dollars apiece that time - made money out of the first Rock In Rio festival. Which, as any big time promoter will tell you without blushing, isn’t how these things are meant to work at all.
 
Back in 1985, Medina’s ass was saved by the hefty array of sponsorship deals he had roped in from his contacts in the advertising world to help succour the event.
Six years on, however, Medina wasn’t about to make the same mistakes that destroyed his chances of becoming a Cruzeiro multi-billionaire last time out. This time Medina was going for the big bucks.
 
With the original Barra da Tijuca site thankfully long since tom down, Rock In Rio II would this time be much more sensibly staged at the already crowd-proven 170,000-capacity Maracana stadium -scene of so many famous Brazilian footballing triumphs in the past.
 
With the honourable exception of Santana, none of the other European or American acts featured on the impressive 10 day multi-national bill had ever been to South America before.
 
But with the Maracana booked solidly for 10 nights and tickets officially changing hands for between 10 and 15 dollars apiece, plus the millions of dollars worth of sponsorship deals Medina had again lured on to the table from both Coca-Cola and Volkswagen, not to mention the vast sums of $$$ he is said to have squeezed out of MTV in exchange for the exclusive rights to screen the whole event, along with the promise of veritable acres of free accompanying globe-wide publicity, both the money and the incentive were there to attract the very best this time.
 
And the best is what they got - along with the most diverse bill anybody has seen since... well, since the last Rock In Rio festival, it has to be said.
 
Billed as the largest, most spectacular rock event taking place anywhere in the world this year, with staging by Gerry Stickles, the man responsible for the production of both Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour and Paul  McCartney’s 1989-’90 world tour, and lighting by Patrick Woodroffe, who supplied the superior visuals for the Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels tour and Tina Turner’s stunning Foreign Affair shows, the line-up Medina finally put together for Rock In Rio II surpassed even his own high-flying expectations.
 
Guns N’ Roses, Prince, INXS, Faith No More, Billy Idol, Judas Priest, Run-DMC, A-Ha, Queensryche, Lisa Stansfield, Deee-Lite, George Michael, Happy Mondays, New Kids On The Block, Megadeth... if you couldn’t find something you liked out of that little lot, you didn’t belong in Rio. Not these last 10 days at least.
 
Sniffing out the background, however, doesn’t prepare you for the brain-searing reality of actually being here: slurping from a pitcher of chilled sangria under the harsh white lights of the amassed TV crews on Level E of the Rio Palace, the first morning of the event, having just stepped off the plane after a gut-wrenching 20 hour flight from London, via New York, you really don’t want to have to listen to Slash of Guns N’ Roses answer such penetrating questions from the sharp as a pig’s snout Brazilian press corps as, ‘What do you think of Rio?’, ‘What do you think of Rio?’ and ‘What do you think of Rio?’...
 
If you must know, like all the best and the worst places on God’s blue planet, Rio de Janeiro is the kind of place you only truly appreciate long after you’ve left it far behind. Which is something I shall, the old fella willin’, be doing, a few short hours from now. Once I’ve managed to burn another credit card on a Cruzeiros-heavy room tab no sane magazine editor could possibly be expected to understand let along spring for, downed what Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest calls a ‘couple of serious cocktails’, cashed in my lucky Pan Am ticket and prayed to ET I make it home in one piece.
 
It’s not that I don’t like Rio. I hate it. Speaking as a pro who has hustled his act in every conceivable Heavy Metal hellhole from New York to Old Tokyo, via Ealing and LA, with the possible exception of that merciless shriveller of men’s balls, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro has to be the most foul and desolate comer of the rock ’n’ roll universe it has ever been my misfortune to find myself drinking the piss-awful local beer in.
 
F**k Baghdad. At least the hanky-heads have oil. In Rio, all they’ve got is the sun, the sea and the sand, and you try running the average four-door family saloon on sea water or plugging your TV set into sand...
 
But here where the sculpted tongue-­swallowing beauty of the local population can almost blind you to the fact that you are indeed in one of the major AIDS capitals of the world, you are either a member of the extravagant super-rich or you are cripplingly, dirt-eatingly poor.
 
In downtown Rio, a qualified teacher earns $30 a month; a successful small-time drugs runner maybe 10 times that amount.
 
And the thieves and muggers that relentlessly work the Avenida Atlantica alongside Copacabana beach don’t always confine their activities to the street, either. Only last night a team of beach juves jemmied the locks to several rooms on the sixth and seventh floors of the Rio Palace, making off with cash, passports, jewellery and anything else they could stuff down their thongs.
 
Understandably, it’s not unusual for even the smallest children on the street to carry knives — and as I write this next to the computer I have my own blade: a wood-carved death’s head handle with 12 inches of steel I picked up on the beach for $10. It sounds paranoid, but that’s what being here for any length of time does to you.
 
Rio is a bubble. Once you’re here the feeling of being stranded is overpowering.
 
The phone works most of the time, but even a three minute call to London costs roughly the same price as your plane ticket. And nobody ever calls you back because, like everybody else staying at the Rio Palace - and that includes Prince, George Michael and Ross Halfin - the hotel operator always insists he’s never heard of you.
 
And Faxes? Forget it.
 
Telexes? Tell me about it.
 
Phone calls put through immediately and food that arrives today? You’re in the wrong city, soldier.
 
This is Rio, baybee, y’dig, mon? You lika cokeena? You lika hasheesh? You lika my seester? Sure thing. $100. No? OK, $10...
 
To compound the sense of somehow being trapped in this nightmare of egos, eccentrics and existentialist pop zeros, for the entire 10 days and nights of the festival there have been literally hundreds of chanting, cheering, hysterical Brazilians circling the entrance to the Rio Palace; rocking on the balls of their feet and screeching menacingly every time Billy Idol or -I kid you not — Big Jim Martin of Faith No More pull up in a stretch limo.
 
But to repeat my original question: what was it really all about? This whole Rock In Rio II schtick. Money? Well, we said that, didn’t we? And let’s face it, what isn’t these days? But shouldn’t there be more to it than that; something more meaningful than mere filthy lucre?
 
Maybe.
 
But this close to it, it’s hard to think of any other reason why anybody would want to be here. But this close to it isn’t always the best place to judge. But then we have no choice.
 
Perhaps the most telling aspect about Rock In Rio II is that if it isn’t reported now, chances are it won’t be reported at all.
 
After all, there is a war on, you know...
 
Best, then, just to open up our diaries and let you make up your own minds.
 
If you can dodge the Scuds, Rock In Rio II starts over the page with Steffan Chirazi’s assessment of proceedings on the two Kerrang!-related nights. I’ll be back next week with some more Rio ramblings.
 
So, as they say in View From The Bar: SEEEEE YA!
 
ROCK IN RIO
 
...And now, after Mick Wall's exhaustive scene-setting, here's an exhausting STEFFAN CHIRAZI eye-view of the happenings onstage - and backstage! - at Rock In Rio. Read on and find out how FAITH NO MORE, MEGADETH and JUDAS PRIEST emerged triumphant, while our old chums GUNS N' ROSES went off at half cock...
 
[Review of the Faith No More concert]
 
Watching Guns Ν’ Roses was not going to be easy. The side of the stage was jammed with guests, so I climbed to one of the few spaces left on the PA scaffolding. Ideal reviewing conditions these were not.
 
This was GN’R’s first arena headline show. It was also their first real gig in nearly two years. It showed.
W Axl Rose himself was firecracker of energy and charisma, strutting his strut, walking his walk and living up to his well-nurtured reputation as an untamed man.
 
New drummer Matt Sorum rose to the challenge, locking in tight and hard to drive the rest of the band. He was actually the captain of this team, moulding Guns into a fully cohesive unit with some great thumping.
 
But there were problems. The show was largely unexciting, anti-climactic and average. There seemed to be little rapport between the various members. Each seemed to be doing his own thing, performing in his own space, in his own frame of mind.
Axl seemed to be having a blast - but Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin’ and Slash looked a touch bored by it all. The combustion and dynamite I craved and expected from Guns wasn’t really there, save for brief flashes. The dangerous cheese-wire dance of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ was one such flash. "Paradise City’ also cut through the grease of apathy, as did a psychopathic version of 'It’s So Easy’. But other than these, there was precious little excitement.
 
By the show’s end I had managed to weasel out a decent spot at the side of the stage, and it once again hit me like a bullet that Axl was indeed running wild - in contrast to his three static stage-front bandmates.
Strutting in American flag bicycle pants for the latter part of the set, topless, grinning a hedonistic grin, Axl looked to be running away with the whole thing. But the question remains: where was the rest of the band?
 
Slash didn’t look jazzed by anything much and his rendition of the ‘Godfather’ theme was unspectacular. When it comes to vibe and attitude, when it comes to leads within songs, Slash is a huge motherf**ker, but this sort of thing simply doesn’t suit him.
 
Sorum’s drum solo was strong, tough and enthusiastic - he at least got some kicks. And ivory-tinklin’ mystery man Dizzy did what he had to do, fitted the general band vibe...
 
There were a few new songs, but I was in no position to hear them properly, learn their titles or tell you anything about them. (You’re fired - Ed.)
 
The show closed with the band cutting out early for some reason. I felt confused and bemused.
 
Guns are a band with undeniable talent and personality, but tonight they were ordinary — probably because they felt ordinary and mildly apathetic.
 
Sadly, there can be no time for that now. The eyes of the world, and the fans, have them under the microscope, and Guns N’ Roses have an enormous reputation and responsibility to hold up. It won’t be easy for them to be ordinary on any given night, because they’ve spent four years being anything but. If they’re honest, they’ll know they can do a whole lot better.
 
[Review of the Billy Idol, Megadeth and Queensryche concerts]
 
For the Judas Priest set, I elected to stay in my excellent side-stage position. I wasn’t about to blink and miss the Priest playing to 180,000 people (the stadium finally having filled up in anticipation for Priest and headliners Guns N’ Roses). However, in remaining onstage I missed the absurd backstage Judas Priest vs Guns Ν’ Roses activity.
 
Guns objected to Priest’s planned use of pyro. This, dear reader, was a sack-of-shit thing to do, and all just a few hours before showtime. In the end Priest played on regardless, although (you guessed it) the use of pyro was noticeable by its absence.
 
Don’t ask why the Guns camp would pull such B-grade rock ’n’ roll shenanigans. I have no idea. I always thought GN’R were a band who didn’t care and, to be honest, didn’t have to...
 
Of course, it would have taken more than a bit of juvenile mind-f**king to topple Priest right now. For reasons best known to themselves, the band are currently playing their finest live shows in years.
 
[Review of the Judas Priest concert]
 
I was spent. I’d seen a climax before the main climax. And when I heard about the rules Guns N’ Roses had tried to make, I decided that my night was over.
 
The day should’ve been all about how all forms of Metal and hard rock, from the intense Thrash of Sepultura through to the wild side of Guns N’ Roses, could mix. It should’ve been a celebration, a great thing to be involved with. Instead, someone, somewhere in the GN’R camp reduced it to unnecessary squabbling.
 
So it was that I felt highly unmotivated to fight for a decent spyhole and watch Guns for a second time. For me, the show was over, a burst of irrational madness seeing me head back to my hotel room where, after a shower, I reflected on the otherwise good memories... (You’re fired again - Ed) 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: only 'official' photographers were allowed access to Guns Ν’ Roses onstage at Rock In Rio. At the time of going to press no GN'R live pix were available, as all shots were awaiting approval from the band. We hope to publish a selection of these in a future issue. In the meantime, here's Axl, Duff and Slash as they appeared on Brazilian TV. Both pix above taken by the enterprising Mark Leialoha...


Last edited by Blackstar on Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:17 pm

Kerrang! February 16, 1991

THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL PART 2


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THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL (II)
 
For the world's biggest rock and pop festival. Rock In Rio II, the Rio Palace hotel is home to over 250 media types - all running around like headless chickens trying to get the stories: why did ROBERT PLANT pull out? Why aren't GUNS N' ROSES talking to anyone? Why is JIM MARTIN of FAITH NO MORE so in need of sex? And why is MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE having to pay for his? Only one man can get all the answers, only one man can make sense of it all... Sadly, he was busy, but MICK WALL did his best
 
DAY ONE, Friday January 18: Rock In Rio II began the way it was destined to go on: in a state of barely contained panic and confusion.
 
With more than 21 different ‘public relations’ personnel and over 250 of the world’s press, photographers, TV and radio broadcasters wheeling around like headless chickens in the ground floor bar of the Rio Palace hotel - where the Rock In Rio II ‘press office’ had temporarily sequestered itself—word was passed around that nearly half the press passes for the night’s opening show at the Maracana stadium had been ‘lost in transit’ (Brazilian codewords for ‘ripped off’).
 
For the sombre-faced daily news hacks looking for something saucy to splash across the centre-pages, this was not so much a problem as a veritable life-saver: with the festival being screened on TV every night anyway, they could now settle back and watch the whole thing from the comfort of their hotel rooms with impunity— which is what most of them admitted they hail been planning on doing,        anyway.
 
For us blow-by-blow account magazine hounds, however, the likelihood of not getting into the gig to cover the action first-hand represented much more of a drawback.
 
That is, until you took a glance at the bill for that night’s inaugural show: the Orchestra Sinfonica Brasiliera, followed by Gal Costa, Jimmy Cliff, Colin May, Joe Cocker, and Prince. Suddenly a night in, in front of the TV, seemed like a damned good idea after all. I retired to the poolside terrace to bully the waiters and think about it.
 
THE MAJOR news of the first day, however, was the announcement of the last-minute cancellation by Robert Plant. Officially, Robert was said to be suffering from a viral infection; the result of a relapse of the pharyngitis-a flu-related virus that also incapacitates the throat - that forced him to cancel his shows in London before Christmas.
 
Unofficially, however, word spread like wildfire that Percy’s ailment had more to do with the threat of terrorism than of tonsilitis; an allegation apparently lent weight by the rumour that the festival organisers had even offered to charter a private plane in order to bring the stricken singer to Brazil.
 
Plant’s organisation, however, vehemently denied the accusation. His agent Rod MacSween pointed out that with over £ 15,000 worth of stage equipment already shipped to Rio, plus the months of preparation that went into bringing him to South America - a visit which was also to have included subsequent appearances in Argentina plus a further clutch of Brazilian shows - if Plant had wanted to pull out of Rock In Rio II he could and would have done so weeks, not hours, in advance of the event.
 
“Robert performed, last year, more than 130 successful shows. I've represented him for four years and he’s never had reason to cancel or postpone a show.” Rod was insistent. “His record company had prepared a special compilation album for South America, and more than anything. Robert was really looking forward to playing in a country he’d never been to before - not with Zeppelin or as a solo artist. Nobody was more devastated than he was when, under doctors orders, he was told he would be unable to proceed.
 
“And let me just add one more thing." Rod said sternly. “Regardless of any innuendo that may be flying around, Robert's no shirker. Until the 11th hour we were still looking at ways of even playing one isolated Rio show, giving him possible lime to recover.
 
But in the end the actual logistics were just impossible.”
 
As an act of good faith, said Rod, he was already looking into the possibility of rescheduling a full South American tour for Plant in April.
 
THE REST of the afternoon was spent getting acclimatised to the giddying vision of so many music and media folk — seated in distinctly different camps most other times of the year-all congregated around the same swimming pool at the same time.
 
Most of the major stars — Prince, George Michael, New Kids On The Block —and the best of the rest—Judas Priest, Faith No More, Billy Idol-were staying at the Rio Palace.
 
Everybody in fact except Guns N’ Roses, Megadeth and Debbie Gibson, who were all holed-up five miles down the coast road at the Intercontinental, on Ipanema beach. All these chose to stay at the Intercontinental for much the same reason: to get away from the media-go-round melee that permanently engulfed the Rio Palace.
 
With no less than 12 bodyguards surrounding them wherever they went — and babe you better believe they didn’t go far—Guns N’ Roses made even Prince seem friendly and amenable. So I retreated to my room on the fifth floor to check on that other mammoth clash of egos occurring on the other side of the world, sitting in front of the TV, rubbing cold tea into my sunburn and supping medicinal cups of warm sangria while ogling the Iraqis playing Scud-U-Like with the Israelis. It had MTV beat hands down...
 
WITH THE words, “These passes will only get you into the stadium, after that you’re on your own”, still echoing hollowly in my skull, I arrived at the 170,000 capacity Maracana that evening to find it... half full.
In truth, the first show of Rock In Rio II, despite featuring Prince at the top of the bill, was a remarkably low-key affair. The two obligatory Brazilian opening acts - Symphony Orchestra and Gal Costa - played hopelessly boring sets to deservedly lukewarm applause. American R ’n’ B copyist Colin Hay and a way past his sell-by date Joe Cocker did little to raise the enthusiasm the crowd, by now filling out the stadium to about two-thirds its capacity. Predictably, it was left to Prince to save the day; turning out a glowing retinue of groove-perfect crowd-pleasers like ‘Little Red Corvette’, Kiss', ‘Purple Rain’... you can guess the rest. But as photographer Mark Leialoha remarked afterwards: “After you’ve seen the first three numbers, he’s done all the poses and you’ve seen it all.”
 
Leialoha, Ross Halfin and I snuck off mid-set and decided to take a drive over to the Intercontinental for a nightcap, with a hidden agenda to check out the action in the bar, where, as half expected, we espied Slash of Guns Ν' Roses holding court with his cronies and buddy-guards at one end of the half-moon shaped bar.
 
None of the other band members appeared to be present.
 
Axl wasn’t scheduled to arrive in Rio until the following day - the story being he was supposed to be sleeping and eating at A&M Studios in Los Angeles while hurriedly putting the finishing touches to his vocals on the new ‘Use Your Illusion' opus.
 
Izzy and Duff were said to have sworn off all drugs and alcohol for the last 60 days. A good thing — though the way everybody kept talking about it in hushed solemn tones it sounded more like a jail sentence.
 
Eyeing Slash’s bodyguards warily — two big brutes with fists the size of footballs — we gathered at the bar, unsure whether to approach the guitarist or not. We had been friends once. But that was before the bodyguards.
 
Then Slash made up our minds for us. I caught his eye as he was wandering around the room and he nodded almost imperceptibly, then turned away so quickly at first I wasn’t sure he even saw me. Then the queasy truth dawned on me: I had been blanked.
 
I admit I was shocked. Though I shouldn’t have been. After covering the sudden ups and prodigious downs of numerous big time rock musicians over the last 10 years, by now I should be immune to the wayward emotional foibles of a pampered young rock star.
 
Nothing about what they do or say (or don’t do or say, as the case may be) should really come as a surprise to me any more.
 
But this did. Not just that Slash couldn’t even bring himself to say hello. But that it was done without warning and with no offer of explanation. It has to be said, I sensed no real animosity; I just sensed... confusion. Dread. Bats in the belfry and I mean big muthas...
 
But then, as the days trickled by I would quickly discover that I was not the only mere earthling Guns Ν’ Roses would have effectively f**ked off by the end of their stay in Rio.
 
These days Guns Ν’ Roses don’t talk to anybody: not to the other musicians taking part in the festival, not even to themselves, judging by the grim looks on their faces every time they were seen in public.
 
If that’s what having a Number One record does for you, I thought, then here’s to all the losers. It was a depressing end to a dreary day.
 
DAY TWO: Saturday January 19. Emerging onto the poolside third floor terrace to the sound of a half dozen drums the size of tree trunks furiously being thumped by a roving cluster of semi-clad tribesmen — the Rio Palace’s lizard-brained idea of the kind of mid-morning entertainment the poolside decadents like served up with their eggs and sangria — the first person I ran into was Big Jim Martin from Faith No More, themselves just arrived that morning from San Francisco.
 
He was wearing a black baseball cap with the words ‘Satanic Cult’ clearly scrawled in Portuguese across the front.
 
“The guys at Customs just laughed at me when they saw it,” he told me, non-plussed.
 
Uh huh...
 
Around the pool a pattern had already begun to be established, and dotted like stepping stones in an unsightly stream of press snoopers, MTV scouts and gossip collectors, the serious music biz cats were lapping up the sun in style.
 
Tony De Cacao, one of Queensryche’s Q Prime management team, sat having tea with Judas Priest’s tour manager, Ian Jeffries. Faith No More’s manager, Warren Entner, cheerfully swapped tales of the Gulf War he’d been picking up on CNN’s broadcasts with Rod MacSween.
 
Billy Idol, who had agreed to stay on after his first show that night and replace Robert Plant on the following night’s bill, stood posing behind the glass wall of the poolside gymnasium, lifting weights with his shades on, his hair just so.
 
It was weird out there. I hustled some lunch, did my best to hide from the sun, then made my way back to my darkened room to watch the latest hot videos from the Gulf. I was turning into a war junky and I needed my daily fix.
 
Gig time approached but somehow the hideously unpronounceable Vid E Sangue Azui, Supla, and Engenheiros do Hawaii did not, in the words of General Custer, inspire me to receive great thoughts. Besides, I never was good at spelling and the music sounded even more of a jumble.
 
Santana —forgive me father, it must have been something I didn’t eat — almost put me to sleep. And Billy Idol — despite putting on a game show of pretending to have a good time, cavorting campily to his Pop Metal hits — failed to rouse me from my stupor.
 
It wasn’t just me, either. The 100,000 or so strong crowd, though animated, only truly came alive when something instantly MTV-recognisable as ‘White Wedding’ or ‘Rebel Yell’ was laid squarely upon their bouncing Lambada-ing bonces.
 
INXS did much better. But then this band were built for the big stage. They went down as well as Prince, which is saying something, and they deserved their reaction.
 
Returning just in time to catch last call at the bar of the Rio Palace, I bumped into Big Jim and we shared a glass together. Jim said he was on his way out to see a live sex show.
 
“I just live for naked women,” he explained, tugging on his beard, his dark bespectacled eyes fixed on a space about two inches above my head.
 
But then, as he will be the first to acknowledge, Big Jim Martin is a very sick man and a persistent hankering after naked female flesh is merely one of several more worrying symptoms of a condition doctors have told him may actually be incurable.
 
Ladeez, he deserves your pity, not your scorn. He also needed someone to go with him to the live sex show but that someone was not going to be me. I was so tired I wasn’t fit to shit and the idea of travelling many miles just to watch Jim’s glasses steam up somehow failed to appeal.
 
I left the big fella to his ablutions and disappeared to my room. Jim promised me a full report.
 
DAY THREE, Sunday January 20, and I began the day as I had ended the night; talking to Big Jim about sex.
 
How was the live sex show? “Ah, man,” he pulled a long face, “...I didn’t go. The only live sex I’ve seen lately has been me in my room with a copy of Hustler in my hand...” Like I said, Jim’s not been feeling well lately.
 
And neither was I. After another long, nervous afternoon alternating between squatting side-saddle on the toilet and watching the latest Scuds N’ Patriots game-show on TV, I sensibly decided to give a very wide berth indeed to Barao Vermelho and Titas, and instead took off to share an early dinner at a local seafood restaurant with that old rascal Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.
 
Dave talked enthusiastically about his new-found good health. He had been off heroin and alcohol for “eight months and two weeks now,” he said, and was eagerly looking forward to getting a little skydiving in — Dave’s favourite pastime while he’s on tour these days — at some point during his stay in Rio.
 
Coming to Brazil for the first time and playing at the Rock In Rio II festival as such, though, was, he said, “a very hit or miss thing. I’m still trying to figure the place out.
 
“You know, you go out to a club, meet a nice girl, take her back to your room and she asks you for a hundred bucks. It’s like, oh, it’s that kind of a place,” he shrugged, the sound of genuine dismay in his voice.
 
Inevitably, we talked about the war and I asked Dave if, in view of the threats of terrorism that had been broadcast from Baghdad, he had, like several other bands I won’t lower myself to mention, perhaps considered cancelling Megadeth’s own imminent visit to the UK?
 
He shook his long red mane furiously: “No way! You know what?” He leaned across the table. “God has a place for me and when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.”
 
He looked me straight in the eye.
 
“Not that I would say I was Born Again or anything like that. But the way I’m handling myself right now, I don’t think God would have let me get this far for nothing. But if it ends, it ends,” he smiled serenely.
 
“Did you see that movie, ‘Ghost’ yet?” he asked. “Now I know where Lars is gonna go when his time comes,” he chuckled deeply.
 
Dave Mustaine may be straight these days, but his sense of humour is as warped as ever.
 
LATER, OVER at the Maracana, Faith No More put on — for me anyway — what was the best performance of the festival so far; Mike Patton and Jim Martin looking like Bart Simpson versions of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards daring the audience to eat their shorts, the rest of the band flailing about the giant stage like puppets with their strings all cut.
 
Billy Idol put in much the same perfunctory lemme-see-your-hands performance as he had the previous night.
 
Then came Guns N’ Roses — the self-styled Most Dangerous Band In The World, and the moment most of us had been waiting for. Strange to relate, however, their appearance, so long awaited and so much anticipated, seemed flat and gutless; stray and directionless.
 
The crowd sensed this too and despite giving rousing ovations to familiar set-pieces like ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’, they remained unnervingly quiet throughout much of the rest of the set, and Axl appeared to curtail the set, the show ending abruptly some 20 minutes short of its scheduled deadline.
 
Afterwards, word leaked out from the Gunners’ dressing room that the flame-haired singer had decided to cut it short after the crowd failed to rouse itself to his satisfaction to the newer, still unfamiliar, numbers now featured in the set, like the ponderous eight-minute ballad, ‘November Rain’, a more muscly ‘Civil War’ and a flat-out Slash and Axl Saturday night special called ‘You Could Be Mine’.
 
Somehow Axl seemed to have missed the point. This was Brazil, not Los Angeles, and all his pretty speeches about the war meant doodly-squat to an audience impatient just to get down and have a goooood time.
 
Maybe they’d get it right next time on their second show.
 
Find out in the third, and final installment, next week.
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Re: 1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:18 pm

Kerrang! February 23, 1991

THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL PART 3


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TRANSCRIPTION:
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THE NOIZE FROM BRAZIL (III) 

Phew! ‘Ere it is, then, readers: the third and final part of MICK WALL’S exhaustive examination of Rock in Rio II, the world’s biggest rock/pop festival. This week our scribe goes hang-gliding with FAITH NO MORE, learns about the cameraman who was obsessed by GLENN TIPTON’S cock, gets hints on breast reduction from GEOFF TATE... and hear how GUNS N’ ROSES were victimised by NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!
 
DAY FOUR: Monday, January 21.
 
Officially a day off, yet Faith No More were up at 8:30 in the morning and waiting grumpily in the foyer of the Rio Palace to be whisked off to the top of Cocavada mountain.
 
They were going to have their pictures taken by Ross Halfin and Mark Leialoha posing beneath the house-size toes of the famous - yawn — statue of Christ that adorns the postcards and tourist icons of Rio the way the Illy Tower does in Paris or the Statue Of Liberty-taking does in New York.
 
I shared the drive back to the hotel with FNM’s Mike ‘Puffy’ Bordin, Bill Gould and Big Jim Martin. Inevitably, as we were then still less than a week into the conflict, the talk turned lo the war in the Gulf.
 
“The first couple of days I was glued to the I V set in my room, but now it’s not even that exciting any more,” shrugged Hill.
 
“Yeah,” Puffy agreed. “It’s going to drag on and people are going to die and it's not even going to be exciting.”
 
Only half-jokingly, I asked if they had considered what their reaction would be if any of the band were suddenly called up for duty by the US military.
 
It's clear they’d already thought it over.
 
“At 22, Mike Patton is the only one of us who would be eligible for a call up. The rest of us are way too old,” smiled Puffy contentedly.
 
Hack at the Rio Palace, Jim made straight for the bar. It was still early, but as Jim pointed out, “It’s never too early for a beer. As long as I’m awake. It’s very good for you,” he mumbled, blowing the froth from his beard. “It’s like a cereal. A can of cereal...”
 
I MENTIONED the previous night’s performance at the Maracana and Jim turned serious for a moment.
 
“It’s such a huge f**kin’ place, man,” he shook his head. “It was amazing to see all those people together at one time.”
 
Jim said it gave him a taste  of what it will be like when FNM get to headline their own shows at some of these outsize venues-which, with worldwide sales for ‘The Real Thing’ album now being counted in their millions, can’t be too far off.
 
“Well, that’s always the goal to begin with,” he pointed out. “You want to be able to do that. And if you can do that, you can do the other, too. You can play smaller gigs. I like to do both.”
 
He smiled ruefully. “When I was a little kid, I figured that if I got a Gold record, that’ll be it, right? I’d be f**kin’ rich, I’d be the f**kin’ guy, you know?
 
“But it’s different. Over the years my view of it has changed. You know, they say when you achieve a goal you also lose a goal."
 
And what was Jim's goal now? Did he still even have one?
 
Oh, sure. To sell f**kin’ 50 million records!” He drained his glass and set it down on the bar with a thud. “I think it’ll take a while to reach that one, though.”
 
Jim and the band had planned to spend the afternoon visiting Rio’s other big - indeed, only — tourist attraction: Sugar Loaf Mountain (no statues, but one mother and father of a view).
 
MTV had other plans, however, and everybody ended up hallway up Pedra Bonita (translation: ‘beautiful rock’), yet another mountain, this time overlooking Ipanema beach.
 
The fun-lovin’ boys and gals at love-funnin’ MTV wanted to film them all hang-gliding down to the beach. The fact that none of the band had ever hang-glided before deterred nobody, and even their manager, Warren Entner, and his record company accomplices gamely donned the heavy flight suits and strapped themselves, grinning like fiends, to the fearsome-looking 40-foot plastic wings.
 
THE ONLY one who looked remotely relaxed and confident was Mike Patton. Had he done this sort of thing before, perhaps?
 
“No. I’ve cliff-dived, though. You know, where you’re strapped to the ankle and you just bounce back up? I guess with this you basically just run off that cliff over there,” he said, pointing at the ramp he was about to leap from, arm-in-arm with a possibly insane Brazilian instructor. Eyeing the view — enough to induce instant vertigo trauma into a fireman - I gulped and wished him luck.
 
I had intended to record at least some of this great event for posterity by gaffa-taping my tape recorder to Puffy’s chest so that he could give me a running - or should that be ‘flying’ - commentary as the bugger descended like a dreadlocked Icarus to the postage stamp-sized square of sand below'...
 
That is, until Puffy outlined his own plan to me. “What I want to do is get up there and be feeling the breeze and the nature and the wind in my hair,” he told me, an unsettling gleam in his eyes. “Then I want to get my dick out and take a piss all over everything! Just to make me feel really free... do you know what I mean? Can I talk to you about this?” He eyed me keenly, a nervous sweat already crawling down his face.
 
I decided to keep my tape recorder to myself. I mean. Jeez, you never know which direction the wind might be blowing in...
 
Everybody eventually took the big jump down the mountain to Ipanema. Everybody, that is, except your humble but not stupid correspondent. I got down the mountain the good old fashioned American way: in the back of a car.
 
Down on the beach everybody celebrated over a few beers. “It wasn’t actually that big a deal,” said Bill, looking smug.
 
“That’s right. You should do it, man,” affirmed Jim. “It was like riding a Scud...”
 
THAT NIGHT, George Michael, A-ha, Judas Priest and I all had dinner together at the same seafood restaurant I had been to the previous evening with Dave Mustaine. That we were all seated several tables apart hardly seemed to matter. We were all talking about the same thing: Sugar Loaf, Cocavada, the heat, the heat... and were Guns N’ Roses boring or was it just us and the other 150,000 poor saps sweatin’ it out at the Maracana the night before?
 
Somewhere around the fifth bottle of vino collapso, Glenn Tipton launched into a hilarious tale about Judas Priest’s one and only ever appearance on the now defunct Channel 4 music show, ‘The Tube’.
 
“I used to live in this little village and I’d told everybody in the pub to look out for us on the telly on Friday night.
 
And I’d rung me parents too, you know, and told them to look out for me.
 
“And we did the show, but all you can see of me is my cock! I swear to God! I’ve still got the footage. Kenny, is that not true?” He nudged KK Downing, who was seated next to us. “When we did ‘The Tube’, the cameraman had his camera on my cock all the way through?”
 
“Oh yeah,” KK nodded thoughtfully. “It was terrible...”
 
“And the thing is, it ain’t that big,” Glenn pleaded. “It was just there with two bollocks either side of it, cos I’d got the tightest trousers on. The camera never went to my face once. Everywhere I jumped he’d follow me cock around.
 
“Afterwards I phoned me parents up and they said, ‘We didn’t think that was very nice’. And then when I got home I couldn’t show me face in the pub for weeks...”
 
“Yeah, and he was wearing these horrible white boots as well,” chipped in KK.
 
“Yeah, but that’s another story,” sighed Glenn. - Afterwards I snuck my way with Priest into an official ‘bands and production crew only’ (translation: ‘no press’) party over at a joint called the Banana Cafe. But it was so crowded with people none of the bands and crew had ever met before that most of them gave up the moment they walked in and turned tail back to the relative sanctuary of the bar at the Rio Palace.
It seemed like the right idea...
 
DAY FIVE: Tuesday, January 22. As far as this newshound was concerned, with a bill that promised nothing heavier than Inimigos do Rei, Roupa Nova, Snap, Run-DMC and New Kids On The Block, no news was better than sad news and today had been unanimously voted by me and Halfin as another day off.
 
Just like the war, Rock In Rio II was all on TV anyway - which was, after all, the only ‘real’ place to judge an occasion that frankly hinged on whether Run-DMC got their neat little ‘bad-assed’ choreography right (they did) or Donny from New Dicks was being, you know, dangerous enough (gimme a break)...
 
Me, I spent the afternoon with Queensryche who, like everybody else, were expected to relentlessly tour the local sights for promising photo-opportunities. (Did I tell you about Cocavada yet?)
 
Later, over dinner and drinks, Geoff Tate and Chris De Garmo readily admitted that they were treating this Rio date as something of a vacation. A kind of light-hearted warm-up for their next tour proper, which begins in America in the Spring.
 
Meantime, as Chris said, “We’re happy to soak up the sun and enjoy ourselves playing in a place none of us has ever been to before. It’s interesting and unusual.”
 
Now there speaks a born diplomat...
 
For some ghastly reason I’d prefer not to try and remember, Geoff suddenly got on to the unlikely subject of breast reduction. He informed me that, contrary to the face I was pulling, they actually specialise in breast reductions in Brazil.
 
Indeed, said Geoff, Brazil has the highest number of plastic surgeons per capita of any major city in the world.
 
“Apparently, in Brazil it’s just not considered sensual to have large breasts. And it’s for the same reasons as in the States or anywhere else, but from the opposite point of view,” he explained scholarly.
 
“The women have breast reductions so they’ll be considered more attractive.”
 
There’s a song in there somewhere, I told him...
 
However, the evening ended on a sour note back in the bar of the Rio Palace - where we had been meaning to settle ourselves to enjoy the by now written-in-stone ritual of the last one before the last one of the night — when word filtered down from the Intercontinental that one of the local Brazilian press boys had been thrown through a plate glass window and his cameras stomped into the ground by some of the heavies employed by Guns N’ Roses, after the hapless photographer had had the audacity to try and take a quick snap of Axl having a drink in the hotel bar.
 
Try as I might, though, I couldn’t get anybody at the Intercontinental to either confirm or deny this report. But then I was having trouble getting my own hotel to confirm or deny breakfast...
 
Nevertheless, every single one of the Brazilian journalists and photographers I subsequently questioned on the subject had their own version of the story. One fact remained consistent: one of their number had been stomped. And for what? A lousy picture?
 
Tell it to Saddam, man...
 
DAY SIX: Wednesday, January 23.
 
Euphemistically known as the Big One. With a bill featuring Sepultura, Megadeth, Queensryche, Judas Priest and Guns N’ Roses, one after another on the very same stage, if the fifth night of the Rock In Rio II festival didn’t make your worm glow then, like the man said, nothing would. At least, that was the feeling around the beer- sodden hospitality rooms backstage at the Maracana that evening.
 
We were not disappointed. Sepultura lived up to the reputation they have been making for themselves in America, grinding out their meat-hook riffs like men bom to the task.
 
Then Megadeth — a task born to men if ever I saw one — came on and all hell broke loose. ‘Hangar 18’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’, ‘Peace Sells...’, all introduced in phonetic Portuguese by the arrogantly cool Mustaine, and all delivered with a punch that hit before you even saw it coming. For once Megadeth were just that: mega-death.
 
Some ‘Long Live Saddam Hussein’ banners were waved in the crowd and the band replied with ‘Holy Wars’ and ‘Anarchy In The USA’, Mustaine lifting his Flying-V high above his head, mega-morphosing into a human ‘Anarchy’ sign. It was an apt finale to a set loaded with irony.
 
Queensryche, consummate pros that they are, delivered a stunning, sublimely paced set; the Maracana surprising them by singing along to such tongue-twisters as ‘Revolution Calling’ and ‘Empire’, Geoff Tate grinning like an alligator that just swallowed a boat-load of missionaries.
 
JUDAS PRIEST, who followed, were the true heroes of the night.
 
Upon their arrival at the Maracana, Axl Rose announced that neither he nor Guns N’ Roses would take the stage  that night if a) Judas Priest  used any of their pyrotechnics;  b) played more than one encore, c) didn’t cut their set by at least 20 minutes and d) used the motorcycle.
 
Eventually, after much to-ing and fro-ing of messengers between the opposing dressing rooms, it was agreed to allow Priest to play their two encores and Rob was told he could keep the motorcycle. But Priest were still forced to drop five numbers from their set... and the use of their pyrotechnics was definitely ruled out.
 
But if Guns N’ Roses thought that putting a vice on the performance of Judas Priest would make their own entrance more plausible, the results had exactly the opposite affect, Priest turning in a show that left the Maracana audience stunned and howling for more.
 
Rob Halford, in particular, was brilliant, the best I’ve seen him in years, and the band were - as advertised - pure steel.
 
IF ANYTHING, being treated like that only made us more determined to put on a really hard show,” said a still- pouring-with-sweat Halford afterwards. “You know, I think it sorts out the professionals — the men from the boys. I mean, we’ve dealt with all this before.
 
“And I think that, more than anything, when people try and pull a stunt like that on you it always backfires on them. It’s like, what are you trying to prove here anyway? Do you think that by taking away those things you’re gonna restrict the band’s ability to get a crowd reaction, or affect our performance as musicians?
 
“There’s no way! We’ve been around too many years to let something like that affect us. Out of all the people at this Rock In Rio festival, Priest have got the longest history. We’ve made more albums, we’ve done more festivals, we’ve done more tours.
 
“So it’s easier for us to handle but I still can’t understand that kind of attitude problem. It just doesn’t make sense.”
 
And neither did the pallid attempt at an explanation by one of the road crew offered to Steffan Chirazi and I the next day.
 
“Guns got pissed off when New Kids On The Block used their side-stage ramps without asking the other night,” he said with the kind of wide-eyed chewing gum sincerity only a true American flunky can summon, “and now they’re paranoid about everything.”
 
Well, he got that part right.
 
I didn’t know what to say. Steffan did, though. “Well,” he huffed as though he were about to spontaneously combust, “I think it’s come to something when Guns N’ Roses can be victimised by a bunch of miming useless twats!” Out of the mouths of babes and burger princes, as they say...
 
Meantime, if Priest thought they were being handled roughly by the headliners, they ought to be thankful they weren’t one of the dozen or so photographers — our own Mark Leialoha amongst them — who were marched out of the photographers’ pit midway through Priest’s set by a posse of Guns N’ Roses’ henchmen. They weren’t ushered back to the backstage area as expected, but straight out of the stadium and on to the street.
 
It didn’t matter that some of them may have left bags, jackets and other vital necessities backstage venturing into the pit to shoot Priest. It mattered that they were nowhere near the building when you-know-who finally took to the stage.
 
Indeed', Ross Halfin twice escaped being 'escorted from the building’ only by the skin of his teeth...
 
What conclusion was I to draw? What conclusions were Michael Wilton and Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche to draw after more of Guns Roses’ gorillas physically dragged them out of side-stage area during the second number of the Gunners’ set? And this was after they asked permission...
 
Something was drastically wrong here. But what, exactly, I don’t have the time or the patience - whoah, yeah etc — left to get into.
 
Besides, what do I know? These days I’m just another member of the great unwashed; part of a past GN’R seem to have rejected wholesale in favour of a future only God and Axl Rose could now accurately speculate on (and by all accounts even they haven’t been talking much lately).
 
The funny part is, neither Halfin, Chirazi nor I needed any help at all being ‘escorted from the building’. The truth is we couldn’t wait to leave...
 
DAYS SEVEN to 10: Thursday January 24 to Sunday January 27. Looking at the remainder of the Rock In Rio II bill and seeing nothing more promising than An Emotional Fish, A-ha, Debbie Gibson, Lisa Stansfield, George Michael (and Wham!), I confess I threw the towel in.
 
There’s only so much of this sort of malarky that one war-fearin’ being can take, and I spent my last moments in Rio sunk deep into a funk of CNN-gazing and sangria, occasionally hopping channels over to the concert just to remind myself of what I had managed to escape.
 
It didn’t look like much on my TV, anyway. Not like the Scuds and Patriots lighting up the screen on Channel 4. Or the pictures on the ‘Six O’ Clock News’ of the two car bombs that exploded in the streets of Rio on the eve of the last show.
 
Which is where I came in, sitting here on this balcony five floors above the streets I hope I never have to describe again.
 
One final question, though: what price a Rock In Rio III when World War III lies just around the corner?
 
No, don’t answer that...
 
(That’s enough Rock In RioEd.)
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Re: 1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:09 pm

I realised I had posted this in the wrong section.

I added the articles from the Kerrang issues of February 16 and 23 that contain part 2 and 3 of the Rock in Rio coverage and moved the thread to the articles section.
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Re: 1991.02.09/16/23 - Kerrang - The Noize from Brazil (I, II, III)

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