Saturday, October 31, 2009
BIZARRE DOUBLE BILLS
It's the economy, stupid, and summer tours are no exception. But a season packed with perfectly logical, bang-for-the-buck double bills -- Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction, Aerosmith and ZZ Top, Billy Joel and Elton John, for example -- got us thinking: What are the most bizarre double bills of all time? Our answers will have you scratching your head until tour season 2010. Muddy Waters and Barry Manilow
Paul's Mall was a venerable Boston jazz club that expanded into rock music in the 1970s. The nightspot played host to such talented upstarts as some guy from Jersey named Bruce, a bearded fellow from San Francisco named Jerry and a mop-maned gent from Jamaica named Bob. But the club's crowning moment may have been the night in the early '70s that the blues titan named Muddy shared the stage with a former jingle writer named Barry. Manilow, of course, became the guy who wrote the songs that made the whole world sing -- including, presumably, the Father of Chicago Blues.
The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix
Though the guitarist's breakthrough came at Monterey Pop in June 1967, Jimi Hendrix was still a relative unknown in the U.S. in the Summer of Love. The Monkees had been hearing about him for months; Mike Nesmith had been introduced to 'Hey Joe' by John Lennon. After seven disastrous shows produced by Dick Clark -- Nesmith recalled hordes of girls drowning out the feedback with shrieks for Davy Jones ("Foxy" ... "Davy!") -- Hendrix skedaddled. Months later he told Melody Maker the Monkees were "dishwater. "Kiss and Vince Gill
Back home in Oklahoma City in the mid-'70s, Vince Gill had a high school bluegrass band with his brother called Mountain Smoke. When the scheduled opening act for a visiting arena headliner had to cancel, Mountain Smoke was hired as an emergency backup. "It was just hysterical, seeing a bluegrass band come out and open for Kiss," the future country star has said. That's what you might call 'Oklahoma Borderline. 'Toto and the Ramones
When the Ramones broke out of New York, promoters had no idea what to make of them. Punks weren't playing arenas, so they were paired with hard rock bands of their era -- Blue Oyster Cult, Foreigner. According to former tour manager Monte Melnick, Queens' finest once opened for the slick supersession band Toto in Lake Charles, La. "Luckily the Toto crowd was half asleep anyway, and before they knew it we were off," he recalled. "They didn't have the time or energy to boo."