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Issue 55 - Scotch on the rocks

Whisky Magazine Issue 55
April 2006

 

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Scotch on the rocks

Hard rock and whisk(e)y have been bedfellows for 40 years.Dominic Roskrow lets his hair down

It's become the iconic rock star image: hair long and flowing, leather trousers or jeans, shirt open to reveal muscular torso and chest hair, jewellery, sunglasses. And there, in the right hand, a halffinished bottle of Jack Daniels.

It's a look that was invented by Keith Richards but perfected in an altogether more metallic field: by Lemmy, Robert Plant, Aerosmith and Slash.

It's defiant, rebellious, a touch delinquent.

But it's an image modelled on only a brief moment in history, a period from the early 70s when heavy rock music ruled the earth, its stars travelled by private jet and filled arenas across the world, and drugs and sexual excess were the norm.

It wasn't always that way. That era was preceded by altogether more innocent time, when promoters would pay the artists a pittance and put them on in all sorts of strange village halls and social clubs. Many of the musicians who would go on to be rock gods would play as session men in the day and perform in covers bands, emulating the American blues greats, at night.

Most of us aging rockers of 40 years plus remember seeing some legendary band in a cow barn venue. Euan Shand recalls seeing Free, for instance, in a village hall in Scotland. The late great guitarist Paul Kossoff was so wasted that he sat in his speaker cabinet for the entire show.

And there was always whisky. Scotch way before Jack Daniels came on the scene.

“Perhaps the reason guys like us survived was because we were shown the ropes by the older...

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